A Review of Civil Aviation Propeller-to-Person Accidents: 1980–1989
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A Review of Civil Aviation Propeller-to-Person Accidents: 1980–1989

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  • Abstract:
    Various types of paint schemes on aircraft propeller and rotor blades are used to improve the visual conspicuity and attention-getting value of those blades when they are rotating. The improved conspicuity resulting from the paint schemes has the purpose of reducing the number of injuries and fatalities that might occur due to accidental contact with a rotating blade by pilots, passengers, or ground crew. The present study was undertaken to provide information regarding the circumstances surrounding such accidents in recent years and to compare those findings with the frequency and circumstances of propeller accidents during the 1965-1979 period.

    Computer retrievals of brief reports of all propeller accidents during the period from 1980 through 1989 were provided by the National Transportation Safety Board. Those reports were examined and analyzed in terms of type of accident, degree of injury, actions of pilots, action of passengers and ground crew, night or day, and other conditions. The computer search yielded a total of 104 reports of "propeller-to-person" accidents involving 106 persons. "Prop-to-person" accident frequency for the 1980-1989 period was notably lower than that previously reported for the 1960's and 1970's. Recent declines appear due to a combination of FAA educational efforts, economic conditions, and changes in the types of aircraft used by present aviation pilots. Irrespective of the decade under study, persons at most risk for a propeller-to-person accident are deplaning passengers and passengers attempting to assist the pilot prior to takeoff and after landing.

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