I was just involved in an aircraft incident in Phoenix, but there were only minor injuries and minimal damage to my small aircraft. Will I need to report this to the NTSB, or will I need a lawyer?

Arizona aviation incidents can be a tricky, grey area. With a full-fledged accident (remembering back to your private pilot exam, an accident results in death or serious injury and substantial aircraft damage), it is very clear that you must always immediately notify the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB). What should you do if the event in question is, by definition, only an incident?


While many pilots want to err on the side of caution and report everything, it is incredibly important that you carefully evaluate what happened before discussing the event with the NTSB or Federal Aviation Administration. While we would all like to think that the FAA is “on our side” as pilots, its job is also to enforce rules and safety—sometimes at the cost of your hard-earned certifications.


The need to send a report to the NTSB depends on what exactly was involved in your incident. If the event in question involved one of the following, you will need to submit a report immediately:


  • Failure or malfunction of a flight control system;
  • Inability of a required flight crewmember to perform his or her normal flight duties because of illness or injury;
  • In-flight fire;
  • Mid-air collision with another aircraft;
  • Damage to property exceeding $25,000,
  • Or, if your aircraft is a turbine engine, engine component failure not involving the compressor or blades.


If your Phoenix aviation incident involved one of the above factors, you will need to speak with the NTSB, which will likely involve a follow-up conversation with an FAA inspector to make sure that the incident did not involve any FAR violations. At Curry, Pearson & Wooten, our experienced Arizona aviation accident attorneys can help prepare you for your possible investigation. Call us today at 602-258-1000 to discuss your plan of action with a knowledgeable aviation lawyer now.