October 13, 2022

AOPA Nall Report shows GA accidents down in US

Jon Robinson

The Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association Air Safety Institute (ASI) released its 32nd edition of the Joseph T. Nall Report, which covers calendar year 2020. The report’s digital platform provides near real-time accident data, explains ASI, that are updated on a rolling 30-day cycle, accelerating the analysis process, and allowing for the most current snapshot of general aviation safety performance.

The report notes a decrease in total accidents in the U.S. from 1,167 in 2019 to 1,051 in 2020. The 10-year average is 1,223 accidents each year. Overall accident rates decreased from 4.87 per 100,000 flight hours to 4.69 and the fatal accident rate decreased from 0.89 to 0.83 from 2019 to 2020, respectively.

In addition, non-commercial fixed-wing accidents decreased slightly with the fatal accident rate declining to 0.92 and the total accident rate decreasing to 5.27. Helicopter accidents – both commercial and non-commercial – saw relatively flat fatal accident rates from 2019 to 2020, but overall accident rates decreased.

Weather-related accidents remain highly lethal, according to the ASI report, but overall weather accidents sharply decreased in 2020, and maneuvering accidents saw a substantial decrease in fatal accidents reaching a 10-year low.

“An area where we see some discouragement is the commercial fixed-wing total accident rate, which rose following two years of decline,” said Robert Geske, AOPA Air Safety Institute manager of aviation safety analysis. “We are also disappointed to see the number of fatal fuel-related accidents, which has remained steady at an average of eight per year for several years.

“Furthermore, landing accidents continue to remain the leading type of accidents, but thankfully they account for the lowest number of fatal accidents,” Geske concluded. Descent and approach accidents rose in both overall and fatal accidents, with stall/spin accidents accounting for the largest number of fatal accidents.

(Image: Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association Air Safety Institute)