Get the latest news on coronavirus impacts on general aviation, including what AOPA is doing to protect GA, event cancellations, advice for pilots to protect themselves, and more. Read More
Already a member? Please login below for an enhanced experience. Not a member? Join today

First Look: Accident rate decliningFirst Look: Accident rate declining

'Joseph T. Nall Report' released

The general aviation fatal accident rate for 2016 continued the previous year’s decline even as total hours flown marked three years of steady growth, according to the twenty-eighth Joseph T. Nall Report released in October by the AOPA Air Safety Institute.
Pilot Briefing December 2019

The 1,214 total accidents for the year rose from the previous annual figure of 1,173, while flight hours grew to 24.64 million from the previous year’s estimate of 23.98 million hours flown.

Significantly, the 195 fatal accidents in 2016 were down from 221 in 2015, an 11.7-percent decrease. Preliminary figures for 2017 suggest another annual decline.

Once again, the fatal-accident reduction for GA appeared to lend support to the effectiveness of numerous industry initiatives whose goal is to reduce those mishaps. As measured by the decline in fatal crashes, the results suggest that 2016 was one of the safest years for general aviation on record, said AOPA Air Safety Institute Executive Director Richard McSpadden.

“These numbers continue to demonstrate historic performance in aviation safety,” McSpadden said.

The Nall Report analyzes data from the most recent year for which probable causes have been determined for at least 80 percent of accidents. It covers airplanes with maximum-rated gross takeoff weights of 12,500 pounds or less and helicopters of all sizes, accounting for 99 percent of GA flight activity.

Flight time of the GA fleet is estimated using the FAA’s annual General Aviation and Part 135 Activity Survey, which breaks down aircraft activity by category and class, and purpose of flight, among other characteristics. Excluded from the analysis are gliders, weight-shift control aircraft, powered parachutes, gyrocopters, and lighter-than-air crafts of all types.


Email [email protected]

Dan Namowitz

Dan Namowitz

Associate Editor Web
Associate Editor Web Dan Namowitz has been writing for AOPA in a variety of capacities since 1991. He has been a flight instructor since 1990 and is a 30-year AOPA member.

Related Articles