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Military Aircraft Safety: Significant Improvements Since 1975 (Briefing Report, 02/01/96, GAO/NSIAD-96-69BR)

Pursuant to a congressional request, GAO reviewed military aircraft
accidents involving fatalities or severe aircraft damage, also known as
Class A flight mishaps, focusing on: (1) historical trends in Class A
mishaps; (2) the causes of such mishaps and how the causes are
investigated; and (3) actions taken to avoid Class A mishaps.
GAO found that: (1) military aircraft were involved in 3,828 Class A
mishaps between fiscal years (FY) 1975 and 1995, which resulted in 3,810
fatalities and 3,483 destroyed aircraft; (2) between FY 1975 and 1995,
the annual number of mishaps decreased from 309 to 76, fatalities
decreased from 285 to 85, and the mishap rate decreased from about 4.3
accidents per 100,000 flying hours to 1.5; (3) the value of Class A
losses has remained between $1.2 billion and $1.6 billion over the past
6 years; (4) the Department of Defense requires the military services to
report and investigate Class A mishaps, but each service has its own
investigation reporting requirements; (5) the independence of accident
investigators may be compromised, since some investigators are tied to
the mishap command; (6) human error contributed to 73 percent of Class A
mishaps in FY 1994 and 1995; (7) it is difficult to draw correlations
between causes of aviation accidents and flight mishap rates due to the
low incidence of safety mishaps; and (8) actions the military services
have taken to reduce mishaps include tracking mishap investigation
recommendations, distributing safety information, and conducting risk
management studies in order to provide guidance.
--------------------------- Indexing Terms -----------------------------
     TITLE:  Military Aircraft Safety: Significant Improvements Since 
      DATE:  02/01/96
   SUBJECT:  Military aircraft
             Aircraft accidents
             Investigations by federal agencies
             Accident prevention
             Reporting requirements
             Property losses
             Transportation statistics
             Transportation safety
             Air transportation operations
IDENTIFIER:  OH-58 Helicopter

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