June 21, 2021

The General Aviation Joint Steering Committee (GAJSC), a public-private partnership focused on improving the safety of the general aviation industry, recently published its Controlled Flight Into Terrain (CFIT) Working Group report, with key findings for avoiding the often fatal accidents.

Review the GAJSC CFIT Working Group Report (PDF)

The CFIT Working Group, co-chaired by NBAA and FAA Flight Standards, began its work in October 2017, analyzing 67 randomly selected accidents involving turbine engine-powered aircraft, certified piston-engine powered aircraft and experimental amateur-built aircraft that occurred between 2008 and 2017.

“The GAJSC uses real-world data to analyze risks and develop mitigation measures in an effort to decrease the number of general aviation accidents each year,” said Mark Larsen, senior manager of safety and flight operations at NBAA. “The safety enhancements presented in the report could help the industry and government agencies improve safety and minimize the risk of CFIT accidents in the future.”

In-depth analysis and review of these CFIT accidents resulted in several recommendations, or safety enhancements, including:

  • Augmented use of visual technology for general aviation – including increased use of Enhanced Vision Systems and Synthetic Vision Systems
  • Pressure to complete a mission – improving awareness of the need to mitigate mission completion pressure on piloting, including sources and types of pressures, and the impact on decision-making
  • Unintended instrument meteorological conditions (UIMC) escape response – a new group should make recommendations on revisiting how we teach and train the UIMC escape response maneuver to include an initial climb before any heading change, should the data support such a change
  • Approach guidance in night/mountainous Visual Flight Rules (VFR) – the FAA along with pilot organizations, flight instructor refresher course providers and training providers should conduct an education campaign or develop learning modules educating the instrument-current pilot community on night/mountainous VFR approaches

The GAJSC analyzes aviation safety data to identify emerging issues and develop mitigation strategies that address and prioritize safety issues. Previous efforts focused on Loss of Control (LOC) accidents and System/Component Failure – Powerplant.

The GAJSC publishes data-driven recommendations for each safety issue analyzed. Review GAJSC reports and safety enhancements.