BMAA Flight Safety - Accident Reporting


The BMAA encourages the reporting of all accidents or incidents so that trends can be identified and the BMAA safety promotion can be targeted to get the most reward by helping to avoid the most common events.

It is a legal requirement to report some accidents and incidents to the Department for Transport Air Accident Investigation Branch (AAIB). The AAIB definitions, copied below, are taken directly from their web site.


There are legal definitions for the terms ‘Accident’ and ‘Incident’ as used in aviation. In layman’s terms we consider that an accident has occurred when there is injury to a person or damage to an aircraft or property, or both. An incident is an occurrence that was not totally under the control of the pilot and may, without intervention, have led to an accident.

Using the layman’s view, if a pilot were to land long on a runway and run into the hedge at the end, damaging the aircraft, we would consider that there had been an accident. If the aircraft had been slewed to the side and run off the runway, trying to avoid the hedge, and had come to rest with no damage in the run-off are, we would consider that there had been an incident.

Official accident and incident investigation is carried out by the Air Accident Investigation Branch of the Department for Transport (AAIB). The AAIB define air accidents and incidents by their severity, actual or potential. The definitions will determine whether the event is ‘reportable’ or not. Reportable events are investigated by the AAI; non reportable events are not.

AAIB Introductory Presentation by Andy Cox Senior Inspector of Accidents

To watch the presentation please follow link. Please note this video is available for BMAA members and you will need to log in to your online account to view.

AAIB Definition of an Accident

"Accident" means an occurrence associated with the operation of an aircraft which might take place between the time any person boards the aircraft with the intention of flight and such time as all persons have disembarked, in which:

(a) a person suffers a fatal or serious injury;

(b) the aircraft sustains damage or structural failure which adversely affects its strength, performance or flight characteristics requiring a major repair or replacement;

(c) the aircraft is missing or is completely inaccessible. It does not include engine failure or damage, when the damage is limited to the engine, its cowlings or accessories; or for damage limited to propellers, wing tips, antennas, tyres, brakes, fairings, small dents or puncture holes in the aircraft skin. "Serious injury" means an injury which is sustained by a person in a reportable accident and which:

(a) requires hospitalisation for more than 48 hours commencing within seven days from the date on which the injury was received; or

(b) results in a fracture of any bone (except simple fractures of fingers, toes, or nose); or

(c) involves lacerations which cause nerve, muscle or tendon damage or severe haemorrhage; or

(d) involves injury to any internal organ; or

(e) involves second or third degree burns or any burns affecting more than five percent of the body surface; or

(f) involves verified exposure to infectious substances or injurious radiation; and seriously injured shall be construed accordingly.

AAIB Definition of a Serious Incident

"Serious Incident" means an incident involving circumstances indicating that an accident nearly occurred.

The incidents listed below are typical examples of serious incidents. The list is not exhaustive and only serves as a guide to the definition of 'serious incident'.

• A near collision requiring an avoidance manoeuvre or when an avoiding manoeuvre would have been appropriate to avoid a collision or an unsafe


• Controlled flight into terrain (CFIT) only marginally avoided.

• An aborted take-off on a closed or engaged runway, or a take-off from such a runway with marginal separation from obstacle(s).

• A landing or attempted landing on a closed or engaged runway.

• Gross failure to achieve predicted performance during take-off or initial climb.

• All fires and smoke in the passenger compartment or in cargo compartments, or engine fires, even though such fires are extinguished with extinguishing agents.

• Any events which require the emergency use of oxygen by the flight crew.

• Aircraft structural failure or engine disintegration which is not classified as an accident.

• Multiple malfunctions of one or more aircraft systems that seriously affect the operation of the aircraft.

• Any case of flight crew incapacitation in flight.

• Any fuel state which would require the declaration of an emergency by the pilot.

• Take-off or landing incidents, such as undershooting, overrunning or running off the sides of runways.

• System failures, weather phenomena, operation outside the approved flight envelope or other occurrences which could have caused difficulties controlling the aircraft.

• Failure of more than one system in a redundancy system which is mandatory for flight guidance and navigation


Reporting to the AAIB

All reportable accidents must be reported to the AAIB using their contact details below. If you are in any doubt as to whether an accident is reportable or not, make the report and let the AAIB decide.

24 hour Accident Reporting line: 01252 512299

The legal responsibility for notification of an accident rests first with the commander of the aircraft or, if he be killed or incapacitated, then the operator.

If the accident occurs on or adjacent to an aerodrome, then the aerodrome authority is also required to notify the accident. 

The notification is required to be passed to the AAIB by the quickest means and giving, as far as possible, the following information:

(a) In the case of an accident the identifying abbreviation "ACCID" or, in the case of

a serious incident, the identifying abbreviation "INCID";

(b) the type, model, nationality and registration marks of the aircraft;

(c) the names of the owner, operator and hirer (if any) of the aircraft;

(d) the name of the commander of the aircraft;

(e) the date and time (UTC) of the accident;

(f) the last point of departure and the next point of intended landing of the aircraft involved;

(g) the position of the accident in relation to some easily defined geographical location;

(h) the number of -

  • (i) crew on board and the number killed or seriously injured.
  • (ii) passengers on board and the number killed or seriously injured.
  • (iii) other persons killed or seriously injured as a result of the accident.
  • (iv) the nature of the accident as far as is known.

 The person reporting the accident to the AAIB is also required to inform the local police of the accident and the place where it occurred.

Police Forces should also inform the appropriate Civil Aviation Air Traffic Control Centre at Swanwick for accidents occurring in England, and at Prestwick for accidents occurring in Scotland and Northern Ireland.

Accidents involving a fatality should be immediately reported to the emergency services. This will in turn be passed onto the AAIB:

Air Accidents Investigation Branch,

Department of Transport,

Farnborough House,

Berkshire Copse Road,

Aldershot GU11 2HH

Tel. 01252 510300

Fax. 01252 376999


Reporting to the BMAA

The BMAA are copied initial reports from the AAIB. The BMAA would also like non-reportable accidents or incidents reported to us as well so that we can get the fullest picture for our trend analysis.

The reports to the BMAA can be made using the BMAA report forms, AW020AW021, which can be downloaded from this website. 

Reports should be sent to the BMAA Safety Officer by post or by using the Flight Safety contact form:

BMAA Safety Officer

British Microlight Aircraft Association

6 Somerville Court

Banbury Business Park

Adderbury, Banbury


OX17 3SN

Tel. 01869 338888