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Joseph T. Nall Report Offers First Comprehensive Look At 2005 GA Accidents

...Guides AOPA Air Safety Foundation Outreach Efforts

The 2006 Joseph T. Nall Report, just published by the Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association (AOPA) Air Safety Foundation, offers the first detailed analysis of general aviation (GA) accidents from 2005. The study helps safety advocates target areas of concern.

“The Nall Report helps us identify problems and trends, and develop educational programs to address those issues,” said Bruce Landsberg (pictured below), executive director of the Air Safety Foundation. “Based on the findings this year, in 2007 we will focus on trouble areas such as maneuvering flight and weather.”
 
The annual Nall Report is the first comprehensive look at the previous year’s accident numbers, compiled from statistics released by the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) and Federal Aviation Administration (FAA).

The total accident rate for 2005 is up (7.2 accidents per 100,000 flight hours in 2005 compared to 6.5 in 2004), and the fatal accident rate is slightly up (1.4 vs. 1.3). Fatal weather accidents declined relative to 2004. The majority of GA accidents in 2005 – nearly 75 percent – were pilot-related, as they have always been.
 
“While the sky certainly isn’t falling, the record that we chalked up in 2005 could stand some improvement,” said Landsberg.

In 2004, there was a spike in the number of thunderstorm-related accidents. As a result, the Air Safety Foundation produced its popular Weather Wise: Thunderstorms and ATC Web-based seminar. In 2007, the Air Safety Foundation will continue its Weather Wise online series.

“Although the total number of weather-related accidents was down in 2005, the numbers remain too high,” said Landsberg.

Takeoff and landing accidents, while usually not fatal, continue to show up in the Nall Report in high numbers. In 2002, the Air Safety Foundation focused on that area by producing a live seminar, Ups and Downs of Takeoffs and Landings, as well as a DVD based on the seminar.

A significant finding of the 2006 Nall Report was the increase in fatal maneuvering accidents; in 2005 there were 80 such accidents versus 52 in 2004. Because maneuvering flight is consistently one of the leading causes of fatal accidents, the Air Safety Foundation created a seminar several years ago to educate the pilot population about the risks associated with maneuvering flight. An online version of the seminar will be added to the Air Safety Foundation’s Web site in 2007.

Since many of these accidents involved poor pilot decision-making, not lack of skill, the Air Safety Foundation will continue sending a free DVD about decision-making to all newly-rated private and instrument pilots in 2007. This marks the 8th year that the Air Safety Foundation has distributed free courses to new pilots. The total outreach now exceeds 260,000 pilots.

The most valuable aspect of the Nall Report is the opportunity to learn from the mistakes of others. A new product from the Air Safety Foundation in 2007 will allow pilots to do just that. Accident case studies will be offered online to allow pilots to dissect the events of individual accidents and explore what should have been done differently.

Pilot education is helping to reduce the number of GA accidents. According to FAA Administrator Marion Blakey, 2006 may have the best numbers yet. She told attendees at AOPA Expo in November that this year is on track to be the safest year since record-keeping began in 1939. She also presented AOPA Air Safety Foundation with the first ever Thomas H. Wardleigh award for continuing leadership and advocacy to improve aviation safety.

FMI: www.asf.org

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