Nall Report Finds Rise In Fatal Accident Rate For 2019


Recently released by the Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association (AOPA) Air Safety Institute (ASI), the 31st Joseph T. Nall Report found that fatal accident rates in non-commercial and commercial fixed-wing aircraft and commercial helicopters all rose in 2019 while rates fell for non-commercial helicopters. The report noted that while the total number of accidents for the year decreased, overall accident rates increased also slightly. As previously reported by AVweb, last year’s edition of the Nall Report found an overall accident rate of 4.56 per 100,000 hours and a fatal accident rate of 0.74 per 100,000 hours in 2018.

“The overall total and fatal accident rates for 2019 saw an upward trend finishing with a total accident rate of 4.88 per 100,000 hours and a fatal accident rate of 0.88 per 100,000 hours,” ASI stated in the report. “The main driver for accident rate increases was fewer flight hours in fixed-wing aircraft compared to the previous year.”

The report found that stall and loss-of-control events continued to be the leading cause of accidents in 2019, further noting that “weather-related accidents remain highly lethal.” The Nall Report analyzes general aviation accident data for airplanes with maximum rated gross takeoff weight of 12,500 pounds or less and helicopters of all sizes. Accident data is updated on a rolling 30-day cycle.

The complete 31st edition of the Joseph T. Nall Report can be viewed here.

Kate O'Connor
Kate O’Connor works as AVweb's Editor-in-Chief. She is a private pilot, certificated aircraft dispatcher, and graduate of Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University.

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  1. Interesting that stall rates are increasing as the training from stalls went away from actual stalls to first sign of stall recovery. Pilots are not being put in and actual stall and recovering. I’ve even noticed relatively new instructors seem afraid of stalls. Some 40 years ago it seemed like a full stall was required for each training flight, and I believe I had to demo one for my private check ride.

    When I go up in a new aircraft I want to feel the stall and see the airspeed it starts to stall. I don’t feel safe if I don’t know how a plane is going to handle at slow speeds. Of course you never want to be near these speeds low and during approach to landing. Six inches over the runway is OK… But, There is the deadman zone for airplanes just like helicopters, and airspeeds that should be avoided at certain altitudes. This should be taught for fixed wing.

    • In my area, you get real stalls. I’m suspecting that most CFIs are doing real stalls.
      There were required for certificates a couple of decades ago; I had a special DPE, so I spun for him, and recovered.
      Still, if one cannot *feel* that one is getting close to a stall, there’s a problem.
      And if any new airplanes are sold that can stall, in today’s world, without kicking the pilot in the teeth first, there’s a problem.

      • I suspect that we now could update a lot of older designs to vastly improve their stall behavior and performance. Of course, it’s uneconomical for Textron, and would require someone at the FAA to put their name on a decision that might have some negative consequence (though likely only one made up to blame a manufacturer for poor airmanship).

        Nope. We will continue to get the same stall/spin behavior for decades.

  2. If I am reading the report correctly, cause can be said in two categories – lack of experience and poor judgement. Experience we can fix – difficult maybe, but repairable. The judgement part worries me. That, at least in part, translates to common sense, which in today’s society, is poorly named.

  3. As far as year to year fluctuations in accident rate I think much of it is due to the artifact of the small ‘n’ of hours flown by private GA pilots.

    I don’t think pilots in general are getting any better or worse, we are for the most part flying the same old and increasingly decrepit airplanes, and weather still is what it is.

  4. The small numbers of hours are likely related to the tax changes from the mid aughts. You can no longer write off training flights as much as you used to.