Date of Award


Document Type

Thesis - Open Access

Degree Name

Master of Aeronautical Science


Graduate Studies

Committee Chair

Richard S. Gibson

Committee Member

Gerald D. Gibb

Committee Member

Jefferson M. Koonce

Committee Member

John A. Wise


The purpose of this study was to determine whether there are any significant decreases in the safety and effectiveness of pilots by age 60. The data for this study came from records of general aviation accidents (i.e., for private pilots, commercial pilots, and air transport pilots), and airline accidents (Part 121). These accident data were acquired from many specialized aviation data banks; these include: NTSB, AOPA, FAA, and the COMSIS Research Corporation. The data were organized into groups according to the ages of the pilots-in-command responsible for the accidents. Groupings progress in five-year increments starting at 20-24, and ending with 55-59. The data were analyzed in terms of both accidents per 1,000 pilots and accidents per 100,000 annual hours flown. The results indicate that age and experience both affect safety. The magnitude of these effects and their implications on flight safety are discussed.