Aircraft Accident


Guidelines for Aircrew

These guidelines outline broad principles designed to assist members in the aftermath of an accident or incident.  It is appreciated that some practical situations will dictate alternative actions.  If followed in general however they will assist BALPA in providing subsequent advice and legal assistance

Flight Crew

1. Discharge your responsibilities to ensure the safety of your passengers and crew.

2. Pull the CVR and FDR CBs if present immediately after final stop to avoid automatic erasure and enter into the aircraft tech log. It is illegal to stop the CVR in flight.


 Parts of the aircraft structure and its contents such as Man Made Mineral Fibres or Dangerous Goods may be extremely hazardous after fracture or fire.

4. Secure the aircraft so that removal or interference with its contents is only permitted to authorised officials (the AAIB in the UK, police or customs).

5. Follow company procedures and notify your appropriate company personnel who should contact the local government authority on your behalf. In the UK, it is the responsibility of the aircraft commander to give information without delay to the Chief Inspector of Accidents and to the police, but this may be delegated to your company.

6. Call BALPA immediately on +44 (0)20 8476 4099 (24 hours) for assistance following an incident or accident and advise where you may be contacted.

7. Keep your crew together if possible and obtain rest facilities away from the scene.  Advise crew members of your proposed actions and keep them informed.

8. Once you have satisfied the statutory duty to report the accident and secured the aircraft and accident site, avoid making statements to anyone other than your BALPA representative or legal adviser.  If pressed for a statement or interview, advise that you will make a statement as soon as you have consulted BALPA.

9. You may be required to comply with drug and/or alcohol testing procedures.  If there is any doubt in regard to the result, ensure that you insist on retaining a duplicate sample for independent analysis.

10.  If possible, do not sign anything without legal representation.

11. Make no statement to the media or take part in any press conference without reference to BALPA.

12. You must produce your flying license if required by a regulatory authority or law enforcement official for examination. You should not allow that official to retain the license. A formal set of procedures must be followed before you can be required to relinquish your license.

13. Consider carefully the wisdom of continuing to operate further flights. The stress factor and preoccupation with the occurrence must not be underestimated.  Automatic suspension or relief from duty is usually a company requirement pending the investigation.

14. If possible, obtain copies of all original documents and copies of interview recordings relating to the flight and retain them for your use only.

15. Prepare all written statements with the help of your BALPA representative and/or legal counsel, and consider carefully authorising any circulation beyond the official accident investigator.

16. When required to make statements in the absence of specific BALPA advice confine them to factual evidence without speculative amplification in the language of your choice.

17. Contact your family if you wish, but use discretion in inviting them to the scene.


24 HOUR BALPA EMERGENCY LINE - +44 (0)20 8476 4099

BALPA HEAD OFFICE - Tel: +44 (0)20 8476 4000, Fax: 020 8476 4077

Chief Inspector of Accidents     
UK Air Accidents Investigation Branch  
(24hrs) 01252 512299
(Fax) 01252 376999
(From overseas, prefix all telephone numbers with +44 for UK)

If outside the UK and/or unable to reach BALPA,
Call IFALPA: (24hrs) + 44 (0)1202 653110