ASI’s Nall Report Shows Accident Numbers Headed in the Right Direction
Tuesday, 29 August 2017 14:13

JetAirways Boeing737Fully 75 percent of accidents are still pilot induced.

The trends detailed in the 26th Joseph T. Nall review of GA accidents published yesterday showed some numbers that weren’t going to make people jump for joy, while the GA scorecard, a less detailed, supplemental look at more recent data did show numbers headed in the right direction. For instance, the scorecard showed a very positive increase in fixed-wing flight time, up five percent in 2015 versus a decrease in the GA accident rate while the Nall spoke to slightly older data that showed an increase in fatalities.

Both reports are published annually by the AOPA’s Air Safety Institute. The recent Nall report looked at data through 2014 and reflects a two-year lag as the ASI team works to gather at least 80 percent of the NTSB’s final accident reports in a given year. The scorecard is based on 2015 and 2016 information.

The Nall report showed the total number of fixed-wing accidents declined between 2013 and 2014 from 961 to 952, but the number of fatal accidents rose significantly in that two-year period from 167 to 196. The good news is that fatal accidents declined significantly in 2016 to 156, a six percent drop from the 167 recorded in 2013.

The scorecard’s more recent data confirmed 2016 to be the fourth year in a row with fewer than 1,000 recorded non-commercial fixed wing accidents, 991 to be exact, a level not seen since the post-World War II era. By comparison, there were 1,163 accidents recorded in 2012.

Accident rates also showed some positive trends with a decrease in the overall GA accident rate to 5.53 in 2015 (the most recent rate data available) from 5.78 in 2014. The fatal accident rate declined from 1.19 to 1.12 during the same time periods.

Richard McSpadden, the ASI’s new executive director is a former flight leader of the U.S. Air Force Thunderbirds demonstration team. He reflected yesterday on some of the data, delivering the less than positive news that, “75% of mishaps recorded are still pilot related.” McSpadden said he believes in type clubs because, “they do everything good for a pilot and safety. They make you a smarter pilot. Type clubs are also a great place to find coaches and mentors [for a specific aircraft type].”

He said too that roughly half the pilot population consumes safety information on a regular basis, adding that the ASI’s mission is to drive more pilots to consume that information. “Pilots who take the time to consume safety information are better pilots.” The goal is to also figure out how to reach the pilots not reading safety information regularly. “How do we convince them to bring another pilot to a safety meeting for instance?” McSpadden asked. He said ASI also wants to add new emphasis on some troubling areas, takeoff, climb out, fuel management and low-altitude maneuvering.

Additional insights showed breakdowns of the aircraft conditions for 2015. The data showed 719 single-engine accidents, nearly half of which occurred in tailwheel airplanes. Multi-engine aircraft accounted for only about six percent of accidents, a number that reflects the tiny portion of multi-engine flying occurring these days. Nearly 80 percent of the accidents occurred on personal flights with another 11 percent happening during flight training activities. Half the pilots involved in these accidents held only a private pilot certificate, which of course means most of the remaining accidents happened to more experienced aviators with either a commercial or ATP certificate. A tiny six and a half percent of the accidents occurred with a student pilot at the controls. Always of interest is that eighty six percent of the accidents occurred in day VMC weather. The scorecard breakdowns for 2016 reflected nearly the same split.

(flyingmag.com)

Photo credit: flyingmag.com

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