Journal of Aviation/Aerospace Education & Research


Roger C. Matteson






Controlled Flight into Terrain (CFIT) is not a new problem. It has been around since the beginning of manned flight. A CFIT accident occurs when an airworthy aircraft, under the control of a pilot, is flown (unintentionally) into terrain, water, or obstacles with inadequate awareness on the part of the pilot (crew) of the impending collision (Wiener, 1977). It would seem that CFIT would be an easy problem to solve or reduce but unfortunately, that has not been the case. CFIT is still the leading cause of all fatal aircraft accidents in the world. Figure 1 illustrates the CFIT accident rate compared to other types of fatal airline accidents. It can be noted that CFIT is not the leading cause of the U.S. fatal accident rate however, the world wide CFIT rate is still a major concern. This paper will address the issues as they pertain to CFIT, to include the causes, prevention and the future aspects in dealing with CFIT.



To view the content in your browser, please download Adobe Reader or, alternately,
you may Download the file to your hard drive.

NOTE: The latest versions of Adobe Reader do not support viewing PDF files within Firefox on Mac OS and if you are using a modern (Intel) Mac, there is no official plugin for viewing PDF files within the browser window.