Nall Safety Report Drives Improvement Effort

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The AOPA Air Safety Institute released its annual Joseph T. Nall Report (PDF) on Wednesday, detailing the accident rate for GA aircraft, providing an analysis and outlining plans to seek improvements. Richard McSpadden, executive director of the ASI, said the new report, which analyzes data from 2014, shows a decline in the overall number of accidents for non-commercial fixed-wing aircraft, even as flight activity increased. There were 952 accidents in 2014, nine fewer than the year before. The resulting accident rate of 5.78 per 100,000 hours was essentially unchanged from the previous year’s record low. “Across the general aviation community, we can take pride that our collaborative efforts appear to be having a positive, sustained impact,” McSpadden said. However, further analysis of the data shows that the fatal accident rate was up 11 percent from the year before, though the number of deaths declined by 3 percent. About 75 percent of accidents are caused by pilot error. The ASI will use its analysis to continue its work to bring the accident rate down.

To reduce the accident rate, McSpadden said, the ASI wants to drive more pilots to consume safety information. “Roughly about half the active pilot population actively reviews safety information,” he said at an online news conference on Wednesday. “We want to find the unreachables, and to do that, we’re launching a ‘find one, bring one’ campaign.” He’s asking pilots who come to a safety seminar to go find a pilot who doesn’t go to seminars, and bring them along. He also said the ASI will promote greater participation in type clubs. “I believe that type clubs do everything good for a pilot in terms of flight safety,” McSpadden said. “You’ll find a lot of coaches and mentors there.” He said he also wants to focus on the four areas that the Nall Report found are most likely to cause accidents — takeoff and climb out, landing, fuel management, and low-altitude maneuvering. “We think we can make some improvement there by getting people to join the type clubs, and to be more safety-conscious and consume safety materials,” he said. The ASI also published a “GA scorecard” (PDF) which summarizes the data from the report.

Comments (2)

We should get beyond the misleading "pilot error" designation. There are always human factors, environmental factors, and aircraft factors in any crash. To tag the incident as pilot error leads to poor understanding and lack of commitment to improving safety. And while I am on my soap box, let's stop using the term "accident." Crashes are not accidents. They are predictable interactions of known factors. Let's get ignorance and complacency out of aviation.

Posted by: J Steward | August 25, 2017 7:41 PM    Report this comment

I'll second that, J. Steward.

And lets not forget the law of diminishing returns on investment, either. At some point, you've gotten the most out of your efforts to promote safety. After that ... you know what happens. The bean counting accident -- excuse me, 'interaction' -- statisticians have a job to do ... make themselves look good and make others think they're doing something. Give us all a break. Every time I turn around, I read something about safety this or safety that. You can lead a horse to water but you can't make it drink ... remember? Teach safety, promote safety ... but lets not get carried away by it.

Posted by: Larry Stencel | August 28, 2017 3:28 AM    Report this comment

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