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Survey and analysis of air transportation safety among air carrier operators and pilots in Alaska.

Conway-G; Mode-NA; Manwaring-JC; Berman-M; Hill-A; Martin-S; Bensyl-D; Moran-K
NIOSH 2006 Nov; :1-56
Because aviation crashes are one of the leading causes of occupational fatalities in Alaska, investigators at the Alaska Field Station of the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health contracted with the Institute of Social and Economic Research at the University of Alaska Anchorage to administer two statewide aviation safety surveys, one of air carrier operators and one of active commercial pilots. Both surveys addressed pilot and company demographics; number of pilot flight hours (total, aircraft type, and instrument hours); flying experience in Alaska; and attitudes about safety, flying practices, and other salient risk factors. Surveys from 153 commuter, air taxi, and public-use operators were received at a 79% response rate. Survey results were used to create an industry profile, compare operators' responses to their pilots' responses, and analyze and compare responses of operators with high fatal accident rates (designated "cases") to operators without high fatal accident rates (designated "controls"). Results indicated that the average case pilot had less career flight experience than the average control pilot and worked 10 hours a week more. Case operators were less likely to consider pilot fatigue a problem when scheduling flights and more likely to depend financially on timely delivery of bypass mail. Case pilots were three times as likely as controls to fly daily into unknown weather conditions. Nearly 90% of the case pilots reported that they never flew when so fatigued that they wanted to decline the flight, compared to 64% of control pilots. The findings suggest that the combination of pilot inexperience and longer work hours and work weeks may contribute to Alaska's high pilot fatality rate. Results of the operator-pilot comparisons suggest that financial pressures on operators may influence their views on what measures would be effective in preventing crashes. Many of the responses received in these surveys were consistent with the goals of three major, recently-implemented aviation safety programs in Alaska: the Medallion Foundation, the Federal Aviation Administration's Circle of Safety, and Capstone.
Aircrews; Aircraft; Accident-statistics; Accident-prevention; Injury-prevention; Injuries; Traumatic-injuries; Mortality-rates; Mortality-data; Demographic-characteristics
Publication Date
Document Type
Numbered Publication
Fiscal Year
NTIS Accession No.
NTIS Price
Identifying No.
(NIOSH) 2007-102
NIOSH Division
Priority Area
Disease and Injury: Traumatic Injuries
Source Name
National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health