CFIT and loss of control responsible for all pilot-error crashes in approach and landing

Fatal business jet accidents caused by pilot error during approach and landing fit into two categories according to a new study - controlled flight into terrain (CFIT) and loss of control (LOC).

Presented to the Flight Safety Foundation's Commercial Aviation Safety Seminar (CASS) at Tucson, Arizona on 27 April, the study looks at global business jet accidents and incidents from 1991 to 2002. It says out of 35 such accidents in the 11 years to 2002, 25 were CFIT and the remaining 10 were LOC. NetJets pilot, instructor and safety committee member Patrick Veillette says that his analysis covers 251 accidents and 808 incidents recorded by official agencies in the USA and four other countries, and from Airclaims. Among the accidents, 67 (26.7%) were fatal, and of those fatal accidents 35 were the "consequences of crew-caused errors in approach and landing accidents", according to Veillette.

The non-fatal crew-caused approach and landing accidents were more varied, including 59 runway excursion events, 14 undershoots, one loss of control, 10 hard landings, seven failures to extend the landing gear, and six categorised as "other" results. There were no non-fatal CFIT events.

Among the 251 business jet accidents, 167 occurred in the approach and landing phase, and 132 of these were crew-caused, Veillette found. He analysed the latter for the contributory causal factors, of which he notes there were sometimes several in any given event.

Causal factors included 66% involving pilot deviation from standard operating procedures (SOP); 43% showed inadequate cross-checking by the second crew member; 40% included handling error; 39% showed inadequate positional awareness; 33% involved inadequate evaluation of runway or weather conditions; and 33% demonstrated inadequate judgement.



Source: Flight International