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Weather and General Aviation Accidents: A Statistical Perspective. Jody James National Weather Service, Lubbock, TX Warning Coordination Meteorologist FAA FAAST Team Counselor Private Pilot – Single Engine Land . Statistics in this presentation are courtesy of the 2007 AOPA Nall Report .

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Weather and General Aviation Accidents:A Statistical Perspective

Jody JamesNational Weather Service, Lubbock, TXWarning Coordination MeteorologistFAA FAAST Team Counselor

Private Pilot – Single Engine Land

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Statistics in this presentation are courtesy of the 2007 AOPA Nall Report

from the AOPA Joseph T. Nall Report – annual review of general aviation accidents that occurred during the previous year. The report is based on National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) reports of accidents involving fixed wing GA aircraft weighing 12,500 pounds or less. Report looked at over 2,000 accidents during the 2007 calendar year.

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The general aviation fixed-wing safety record continuedits improvement in 2006, reaching historic lows for bothtotal (1,319, down 8.3 percent from 2005) and fatal accidents(273, down 6.5 percent). The 488 total fatalitiesalso represent a new low, decreasing by 2.0 percent.These reductions are significant because the FAAannounced that estimated flight hours for 2006 rose to24 million, a 3.9 percent increase over 2005.

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For analytical purposes, it’s helpful to divide the causesof GA accidents into three groups:

• Pilot-related – accidents arising from improperactions or inactions of the pilot.• Mechanical/maintenance – accidents arising frommechanical failure of a component or an error inmaintenance.• Other/unknown – accidents such as pilot incapacitationand those for which a specific cause could not bedetermined.

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GA Accident Trend has been improving.Notice the Fatal Trend 1.26 fatal accident per 100,000 hours flown.

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If a pilot flew 10 hours a week, 52 weeks a year, for 30 years, i.e. around 15,000 hours, it would take over 5 lifetimes to be involved in a fatal accident.

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From AOPA Nall Report –

Accident Trends and Factors for 2006

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From AOPA Nall Report –

Accident Trends and Factors for 2006

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From AOPA Nall Report –

Accident Trends and Factors for 2006

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Weather Accidents account for a disproportionate number of GA fatal accidents!“For GA Pilots, there is much to learn since most aircraft and pilot skills are not very weather tolerant”.

From AOPA Publication –

General Aviation Accidents - 10 Year Trend

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Weather Accidents continue to increase!Thus…Understanding Weather, and obtaining good pre-flight and in-flight weather information is critical i.e…Go/No Go DecisionEffective TAFs and Aviation Discussions could play a part in helping to mitigate this problem..

From AOPA Publication –

General Aviation Accidents - 10 Year Trend

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The most dangerous category in terms of weather related accidents is: Continued VFR in IMCBeware of the clouds and thunderstorms!

From AOPA Nall Report –

Accident Trends and Factors for 2006

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Mechanical/maintenanceaccidents are caused by mechanical failures thatadversely affect the function or performance of the aircraft.Though pilots are responsible for assuring airworthiness,when an equipment failure leads to an accident,it is considered a mechanical/ maintenance

From AOPA Nall Report –

Accident Trends and Factors for 2006

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The Leading Categories of Mechanical and Maintenance AccidentsEngine and Prop Accidents Landing Gear/Brakes

From AOPA Nall Report –

Accident Trends and Factors for 2006

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Accident Causes – Weather and Night

Day VMC accidentshad the lowest fatal accident rate of any light/weathercondition, with 16.3 percent resulting in death. DayIMC accidents totaled 39.3 percent. At night, nearly halfof the accidents in VMC conditions were fatal (45.0 percent),compared to nearly three-fourths of night IMCaccidents (74.1 percent).

From AOPA Nall Report –

Accident Trends and Factors for 2006

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This data indicates that as complexity and performance increase, so does the chance of a fatal accident. This is the result of higher speeds and the needfor more advanced piloting skills in the larger aircraft. Analysis of 2006 accidents shows that the safety record for SEF airplanes has improved in all categories compared to the previous year. ME aircraft are typically operated in a wider range of weather conditions than the other two classes, accounting for their relatively high fatality rate. Also, with their higher performance and stall speeds, they are less forgiving of pilot mistakes.

From AOPA Nall Report –

Accident Trends and Factors for 2006

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Analysis of the certificate level held by accident pilots reveals that student and ATP certificate holders are the safest. This is due to the high level of supervision for student pilots, and the level of experience accumulatedby ATP pilots.A disturbing trend thisyear is a noticeable increase in the percentages of total (up 2.7 percent) and fatal (up 5.1 percent) accidents involving commercial pilots, as compared to their proportion of the pilot population.

From AOPA Nall Report –

Accident Trends and Factors for 2006

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This year (2006) the more experienced pilots were less likely to be involved in an accident. The first 500 hours are the most critical, with one-third of the total and one-fourth of the fatal accidents occurring atthat level of experience. In 2007, AOPA found that 34 percent of pilot members had accumulated 500 hours or less of experience.

From AOPA Nall Report –

Accident Trends and Factors for 2006

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Other Accident Factors

Fuel Management 86 Total/11 Fatal

Midair Collisions 6 Total/4 Fatal

Alcohol and Drugs 6 Total/5 Fatal

Pilot Incapacitation 5 Total/3 Fatal

Ground Injuries:Off Airport 6 Total/2 Fatal/11 Injured

Propeller Strike Injuries 4 Total/3 Fatal

From AOPA Nall Report –

Accident Trends and Factors for 2006

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GA Safety Versus Airlines

GA accident rates have always been higher than airline

accident rates. People often ask about the reasons for

this disparity. There are several:

• Variety of missions • Variability of pilot certificate and experience levels –

• Limited cockpit resources and flight support –

• Greater variety of facilities

• More takeoffs and landings

• Less weather-tolerant aircraft

From AOPA Nall Report –

Accident Trends and Factors for 2006

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The AOPA Air Safety Foundation’s annual Joseph T. Nall Report is the nation’s foremostreview and analysis of general aviation (GA) safety for the preceding year. It is designed tohelp members of the media, the public, and the aviation community better understand the factors involved in GA accidents. GA is defined as all flying except for scheduled airline and military flights, and comprises the majority of aviation activity in the United States.Statistics used in this report are based on National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB)investigations of GA accidents that occurred in 2006 involving fixed-wing aircraft with agross weight of 12,500 pounds or less. Such airplanes account for about 90 percent of allGA aircraft. The Joseph T. Nall Report analyzes accident data by cause and category, type of operation, class of aircraft, and other factors.

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Thank You for Attending!Questions?Weather and General Aviation Accidents:A Statistical Perspective

Jody JamesWFO LUBWarning Coordination MeteorologistFAA FAAST Team Counselor

Private Pilot – Single Engine Land