Menu Sign In Contact FAQ
Welcome to our forums

Sad but quite interesting (French accident statistics)

gallois wrote:

If lack of currency were a problem how many of the contributors to this thread would agree to there being a minimum number of hours regulated at one per month or 12 per annum

I certainly wouldn’t agree that regulating figures is the way to help things, I feel it would force more people out of flying. I think it’s far better for pilots to realise when they’re not current and make their own decision how best to deal with it if they want to get back up in the air.

If I’ve had a bit of time without flying, I will bring in my limits and try to work my way back up.

I just took a few hours to survey all the accidents involvings airplanes (not helis, not ULs, not sailplanes) which happenend in 2018 in France.
It appears 16 of them were fatal.
It is difficult to classify them because each one is specific but from what I can tell :

  • 4 were definitely get-there-itis, VFR in IMC
  • 4 were PIC mistakes, including 2 EFATO gone wrong
  • 2 were just stupid manoeuvers which would need the pilot to loose his license if he had survived
  • 2 were very special ones (one parachutist hitting his drop plane, and one homebuild which suffered a structural failure).
  • 4 are still unexplained. 1 was an IFR on a approach (the only fatal accident in IFR) and the others dropped out of the sky on a CAVOK day.

About 50% were club aircraft, 50% were private owners.
Half the PICs involved in fatal crashes were 60 or more, and even more were experienced (1000h+ total).

One learns a lot surveying accidents.
A landing-gear repair business would certainly have a lot of work
I will never buy a homebuild plastic airplane, but I had never intended to anyway

My guess is that non-fatal accidents can help explain fatal ones. I will push deeper in this, including non-fatal accidents, after Christmas.

Last Edited by Jujupilote at 23 Dec 17:44
LFOU, France

About 50% were club aircraft, 50% were private owners

I find the above to be the most striking, given that (supposedly) the vast majority of French GA activity is aeroclub flights.

I will never buy a homebuild plastic airplane

That’s definitely a good policy unless you are an expert on the type and have access to suitable engineering resources. One should make the same comment about buying any other type, but there are far fewer gotchas in the others (certified / common / non-plastic).

Shoreham EGKA, United Kingdom

How many pilots were not current in what they were doing at the time of the accident?
I’m not current in crosswind landings at present.

EGPE, United Kingdom

gallois wrote:

They also point out that when they say loss of control in flight, they usually are referring to a stall.

Close to the ground I would guess then, during landing/take off phase. I wonder in what way currency really comes into this as a factor, if at all, because IME these kinds of accidents are usually done with highly current pilots, but not necessarily on the type. As a matter of fact, I think it’s a similar thing in almost all accidents. You are left with a feeling that he/she should know much better than to “do stupid things like that”. It doesn’t seem like lack of currency. It’s more like an inherent ability to do stupid things, and one that increases when the opportunity for doing stupid things increases, or the effect of doing stupid things are less forgiving.

When you are doing something slightly wrong, you won’t start doing it right by doing the slightly wrong thing more often. Everyone needs feedback to become better, and for currency to have any effect. Without feedback you simply keep on doing the same mistakes until one day it kills you.

The elephant is the circulation

Mostly not Maoraigh, I would say most fatal accidents occurred with the PIC being familiar with what he did.

Mostly they did stuff that they were comfortable with (short /mountain landings/weather avoidance/scud running/stupid manoeuvers) and pushed it too far.

LFOU, France

Malibuflyer wrote:

In road travel we (and so do the insurers at least in Germany) treat everyone within their first two years as “beginner” who has a significantly higher risk of causing an accident due to an own mistake. In those 2 years they drive on average just north of 20k km – or about 300hrs.

At 10hr/yr it would take you 30 years to reach the same level of experience – not accounting for the things you “forget” during longer times of inactivity.

Even more frustrating, in manufacturing science we say that a (pre-skilled) worker needs to repeat a task about 3.000 – 4.000 times before we can expect real proficiency – again these repetitions performed in weeks not stretched over the entire lifetime – if you talk to a real Japanese Sushi master he would tell you it takes many more repetitions before you can cut a tuna sashimi well enough to call yourself a master. Comparing this with the number of landings I will have performed during my lifetime …

On the positive side: One doesn’t forget everything as soon as one stops practice. For an experienced Pilot (let’s say total time >>500hrs.) it doesn’t hurt so much if a year or two there’s not the time or the money to fly more than these 10 hrs/yr. With just a little bit of extra training he will be up to his former abilities pretty fast.

If I, however, for a longer period of time can only spend 10 hrs/yr on flying, I would seriously consider knitting or chess as more adequate pastimes (I will not become good at any of them either, but it doesn’t matter too much …).

I have not previously answered to this, but rest assured I have read your post. You are not the first, nor even the second person on EuroGA to suggest I should quit flying.

In fact, I often have a feeling that as perhaps the only low-hours, low-currency pilot on EuroGA who is nevertheless regularly posting (and even more regularly reading) I get tolerated here but not more. I understand that my presence here is not as valuable as that of many other contributors, who have way more experience and thus way more interesting things to tell about GA.

Still, what I noticed is that this forum very regularly debate the topic of how to prevent GA from dying out. Low hour pilots are often mentioned in these threads. I am more or less their representative here, if only by the virtue of daring to post on this elite forum despite my lack of IR, own plane or at least flying 50+ hours a year.

@Peter has previously expressed that all pilots of all experience levels are welcome on this forum, and I believe he means this sincerely and will continue to read and post here. I will also try to keep flying. If 10 hours is all I can fit in an extremely busy schedule, then so be it. I still strongly believe that things will improve once the kids grow up, once my wife finally gets onboard etc.

I know others here have quit flying entirely in my situation (demanding job without control over one’s time, two young children, unsupportive wife), such as @Airborne_Again years ago or currently @Mooney_Driver more or less, who also has a kid aged similar to mine. You may be right that quitting now may be the wiser choice, safety wise, but if one starts to think that way, why bother with GA at all? Staying on the ground is always safer. In fact, staying indoors all the time probably is even more safe…

Low-hours pilot
EDVM Hildesheim, Germany

I often have a feeling that as perhaps the only low-hours, low-currency pilot on EuroGA who is nevertheless regularly posting (and even more regularly reading) I get tolerated here but not more. I understand that my presence here is not as valuable as that of many other contributors, who have way more experience and thus way more interesting things to tell about GA.

As admin I read practically all posts, and I don’t know where you got this impression, Medewok. Your contributions are perfectly fine.

EuroGA has a high % of experienced pilots. It would be great to have more contributions from new pilots but for whatever reasons it is just a difficult thing to achieve.

The main thing I try to keep an eye on is that everyone stays polite. On a few occassions, this can be difficult, as is obvious to any regular reader. And, as is obvious to any regular reader, there are some challenges in that department which are specific to running an international forum

Regarding how long one needs to fly to be safe, I don’t think one can make hard rules – because of risk compensation. Most people who get a PPL are at least fairly smart (they have to be to grind their way through the books which are full of dross) and they realise that at some level of activity they are safe and that they might not be safe doing something harder. The majority of PPLs come out on a weekend (because most people work in jobs which are rigid re holiday entitlement) and only on a nice weekend. This is as safe as you will get.

Why France seems to have such a higher accident rate I don’t know, and I suspect it would take a lot of analysis – comparing to elsewhere – to find out. It could be, for example, that France has many more private owners who fly only a few hours a year, compared to other countries. Or it could be something strange goes on in the aeroclubs which causes people to have accidents as soon as they get out of there and get their own plane. Etc…

Shoreham EGKA, United Kingdom


No, you are not the only low-currency pilot here, and I guess many invisible readers thank you for speaking in their name.
Your flying strategy is pragmatic and as safe as possible. If every new PPL has the same motivation to keep flying, there would be twice more pilots in Europe !

Peter, I think EuroGA has few young pilots because many find this place when looking for info about travels and how to make them enjoyable. It is not the first thing you do after getting your license, because they don’t realise it is critical to keep on flying.
The new Paris pilot typically makes his first trip to Deauville LFRG. While it is a rather nice field for pilots, there isn’t much to do nearby. The pilot would be proud of him but the family/friends would be disappointed. If he does his first trip to Le Touquet (just a little farther), his family could fall in love with GA right away. His pilot « career » would be changed forever.

Back to topic : I think I will compare french fatal accidents to UK accidents. Will report my results.

Last Edited by Jujupilote at 28 Dec 09:58
LFOU, France

Looking at the DGAC’s 2017 and 2018 figures for foreign-registered GA accidents and relating these (anecdotally) to call signs heard on the radio, is it fair to observe that G- and N-reg seem under-represented compared to D-reg in terms of fatal accidents?

If so, could this have something to do with the UK IR(R) and FAA IR?

Glenswinton, SW Scotland, United Kingdom
Sign in to add your message

Back to Top