Study Looks at Weather-related GA Accidents

 - April 5, 2007, 11:18 AM

Even though weather-related accidents are not frequent, they account for a large number of aviation fatalities. According to the NTSB, only 6 percent of general aviation accidents are weather-related but they account for more than 25 percent of all GA fatalities annually. NTSB investigators collected data from 72 GA accidents that occurred between August 2003 and April 2004. Information about these accidents was compared with a matching group of 135 nonaccident flights operating under the same conditions. The study results, as might be expected, “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 NTSB said. “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 FAA “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 preflight weather services.” A synopsis of the findings and the recommendations can be found at www.ntsb.gov/publictn/2005/SS0501.htm.