National Transportation Safety Board
Office of Public Affairs
Washington, D.C. -- The National Transportation Safety Board today adopted a safety study that examines the risk factors associated with General Aviation (GA) flights into conditions of bad weather and poor visibility. "Weather- related accidents are a leading cause of aviation fatalities and the Safety Board has long been concerned with the disproportionate number of fatal accidents associated with weather," said Acting Chairman Mark V. Rosenker.
Even though weather-related accidents are not frequent, they account for a large number of aviation fatalities--only 6% of GA accidents are weather-related but they account for more than one in four fatalities that occur in GA annually.
For the study, NTSB investigators collected data from 72 GA accidents that occurred between August 2003 and April 2004. Information about these accidents was compared to a matching group of 135 non-accident flights operating under the same conditions.
The study results suggest that a pilot's performance history, including previous aviation accidents or incidents, and FAA knowledge or practical test failures are associated with an increased risk of being involved in weather-related GA accidents.
The study also found that pilots who obtain their first pilot certificates earlier in life, or those who obtain higher levels of certifications or instrument ratings, are at reduced risk compared to other pilots.
As a result of the study, the Safety Board called on the Federal Aviation Administration to ensure that pilots have a minimum level of proficiency to recognize and respond to weather hazards. The Board also asked the FAA to identify and provide additional support for pilots whose performance indicates increased risk, and to improve its pre-flight weather services.
The texts of all the recommendations and a synopsis of the report can be found on the NTSB web site at www.ntsb.gov. The complete report will be released at a later date.
NTSB Office of Public Affairs: (202) 314-6100
The National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) is an independent federal agency charged with determining the probable cause
of transportation accidents, promoting transportation safety, and assisting victims of transportation accidents and their families.