ICAO Final Report format.

How are accident reports written ? Is there any standard format ?

ICAO Final Report formatICAO Final Report Format.

ICAO states how a Accident Final Report should be written. According to “Annex 13 to the Convention on International Civil Aviation (International Standards And Recommended Practices)” , ICAO defines the guidelines related to Aircraft Accident and Incident Investigations.

In this important and useful document are clearly stated most of the actions a National Civil Aviation organization should follow when notified about an accident or incident : Organization and conduct of the investigation , use of Flight recorders, rules regarding Participation in the investigation (by the State of Registry, the State of the Operator, the State of Design and the State of Manufacture ), Protection of evidence, custody and removal of aircraft, Release of the Preliminary and Final Report, Safety recommendations, the Responsibility of a State receiving safety recommendations.

APPENDIX 1 is the description of Format of the Final Report, which you will find in most of the Aviation Accident reports in this website. Let’s review it togheter :

Title. The Final Report begins with a title comprising: name of the operator; manufacturer, model, nationality and registration marks of the aircraft; place and date of the accident or incident.

Synopsis. Following the title is a synopsis describing briefly all relevant information regarding: notification of accident to national and foreign authorities; identification of the accident investigation authority and accredited representation; organization of the investigation; authority releasing the report and date of publication; and concluding with a brief résumé of the circumstances leading to the accident.

Body. The body of the Final Report comprises the following main headings:
1. Factual information
2. Analysis
3. Conclusions
4. Safety recommendations each heading consisting of a number of subheadings as outlined in the following.

Appendices. Include as appropriate.

Note.— In preparing a Final Report, using this format, ensure that:
a) all information relevant to an understanding of the factual information, analysis and conclusions is included under each appropriate heading;
b) where information in respect of any of the items in 1.— Factual information is not available, or is irrelevant to the circumstances leading to the accident, a note to this effect is included under the appropriate subheadings.

Whenever practicable, the Final Report sent to ICAO is to be prepared in one of the working languages of the Organization (English, Arabic, Chinese, French, Russian and Spanish)

Despite of this clear note, many National Safety Agencies (ANSV Italy, BEA France, Aircraft and Railway Accidents Investigation Commission Japan) are preparing final reports in their own language, by preventing most of the aviators from learning.
With this regrettable behavior they , in practice , jeopardize safety.

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1.1 History of the flight.
A brief narrative giving the following information:
– Flight number, type of operation, last point of departure, time of departure (local time or UTC), point of intended landing.
– Flight preparation, description of the flight and events leading to the accident, including reconstruction of the significant portion of the flight path, if appropriate.
– Location (latitude, longitude, elevation), time of the accident (local time or UTC), whether day or night.

1.2 Injuries to persons.
Completion of the following (in numbers):
Injuries : Crew / Passengers / Others – Fatal / Serious / Minor /None.
Note.— Fatal injuries include all deaths determined to be a direct result of injuries sustained in the accident.

1.3 Damage to aircraft.
Brief statement of the damage sustained by aircraft in the accident (destroyed, substantially damaged, slightly damaged, no damage).

1.4 Other damage.
Brief description of damage sustained by objects other than the aircraft.

1.5 Personnel information:
– Pertinent information concerning each of the flight crew members including: age, validity of licences, ratings, mandatory checks, flying experience (total and on type) and relevant information on duty time.
– Brief statement of qualifications and experience of other crew members.
– Pertinent information regarding other personnel, such as air traffic services, maintenance, etc., when relevant.

1.6 Aircraft information:
– Brief statement on airworthiness and maintenance of the aircraft (indication of deficiencies known prior to and during the flight to be included, if having any bearing on the accident).
– Brief statement on performance, if relevant, and whether the mass and centre of gravity were within the prescribed limits during the phase of operation related to the accident. (If not and if of any bearing on the accident give details.)
– Type of fuel used.

1.7 Meteorological information:
– Brief statement on the meteorological conditions appropriate to the circumstances including both forecast and actual conditions, and the availability of meteorological information to the crew.
– Natural light conditions at the time of the accident (sunlight, moonlight, twilight, etc.).

1.8 Aids to navigation.
Pertinent information on navigation aids available, including landing aids such as ILS, MLS, NDB, PAR, VOR, visual ground aids, etc., and their effectiveness at the time.

1.9 Communications.
Pertinent information on aeronautical mobile and fixed service communications and their effectiveness.

1.10 Aerodrome information.
Pertinent information associated with the aerodrome, its facilities and condition, or with the take-off or landing area if other than an aerodrome.

1.11 Flight recorders.
Location of the flight recorder installations in the aircraft, their condition on recovery and pertinent data available therefrom.

1.12 Wreckage and impact information.
General information on the site of the accident and the distribution pattern of the wreckage; detected material failures or component malfunctions. Details concerning the location and state of the different pieces of the wreckage are not normally required unless it is necessary to indicate a break-up of the aircraft prior to impact. Diagrams, charts and photographs may be included in this section or attached in the Appendices.

1.13 Medical and pathological information.
Brief description of the results of the investigation undertaken and pertinent data available therefrom.
Note : Medical information related to flight crew licences should be included in 1.5 — Personnel information

1.14 Fire.
If fire occurred, information on the nature of the occurrence, and of the fire fighting equipment used and its effectiveness.

1.15 Survival aspects.
Brief description of search, evacuation and rescue, location of crew and passengers in relation to injuries sustained, failure of structures such as seats and seat-belt attachments.

1.16 Tests and research.
Brief statements regarding the results of tests and research.

1.17 Organizational and management information.
Pertinent information concerning the organizations and their management involved in influencing the operation of the aircraft. The organizations include, for example, the operator; the air traffic services, airway, aerodrome and weather service agencies; and the regulatory authority. The information could include, but not be limited to, organizational structure and functions, resources, economic status, management policies and practices, and regulatory framework.

1.18 Additional information.
Relevant information not already included in 1.1 to 1.17.

1.19 Useful or effective investigation techniques.
When useful or effective investigation techniques have been used during the investigation, briefly indicate the reason for using these techniques and refer here to the main features as well as describing the results under the appropriate subheadings 1.1 to 1.18.


Analyse, as appropriate, only the information documented in 1. — Factual information and which is relevant to the determination of conclusions and causes.


List the findings, causes and contributing factors established in the investigation. The list of causes should include both the immediate and the deeper systemic causes. Note : The Final Report format presented in this Appendix may be adapted to the circumstances of the accident or incident. Thus, States may use either “causes” or “contributing factors”, or both, in the Conclusions.


As appropriate, briefly state any recommendations made for the purpose of accident prevention and identify safety actions already implemented.


Include, as appropriate, any other pertinent information considered necessary for the understanding of the report.


What is Aviation Accidents Database ?
Aviation Accidents Database is the key point to download official reports and investigations of incidents and accidents.

Many times it’s not easy to find the official reports online: either because the State Agency investigating the occurrence have no website, or the report is not published or it’s an old report not made in digital format.

We continuously search for reports, classify them, write the excerpt and make them available to all pilots and aviation enthusiasts worldwide: for the sake of aviation safety.

Since official Safety Reports are not always written in English language (this is permitted by ICAO), we also provide sometimes unofficial translations: you may like to read more here.

As simple as that.