GA Safety Trend Continues
AOPA's annual Nall Report (PDF) says 2006 was the safest year ever for general aviation operations. According to the report, there were 6.32 accidents for every 100,000 hours flown in 2006 compared to 7.19 in 1997. The report bases its analysis on trends, rather than year-to-year statistics. There's been an increase in the number of weather-related accidents, possibly due to the availability of advanced, high-performance aircraft. Other categories of accidents are generally declining but one thing remains constant. "No matter what accident statistics you look at, pilot decision making continues to be the leading cause of all accidents," Bruce Landsberg, head of AOPA's Air Safety Foundation, said in a release. While pilots are flying more safely, they're also flying less often than five or 10 years ago.
The report shows that there was a slight increase in the number of hours flown in 2006 compared to 2005 but the amount of time we spend in the air has decreased by 5.9 percent since 2002. The foundation encourages pilots to take advantage of the free resources it provides to improve flight safety.