Safety Occurrence Reporting amongst New Zealand Uncrewed Aircraft Users

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Safety reporting has long been recognised as critical to reducing safety occurrences by identifying issues early enough that they can be remedied before an adverse outcome. This study examines safety occurrence reporting amongst a sample of 92 New Zealand civilian uncrewed aircraft users. An online survey was created to obtain the types of occurrences that these users have had, how (if at all) these are reported, and why participants did or did not report using particular systems. This study focussed on seven types of occurrences that have been highlighted by the Civil Aviation Authority of New Zealand as being reportable using a CA005RPAS form, the template for reporting to the authority for uncrewed aircraft occurrences. The number of each type of occurrence was recorded, as well as what percentage of occurrences were reported using a CA005RPAS form, an internal reporting system, or were non-reported. Qualitative questions were used to understand why participants did or did not report using particular systems. Categorical and numerical data were analysed using Chi-Squared Tests of Independence, Kruskal–Wallis H Tests, and Mann–Whitney U Tests. Qualitative data were analysed using thematic analysis. The findings reveal that 85.72% of reportable safety occurrences went unreported by pilots, with only 2.74% of occurrences being self-reported by pilots using a CA005RPAS form. The biggest reason for non-reporting was that the user did not perceive the occurrence as serious enough, with not being aware of reporting systems and not being legally required to report also being major themes. Significant differences were observed between user groups, providing policy implications to improve safety occurrence reporting, such as making reporting compulsory, setting minimum training standards, having an anonymous and non-punitive reporting system, and through working with member-based organisations.
Eng, 2023, 4 (1), pp. 236 - 258