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Pilot inexperience may increase the hazards in Alaska, 1990-1998.

Bensyl DM; Manwaring JC; Conway GA
NOIRS 2000--Abstracts of the National Occupational Injury Research Symposium 2000, Pittsburgh, PA, October 17-19. Pittsburgh, PA: National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health, 2000 Oct; :29-30
Background: Vast mountain ranges and glacial ice impede road transportation in Alaska, making aircraft essential for providing goods and services. Professional pilots in Alaska have substantially increased risk for dying while working: over a 30-year career, they have an 11% chance of dying while working, compared to 2.5% for US pilots and 0.4% for non-pilot workers. To reduce this rate, determining factors underlying injury crashes is necessary. Methods: Data were abstracted from National Transportation Safety Board summaries for 1990-1998 air taxi crashes. Air taxi flights are commuter/on-demand flights for compensation in an airplane/helicopter that begin and end at the same airport. Injury crashes (including fatalities) were compared to non-injury crashes by pilot flight-time experience, day or night, visibility, and number of passengers. Odds ratios were generated using logistic regression. Results: During 1990-1998, 309 air taxi crashes occurred: 131 injury (49 fatal, 82 non-fatal), and 178 non-injury. Fifty percent of pilots involved in injury crashes were early-career (540-4800 hours experience) and 16% of those were very early-career (540-1800 hours). Logistic regression analyses showed a positive association for flight experience, diminished visibility, and involvement in an injury crash. For very early-career pilots, injury crashes were 22 times more likely to have occurred in low-visibility (Odds Ratio (OR)=22.49, Confidence interval (CI)=3.63-138.25). For early-career pilots (1801-4800 hours) injury crashes were six times more likely (OR=6.30, CI=1.80-22.07) to have occurred in low-visibility and for experienced pilots (>4800 hours) injury crashes were four times more likely (OR=4.43, CI=1.58-12.42) to have occurred in low-visibility. Night flying and passengers were not associated with injury crashes. Conclusions: Air taxi injury crashes in Alaska might be decreased by improving pilot training in low-visibility conditions, especially for very early career pilots.
Accident rates; Accident statistics; Accidents; Accident prevention; Injuries; Traumatic injuries; Injury prevention; Surveillance programs; Statistical analysis; Epidemiology; Mortality data; Mortality rates; Mortality surveys; Aircrews; Aircraft
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NOIRS 2000 Abstracts of the National Occupational Injury Research Symposium 2000, Pittsburgh, PA., October 17-19, 2000
Page last reviewed: June 15, 2021
Content source: National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health Education and Information Division