The Flight Safety Foundation (FSF) outlined accident types among global airliners in passenger and cargo service for the 2022 Safety Report, with turbulence, runway excursions and ground damage ranking among the most common. The report was based on an analysis of preliminary accident data information obtained from the Aviation Safety Network (ASN) global database.
The report was released on Wednesday and with it, the foundation launched an interactive dashboard that features accident data from the last six years. The data is searchable with a range of parameters like the type of operation, region, flight phase and accident type. Users can look at accidents in specific parts of the world and sort them by the end state, which includes turbulence, runway excursion, ground damage, loss of control, heavy landing, tail strike and runway collision as some of the categories.
The dashboard shows both fatal and non-fatal accidents and many interactive options so the user can look at specific data. Each indicated accident has a link to the ASN page with more specific details on the event like the phase, departure/destination airport, total airframe hours and a summary of the incident.RELATED STORY:Flight Safety Foundation 2021 Report highlights leading causes of aircraft accidents and how to mitigate them
Jet and turboprop aircraft that are certified to carry at least 14 passengers were involved in 115 accidents around the world in 2022. Out of the 115, 16 were fatal accidents that resulted in 233 fatalities among passengers and crew and four people on the ground.
According to the ASN database, 2022 was the second year in a row that turbulence was ranked as the most common specified accident type with 22 accidents. There were 82 turbulence-related accidents for the 2017-2021 period and the worst year was 2019, with 24. Since 2017 there have been 104 turbulence-related accidents worldwide. For the analysis, the FSF used the International Civil Aviation Organization's accident definition, which includes events that result in serious injuries or fatalities for the passengers or crew, or when the aircraft suffers a structural failure or other substantial damage.
"The number of turbulence-related accidents is likely just a small fraction of the turbulence events that operators experience during any given year," FSF President and CEO Dr. Hassan Shahidi said. "As we note in the report's call to action, passengers need to recognize the importance of adhering to crew instructions to fasten their seat belts, and the industry needs to continue to improve its ability to detect turbulence and to share information about areas of turbulence."Shahidi stated that with the 16 runway excursions and 14 ground damage accidents in 2022, it is important to focus on safety in aircraft movements on runways, taxiways and ramp areas.
In the 2017-2021 period, there was an average of 20 runway excursion incidents per year. In 2020 there were 25 runway excursions, despite much of the commercial industry shut down for the pandemic. When the industry began to recover in 2021, there were six incidents. In January the FSF and its international partners have begun work on the Global Action Plan for the Prevention of Runway Incursions, expected to be finished by the end of the year. For corporate jet operations, 17 of the 35 accidents involved runway incursions and one involved a fatality.
Ground damage incidents were up from the ten reported in 2021 and seven in 2020, but the 14 in 2022 remained below the average of 17.8 per year during the 2017-2021 period. The 2020-2021 decline was likely due to the reduced operations caused by the pandemic. There was one ground damage incident for corporate jet operations when a taxiing Bombardier Challenger 300 hit the rudder of a Pilatus PC-12.
The other categories, tail strike, off-airport landing, heavy landing, undershoot, runway collision and midair collision, total more than the number of runway excursions. The highest-ranked cause is other/unknown with 25 for the year. These accidents have not been categorized, likely due to a lack of available information. When more data become available the dashboard will be updated.In February the NTSB released a tool to help visualize information about recent general aviation accidents. GA crashes make up almost 80 percent of crashes, primarily due to the high volume of GA flyers in the sky at a time, as opposed to private or commercial aviation.RELATED STORY:GA Accident data visualization tool to display findings and safety recommendations from NTSB
The 2022 Safety Report looks at the global airliner and corporate jet accidents for the year, also comparing five years from 2017-2021. The report looks at five high-risk accident types, which were the cause of the majority of the accidents within the review period. The categories include turbulence, runway excursions, ground damage, loss of control and controlled flight into terrain.
While there was an increase in 2022 from both 2020 (84 accidents) and 2021 (93 accidents), the report notes that it is difficult to compare the year-to-year as the overall operations for both of those years were impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. The 2022 total is still below the 2017-2021 period, which included 605 accidents, 75 fatal accidents (average of 15 per year) that resulted in 1,397 fatalities among passengers and crew and 43 ground fatalities.
The FSF notes that the industry has made safety progress over the last decade but there is still a pursuit of more improvement. Improvements in technology have lessened the number of midair collisions, CFIT and some LOC and runway excursions. The report notes that safety performance improvements have slowed in recent years, which can indicate a greater need to strengthen standard operation procedures and "weak links in the chain of events leading to an accident."
The Foundation chooses to focus on the sizable and relevant accident categories.
"Making significant safety progress requires focusing on the circumstances and causes of accidents in the categories that account for the majority of all accidents and more than 90 percent of all fatalities."