NTSB Report: Fewer Fatal GA Accidents in 2020

Less flying brought fewer fatalities in 2020, according to the National Transportation Safety Board’s annual study of U.S. civil aviation.

The NTSB says there were fewer general aviation airplanes in the air in 2020 than in 2019. Credit: Isabel Goyer

Less flying, fewer fatalities. That’s the message behind the National Transportation Safety Board’s (NTSB) annual study of U.S. civil aviation. 

The NTSB investigates aviation accidents in effort to identify issues or trends that can be used to make air travel safer. In its reports, it looks at:

  • General aviation
  • Part 135 on-demand charter operations
  • Part 121 commercial air carriers

According to the latest report released Thursday, there were 332 fatalities in general aviation operations in 2020. That number is down from 414 in 2019. The report attributes the decline to what it calls a “broad reduction in flight activity.”

Charter operations, which include air taxis, tours and medical services also saw a decrease in fatalities as the number fell from 32 deaths in 2019 to 21 in 2020.

There were no fatalities at the air carrier level in 2020.

The NTSB recognizes that the report does not include information for accidents still under investigation, as it can take more than a year for the agency to determine probable cause in some cases.

Meg Godlewski has been an aviation journalist for more than 24 years and a CFI for more than 20 years. If she is not flying or teaching aviation, she is writing about it. Meg is a founding member of the Pilot Proficiency Center at EAA AirVenture and excels at the application of simulation technology to flatten the learning curve. Follow Meg on Twitter @2Lewski.

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