Thursday, September 22, 2016

General aviation crashes, fatalities down last year, National Transportation Safety Board reports

Accidents and fatalities in general aviation declined in 2015, according to new statistics released by the National Transportation Safety Board.

There were 1,209 general aviation accidents last year and 376 fatalities, compared with 1,223 accidents and 424 fatalities in 2014. Both numbers are the lowest in 20 years.

Still, the NTSB put improving general aviation safety on its “Most Wanted” list earlier this year.

“While lower, these numbers are still too high,” NTSB Chairman Christopher Hart said in a statement.

Overall, the numbers are vastly improved from 1996, when the board recorded 1,908 general aviation accidents and 636 fatalities.

The rate of accidents per 100,000 flight hours also declined, from 6.23 to 5.85. In 1996, the rate was 7.65.

Commercial U.S. airlines recorded no fatalities in 2014 or 2015, the NTSB noted.

Between 2008 and 2014, 47 percent of fixed-wing general aviation accidents involved pilots losing control of their aircraft, and more than 1,200 people died in such crashes.

Last October, the NTSB held a forum in Washington focused on common causes of loss-of-control crashes in general aviation, including pilot inattention, distraction or complacency.

Among other things, advised pilots to install cockpit technology that could help them avoid such crashes.

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