Siirry hakuun

Safety of general and recreational aviation 2020

There were 14 accidents in Finnish general and recreational aviation, but no fatalities. The number of accidents increased when compared to the previous year and clearly exceeded the average for 2013-2019.

There were 15 serious incidents, meaning that there was an increase in the number when compared to the previous year (9), but the number was still around the same as the average for 2013-2019. The coronavirus pandemic decreased the amount of general and recreational aviation on controlled airports and on Malmi airfield by about 30%, meaning that the decrease was less than in commercial air transport. A large amount of general and recreational aviation takes place on uncontrolled airfields, but more accurate information on these will be available in the spring as the annual flight time statistic on aircraft is finished. The uncertainty of the traffic volume information makes comparing 2020 to the previous years more difficult. According to current information, it would seem that the volume of aviation activities decreased as the number of accidents increased, which is a worrying trend. The number of accidents began increasing even before the coronavirus pandemic in 2019.  

However, based on reports, coronavirus-related issues did not have a significant impact in the incidents in 2020.

According to tier 2 indicators, there was no noteworthy increase in comparison with previous years on the part of any indicator. It is, however, worth noting that if the current estimates of traffic amount decrease in general and recreational aviation are accurate, the situation has developed in a negative direction when made proportional to the amount of traffic.

On a positive note, there were only a few cases of loss of control in flight when compared to the situation a few years ago. These cases often lead to high-energy collisions, where the aircraft typically becomes severely damaged and loss of life is close. In other accident types the energies involved are usually smaller, resulting in only small equipment damage and minor injuries.

Accidents

In 2020, there were a total of 14 accidents in Finnish general and recreational aviation. The total number of accidents was greater than in the previous year (12) and clearly above the average for 2013-2019 (9.4).
Of the accidents, seven occurred in recreational aviation and seven in general aviation. Most accidents occurred while taking off or landing, as has been typical in recent years. 

The number of accidents in recreational aviation (including ultra-light aircraft and gliders) was at the same level as the previous year and slightly above the average for 2013-2019 (6.6). The recreational aviation accidents were mainly either loss-of-control incidents or runway excursions. Weather conditions played a part in many of these accidents.

In general aviation, the number of accidents has typically been lower, both in number and when made proportional to aviation activity, than in recreational aviation. During the period 2013-2019, there was an average of 2.9 accidents per year in general aviation, i.e. less than half of the corresponding number in recreational aviation. However in 2019 there were four accidents in general aviation, and in 2020 the number was the same as in recreational aviation. There was an increase in the number of accidents in general aviation, while the number stayed the same for recreational aviation.

Two cases of general aviation accidents resulted from running out of fuel during flight, two cases resulted from landing with the gear up either because of a technical fault or due to forgetfulness, and two cases were the result of loss of control of the aircraft. And in one case landing took place a few dozen metres before the beginning of the runway. 

Accidents and serious incidents are made proportional annually to the flight hour data collected from Finnish aircraft owners. The statistics on hours flown in 2020 will be completed later in the spring. The statistics of 2019 and previous years can be viewed here (Ulkoinen linkki)

According to a preliminary estimate, the number of hours flown will decrease by about 30% from the previous year, with 25,000 hours flown in general aviation and 15,000 hours in recreational aviation. When made proportional to the hours flown, there were 24 accidents per 100,000 hours flown in general aviation and 53 accidents per 100,000 hours in recreational aviation. The average for 2013-2019 was 8.1 accidents per 100,000 hours flown in general aviation and 25.9 accidents per 100,000 hours flown in recreational aviation.

A listing of all accidents from 2005 onwards can be viewed in an updating report here  (Ulkoinen linkki)(in Finnish).

Accidents and fatalities in general and recreational aviation 2004-2020

Fatalities

There were no fatal accidents in 2020. The previous fatal accident occurred in July 2019.

The average for 2013-2019 was three fatalities per year.

Fatal accidents, Finnish general and recreational aviation 2006-2020

Fatalities in general and recreational aviation, 5 year average

Serious incidents

In 2020, there were a total of 16 serious incidents in Finnish general and recreational aviation. The total number of serious incidents was greater than in the previous year (9) and at the same level as the average for 2013-2019 (15.3). Of the serious incidents, four occurred in recreational aviation and 10 in general aviation. In addition, there was an incident involving both a general and a recreational aircraft and one incident involving a general aviation aircraft and a drone.

The number of serious incidents involving recreational aviation aircraft (5) was significantly higher than in the previous year (1), but below the average for 2013-2019 (7.1). All of 2020 incidents took place on uncontrolled aerodromes and three of them were various near-miss situations on runways. The two other incidents were so-called hard landings, i.e. the aircraft touched down at such a high vertical speed that it sustained obvious damage.
In previous years, the typical causes of serious incidents in recreational aviation were near-miss situations in air e.g. during the actual flight of the aircraft or during approach, but this year the incidents occurred near the runway.

General aviation was involved in 12 serious incidents, which is slightly more than last year (9) and the average for 2013-2019 (9.3). There were several causes for the incidents, the largest class (3) being various near-miss situations in the air. Other incident types were e.g. runway excursions, running out of fuel and two near-miss situations involving deer during take-off or landing.
In previous years in general aviation, the most common causes for serious incidents have been near-miss situations in the air and runway excursions.

Accidents and serious incidents are made proportional annually to the flight hour data collected from Finnish aircraft owners. The statistics on hours flown in 2020 will be completed later in the spring. The statistics of 2019 and previous years can be viewed here (Ulkoinen linkki)

According to a preliminary estimate, the number of hours flown will decrease by about 30% from the previous year, with 25,000 hours flown in general aviation and 15,000 hours in recreational aviation. When made proportional to the hours flown, there were 40 serious incidents per 100,000 hours flown in general aviation and 33 serious incidents per 100,000 hours in recreational aviation. The average for 2013-2019 was 25.7 serious incidents in general aviation and 29.3 serious incidents in recreational aviation per 100.000 hours flown.

A listing of all serious incidents from 2005 onwards can be viewed in an updating report here (Ulkoinen linkki) (in Finnish).

Serious incidents in general and recreational aviation 2004-2020