...But Numbers Are Only Half The Story

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The NTSB numbers need to be interpreted with a grain of salt, says Bruce Landsberg, executive director of AOPA's Air Safety Foundation. "Although the NTSB reports rates to two decimal places, that implies a far greater level of accuracy than the system can possibly measure. The slight change [in the overall GA accident rate] may be due more to the FAA's downward revision in the estimated number of flight hours last year than to any real decrease in safety." To put the increase into perspective, AOPA says, there were six more fatal GA accidents in 2003 than in 2002. "The fact remains that the GA accident rate is 60 percent lower than it was in 1970," said Landsberg. "The numbers also should serve as a reminder that good decision making and maintaining adequate piloting skills is the best strategy for safe flights."