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The rate of non-commercial fixed-wing accidents fell 12 percent in 2013, including an 18 percent decrease in the rate of fatal accidents. These are by far the most dramatic improvements in the 25-year history of the Nall Report and mark the first time that sector’s fatal accident rate has dropped below the threshold of one per 100,000 flight hours. Similar reductions were observed in all major categories of pilot-related accidents, while the rate of accidents caused by mechanical failures was similar to that seen in 2010. The greatest improvement was registered by amateur-built and experimental light sport aircraft. The number of deaths in general aviation accidents of all kinds declined 4 percent as a 15 percent decrease in non-commercial fixed-wing flying was offset by greater lethality in commercial fixed-wing accidents and both classes of helicopter operations. The 25th Nall Report breaks down 2013’s safety record in detail.
The number of non-commercial fixed-wing accidents continued to fall during the last two years, reaching a new low of 912 in 2015. However, higher proportions were fatal. Still, while 2014’s fatal accident rate ticked back up from the all-time low registered the year before, it remains the third-lowest on record. Non-commercial helicopter safety saw welcome improvements in both years, with year-over-year reductions in both total and fatal accidents and a record low fatal-accident rate in 2014. Relative stability prevailed in commercial operations, with declining fixed-wing accident rates partly offset by increases on commercial helicopter flights. 2014-2015 are also the two years that suffered fewest deaths in GA accidents all kinds, down 5 percent and 2 percent, respectively, from the previous low recorded in 2013. Summaries of all four sectors can be found in the 2014-2015 GA Accident Scorecard.