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Thursday, 31 August 1972
Page: 595

Senator BISHOP - My question is directed to the. Minister for Civil Aviation. I refer to a question which I asked the Minister last Thursday in connection with the frequency of accidents to light aircraft and as to whether any main cause could be identified. Does the Minister have any further information in connection with this query?

Senator COTTON - I undertook to obtain some information and I have it. It will not take me long to give it to the honourable senator. I think it is better to do this now rather than later on. In the year ending June 1972 there were 222 accidents involving general aviation powered aircraft. This includes the 14 fatal accidents which caused 36 fatalities. The accident rate was 19.8 accidents per 100,000 hours flown. The fatal accident rate was 1.25 per 100,000 hours flown. The accident rate was the lowest achieved in corresponding periods since the present classification system was introduced in 1966. The fatal accident rate has been bettered only on one occasion in the past 12 financial years. The present record is therefore very good in relation to our high standard and in relation to comparative data from other countries. We aim to make it still better.

The honourable senator observed to me that the accident rate of light aircraft is higher than that for the heavier public tran sport aircraft. This is a fact of life in all aviation communities, including our own. In part it reflects the very high standard of the public transport operations but it is a logical consequence, I think it can be fairly said, of the tendency for the level of pilot experience to be lower in the general aviation field than in the more highly trained, sophisticated, regular public transport field. I thank the honourable senator for his interest in this matter. I think that this gives him some more up to date information.

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