Dual instruction safe, but ASF study spotlights two areas of concern

November 11, 2009

Dual instruction safe, but ASF study spotlights two areas of concern

Jan. 26, 2004 - A just-published Air Safety Foundation study on flight training safety has confirmed that instructional flight is actually safer than most other types of GA flying, especially personal aviation. But the study also pinpointed two areas of flight training with higher fatality rates than others: low-level maneuvering flight and failure to see and avoid, leading to midair collisions.

The special ASF analysis showed that the rate of instructional accidents continues to decline along with the overall accident rate, and also that fatal accidents are a very small percentage of the overall number of GA accidents.

But low-level maneuvering during training carries additional risk, the study confirmed. One of every three fatal accidents during dual instruction occurs during low-level maneuvering, a third of those while practicing emergency procedures.

Another 16 percent of all instructional accidents were midair collisions.

"In the one case, instructors are inadvertently allowing a simulated emergency to degenerate into a real one," said ASF Executive Director Bruce Landsberg. "In the other, what should be an asset - a second set of eyes in the cockpit - isn't paying dividends."

The full ASF instructional safety study is available online on the ASF General Aviation Safety Database, listed under "Topic Studies." A previous ASF special study on stalls and spins is also available in the same section.