Latest posts by Jonathan Rupprecht (see all)
- Drone Crash-What Do I Do After I Crash My Drone? - January 16, 2017
- Don’t Drink and Drone – FAA Regulations on Drones & Alcohol - January 15, 2017
- Amazon Drone Delivery – 3 Major Legal Problems with Amazon Prime Air - December 19, 2016
If you crashed a drone, there are reporting requirements. Below we will discuss the reporting requirements you make to the FAA and the reporting requirements you make to the National Transportation Safety Board (“NTSB”) following a drone crash. Just to be clear, this whole page does NOT apply to Part 101 model aircraft.
- “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.”
- FAA REGIONALOPERATIONS CENTERS. LOCATION WHERE ACCIDENT OCCURRED:
- DC, DE, MD, NJ, NY, PA, WV, and VA 404-305-5150
- AL, CT, FL, GA, KY, MA,ME,MS, NC, NH, PR, RI, SC, TN, VI, and VT 404-305-5156
- AK, AS, AZ, CA, CO, GU, HI, ID, MP,MT, NV, OR, UT, WA, and WY 425-227-1999
- AR, IA, IL, IN, KS, LA, MI,MN,MO, ND, NE, NM, OH, OK, SD, TX, and WI 817-222-5006
- The FAA also has a website where you can report a crash.
- NASA AVIATION SAFETY REPORTING SYSTEM
- Note that the NTSB’s definitions of accident and unmanned aircraft accident and the FAA’s definition of accident in 107.9 are ALL different. It would have been a good idea for the FAA to just match up the definitions of 107.9 to 830.2 to keep things simple.
- Keep in mind that this article is primarily focusing on Part 107 operations, NOT Section 333 exemption operations, but most 333 exemptions have a provisions that requires notification to the FAA UAS Integration Office and NTSB so this article is still very relevant although some the requirements might differ. The language of the exemption and Blanket COA supersedes these requirements.
- Report an “accident” or “serious incident” (Part 830’s definitions) immediately to the NTSB Response Operations Center.
- Send NTSB Form 6120.1 in within 10 days for an accident or 7 days for an overdue aircraft that is still missing. For a serious incident and if requested, send in the form. No time is mentioned in 830.15.
- Notify the FAA within 10 days of the occurrence of an accident (107.9 “accident”).
- “NASA Form” is within 10 days of the violation.
During this 10 day period, you have time to call an attorney to help in figuring out how best to handle the situation and what to say in your report.
Don’t want to read? Watch the video of this article!
Who is the NTSB? How Are They Different than the FAA?
“The NTSB is an independent federal agency, charged by Congress to investigate transportation accidents, determine probable cause, and issue safety recommendations to prevent similar accidents. The agency’s scope extends beyond aviation crashes, as it also investigates selected rail, marine, highway, and pipeline accidents, as well as those involving transportation of hazardous materials.” The NTSB is COMPLETELY separate from the FAA. “The primary role of NTSB is improving safety of our nation’s transportation system. The agency determines the probable cause of accidents and issues safety recommendations to prevent similar occurrences. It does not determine fault or liability. In fact, according to 49 U.S.C. § 1154(b), ‘No part of a report of the Board, related to an accident or an investigation of an accident, may be admitted into evidence or used in a civil action for damages resulting from a matter mentioned in the report.’”
In addition to doing investigations, the NTSB can judge appeals of FAA enforcement actions brought against manned aircraft pilots and drone pilots. There are two levels of appeal with the NTSB: (1) the administrative law judge level (ALJ) and (2) the full board of NTSB members. Some of you might remember the Pirker case. The Pirker case was initially won at the ALJ level, but on appeal to the full NTSB Board, was remanded back to the ALJ to determine if Pirker’s flight was careless and reckless.