The NTSB has upgraded its search query tool for reports and recommendations. The new CAROL system (Case Analysis and Reporting OnLine) is a sweet “nod” to former NTSB analyst Carol Floyd, who retired in 2017. The link to the new database search tool with keyword search option is here: https://data.ntsb.gov/carol-main-public/keyword-search
We recommend using the “basic search” features to find monthly reports. Search for “Investigations” and it will allow you to enter the dates you would like to search (after 2010); For prior reports, the NTSB website is still required. The reports can also be searched by location and other keywords.
Where docket information is available, the NTSB has provided a link; If a Preliminary Report or Factual Report is available, there is a PDF icon to click on. The + icon on the right also allows a quick view of additional information about the item, such as the type of aircraft involved.
The guide to using the query search tools is here: https://www.ntsb.gov/Documents/CAROL-Guide.pdf It appears to be a more robust option for our search of the reports, including searching for keywords in the narratives and recommendations, which may prove quite useful in aviation accident cases.
Frequently Asked Questions
Are NTSB reports public record?
Yes, the reports are filed and can be searched by the public.
What is Carol query?
CAROL is the “Case Analysis and Reporting Online” search engine for NTSB reports.
Where can I read NTSB reports?
How do I find plane damage history?
Generally, one can obtain accident and incident history from private companies for a fee. AOPA provides a resource for its members through Aero-Space Reports. AIC and other title companies also offer accident and incident history searches for a fee. The information comes from both the NTSB CAROL database and the FAA Aviation Safety Information Analysis and Sharing database. However, one can also search on NTSB CAROL for the aircraft tail number/registration number and investigate accident and incident history. These reports do not include the reports of repairs or what damage occurred to the aircraft specifically – for that, one needs to investigate the aircraft’s logbooks.
How long does an NTSB report take?
NTSB reports take considerable time to go from “preliminary” to “final” reporting. While the investigation may occur close to the time of the accident/incident, some times it can take 2 years to finalize the reporting or longer when the docket is released to the public.