NTSB Reports Slight Increase In GA Accidents In 2003...

  • E-Mail this Article
  • View Printable Article
  • Text size:

    • A
    • A
    • A

Although Overall Rate Remains Low...

The number of fatalities in general aviation accidents rose slightly last year -- from 581 in 2002 to 626 in 2003, the NTSB reported Monday. However, the overall accident rate increased only slightly, from 6.69 per 100,000 hours of flight time to 6.71. That overall rate has generally been decreasing since 1984, when it was 10.84 per 100,000 hours. After a steady decline to a low of 6.5 in 1999, the rate has gone up and down slightly in the last few years. The fatal-accident rate has remained fairly steady since 1984, fluctuating between 1.16 and 1.84 per 100,000 hours. In 2003, 695 fatalities were reported for all of civil aviation, so GA accidents accounted for 90 percent. There were 351 fatal general aviation accidents in 2003 (accounting for 626 deaths), up from 345 the year before. Total general aviation accidents increased from 1,713 in 2002 to 1,732 last year. The total number of U.S. civil aviation accidents rose from 1,820 in 2002 to 1,864 in 2003.

Three fatal accidents last year involved scheduled passenger service: a Beech 1900 operated by Air Midwest crashed on takeoff out of Charlotte, N.C., and a Northwest Airlines DC-9 aircraft fatally injured a tug operator in Norfolk, Va. These two accidents, operating under Part 121, resulted in 22 fatalities. A third accident, involving a Part 135 flight in the Bahamas, resulted in two fatalities. Air taxis reported 77 accidents in 2003, which shows an increase from 59 in 2002. The total fatalities also increased from 35 to 45. The accident rate rose from 2.03 per 100,000 flight hours in 2002 to 2.61 in 2003. The accident rate for this segment of aviation has been questioned by the NTSB due to a lack of precision in the flight activity estimates provided by the FAA. The FAA made major revisions to flight estimates in 2002, retroactive to 1992. In 2003, the FAA revised the flight hour estimates for 1999 to the present. The NTSB said the figures released this week are preliminary.