ASF safety review finds Cessna Skylane safe, popular

October 3, 2008

ASF safety review finds Cessna Skylane safe, popular

The latest AOPA Air Safety Foundation Safety Highlights, now available, analyzes the safety record of the Cessna 182 Skylane in relation to a comparison group of six similar aircraft. The 20-page report finds the aircraft type both safe and popular.

Cessna 182 Skylane Safety Highlights is being distributed free to all registered Cessna 182 owners early this year and will be available to others on request. It is the third of four ASF safety reviews underwritten by United States Aircraft Insurance Group (USAIG) and compares 1,314 Skylane accidents from 1983 to 1999 with 3,022 accidents in similar aircraft types.

Comparison aircraft included the Cessna 177 Cardinal, Cessna 205, Cessna 206, Cessna 207, Gulfstream American AA-5, and Piper PA-28 Cherokee.

Not surprisingly, ASF's analysis found that the majority of serious accidents for all the aircraft types studied involved improper weather decision making on the part of the pilot. Overall, pilot error was listed as a major cause in some 80 percent of accidents.

Only about 10 percent of Skylane accidents were blamed on mechanical problems, but about half of those involved either the engine or the propeller. The other 10 percent of accidents were attributed to other causes.

The accident record of Cessna's medium-size single in instrument weather conditions was better than the comparison aircraft group, with only 6.3 Skylane accidents per 100,000 hours flown in instrument meteorological conditions (IMC) while the comparison group suffered a rate of 7.7 accidents per 100,000 similar hours.

Interestingly, the majority of IMC accidents for both groups occurred without the benefit of an IFR flight plan. Of the IMC accidents studied, only 30 percent of pilots in Skylanes and 23 percent of pilots in comparison aircraft were on an IFR flight plan at the time of the mishaps.

"Clearly, the accident rate for both the Cessna Skylane and the comparison aircraft are influenced far more by pilot decision making than by any eccentricity of the aircraft itself," said ASF Executive Director Bruce Landsberg. "It demonstrates that ASF's focus on pilot education is on target. These USAIG-sponsored analyses will help pilots learn from the mistakes of others."

The Skylane was selected for the safety analysis because of its popularity. Some 13,000 Skylanes are registered with the FAA, more than any other model of four-place single-engine aircraft except the Cessna 172 Skyhawk. Previous ASF Safety Highlights have analyzed safety records of the Cessna 172 and the Piper Cherokee series.

The Cessna 182 Skylane Safety Highlights may be downloaded from the ASF Web site. Single copies of the booklet are available free by writing to Skylane Safety Advisor, AOPA Air Safety Foundation, 421 Aviation Way, Frederick, Maryland, 27101, or calling 800/USA-AOPA (800/872-2672).

The AOPA Air Safety Foundation is the largest aviation nonprofit education organization in the world dedicated to improving safety for general aviation pilots. ASF reaches over 100,000 pilots per year with research and education outreach.

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February 14, 2001