Michael Knott

Date of Award


Document Type

Thesis - Open Access

Degree Name

Master of Science in Safety Science


College of Aviation

Committee Chair

Dr. Maxwell Fogleman

First Committee Member

Mr. Edward Coleman

Second Committee Member

Mr. Anthony Brickhouse

Third Committee Member

Mr. William Waldock


Given the sheer amount of flights that occur on a daily basis around the world, aviation accidents are going to occur. The principles ensuring that an accident is as safe as possible are considered aircraft survivability or crashworthiness which is analyzed using the acronym CREEP; Container, Restraint, Environment, Energy Absorption, and Post-Crash Factors. CREEP is used by investigators to analyze survivability after a crash, but has significant short falls. By only focusing on a crash, CREEP misses several survivability concepts applicable to aviation such as aircraft equipped with ejection seats, inflight environmental factors, and high energy projectile strikes. To develop a more robust and comprehensive definition of CREEP, a mixed methods approach was conducted through a literature review, case study research, and conducting interviews. The literature review was done to establish a baseline for CREEP and demonstrate its focus on a crash. Case studies were evaluated and interviews were conducted to evaluate escape systems and other deficiencies identified with CREEP. Several case studies involved fatal injuries although no aircraft crash occurred. Interviews were conducted with escape system subject matter experts to identify the survivability of escape systems such as parachutes and ejection seats. Through case study and interview research, a new definition of CREEP was established; Container, Restraint, Environment, Energy absorption/Escape, and Post-event factors. By using the new definition of CREEP, investigators don’t have to just focus on accidents that involve a crash. The new acronym is more comprehensive and covers a much wider range of aviation systems.