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General aviation (14CFR Part 91) accounts for 83% of civil aviation fatalities. While much research has focused on accident causes/pilot demographics in this aviation sector, studies to identify factors leading up to the crash (accident-precipitating factors) are few. Such information could inform on pre-emptive remedial action. With this in mind and considering the paucity of research on turbine-powered aircraft accidents the study objectives were to identify accident-precipitating factors and determine if the accident rate has changed over time for such aircraft operating under 14CFR Part 91.

The NTSB Access database was queried for accidents in airplanes (

The “Checklist/Flight Manual Not Followed” was the most frequent accident-precipitating factor category and carried an excess risk (OR 2.34) for an accident with a fatal and/or serious occupant injury. This elevated risk reflected an over-representation of accidents with fatal and/or serious injury outcomes (p < 0.001) in the “non-adherence to V Speeds” sub-category. For accidents grouped in the “Inadequate Pre-Flight Planning/Inspection/Procedure” the “inadequate weather planning” sub-category accounted (p = 0.036) for the elevated risk (OR 2.22) of an accident involving fatal and/or serious injuries. The “Violation FARs/AIM Deviation” category was also associated with a greater risk for fatal and/or serious injury (OR 2.59) with “Descent below the MDA/failure to execute the missed approach” representing the largest sub-category. Accidents in multi-engine aircraft are more frequent than their single engine counterparts and the decline (50%) in the turbine aircraft accident rate over the study period was likely due, in part, to a 6-fold increased representation of single engine airplanes.

In conclusion, our study is the first to identify novel precursive factors for accidents involving turbine aircraft operating under 14CFR Part 91. This research highlights areas that should receive further emphasis in training/recurrency in a pre-emptive attempt to nullify candidate accident-precipitating factor(s).

Publication Title

Accident Analysis & Prevention


Elsevier Ltd

Additional Information

Douglas Boyd was not affiliated with Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University when the article was published.