Frequently Asked Questions

IMPORTANT: Do not use Flight Chain App for flight instruction. Always consult a certified flight instructor for proper flight instruction.


Accident reports

Q. Who creates the accident chains in Flight Chain App?

A. The accident chains displayed in Flight Chain App are derived directly from NTSB data. There is no manual nor editorial curation of this data when creating the accident chain visualizations. This is to ensure you are getting information directly from the official source of the accident report, which is the NTSB.

Q. How far back does the Flight Chain App database go?

A. Flight Chain App lets you search more than 35 years worth of NTSB accident reports. The accident report content goes back to 1982. That's more than 80,000 accident reports in your pocket for convenient easy access.

Q. What do the red and blue colors mean on the accident chain?

A. At the top of every accident chain displayed in Flight Chain App, there is a color legend with the words "Cause" in red, and "Factor" in blue. If a link in the chain is red, that event in the accident chain is considered a "Cause" according to NTSB investigators. If a link in the chain is blue, that event in the accident chain is considered a "Factor" according to NTSB investigators. If a link in the chain is white, that event in the accident chain is simply an event in the chain.

Q. Why are the related items near the top of the accident screen sometimes highlighted, yet other times not highlighted?

A. The related items near the top of the accident screen (e.g. "Engine related", "Pilot related", "Weather related", "Component related", "Maintenance related", and "External factors") become highlighted if any events in the accident's chain were categorized this way by the NTSB.

Q. Why do some accidents not display an accident chain, an accident ruling, or a full report?

A. Flight Chain App may not have enough information from the NTSB if an accident investigation is not yet complete. It generally takes around a year to produce a final report, which includes a probable cause and contributing factors. In older accidents, the NTSB may not have provided enough information for Flight Chain App to display an accident chain, a ruling, a report, or other content related to the accident.

Q. Where does Flight Chain App's Safety Tips content come from?

A. Flight Chain App's Safety Tips content is provided by FAA and NTSB publications. Flight Chain App carefully curates and, when possible for an accident, suggests Safety Tips that are related in some way to that accident. Some accidents may not have safety tips to display.

Q. Why do recent accidents that happened in the last couple of weeks not appear in Flight Chain App?

A. Accidents are added to Flight Chain App's database by date of their published preliminary NTSB report (not by date of accident). Currently Flight Chain App's database of accident information is updated shortly after the first of each month.

Q. Why does it take a long time for a recent accident's report or information to appear?

A. Accident reports are based on the NTSB's ruling of probable cause. According to the NTSB: "Probable cause is the factor—or factors—that, based on all available evidence, the [NTSB] Board concludes most likely resulted in the accident. It generally takes around a year to produce a final report, which includes a probable cause and contributing factors." Source: https://safetycompass.wordpress.com/2017/08/14/inside-the-ntsbs-general-aviation-investigative-process/

Q. Can you provide a sample of an accident chain report?

A. NTSB reports can be lengthy, because they need to relate a lot of details. Flight Chain App's visual representation helps you easily deciper the chain of events with a quick glance.

Consider this screenshot from Flight Chain App for a chain of events that lead to spatial disorientation, as ruled by the NTSB. The text quoted below is actual narrative from the NTSB report.


Link #1 - Alternator inoperative: "During an IFR flight at night, the pilot reported to the Air Route Traffic Control Center controller that he lost the alternator and had switched to his standby generator."

Link #2 - Instrument lights inoperative: "He then requested a lower altitude because he was in the clouds and had lost his cockpit lighting... He then reported the loss of his compass and was looking for a clear area... As the controller was attempting to provide no-gyro vectors to the nearest airport the pilot reported various problems with his flight instruments, including the altimeter, and stated that he did not know whether he could fly straight and level."

Link #3 - Vacuum system inoperative: "He reported that his altimeter was working again but that he was still in instrument meteorological conditions and had now lost his vacuum pump... He then told the controller that he did not know where he was and that his bank indicator, DG, and HSI were providing conflicting information."

Link #4 - Aircraft control not maintained: "The pilot subsequently could not maintain headings provided by the controller or consistent altitude profiles over the next several minutes... His last transmission said he was in a descent and was trying to pull up."

Link #5 - Spatial disorientation: "Radar data showed a series of 360-degree left turns followed by turns to the right. The last turn to the left was computed at a +5.487 g load factor with an 80-degree angle of bank. The first turn to the right was +4.213 g's with a bank angle of 76 degrees."

Link #6 - Inadequate recurrent training: "The pilot attended recurrent Cessna 210 flight and simulator training the day before the accident and failed to meet course standards for IFR proficiency. He routinely lost control of the aircraft while in training and declined further IFR training."

Link #7 - Airframe overload: "The vertical stabilizer, the horizontal stabilizers, and the outboard section of the right wing separated in flight."

NTSB probable cause: "The pilot's failure to maintain aircraft control due to spatial disorientation and his lack of proficiency in conducting instrument flight. Contributing were the inoperative alternator, cockpit lighting, and vacuum system."


Accounts

Q. What is a Flight Chain App account used for?

A. A Flight Chain App account lets you bookmark accidents you find helpful so you can easily refer to them again in the future. Your Flight Chain App bookmarks are saved to the cloud, so if you need to reinstall your Flight Chain App to a new or different device, simply sign in to your Flight Chain App account and your bookmarks will be restored. A Flight Chain App account also allows you to track your score when you complete any Flight Chain App Safety Quiz (such as questions based on actual NTSB reports) to see where you rank.

Subscriptions

Q. Is an in-app subscription purchase required to use Flight Chain App?

A. Beginning with the version 1.14 app update that was released on August 31, 2020, we discontinued the optional in-app purchase subscription plans (formerly known as 'Plus' and 'Expert'). User feedback told us that subscriptions were not well received and they limited the usefulness of the app for the majority of users. As a result, they were a hindrance to our goal of providing more safety information to more pilots. Starting with this version 1.14 app update, all features that were associated with the former 'Plus' and 'Expert' plans are now available to all users who have downloaded the app. For users who did purchase an optional subscription plan, your subscription should automatically cancel at the end of its upcoming billing cycle, you should not be billed again by Apple's payment system, and with this version 1.14 app update you will still have access to all features of the app after it cancels.

Miscellaneous

Q. Is Flight Chain App produced by the NTSB?

A. Flight Chain App is neither owned nor produced by the NTSB. Flight Chain App is created and maintained by Five Tango Victor Aviation, LLC.

Q. I have a question or problem. How do I contact Support?

* Known Issues

Visit this link for a list of known issues in the current version of Flight Chain App.

* Change Log