Report: Maneuvers And Midairs Biggest Threats To Student Pilots

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A new report by AOPA's Air Safety Foundation (ASF) about flight-training safety shows that instructional flight is safer than most other types of GA flying, AOPA said on Monday. But the study also revealed the two types of instructional accidents with the highest fatality rates: low-level maneuvering flight and midair collisions. "In the one case, instructors are inadvertently allowing a simulated emergency to degenerate into a real one," said ASF Executive Director Bruce Landsberg. "In the other, what should be an asset -- a second set of eyes in the cockpit -- isn't paying dividends." The study analyzed data from 2,295 instructional accidents from 1992 to 2001, both dual and solo. Of those, 201 accidents (9 percent) were fatal. One-third of fatal accidents during dual instruction occurred during low-level maneuvering, a third of those while practicing emergency procedures, AOPA said. Midairs accounted for about one-sixth of all instructional accidents. The ASF analysis showed that the rate of instructional accidents continues to decline along with the overall accident rate, and also that fatal accidents are a very small percentage of the overall number of GA accidents. The study also includes recommendations for instructors and students to help avoid common hazards. The full ASF instructional safety study is available online on the ASF General Aviation Safety Database, listed under "Topic Studies."