Federal regulations require operators to notify the NTSB immediately of
aviation accidents and certain incidents. An accident is defined as an
occurrence associated with the operation of an aircraft that takes place between
the time any person boards the aircraft with the intention of flight and all
such persons have disembarked, and in which any person suffers death or serious
injury, or in which the aircraft receives substantial damage. An incident is an
occurrence other than an accident that affects or could affect the safety of
operations. (See 49
Contact the NTSB's 24-hour Response Operations Center (ROC) at
844-373-9922 to file a report. A phone call is sufficient initially, but
a written follow-up may be required.
When giving a notification, what information will I need to provide?
When contacting the ROC, please be ready to provide the following information
(49 CFR 830.6):
- 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;
- Last point of departure and point of intended landing of the aircraft;
- Position of the aircraft with reference to some easily defined geographical
- Number of persons aboard, number killed, and number seriously injured;
- Nature of the accident, the weather and the extent of damage to the
aircraft, so far as is known;
- A description of any explosives, radioactive materials, or other dangerous
Contacting the NTSB ROC and providing the above listed items satisfies the
reporting requires dictated by 49 CFR 830.5 – Immediate Notification.
What happens after I have notified the NTSB ROC?
After contacting the NTSB's 24-hour ROC, your notification will be taken and
forwarded to the appropriate NTSB division for processing. The reported event
will be evaluated and a determination will be made whether or not the NTSB will
investigate the event. All aircraft accidents as defined by 49 CFR 830.2
are investigated in some capacity, as are select incidents. If an investigation
is opened into an event, an investigator will then contact the
operator/reporting party to request additional information.
Can I remove the aircraft from the accident site or otherwise disturb the
49 CFR 830.10 – Preservation of aircraft wreckage, mail, cargo, and
records, requires that operators preserve aircraft wreckage, recorders,
documents, etc. following an aircraft accident until such time as the Board or
its authorized representative takes custody of such items. The wreckage may be
disturbed to remove persons injured or trapped; to protect the wreckage from
further damage; or to protect the public from injury. After being notified
of an accident, the NTSB may or may not take custody of wreckage, and at the
discretion of the investigator-in-charge, may immediately release some or all of
the wreckage for transport/recovery from the accident site. If you have any
questions about whether or not it is appropriate to move wreckage, contact the
NTSB investigator assigned to the case or the NTSB ROC.
I have already notified the NTSB ROC of the aircraft accident/incident and I
am currently waiting for an NTSB investigator to contact me. Is there anything I
can do in the interim to assist the investigation?
If the event meets the criteria of 49 CFR 830
and is determined to be
an aircraft accident, the NTSB investigator assigned to the case will require
the operator to complete NTSB Form 6120.1 –
Pilot Operator Aircraft Accident/Incident Report
. Should you be directed to
complete Form 6120.1 – "Pilot/Operator Aircraft Accident/Incident Report",
please do as follows:
- Obtain the form from the requesting NTSB office or download a
form-fillable PDF version.
- The form-fillable version can be edited and saved repeatedly, or simply
printed and filled out manually using the free Adobe Acrobat Reader (or
- DO NOT submit the form until you are contacted by an
investigator and are provided with instructions regarding where to send the
form. Forms can be submitted by email, FAX, or post mail.
Filing of this report with the assigned investigator satisfies the
requirements of 49 CFR 830.15 – Reports and statements to be filed. DO
NOT submit a report form in-lieu of providing an initial notification of an
aircraft accident to the NTSB ROC.
I witnessed an aircraft accident and would like to provide the NTSB with a
statement of my observations.
Please prepare a statement and email it to firstname.lastname@example.org
. Please be sure to include a
telephone number so that an investigator may contact you directly if