2016 General Aviation Accidents Summary AOPA Air Safety Institute.
The 2016 Nall Report, recently released by AOPA’s Air Safety Institute, provides a broad view of general aviation safety and accident trends. This yearly report gives insight as to what causes aviation accidents with statistics sourced from accident investigations. AOPA’s goal is to enhance training, proficiency, equipment, and the overall general aviation culture of safety. You can check out the full report here.
The Nall Report shows that while the number of total accidents increased from 2015 to 2016, the number of fatal accidents declined by 11 percent, down from 221 in 2015 to 195 in 2016. 2016 had the highest number of aviation accidents since 2012, continuing a 4-year increase. However, despite the number of total accidents increasing, flying has become safer as fewer accidents are fatal. The number of fatal accidents is the lowest it has been in over a decade and has continued a downward trend over the years. ForeFlight looks to decrease these numbers even further with safety-enhancing features that can help you make better decisions while flying and flight planning.
Takeoff and landing operations accounted for 455 accidents and 30 fatal accidents in 2016. 334 of the 455 accidents were landing related, and 24 of the 30 fatal accidents were takeoff related. Pilots can help prevent accidents during takeoff and landing operations by calculating their takeoff and landing distances, climb performance, and other critical performance parameters. ForeFlight’s Takeoff & Landing Performance feature takes weather, runway slope and surface, and aircraft configuration into consideration to calculate metrics like total distance, 50ft speed, ground roll, and more. Manually change a runway’s usable distance or weather factors to calculate the most accurate takeoff and landing performance metrics or add a safety distance factor to decrease the risk of accidents further.
Additionally, 31 of 63 fuel management accidents and 57% of fatal fuel management accidents were related to flight planning. ForeFlight has a Fuel Management section in the Flights view where you can enter fuel values like starting fuel and alternate fuel and choose a fuel policy. Properly calculating fuel burn with your aircraft performance profile can enhance your overall safety before you even get off the ground.
Among non-commercial fixed-wing flights in 2016, 18 descent and approach accidents were caused by collisions, and 8 of those accidents were fatal. Regular flight operations such as traffic patterns and cruise and descent made up the majority of those collisions. Pilots should always have a reliable way to view other aircraft positions while flying to avoid possible collisions. When connected to an ADS-B device like Sentry, ForeFlight provides a traffic layer that shows other aircraft in the vicinity along with their distance and altitude in relation to you. ForeFlight also shows traffic in Synthetic Vision to enhance your awareness of other aircraft near you.
Additionally, 11 maneuvering accidents and 5 fatal maneuvering accidents were caused by wires, structures, or terrain, including mountains and canyons. ForeFlight provides map layers such as Hazard Advisor that highlights dangerous terrain red or yellow on the map, and an Obstacles layer that displays obstacles with lighting and altitude information. ForeFlight also has automatic terrain, traffic, and obstacle hazard alerts that display app-wide when they become a threat. Synthetic Vision also shows traffic (when connected to an ADS-B device) and obstacles in 3D with the ability to enter glance mode to see in 360°. ForeFlight’s Hazard Avoidance features use Jeppesen’s global high-resolution terrain and obstacle data to provide you with better situational awareness and safety.
In 2016, there were 23 non-commercial fixed-wing weather accidents and 12 fatal weather accidents. Both accidents and fatal accidents are down significantly from the previous year, and they are both the lowest they have been in over a decade. 13 of those weather accidents and 7 fatal weather accidents were caused by flying VFR into IMC conditions. 8 weather accidents and 3 fatal weather accidents were caused by turbulence, thunderstorms, or icing. Additionally, there were 10 weather accidents and 6 fatal weather accidents for the commercial fixed-wing and non-commercial helicopter segments. ForeFlight provides interactive weather layers with time and altitude sliders, weather imagery, and ADS-B connected weather for inflight navigation. Easily switch between weather layers like flight category, winds aloft, sky coverage, visibility, and more to plan for any weather scenario.
ForeFlight is working to make flying safer with regular releases that provide new features and make old features even better. Individual pilots and professional flight crews all over the world depend on ForeFlight’s integrated flight app to make flying safer, easier, and more efficient.