Definition of Accident and Serious Incident
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.
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 situation.
- 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
For further information contact the AAIB:
Air Accidents Investigation Branch
Berkshire Copse Road
Tel: 01252 510300
Fax: 01252 376999