Menu Sign In Contact FAQ
Banner
Welcome to our forums

Sad but quite interesting (French accident statistics)

Unfortunately these results are well in line with the long term traditional “GA pilot death paradox”: We are extremely anxious about engine failures and mid airs, but in reality we kill ourselves with risky flying and stupid decision making.

The key challenge of such a “proficiency culture” seems to be, that as a start we have to admit to ourselves, that we are not perfect pilots – most of us – surely including myself – are not even really good at what we do. That is the hardest part! It’s so much easier to invest $$$ into a cool traffic gadget (creating a false sense of safety simply by showing lots of in reality irrelevant traffic dots) making sure all those stupid other pilots will not kill us than to do something to reduce the odds we kill ourselves.

In Germany we just had the extremely tragic case of a well known and very experienced (former fighter and now airline) pilot who was even lecturing others on risk management and safety culture – who killed himself in a perfectly operating microlight by hitting a power line in open terrain doing extremely low altitude flights in perfect weather w/o any need to do so (after landing/departing on a closed airfield). Only the pinnacle of this “others might kill themselves but I’m such a good pilot that it will never happen to me – therefore the rules are only for those others…”-attitude everyone of us sometimes has in his/her mind.
Whoever never fails VFR/VMC cloud clearance limits casts the first stone…

Germany

Jujupilote wrote:

Which tends to show a decrease in handling or risk management skills.

I think this is very interesting. I was fortunate in that I owned an aeroplane, based at an airfield close to me, and I had some time to allocate to my flying. It meant that if I had not flown for a while I would go out and bash the circuit. Lots of Touch and Go, low level circuits, landings, and upper air work close the the field. For the majority of pilots either in club, shared ownership, time limited, the last thing on their mind is to go out and ‘’waste time’’ in circuit training, and yet this is by far the most beneficial to get up to speed in handling and general flying. You do get rusty in infrequent flying, but 1 hour spent in circuit training goes a very long way and may just save your life.

Fly safe. I want this thing to land l...
EGPF Glasgow

Jujupilote wrote:

One of the problem I see, is that DGAC and BEA do not have/put the means to investigate in depth those accidents to truly make lessons from them. Accidents reports are usually a very precise description of what happened, with a smallish analysis at the end.

Our Aeroclub unfortunately lost a well respected member a few years ago in a landing accident in his homebuilt aeroplane at a neighbouring aerodrome.
I was appalled that there was no investigation whatsoever.
The BEA accident report consisted of comments from a single observer.
I was not witness to the accident, but in my view the comments were not in keeping with the actions of the pilot as I knew him to be.
There was not even an autopsy, let alone any inspection of the aircraft, which was hauled off to the nearest scrapyard immediately.

However, I was told by other aeroclub members that this was normal.

I was not witness to the accident, but in my view the comments were not in keeping with the actions of the pilot as I knew him to be.

How do you know how “a pilot is”? Even for those very few friends with wich I have the pleasure to fly very frequently together (as in “more than 100hrs together in the last 5 years”), I would not make a agues on how they behave when they are alone in the cockpit.
We must not forget that if we fly together with other pilots our and their behavior might (an most likely is) be completely different from what we would do alone – on both sides: Might be that we take more risks as we have “a second pair of hands if something goes wrong” and “someone who would warn us if we start doing something really stupid”, might be, that we take less risks as “we feel observed and want to be 120% correct”.

Even worse for people we only know outside the cockpit: So many great people where everyone thought that they are extra cautious died – and investigation showed that they just did stupid things (see my sad example above…)

There was not even an autopsy, let alone any inspection of the aircraft, which was hauled off to the nearest scrapyard immediately..

With homebuilt planes there is actually very little one can learn from a through inspection. If this specific plane fails, what do we learn for all other planes? Not so much.
Yes, if there is a design problem, it would be useful for all other owners of exactly that kit – but given the very small homebuilt community in Europe, odds are extremely low…

Germany

@Malibuflyer

skydriller wrote:

The BEA accident report consisted of comments from a single observer.

My point is that a few comments from a single observer do not make an accident report.
If someone dies in aviation, it should not be in vain, we have a duty to investigate and report what happened and more importantly, why. This is what aviation has always done and should continue to do. If I die in an aviation accident I want my death investigated properly even if the conclusion is “SD fucked up” so that hopefully you will read what I did and not do the same stupid thing yourself.

Ive just checked the AAIB website, and if someone dies, even in a homebuilt, there is an investigation into what happened – and its more than an observers comments.

Regards, SD..

Last Edited by skydriller at 19 Dec 12:39

Only the pinnacle of this “others might kill themselves but I’m such a good pilot that it will never happen to me – therefore the rules are only for those others…”-attitude everyone of us sometimes has in his/her mind. Whoever never fails VFR/VMC cloud clearance limits casts the first stone…

Very true. I’m not sure focusing on rules and regulations is the correct way though. It may even be a major cause. It’s the lack of thinking and planning that is the issue, and obeying rules doesn’t help you to think.

ENVA ENOP ENMO, Norway

I don’t understand the number of GA (<2T) deaths for France, compared to, say, Germany or UK

Last Edited by mancival at 19 Dec 13:03
United Kingdom

What has been written above about the BEA has caused massive toy-out-of-pram incidents here on EuroGA in past years, but when posted by someone from France it is ok to say it Well, as the target of most of the previous attacks, and some of them pretty nasty, I don’t really mind… It is hugely obvious that the BEA regards flying as a dangerous activity so of course people will get killed, so few if any lessons to learn…

The stats posted above by Mancival are quite astonishing. I think the first and the third column are specific accidents. The 154 in France is probably mostly Germanwings. The 20 in the UK is probably the several high profile crashes of things like twin turbine helicopters.

The GA numbers are the most amazing, of course. Some pilot numbers are “out there” and e.g. here we have some rough ones. More here and it is difficult to get good numbers because some countries have ultralights counted and some don’t etc. But no matter how you shake it, how does France manage to have such a vastly higher death rate? I wonder if the culture (ensuring that almost everybody flies only a particular mission profile, and only on nice days) is a factor? That would be controversial as hell.

Administrator
Shoreham EGKA, United Kingdom

Would it be fair to judge these fatalities based on occurrences per estimated 100,000 flight hours? In this case The French aeroclub system may have a higher real exposure to GA than UK or Germany? However the incidence rate may be similar?

What is the best approach for making these statistics comparable remains an area of debate – however the per 100,000 hours exposure rule seems to be regarded as a standard in GA. I suspect a Poissonic curve, (Poisson was asked to estimate how many cavalry soldiers might be kicked to death in the Prussian army in any given year – I think), might be inferred from these statistics allowing an estimate of probability for GA fatalities between France and Germany and UK.

Oxford (EGTK)

The French accident report for 2018 is this
https://www.ecologique-solidaire.gouv.fr/sites/default/files/rapport_securite_aerienne_2018.pdf local copy

and if you change the 2018 ti 2017 you get the previous year’s one.

Administrator
Shoreham EGKA, United Kingdom
Sign in to add your message

Back to Top