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Aircraft databases that impact aircraft engineers

Standard & Regulation

There are a number of aircraft databases that exist on the web that can be used to survey aircraft incidents and service problems. One of these databases may have the answer to an important question from an aircraft engineer. This Lectrogram shall provide a brief summary of several of the more robust databases relevant to aircraft systems failures and maintenance actions on aircraft.

There does exist some overlap between the databases, allowing for verification from more than one source. Most of the following databases are U.S. based, but similar systems can be found in many countries around the globe.

NTSB Aviation Accident Database

The NTSB aviation accident database contains information gathered on civil aviation accidents and selected incidents. The data in the system dates back to 1962, but full descriptions of events before 1993 are not guaranteed. The system allows for searches for given aircraft types, make/model, and even the type operation under which the aircraft was operating at the time of the incident. Reference NTSB.

FAA Preliminary Accident Report

This site provides preliminary information on aviation incidents that have been reported over the prior 10 days. The database does not provide much information beyond weather conditions and a brief description of the incident. Reference FAA.

FAA Service Difficulty Report (SDR) database

The data in the SDR database goes back to 1995. Reports can be searched on each aircraft tail number, operator, or even particular parts within an aircraft. One can find information on the type of problem, the number of cycles on the aircraft, when the anomaly was discovered, the needed action, and a description of the problem (the description length and details vary dramatically).  Reference FAA.

NASA Aviation Safety Reporting System (ASRS)

Started in 1976, the particular focus of the ASRS is “the quality of human performance in the aviation system.” Reporting to the system is voluntary and confidential and it accepts incident reports from pilots, air traffic controllers, maintenance technicians, and others. As of the start of 2007, over 700,000 incident reports had been received by the ASRS. Averaging over 3,300 new reports each month,  approximately 65% of the reports are submitted by air carriers, with general aviation making up the second largest group with 30%. Reference NASA.

FAA Maintenance Alerts

aircraft engineers
Reporting Problems: The FAA Aviation Maintenance Alerts contains information on incidents seen on aircraft. This photo is the result of a failed fire protection device. Damage can be seen to a wide area including to the connectors and wires.

Photo: FAA

Thought not technically a database, the monthly published Aviation Maintenance Alerts provides a good source of information about recent aircraft maintenance problems. This information is gathered from people who operate and maintain civil aircraft (see photo above). Reference FAA.

World Aircraft Accident Summary (WAAS) Subset

Part of the FAA’s Aviation Safety Information Analysis and Sharing (ASIAS) System, WAAS is a database maintained by Airclaims Ltd. This database subset contains information about all known fatal airline accidents for the last ten years. Descriptions of the events include both official and unofficial statements and reports. There are usage restrictions on the data which should be considered before using.  Reference FAA.

All of these databases are open and available to the public with the objective of improving the aviation system. Wiring, connector, and other components of an aircraft’s electrical system are addressed in varying degree in these databases. As such, they provide a wealth of source material for your wire maintenance program.


This article was written by the Lectromec technical team. Aircraft wiring is our passion and we strive to make a contribution to the field by sharing our expertise through blogs, podcasts, and videos. We hope you find this information helpful. We also encourage you to submit comments and spur discussions.