What to Report

Online reporting

The CAA would like to receive reports on all occurrences.

So what is an occurrence?

An ‘occurrence’ is the umbrella term for an accident, serious incident, immediate hazard to the safety of an aircraft operation, and incident.


WCO wreckage

An accident is an occurrence that causes significant damage to people or property while the aircraft is in operation.

The full definition of an accident is in Part 1 of the Civil Aviation Rules.

If you have an accident, embarrassment, anxiety and a fear of repercussions can cloud your thinking at the time of an occurrence, especially when coupled with a state of personal stress and shock. Just let the CAA know there has been an accident and the details can be reported later.

If the pilot has been killed or incapacitated, the aircraft operator must notify CAA instead.

On average, about 110 accidents are reported to the CAA each year.

Serious Incident

A serious incident is one in which an accident nearly happened. You could say it’s an accident where you got lucky.

Some examples:

  • runway excursion that narrowly missed a person or property;
  • near collisions; and
  • controlled flight into terrain only marginally avoided.

In 2015, there were 10 incidents which were classified as a serious event.

Immediate Hazard to Aircraft Operations

A hazard to the safety of an aircraft could be something like a hole in the runway, a failure in taxiway lighting or a breakdown in communication between ATC and aircraft in the circuit.


An incident is any occurrence, other than an accident associated with the operation of an aircraft that affects, or could affect, the safety of that operation.

Examples include:

  • go-around due to wind shear;
  • a system or component not working as intended;
  • an unruly passenger;
  • less separation between aircraft than prescribed;
  • a collision between an aircraft and one or more birds; or
  • the misidentification of aircraft by a radar operator.

On average, about 5,500 incidents are reported to the CAA each year.

All Other Incidents

Other incidents involve aerodromes, aircraft defects, security, dangerous goods, and facility malfunctions.

The CAA received a total of 6,196 occurrence reports for 2015, with 736 aviation related concerns.