Homebuilt Fatal Accidents Down 28 Percent


The Experimental Aviation Association (EAA) says the number of amateur-built fatal accidents dropped by 28 percent compared to the previous year.

During the FAA’s 12-month period, which concluded Sept. 30, 2023, there were 28 fatal accidents in amateur-built aircraft—down from 39 fatal accidents in the previous year. Additionally, experimental category aircraft saw a nearly 30 percent decrease in fatal events compared to the prior 12-month period.

While the accident rate per flight hour data will not be available until the FAA releases its general aviation survey next year, EAA says the total number of accidents over the past year in experimental aircraft reached a historic low.

“The activity data is necessary to paint the full picture, but the initial indications are very positive indeed,” said Sean Elliott, EAA’s vice president of advocacy and safety. “It shows a continuing trend toward safer operations, even as total hours flown increase. It reminds us that safety is an ongoing journey that always needs the highest attention of our flying community.”

According to the association, “the homebuilt fatal accident total has been cut by nearly half over the past 15 years, from 598 in the period from 1998-2007, to 338 from 2014-2023.”

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.

Other AVwebflash Articles


      • Point is (if you actually read the story) is that the EAA itself has no activity statistics. A drop is meaningless without context. Hence iwe are all left to guess.

        • Right. But because I’m currently building a Kitfox I know fist hand that they can’t get their kits out the door fast enough. They have a roughly 20 month or so wait list. Van’s is a larger company but their weight is something like several months to a year. From past EAA news, the homebuilt completion rate is higher than the production delivery rate of Cessna, Cirrus, et all!

        • Point is (if you actually read the story) that the story clearly makes that point, not once but twice. Yet still you feel compelled to repeat it, in a snarky way, while conveniently skipping over the “even as total homebuilt hours increase” part. In fact anyone who pays attention knows that homebuilding is booming and also sales of used homebuilts with prices going through the roof. So no, it’s not the solid data that we still need to confirm, but still a pretty decent indicator that the myriad efforts to improve homebuilt safety is bearing some fruit. EAA, AOPA, homebuilt manufacturers and individual homebuilders have been working very hard on it and deserve to be optimistic about this result even if it does seem a bit premature.

    • I have a shy hope some of the safer stall designs may be gaining ascendancy. Some out there are stall flick and die.
      BTW, some posts have the text scrunched up as just a few letters on the right hand margin. Why?

    • Statistics can be misleading. EAA is only referring to a 28% reduction of fatal crashes in amateur-built (experimental) category of aircraft in the past year.
      The reduction of fatalities in the amateur built (experimental) category over the last 15 years can also be misleading.
      Here’s why:
      The new Light-sport aircraft category came into effect 17 years ago. LSA’s attracted people who may have otherwise built, bought, and flown an experimental airplanes.
      When you combine the fatalities from the amateur built and the Light Sport category of aircraft, the statistics will again show that these two categories of aircraft rank as the two most lethal of all aircraft categories. And the EAA’s most recent statistics report doesn’t include the abysmal crash records and fatalities from the 1970’s and 80’s when amateur built airplane (kit planes) sales were booming.

  1. This is great news, and is the result of a lot of work by a lot of people to increase safety. The increase in quality of the kits, better information sharing on the internet, EAA flight test cards, and the ability to get training before first flight is having a huge impact. To all of those helping make this happen, please keep up the great work!

  2. Imagine the hue and cry if Air Carrier fatality rates were down 28%? They have ZERO deaths consistently. We need to do better…

  3. I suspect that the modern proliferation of glass panels and affordable autopilot equipment are a significant help in this area. Pilot workload can be significantly decreased in stressful situations, especially for those not fully “up to speed”.