Top 10 – Accident Cause Factors

This top 10 list may not show up on Letterman, but when it comes to aviation safety we pilots should understand these accident cause factors. One way to understand them is to learn from others mistakes, and the best way to do so is to read NTSB reports. They are easily searchable from the National Transportation Safety Board website (

Over the next few weeks I will be counting down the list and I will be including a couple of NTSB reports that illustrate the given cause factor.

Here are the Top 10 accident cause factors as written in AIM 7-5-1

The 10 most frequent cause factors for general aviation accidents that involve the pilot-in-command are:

1. Inadequate preflight preparation and/or planning.

2. Failure to obtain and/or maintain flying speed.

3. Failure to maintain direction control.

4. Improper level off.

5. Failure to see and avoid objects or obstructions.

6. Mismanagement of fuel.

7. Improper inflight decisions or planning.

8. Misjudgment of distance and speed.

9. Selection of unsuitable terrain.

10. Improper operation of flight controls.

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