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Senior Advisor

UAS Accident Reporting

§ 107.9 Accident reporting. No later than 10 days after an operation that meets the criteria of either paragraph (a) or (b) of this section, an operator must report to the nearest Federal Aviation Administration Flight Standards District Office any operation of the small unmanned aircraft that involves the following: (a) Any injury to any person; or (b) Damage to any property, other than the small unmanned aircraft.


For airplanes, the requirement to report an accident or incident is 49CFR830, sometimes called NTSB 830.  It is interesting that with UAS the FAA is telling you to report to the FSDO, not the NTSB.


This is an interesting requirement.  What is meant by "injury"?  If it was an airplane accident, there are guidelines.  You don't have to report if you bruised your elbow getting out of the plane.  Here are examples of where you have to report if it is an injury in an airplane. 


"A “serious injury” is defined as “any injury which: (1) Requires hospitalization for more than 48 hours, commencing within 7 days from the date of the injury was received; (2) results in a fracture of any bone (except simple fractures of fingers, toes, or nose); (3) causes severe hemorrhages, nerve, muscle, or tendon damage; (4) involves any internal organ; or (5) involves second- or third-degree burns, or any burns affecting more than 5 percent of the body surface.”"


Will the FAA define injury as something else when it is caused by a UAS?  I don't know.


The NTSB defines accident and incident quite specifically, but the NPRM does not give any detail.  If it scratches the hood of the 1995 Dodge pickup is that an accident?  If it goes into the windshield of a crop duster is that an accident?  I'd bet in the latter case, yes.  In the first case, I don't know.  The FAA will likely provide guidance on this question in the future.


If you have ideas on what should constitute an accident, you should address them in the NPRM.


For more information, search "49 CFR 830" or "airplane accident or incident".



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