Section 7. Safety, Accident, and Hazard Reports
Aviation Safety Reporting Program
- The FAA has established a voluntary Aviation Safety Reporting Program designed to stimulate the free and unrestricted flow of information concerning deficiencies and discrepancies in the aviation system. This is a positive program intended to ensure the safest possible system by identifying and correcting unsafe conditions before they lead to accidents. The primary objective of the program is to obtain information to evaluate and enhance the safety and efficiency of the present system.
- This cooperative safety reporting program invites pilots, controllers, flight attendants, maintenance personnel and other users of the airspace system, or any other person, to file written reports of actual or potential discrepancies and deficiencies involving the safety of aviation operations. The operations covered by the program include departure, en route, approach, and landing operations and procedures, air traffic control procedures and equipment, crew and air traffic control communications, aircraft cabin operations, aircraft movement on the airport, near midair collisions, aircraft maintenance and record keeping and airport conditions or services.
- The report should give the date, time, location, persons and aircraft involved (if applicable), nature of the event, and all pertinent details.
- To ensure receipt of this information, the program provides for the waiver of certain disciplinary actions against persons, including pilots and air traffic controllers, who file timely written reports concerning potentially unsafe incidents. To be considered timely, reports must be delivered or postmarked within 10 days of the incident unless that period is extended for good cause. Reports should be submitted on NASA ARC Forms 277, which are available free of charge, postage prepaid, at FAA Flight Standards District Offices and Flight Service Stations, and from NASA, ASRS, PO Box 189, Moffet Field, CA 94035.
- The FAA utilizes the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) to act as an independent third party to receive and analyze reports submitted under the program. This program is described in AC 00-46, Aviation Safety Reporting Program.
Aircraft Accident and Incident Reporting
Occurrences Requiring Notification. The operator of an aircraft must immediately, and by the most expeditious means available, notify the nearest National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) Field Office when:
An aircraft accident or any of the following listed incidents occur:
- Flight control system malfunction or failure.
- Inability of any required flight crew member to perform their normal flight duties as a result of injury or illness.
- Failure of structural components of a turbine engine excluding compressor and turbine blades and vanes.
- Inflight fire.
- Aircraft collide in flight.
- Damage to property, other than the aircraft, estimated to exceed $25,000 for repair (including materials and labor) or fair market value in the event of total loss, whichever is less.
For large multi‐engine aircraft (more than 12,500 pounds maximum certificated takeoff weight):
- Inflight failure of electrical systems which requires the sustained use of an emergency bus powered by a back‐up source such as a battery, auxiliary power unit, or air‐driven generator to retain flight control or essential instruments;
- Inflight failure of hydraulic systems that results in sustained reliance on the sole remaining hydraulic or mechanical system for movement of flight control surfaces;
- Sustained loss of the power or thrust produced by two or more engines; and
- An evacuation of aircraft in which an emergency egress system is utilized.
- An aircraft is overdue and is believed to have been involved in an accident.
- An aircraft accident or any of the following listed incidents occur:
Manner of Notification.
The most expeditious method of notification to the NTSB by the operator will be determined by the circumstances existing at that time. The NTSB has advised that any of the following would be considered examples of the type of notification that would be acceptable:
- Direct telephone notification.
- Telegraphic notification.
- Notification to the FAA who would in turn notify the NTSB by direct communication; i.e., dispatch or telephone.
- The most expeditious method of notification to the NTSB by the operator will be determined by the circumstances existing at that time. The NTSB has advised that any of the following would be considered examples of the type of notification that would be acceptable:
Items to be Included in Notification. The notification required above must contain the following information, if available:
- Type, nationality, and registration marks of the aircraft.
- Name of owner and operator of the aircraft.
- Name of the pilot‐in‐command.
- Date and time of the accident, or incident.
- Last point of departure, and point of intended landing of the aircraft.
- Position of the aircraft with reference to some easily defined geographical point.
- Number of persons aboard, number killed, and number seriously injured.
- Nature of the accident, or incident, the weather, and the extent of damage to the aircraft so far as is known; and
- A description of any explosives, radioactive materials, or other dangerous articles carried.
The operator must file a report on NTSB Form 6120.1 or 6120.2, available from NTSB Field Offices or from the NTSB, Washington, DC, 20594:
- Within 10 days after an accident;
- When, after 7 days, an overdue aircraft is still missing;
- A report on an incident for which notification is required as described in subparagraph a(1) must be filed only as requested by an authorized representative of the NTSB.
- Each crewmember, if physically able at the time the report is submitted, must attach a statement setting forth the facts, conditions, and circumstances relating to the accident or incident as they appeared. If the crewmember is incapacitated, a statement must be submitted as soon as physically possible.
- The operator must file a report on NTSB Form 6120.1 or 6120.2, available from NTSB Field Offices or from the NTSB, Washington, DC, 20594:
Where to File the Reports.
- The operator of an aircraft must file with the NTSB Field Office nearest the accident or incident any report required by this section.
- The NTSB Field Offices are listed under U.S. Government in the telephone directories in the following cities: Anchorage, AK; Atlanta, GA; Chicago, IL; Denver, CO; Fort Worth, TX; Los Angeles, CA; Miami, FL; Parsippany, NJ; Seattle, WA.
- Occurrences Requiring Notification. The operator of an aircraft must immediately, and by the most expeditious means available, notify the nearest National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) Field Office when:
Near Midair Collision Reporting
- Purpose and Data Uses. The primary purpose of the Near Midair Collision (NMAC) Reporting Program is to provide information for use in enhancing the safety and efficiency of the National Airspace System. Data obtained from NMAC reports are used by the FAA to improve the quality of FAA services to users and to develop programs, policies, and procedures aimed at the reduction of NMAC occurrences. All NMAC reports are thoroughly investigated by Flight Standards Facilities in coordination with Air Traffic Facilities. Data from these investigations are transmitted to FAA Headquarters in Washington, DC, where they are compiled and analyzed, and where safety programs and recommendations are developed.
- Definition. A near midair collision is defined as an incident associated with the operation of an aircraft in which a possibility of collision occurs as a result of proximity of less than 500 feet to another aircraft, or a report is received from a pilot or a flight crew member stating that a collision hazard existed between two or more aircraft.
- Reporting Responsibility. It is the responsibility of the pilot and/or flight crew to determine whether a near midair collision did actually occur and, if so, to initiate a NMAC report. Be specific, as ATC will not interpret a casual remark to mean that a NMAC is being reported. The pilot should state “I wish to report a near midair collision.”
Where to File Reports. Pilots and/or flight crew members involved in NMAC occurrences are urged to report each incident immediately:
- By radio or telephone to the nearest FAA ATC facility or FSS.
- In writing, in lieu of the above, to the nearest Flight Standards District Office (FSDO).
Items to be Reported.
- Date and time (UTC) of incident.
- Location of incident and altitude.
- Identification and type of reporting aircraft, aircrew destination, name and home base of pilot.
- Identification and type of other aircraft, aircrew destination, name and home base of pilot.
- Type of flight plans; station altimeter setting used.
- Detailed weather conditions at altitude or flight level.
- Approximate courses of both aircraft: indicate if one or both aircraft were climbing or descending.
- Reported separation in distance at first sighting, proximity at closest point horizontally and vertically, and length of time in sight prior to evasive action.
- Degree of evasive action taken, if any (from both aircraft, if possible).
- Injuries, if any.
- Investigation. The FSDO in whose area the incident occurred is responsible for the investigation and reporting of NMACs.
- Existing radar, communication, and weather data will be examined in the conduct of the investigation. When possible, all cockpit crew members will be interviewed regarding factors involving the NMAC incident. Air traffic controllers will be interviewed in cases where one or more of the involved aircraft was provided ATC service. Both flight and ATC procedures will be evaluated. When the investigation reveals a violation of an FAA regulation, enforcement action will be pursued.
Unidentified Flying Object (UFO) Reports
- Persons wanting to report UFO/unexplained phenomena activity should contact a UFO/unexplained phenomena reporting data collection center, such as the National UFO Reporting Center, etc.
- If concern is expressed that life or property might be endangered, report the activity to the local law enforcement department.
Safety Alerts For Operators (SAFO) and Information For Operators (InFO)
- SAFOs contain important safety information that is often time-critical. A SAFO may contain information and/or recommended (non-regulatory) action to be taken by the respective operators or parties identified in the SAFO. The audience for SAFOs varies with each subject and may include: Air carrier certificate holders, air operator certificate holders, general aviation operators, directors of safety, directors of operations, directors of maintenance, fractional ownership program managers, training center managers, accountable managers at repair stations, and other parties as applicable.
- InFOs are similar to SAFOs, but contain valuable information for operators that should help them meet administrative requirements or certain regulatory requirements with relatively low urgency or impact in safety.
The SAFO and InFO system provides a means to rapidly distribute this information to operators and can be found at the following website:
or search keyword FAA SAFO or FAA INFO. Free electronic subscription is available on the “ALL SAFOs” or “ALL InFOs” page of the website.