Preliminary statistics released by the National Transportation Safety Board last week showed a decline of more than 71 percent in general aviation midair collisions for the first four months of this year. Only two midair collisions were reported, versus seven for the same time period last year. Total GA accidents declined by more than five percent, from 486 to 460.
"These statistics are encouraging," declared ASF Executive Director Bruce Landsberg, "especially in view of ASF's work this year on pilot education in avoiding midair collisions. But we must remember these are only preliminary NTSB statistics, and that in the case of midair collision statistics, we're dealing with rather small total numbers."
ASF introduced its innovative "Collision Avoidance" seminar at AOPA Expo 2000 in October, and since then has presented the program to more than 7,500 pilots in over 60 cities. A separate ASF Safety Advisor on the subject was issued in February of this year, and the seminar is expected to reach thousands more pilots in rural areas throughout the remainder of the year as an ASF "Seminar-in-a-Box."
The preliminary NTSB statistics also showed a dramatic decline in accidents involving agricultural applicators (crop dusters), down from 30 in 2000 to just seven in 2001, a decline of more than 76 percent. And while the number of GA fatal accidents decreased from 90 to 87 (3.3 percent), the number of people killed in those accidents increased by one (0.6 percent).
The AOPA Air Safety Foundation was founded in 1950 and provides GA safety research and education. It is supported largely by donations from pilots and companies interested in promoting GA safety. Since 1950, the GA accident rate has declined by more than 87 percent.