AOPA Nall Report: Homebuilt Accidents Down Slightly


The Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association published its annual Nall Report, outlining accident trends through the 2019 calendar year. In 2019, the overall GA accident record showed a mixed bag, with overall accidents down slightly (1169 against 1220 in 2018) but fatal accidents up slightly (212 vs. 199 the previous year).

Experimental aviation saw improvements in both total accidents and fatal accidents through 2019, with 159 total accidents and 32 fatals, a drop of six accidents and three fatals compared to 2018. Landing accidents led the categories with 41 (26% of the total), though they were seldom fatal (just 1 was, accounting for 3.1% of the total). The other leading categories included “mechanical,” accounting for 32 accidents (20.4%), “takeoff” for 20 accidents (12.7%) and “other,” which accounted for 19 accidents (12.1%).

Of note, “maneuvering” accidents accounted for just 5.7% of the total but had the highest “lethality rating,” with two thirds of those accidents involving fatalities among Experimentals. For the overall non-commercial, fixed-wing group, maneuvering accidents had a slightly less than 50% “lethality rating.” An undescribed “other” category involved 19 accidents, of which 10 involved fatalities.

Finally, ELSA aircraft had a high “lethality rate” overall, but that’s partly the result of there being just six accidents overall for the category (among the 159 total). Two of those involved fatalities, which skews the numbers. Also in the 2019 statistics, there was a single multiengine Experimental accident, and it was as fatal; while there were two aircraft listed as “unknown” that had accidents, and one of those involved a fatality.

The Nall Report has been reviewing data since 2010, and in that time Experimentals have seen a reduction in total accidents from a high of 236 in 2011 to a recent low of 161 in 2013 before posting the best results yet in 2019. The number of fatal accidents in 2019 was just more than half of those counted in 2011 and 2014.

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Marc Cook
Marc Cook is a veteran special-interest journalist who started as a staffer at AOPA Pilot in the late 1980s. Marc has built two airplanes, an Aero Designs Pulsar XP and a Glasair Aviation Sportsman, and now owns a 180-hp, steam-gauge-adjacent GlaStar based in western Oregon. Marc has 5000 hours spread over 200-plus types and four decades of flying.


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