What regulation governs the reporting of aircraft incidents and accidents?

The reporting of aircraft accidents and incidents is governed by NTSB Part 830, or the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) Part 830 Notification and Reporting of Aircraft Accidents or Incidents and Overdue Aircraft, and Preservation of Aircraft Wreckage, Mail, Cargo, and Records.

Immediate notification to the NTSB is required for an aircraft accident and some specific aircraft incidents.  The aircraft operator shall file a report using form 6120.1 within 10 days after an accident or after 7 days if an overdue aircraft is still missing.  A report on an incident for which immediate notification is required by 830.5(a) shall be filed only as requested by an authorized representative of the Board.

An aircraft accident is when any person suffers death or serious injury or in which the aircraft receives substantial damage.  An incident is any occurrence other than an accident, associated with the operation of an aircraft, which affects or could affect the safety of operations.  The primary incidents that require immediate notification include, but are not limited to, the following:

• Flight control system malfunction or failure
• Inability of any required flight crewmember to perform normal flight duties as a result of injury or illness
• Failure of any internal turbine engine component that results in the escape of debris other than out the exhaust path
• In-flight fire
• Aircraft collision in flight
• Damage to property, other than the aircraft, estimated to exceed $25,000 for repair
• Damage to helicopter tail or main rotor blades, including ground damage, that requires major repair or replacement of the blade(s)
• An aircraft is overdue and is believed to have been involved in an accident

PART 830 Specific Definitions:

Aircraft accident means an occurrence associated with the operation of an aircraft which takes place between the time any person boards the aircraft with the intention of flight and when all persons have disembarked, and in which any person suffers death or serious injury or in which the aircraft receives substantial damage.  For purposes of this part, the definition of “aircraft accident” includes “unmanned aircraft accident,” as defined herein.

Incident means an occurrence other than an accident, associated with the operation of an aircraft, which affects or could affect the safety of operations.

Serious injury means any injury which: (1) Requires hospitalization for more than 48 hours, commencing within 7 days from the date of the injury was received; (2) results in a fracture of any bone (except simple fractures of fingers, toes or nose); (3) causes severe hemorrhages, nerve, muscle or tendon damage; (4) involves any internal organ; or (5) involves second- or third-degree burns or any burns affecting more than 5 percent of the body surface.

Substantial damage means damage or failure which adversely affects the structural strength, performance or flight characteristics of the aircraft and which would normally require major repair or replacement of the affected component.  Engine failure or damage limited to an engine if only one engine fails or is damaged, bent fairings or cowling, dented skin, small punctured holes in the skin or fabric, ground damage to rotor or propeller blades, and damage to landing gear, wheels, tires, flaps, engine accessories, brakes or wingtips are not considered “substantial damage” for the purpose of this part.

Unmanned aircraft accident means an occurrence associated with the operation of any public or civil unmanned aircraft system that takes place between the time that the system

is activated with the purpose of flight and the time that the system is deactivated at the conclusion of its mission, in which:

(1) Any person suffers death or serious injury; or
(2) The aircraft has a maximum gross takeoff weight of 300 pounds or greater and sustains substantial damage.

Reference(s):

49 CFR 830 Notification and Reporting of Aircraft Accidents or Incidents and Overdue Aircraft, and Preservation of Aircraft Wreckage, Mail, Cargo, and Records
Website: http://www.ntsb.gov/pages/report.aspx
NTSB Form 6120.1 Pilot/Operator Aircraft Accident/Incident Report

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