Start with simple open questions such as, ‘Tell me about your flight/task from the start’.  Let the person speak freely until they’re finished, then gradually narrow down to more detailed questions, when you identify areas you wish to know more about… ‘tell me more about….[x]’

The following are suggestions for additional questions, but choose only those relevant to the situation. 


  • What were you seeing?
  • What were you focusing on?
  • What were you expecting to happen?

Interpretation errors

  • If you had to describe the situation to your fellow crewmember at that point, what would you have told them?
  • What mistakes (for example in interpretation) were likely at this point?

Previous experience/knowledge

  • Were you reminded of any previous experience?
  • Did this situation fit a standard scenario?
  • Were you trained to deal with this situation?
  • Were there any rules that applied clearly here?
  • Did you rely on other sources of knowledge to tell you what to do?


  • What goals influenced your actions at the time?
  • Were there conflicts or trade-offs to make between goals?
  • Was there time pressure?

Taking action

  • How did you judge you could influence the course of events?


  • Did you discuss or mentally imagine a number of options or did you know straight away what to do?
  • Did the outcome fit your expectation?
  • Did you have to update your assessment of the situation?


Writing recommendations or safety actions

Resources and further information

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