Learn About

Learn About the Safety Data - NTSB

National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) Aviation Accident and Incident Database

The NTSB is an independent Federal agency charged by Congress with investigating every civil aviation accident in the United States and significant accidents in the other modes of transportation -- railroad, highway, marine and pipeline. Representatives from numerous Federal, State and Local authorities as well as various segments of the industry usually participate in the investigation of major accidents. The NTSB determines the probable cause of accidents and issues safety recommendations aimed at preventing future accidents. The NTSB accident/incident database is the official repository of aviation accident data and causal factors.

In the NTSB database, an event is classified as an accident or an incident. "Aircraft accident" means an occurrence associated with the operation of an aircraft which 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. The NTSB defines "Incident" to mean an occurrence other than an accident, associated with the operation of an aircraft, which affects or could affect the safety of operations.

Data is obtained using the following collection forms: NTSB Form 6120.19A (Preliminary Report) and NTSB Form 6120.4 (Factual Report). A Preliminary report is to be completed within 5 working days of the event and a Factual report with additional information concerning the occurrence is available within a few months. A Final report, which includes a statement of the probable cause, may not be completed for months or after the investigation has been completed (it is not uncommon for the investigation of major accidents to require a year or more). Preliminary reports contain only a few data elements; i.e., date, location, aircraft operator, type of aircraft, etc. (they function as placeholders until the Factual and Final reports are entered into the database).

Using the Database
Things You Should Know
The NTSB issues a separate report for each aircraft involved in an aviation accident or incident. The NTSB Aviation Accident and Incident database includes reports concerning events that occurred between 1982 and the present. The data is presented in a report format that is divided into the following categories; Location Information, Aircraft Information, Operator Information, Narrative, Sequence of Events, Findings, Injury Summary, Weather/Environmental Information and Pilot Information. Since 1993, the NTSB also provides a full narrative to its electronic Factual and Final reports. This narrative is in addition to the information found in all electronic reports since 1982. To see the full narrative open a report and click at "Full narrative available."

The NTSB Aviation Accident/Incident Database can be used to:

  • browse NTSB's aviation accident and incident information
  • count aircraft involved in aviation accidents and incidents
  • read NTSB's determination of probable causes when available
  • select NTSB accident or incident reports based on:
    • user supplied words or phrases
    • user selected criteria, including:
      • report number
      • date range
      • state
      • aircraft registration number
      • aircraft make and model
      • operator/airline (Part 121 only)
      • category of operation
      • airport identification


    • a combination of both user supplied words or phrases AND user selected criteria