Pilot Error in Air Carrier Accidents: Does Age Matter?

This article reports on a study that examined age-related differences in the prevalence and patterns of pilot error in air carrier accidents. The authors reviewed investigation reports from the National Transportation Safety Board for accidents involving Part 121 operations in the United States between 1983 and 2002 to identify pilot error and other contributing factors. Of the 558 air carrier accidents studied, 25% resulted from turbulence, 21% from mechanical failure, 16% from taxiing events, 13% from loss of control at landing or takeoff, and 25% from other causes. Accidents involving older pilots were more likely to be caused by turbulence, whereas accidents involving younger pilots were more likely to be taxiing events. Pilot error was a contributing factor in 34% of the accidents involving pilots ages 25-34 years, 38% of the accidents involving pilots ages 35-44 years, 35% of the accidents involving pilots ages 45-54 years, and 34% of the accidents involving pilots ages 55-59 years. Overall, 26% of the pilot errors identified were inattentiveness, 22% flawed decisions, 22% mishandled aircraft kinetics, and 11% poor crew interactions. The authors conclude that the prevalence and patterns of pilot error in air carrier accidents do not seem to change with pilot age. The authors discuss these results in light of a possible “safe worker effect” that results from the rigorous selection processes and certification standards for professional pilots.

  • Availability:
  • Authors:
    • Li, Guohua
    • Grabowski, Jurek G
    • Baker, Susan P
    • Rebok, George W
  • Publication Date: 2006-7

Language

  • English

Media Info

Subject/Index Terms

Filing Info

  • Accession Number: 01042663
  • Record Type: Publication
  • Files: TRIS
  • Created Date: Feb 25 2007 7:32AM