GA Accidents Up, Trend Still Down

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The downward slide in GA accidents and fatalities hit an updraft in 2003 but a spokesman for the AOPA Air Safety foundation says it's not much to worry about. The total number of GA accidents rose 2.5 percent in 2003 over the previous year while flight hours increased .8 percent, according to the annual Nall Report prepared by the foundation. However, in the past 10 years, the accident rate per 100,000 flight hours has declined 25.3 percent. "The general direction is good," said foundation spokesman Bruce Landsberg. "I think we'll continue to make progress as pilots get smarter. But it doesn't come without constant effort and vigilance." Of the accidents recorded in 2003, 20.6 percent were fatal and 75.9 percent were pilot-related. Takeoffs and landings continue to be the most dangerous phases of flight with more than half of all accidents occurring then.