Bureau credits better awareness and education for decline in fatal accidents

The overall accident rate for Australian aviation has dropped significantly between 1993 and 2002, driven largely by improvements in general aviation safety. The overall fatality rate, which remains low, has fallen by an average annual rate of 8% over the period, primarily due to a drop in GA fatalities, says the Australian Transport Safety Bureau (ATSB).

The bureau says that accident, fatal accident and fatality rates for GA all show strong declines over the period. The GA accident rate was 47.6% lower in 2002 than in 1993, the fatal accident rate was 54% lower and the fatality rate was 49.4% down, says the ATSB. The decline has been attributed to improved safety awareness and education in the GA community.

In 1993 in total there were 10.57 accidents per 100,000h flown and a fatality rate of 2.13 per 100,000h. By 2002, this had dropped to 5.28 accidents and a 0.88 fatality rate. The accident rate has declined at an average annual rate of 6.7%, says the ATSB.

There were 433 fatalities recorded in the GA sector during the period, accounting for 96% of all fatalities. Agricultural operations and the private/business sector have consistently had the highest accident rates, says the ATSB.

During the period, hours flown in the GA sector remained relatively flat, with 1% fewer hours flown in 2002 than 1993. While charter operations and aerial work increased, the agriculture and private/business sectors both reported a drop in hours flown.

Regular public transport hours flown increased by 18% to 927,800h, due to a 30% rise in high-capacity operations.

Source: Flight International