Embry-Riddle Prescott's S. Harry Robertson Aircraft Accident Investigation Laboratory (Crash Lab) is the most comprehensive facility of its kind and the only fully scenario-based accident investigation training facility available in the North America. Each of the sites involve a real aircraft accident which has been re-created from the original accident.  This provides a training platform which is as close to reality as possible.

The 8 ½ acre facility gives undergraduate and graduate students the opportunity to conduct simulated hands-on field investigations using the sites. The area features nine fully recreated field scenario settings.

The International Society of Air Safety Investigators (Arizona Student Chapter) designed and installed the ISASI Thermodynamics Laboratory within the Crash Lab to provide a platform to research the effects of fire on different materials and structures.

In addition, the Crash Lab is used by students in ERAU’s Professional Programs short courses to support their projects and training. The lab is also used for hosting special outreach training events involving other schools, safety organizations and safety-related entities.  ERAU and UCLAN (University of Central Lancashire) course in Forensic Science field work, is an example of how the Lab can be utilized.  Various crime scene scenarios (including simulated body parts) have been developed to support a crime scene investigations.

The Lab also has the capability and has facilitated in many research efforts. A number of UAS (unmanned aerial system) research/projects have also been conducted within the lab. A variety of different platforms have been used, namely lidar (Light Detection and Ranging), infrared, hydro analysis mapping, topographic mapping.  The employment of UAS platforms and the FARO 3D accident reconstruction technologies are being implemented to further augment our facilities.

ERAU Prescott’s commitment to maintaining and enhancing the capabilities of the “Crash Lab” will ensure that the facility will continue to be a key experiential resource for the Safety Institute and the university’s academic safety programs.


  • Varga Kachina
  • Nanchang CJ-6
  • Cessna 401A
  • Piper PA28-161 Warrior ll
  • Aero Commander 500-S
  • Piper Cherokee
  • Cessna 208-B Caravan
  • Rockwell S-2R Thrush Commander
  • Thermodynamics Laboratory
  • 4 Fuel Bladder “Robbie Tanks”drop test Helicopter static displays
  • Pratt & Whiney R-460 Wasp Major
  • Propeller lab
  • Materials/Engine Breakdown lab
  • FARO 3D Laser Scanner

Lab Information

Location: RASC I, Bldg. 21, Crash Lab 

Contact Us: To speak to someone about this lab or any of our facilities, call us at 928-777-6600 or 800-888-3728, or email Prescott@erau.edu.

Primary Instructor: Bill Waldock

Crash Lab Manager: Adolfo Ibarra

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