CFI Brief: sUAS (drone) Accident Reporting

Ever wonder what you should do if you crash your small unmanned aircraft (drone)? Well the specifics are outlined for you in 14 CFR §107.9 which we will break down below (no pun intended).

Accident Reporting

The remote PIC must report any sUAS accident to the FAA, within 10 days of the operation, if any of the following thresholds are met:

  • Serious injury to any person or any loss of consciousness.
  • Damage to any property, other than the small unmanned aircraft, if the cost is greater than $500 to repair or replace the property (whichever is lower).

For example, a small UA damages property of which the fair market value is $200, and it would cost $600 to repair the damage. Because the fair market value is below $500, this accident is not required to be reported. Similarly, if the aircraft causes $200 worth of damage to property whose fair market value is $600, that accident is also not required to be reported because the repair cost is below $500.

The accident report must be made within 10 calendar-days of the operation that created the injury or damage. The report may be submitted to the appropriate FAA Regional Operations Center (ROC) or FSDO electronically ( or by telephone. The report should include the following information:

  1. sUAS remote PIC’s name and contact information;
  2. sUAS remote PIC’s FAA airman certificate number;
  3. sUAS registration number issued to the aircraft, if required (FAA registration number);
  4. Location of the accident;
  5. Date of the accident;
  6. Time of the accident;
  7. Person(s) injured and extent of injury, if any or known;
  8. Property damaged and extent of damage, if any or known; and
  9. Description of what happened.

A serious injury qualifies as Level 3 or higher on the Abbreviated Injury Scale (AIS) of the Association for the Advancement of Automotive Medicine. This scale is an anatomical scoring system that is widely used by emergency medical personnel. In the AIS system, injuries are ranked on a scale of 1 to 6; Level 1 is a minor injury, Level 2 is moderate, Level 3 is serious, Level 4 is severe, Level 5 is critical, and Level 6 is a nonsurvivable injury. It would be considered a serious injury if a person requires hospitalization, and the injury is fully reversible including, but not limited to:

  • Head trauma.
  • Broken bone(s).
  • Laceration(s) to the skin that requires suturing.

In addition to this FAA report, and in accordance with the criteria established by the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB), certain sUAS accidents must also be reported to the NTSB.

§107.9   Accident reporting.

No later than 10 calendar days after an operation that meets the criteria of either paragraph (a) or (b) of this section, a remote pilot in command must report to the FAA, in a manner acceptable to the Administrator, any operation of the small unmanned aircraft involving at least:

(a) Serious injury to any person or any loss of consciousness; or

(b) Damage to any property, other than the small unmanned aircraft, unless one of the following conditions is satisfied:

(1) The cost of repair (including materials and labor) does not exceed $500; or

(2) The fair market value of the property does not exceed $500 in the event of total loss.

Want to see a drone crash into the Space Needle in Seattle, WA?

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