Summary of US Civil Aviation Accidents
for Calendar Year 2012
The NTSB's Summary of US Civil Aviation Accidents for Calendar Year 2012 reviews all civil aviation accidents that occurred between January 1, 2012, and December 31, 2012. This summary combines accidents involving air carriers (regulated by Title 14 Code of Federal Regulations [CFR] Part 121), commuter and on-demand carriers (regulated by 14 CFR Part 135) and general aviation (regulated by 14 CFR Part 91). This report is published before the adoption of the probable cause for all accidents that were reviewed. (Probable cause information can be found here.)
Civil aviation in the United States encompasses a broad variety of aircraft and pilots, flying for many different purposes. These operations can range from light-sport and private flights to commercial air carrier operations. The safety of civil aviation in the United States is regulated by the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA). The FAA distinguishes between commercial and general aviation operations. Commercial operations generally involve carriers that operate aircraft in revenue service, for the purpose of either passenger or cargo transport. These carriers are regulated by Parts 121 and 135.
Most air carriers regulated by Part 121 fly large, transport-category aircraft for the purpose of passenger travel. However, some carriers operating under Part 121 transport cargo only. Both passenger and all-cargo Part 121 carriers normally conduct operations in controlled airspace and at specific, uncontrolled airports that are able to provide certain weather, maintenance, and operational equipment and support.
Part 135 applies to commuter and on-demand operations, which may involve takeoffs and landings at airports that do not have the services required by Part 121. Part 135 contains different regulatory requirements than those for Part 121 operators.
Part 121 and Part 135 operations can be further classified into scheduled and non-scheduled services. Scheduled operators offer set departure locations, departure times, and arrival locations in advance of each flight's departure. Non-scheduled operators, or on-demand operators, do not operate from set locations at set times, but instead rely on their customers to determine the departure and arrival locations and times. Examples of non-scheduled operations include some Part 121 cargo operations, Part 135 air taxi operations, and certain emergency medical transport operations.
In contrast, general aviation operations encompass all those not covered by Part 121 or Part 135 (or those covered by Part 129, which applies to foreign carriers operating in US airspace). Whereas Parts 121 and 135 apply to specific types of operations, general aviation encompasses a wide variety of operations, involving an even wider array of aircraft. General aviation includes all non-commercial operations, including flying for pleasure and business, along with very specific commercial operations, such as flight training and banner- or glider-towing. Accidents in each segment of civil aviation will be discussed in subsequent sections of this report.
Some of the statistical summaries presented here use accident categories that were developed by the Commercial Aviation Safety Team (CAST)/International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) Common Taxonomy Team (CICTT). CICTT category development focuses on coding aircraft accident occurrences and phases of flight in a standardized and logical manner. In categorizing US civil aviation accidents, the NTSB can use multiple CICTT categories to describe each aircraft involved in an accident. For ease of use, the NTSB identifies one occurrence as the defining event for each accident aircraft. This summary categorizes each accident aircraft by its defining event and the phase of flight associated with the defining event.
International Civil Aviation Organization
(From the Official Website for Aviation Common Taxonomies)
Defining Event (Occurrence Category)
Phase of Flight
Activity data collected by the FAA for on-demand Part 135 and general aviation were not available for use in this report for calendar year 2011. Consequently, this summary does not provide 2012 accident rates for these groups for that year, although counts of accidents by injury type, defining event, and phase of flight are provided.