NTSB’s Role in Foreign Aviation Investigations

The NTSB participates in the investigation of aviation accidents and serious incidents outside the United States in accordance with the Chicago Convention of the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) and the Standards and Recommended Practices (SARPS) provided in Annex 13 to the Convention. ICAO is a UN specialized agency that manages the administration and governance of the Convention on International Civil Aviation (Chicago Convention). See the full list of ICAO member states. 

If an accident or serious incident occurs in a foreign state involving a US-registered civil aircraft, US operator, or US-designed or manufactured aircraft, and the foreign state is a signatory to the ICAO Convention, that state is responsible for the investigation and controls the release of all information regarding the investigation. The foreign state must notify the NTSB of the accident, which begins our participation under the Annex 13 process. 

Upon receiving a formal notification of the accident or serious incident that may involve significant issues, the NTSB may designate the US Accredited Representative and appoint technical advisors to:

  • ​carry out the obligations, 
  • receive investigative information and updates in accordance with the annex, 
  • provide consultation, and 
  • receive safety recommendations from the state of occurrence. 

The advisors may include NTSB investigators with subject matter expertise, as well as others from US manufacturers, operators, and the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA). The NTSB will work closely with Department of State when invited to a foreign state to assist under Annex 13. Additionally, a state may choose to lend specific expertise to an investigation such as downloading recorders. 

The following are the key objectives of our participation in international aviation accident investigations:

  • ​Identify safety deficiencies affecting US aviation interests
  • Capture safety lessons learned to prevent accidents in the US
  • Facilitate credible and comprehensive accident investigations where US interests are concerned

Given the international nature of air transportation and the leading role the United States plays in developing aviation technology, our participation in foreign investigations is essential to enhancing aviation safety worldwide.  ​