Over the last 20 years, from 1983 through 2002, the number of airline mishaps which were attributed to pilot error declined significantly. A study by Bloomberg SPH showed that while the rate of airline mishaps remained constant over that time frame, the number of mishaps involving pilot error declined by 40%.
The study looked at 558 airline mishaps between 1983 and 2002 and looked at pilot errors, which were characterized as carelessness on the part of the crew, flawed decision making, mishandling of the aircraft and poor crew coordination. The results follow:
- Mishaps during bad weather (the most common decision making error) declined by 76%
- Mishaps caused by wind or runway conditions declined by 78%
- Crew coordination accidents declined by 68%
- Mishaps during take of and landing declined by 70%
- The mishap rate increased most during aircraft pushback or standing still
- Pilot errors were most common during taxiing, takeoff, final approach and landing
While the overall rate of pilot error mishaps declined, these reductions were offset by increased in mishaps that did not involve errors on the part of pilots. The study showed that mishaps doubled during ground operations such as pushback.
The study reported that "Trends indicate that great progress has been made to improve the decision-making of pilots and coordination between the aircraft’s crew members. However, the improvements have not led to an overall decline in mishaps. The increase in mishaps while aircraft are not moving may require special attention."
Until next time keep your wings straight and level Hersch!