Decline in pilot-related accidents: study

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Melbourne, Dec 30 (UNI) A new study has found that you are less likely to be involved in a aircraft mishap due to pilot error than two decades ago.

The study, which was published in the journal Aviation, Space, and Environmental Medicine, examined 558 airline mishaps between 1983 and 2002, The Bulletin reported.

Conducted by the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health in the United States, the study found that the proportion of mishaps involving pilot error over a 20 year period had reduced by 40 per cent. The researchers attribute the decline to better training and improvements in technology that aid pilot decision making.

''A 40 per cent decline in pilot error-related mishaps is very impressive,'' lead author and John Hopkins University professor, Susan P Baker, said.

''Trends indicate that great progress has been made to improve the decision making of pilots and coordination between the aircraft's crew members.'' Other key findings included, mishaps relating to bad weather dropped 76 per cent, mishandling of wind or runway conditions declined 78 per cent, and accidents caused by poor crew interaction declined 68 per cent.

It found the most common time for pilot error was during taxiing, takeoff, final approach and landing of the aircraft.

Despite this, the study revealed an increase in the number of mishaps involving errors by air traffic control or ground crews.

It also revealed a jump in the number of mishaps occurring when the aircraft was standing still or being pushed back from the gate, more than doubling from a rate of 2.5 to 6 mishaps per 10 million flights.


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