Incident & Accident Reporting

Mandatory Occurrence Reporting

It is a legal requirement for pilots to report accidents and incidents. The process to be followed is referred to as Mandatory Occurrence Reporting.

An occurrence means any safety-related event which endangers or which, if not corrected or addressed, could endanger an aircraft, its occupants or any other person.

The purpose of occurrence reporting is to improve aviation safety by ensuring that relevant safety information relating to civil aviation is reported, collected, stored, protected, exchanged, disseminated and analysed. It is not to attribute blame or liability.

Recommendations or directives issued as a result of the analysis of occurrence reports may require changes in training, flight operations procedures, technical or airworthiness directives and so on. This process is deeply ingrained in aviation culture and is perhaps the primary reason for flying being by far the safest way to travel. 

Occurrence reporting in the UK and the rest of Europe is governed by European Regulations which requires the reporting, analysis and follow up of occurrences in civil aviation and delivers a European Just Culture Declaration.

What should be reported?

So for a SUA Operator what constitutes an accident, serious incident? There are detailed lists of events which constitute reportable accidents or incidents in manned aviation. Not many of these would be relevant to the operation of a sub-20kg SUA. As yet there has been no specific guidance issued. For this reason, we suggest the following as a guide to events which should be reported.

  • An accident where a person is fatally or seriously injured, or there is significant damage to property (unlikely with a SUA)
  • A serious incident is where there was a high probability of an accident
  • An occurrence could be any aircraft or system malfunction which has safety implications for other SUA operators. You have to use your judgement on what value there is in reporting an occurrence to other SUA Operators.

How to report an accident or serious incident?

If you are involved in or have knowledge of the occurrence of a serious accident involving a SUA operating in UK airspace you must immediately inform the police and other appropriate emergency services and then report it to the Air Accidents Investigation Branch (AAIB)

More information about reporting accidents and incidents can be found on this page of the CAA web site

How to report an occurrence?

Occurrences are reported using the ECCAIRS European Reporting Portal; web address