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Air Med J. 2006 Nov-Dec;25(6):265-9.

Analysis of 2004 German general aviation aircraft accidents according to the HFACS model.

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  • 1Waghaeusel, Germany.



The number of aircraft accidents remains on a constant level since the late 1990s. Routine analysis in detail of the causative factors is not carried out in Germany. The analysis of flight mishaps has been demonstrated to be an important basis for flight safety. The Human Factors Analysis and Classification System (HFACS) model is best suitable for aircraft accident analysis. The aim of this study was to classify aircraft accidents in the General Aviation (GA) of Germany according to the HFACS model and to figure out the underlying causes.


The analysis was performed with the HFACS model and on the basis of the regularly published reports of the German state department for aircraft accident analysis (BFU) including accidents (but not incidents) of GA aircraft flown by German pilots in Germany and in other countries. The underlying reasons were classified as follows: pilot errors, organizational factors, ergonomic factors, aeromedical problems, and crew resource management. Additionally, the phase of the flight was classified.


Two hundred thirty-nine GA aircraft accidents were registered in 2004 in Germany. Eighty-seven (36%) were reported in the class up to 2 tons, six (3%) in the class of 2.0 to 5.7 tons, 28 (12%) for Touring Motor Gliders (TMG), and 118 (49%) for gliders. Of these accidents, 54 (35 crewmembers and 19 passengers) aircraft occupants survived slightly injured, 35 (23 crewmembers and 12 passengers) were seriously injured, and 34 (21 crewmembers and 13 passengers) were killed. Data for uninjured aircraft occupants were not available. Most accidents happened on summer weekends during approach and landing (53%) due to pilot errors (84%).


Our data mainly seem to be in concordance with previously published data on GA. An improvement of flight safety can be achieved only with a detailed analysis of the accident data. Therefore, more data on aircraft accidents in Germany are needed, for example, by adapting the German aircraft accident report form. Pilots should train in approaches and landings to conduct a higher level of proficiency.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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