In 2013, the number of non-commercial fixed-wing accidents decreased by an unprecedented 18 percent from the year before, dropping below 1,000 for the first time. FAA flight-time estimates show that this improvement did not result from a further decrease in flight activity: Both overall and fatal accident rates were the lowest in the 25 years that the Air Safety Institute has tracked this measure. The overall number of accidents dropped another 3 percent to an all-time low of 923 in 2014, and 2013-2014 are the only two years in the past half century with fewer than 200 fatal accidents each in light airplanes. Non-commercial helicopter activity, however, dropped 10 percent from 2012 to 2013; because of an unusually high proportion of fatal accidents, this sector suffered its highest fatal-accident rate of the past decade. A record low number of commercial fixed-wing accidents was partially offset by the highest number of commercial helicopter accidents since 2003-2004. The 2013-2014 GA Accident Scorecard provides details on the numbers of accidents and fatalities by sector, further broken out by category and class of aircraft, pilot qualifications, purpose of flight, and light and weather conditions.
Decreases in the numbers of non-commercial accidents in both airplanes and helicopters in 2012 were outweighed by the continuing reduction in estimated flight time, resulting in modestly increased accident rates. Meanwhile, the rates of accidents on commercial flights generally declined. The number of fatal accidents dropped in every sector except non-commercial helicopters, where an increase of eight exactly offset the decrease in non-commercial fixed-wing. All told, a total of 248 fatal accidents caused 378 individual deaths, some 17 percent fewer than the year before. The number of fatalities on commercial flights dropped by 70 percent from 2011. The 24th Nall Report offers a detailed discussion of the number, type, and circumstances of 2012’s general aviation accidents, including the Air Safety Institute’s first-ever analysis of helicopter accident causes.
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