This report summarizes the numbers of accidents, fatal accidents, and fatalities during the past two years, including tabulations of the categories and classes of aircraft involved, pilot qualifications, purposes of the accident flights, and light and weather conditions. After spiking in 2011, the number of commercial fixed-wing accidents returned to near-record lows, while the number on non-commercial helicopter flights jumped in 2012 but dropped again the following year. The number of commercial helicopter accidents continued a gradual increase -- while after a modest improvement in 2012, the number non-commercial fixed-wing accidents dropped nearly 20 percent to its lowest level in decades. 2013 saw 361 individual fatalities in helicopters and light airplanes, the fewest in more than 50 years.
During 2011, most aspects of general aviation safety remained little changed from 2010. The numbers of accidents on non-commercial fixed-wing, helicopter, and commercial helicopter flights increased by 2, 1, and 3 percent, respectively. The 36 percent increase in commercial fixed-wing accident followed two years of near-record lows, returning almost exactly to the average for the years 2002-2009. The total number of fatalities increased 8 percent to 454 in a total of 258 fatal accidents. Though the number of deaths on non-commercial helicopter flights decreased by more than two-thirds, that improvement was more than offset by increases of 9% in non-commercial fixed-wing, 87% in commercial fixed-wing, and 186% in commercial helicopter (following near-record low fatalities in commercial GA flights in each of the two previous years). Accident rates could not be estimated, as the FAA was unable to complete its annual GA activity survey for 2011, so the interpretation of these increases remains unclear.
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