Flight Training Getting Safer


A new report conducted by the Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association Air Safety Institute and Liberty University School of Aeronautics indicates flight training is getting safer with a near 50% decrease in fatal accidents over the last two decades. 

Examining data from 2000-2019, the study showed 287 fatal flight training accidents. Parameters were focused on fatal accidents in the United States in fixed-wing piston singles and light twins with reciprocating engines under 500 horsepower per engine. Foreign accidents, amateur-built, light sport, twin-engine with more than six seats, and single-engine with more than 500 horsepower accidents were excluded. 

Loss of control emerged as the primary cause, accounting for 54% of fatal instructional accidents, predominantly stall/spin related. Midair collisions and controlled flight into terrain followed as the second and third leading causes of fatal crashes.

“The good news is that flight training is getting safer,” said Liberty SOA Director of Safety Professor Andrew Walton. “Sustained efforts by the FAA, NTSB, manufacturers, and the flight training community have resulted in a fatal accident rate that is now roughly half of what it was at the start of the century.”

The report also noted a continual enhancement in the overall fatal flight training accident rate, which has decreased from an average of 0.49 per hundred thousand hours at the beginning of the century to 0.26 in the last five years of the study.

Amelia Walsh
Amelia Walsh is a private pilot who enjoys flying her family’s Columbia 350. She is based in Colorado and loves all things outdoors including skiing, hiking, and camping.


  1. I’m a little confused. Is the article addressing “fatal flight training accident rate” specifically, or, GA accidents in general occurring less often because of fight training?

  2. I’m going to call BS on the claims. After starting my own business selling flight training material I’ve watched a trend since 2010. Things were status quo through about 2016.

    What changed? The codified changes to ATP effective 2014.

    I continually talk about poorly trained instructors. They were failed horribly by a prior, horribly trained instructor. And, it’s only getting worse. I’ve been watching this trend ever since the ATP rule change was effective in 2014.

    This is what happens when a congressional idiots put a focus on mere flight hours instead of higher standards for experience, skills and proficiency.

    The FAA needs to get off its ass and change things. Or, that decline in fatalities will start to increase.