Nall Report on 2008 Operations Is Released

The AOPA Flight Safety Foundation has released its latest Joseph T. Nall Report on general aviation safety (click here to access the report online). This year's report covers 2008 accident data, the most recent available for complete analysis. And new for this year, the report now covers helicopters and for-hire GA operations involving aircraft weighing 12,500 pounds or less. According to ASF president Bruce Landsberg, previous reports covered 90 percent of GA-related accidents, and this year's report, "…adds 90 percent of what was left." The results: accidents involving fixed-wing commercial operations increased 18 percent from 2007 to 2008, despite traffic decreases on the order of 33 percent. Compared with equivalent noncommercial operations, however, the overall accident rate was 28 percent lower and the fatal accident rate was 55 percent lower. Helicopter accidents have seen steady declines in the past several years, with 2008's rate just over half that of 2002. But the fatal accident rate increased to a five-year high in 2008. Amateur-built aircraft remain an increasing concern for the foundation, with the fatal accident rate for 2008 climbing to a 10-year high. And 27 percent of those accidents were involved fatalities — 10 percentage points higher than the rate for factory-built aircraft. Amateur-built aircraft also suffered a significantly higher proportion of accidents due to mechanical failure and unaccountable losses of power, compared with type-certified aircraft. Landsberg said, "The Air Safety Foundation is working with the Experimental Aircraft Association to address amateur-built aircraft safety, with the understanding that experimental aircraft will entail higher risk."