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General Aviation Fatal Accidents

Public and corporate aircraft provide a wide range of services – such as crop dusting, fire fighting, law enforcement, news coverage, sightseeing, industrial work, on-demand air taxi service, and corporate transportation – and privately owned aircraft provide personal transportation and recreation. General Aviation (GA) is an important element of the U.S. transportation system and the U.S. economy, and the majority of aviation fatalities have occurred in this segment of aviation. Since 1988, there has been a gradual trend downward in the number of general aviation accidents, but progress has not been steady. The U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) is working with the GA community to achieve further improvements in safety.

Working together, FAA and the general aviation industry have formed a Joint Steering Committee to link safety improvement efforts, focusing in particular on five causal factors, the majority of which are common to commercial aviation – controlled flight into terrain, loss of control, runway incursions, weather, aeronautical decision-making, and survivability. The Committee completed accident and incident data analysis in the categories of controlled flight into terrain and weather, settled on an appropriate set of interventions, and devised and initiated detailed implementation plans. Implementation will continue through FY 2005.

FY 2001 Performance Plan Evaluation: Based on 2000 performance and the continuation of ongoing efforts to reduce general aviation fatalities, DOT expects to meet the 2001 performance goal.

Strategies and Initiatives to Achieve 2002 Target: DOT resources attributable to this performance goal are depicted below:

General aviation is one of the four primary focus areas of the Safer Skies Initiative. The primary strategy for improving GA safety is a collaborative working relationship between the FAA and the GA community to identify problems and implement solutions. Intervention strategies to be completed in 2002 for General Aviation controlled flight into terrain will continue to focus on:

    * publishing simplified certification and installation guidance for manufacturers and avionics installers;

    * revising the Advisory Circular governing biennial flight reviews to enhance the awareness of general aviation pilots of controlled flight into terrain; and

    * establishing a General Aviation Safety Council to coordinate training and educational programs for general aviation.

For accidents mainly caused by weather, intervention strategies to be completed in 2002 will focus on:

    * providing up-to-date weather to the pilot;

    * developing model Flight Operation Manuals to assist pilots in assessing weather risks and avoiding or coping with weather hazards;

    * encouraging the production and use of operational graphical weather information products that show how and when a flight can be made safely; and

    * upgrading FAA equipment that supports safe flight such as the flight service station automation system, automated weather observation systems, and communications systems that provide weather and altimeter settings to pilots.

Other Federal Programs with Common Outcomes:

NASA, in partnership with DOT, is conducting general research on aviation safety programs. See the Commercial Aviation Fatal Accident Rate goal for a more detailed discussion of FAA’s coordination with NASA on safety research and development.

External Factors:

General aviation (GA) includes all segments of the aviation industry except commercial air carriers and the military. Aircraft range from single-seat home-built aircraft, to rotary wing craft, balloons, and extended-range turbojets. Levels of risk are highly variable within this aviation segment and regulatory oversight varies considerably. Some elements of general aviation operate in hazardous environments, such as agricultural application, external-load operations, fire fighting, and pipeline/power line patrol.

2000 Results:

Based on preliminary data, DOT met its target.

The GA community and the FAA jointly developed the annual performance goal. The goal takes into consideration a projected 1.6% per year increase in activity in this sector. With this increase in activity, the number of GA accidents would also increase if there were no further interventions.



This information came from a
DOT online article.

*** Any law, statute, regulation or other precedent is subject to change at any time ***

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