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AETC Helps Air Force Safety Post Record Year

A UH-1N "Huey" hoists a Survival, Evasion, Resistance, Escape Specialist Training student at a landing zone north of Fairchild Air Force Base, Wash.  (U.S. Air Force photo by Tech. Sgt. Michael Darvis)

Whether ground or flight ops, Air Education and Training Command Airmen, such as the ones pictured here in survival, evasion, resistance and escape training at Fairchild AFB, Wash., are performing their jobs with less mishaps and fatalities. (U.S. Air Force photo by Tech. Sgt. Michael Darvis/Released)

JOINT BASE SAN ANTONIO-LACKLAND, Texas -- Air Force-wide the service had its lowest ground mishap fatality rate in 10 years and safest aviation year ever in fiscal 2014. Air Education and Training Command did its part to contribute to those historical declines by posting fatality and major aircraft mishap rates even lower than the Air Force’s record-setting numbers.

On the ground safety side, the Air Force finished the fiscal year with three on-duty and 42 off-duty fatalities, for rates of 1.09 and 13.01, respectively, per 100,000 people. The 10-year average is 5.9 on-duty and 50.6 off-duty fatalities. AETC, meanwhile, had zero on-duty and five off-duty ground fatalities, for rates of 0.0 and 9.6, respectively. Also, based on a five-year average, the command posted a 28 percent drop in off-duty fatalities, 39 percent reduction in on-duty military mishaps, a 30 percent reduction in on-duty civilian mishaps, and a 32 percent and 31 percent decline in four-wheel vehicle and motorcycle accidents, respectively.

“In the last few years, the Air Force has emphasized risk management principles for on- and off-duty activities,” said Maj. Gen. Kurt Neubauer, the Air Force chief of safety and the Air Force Safety Center commander.

“Risk management and safe operations are part of our ethos; and when our Airmen apply them to every activity, both on duty and off duty, they mitigate hazards and prevent mishaps.”

This was also evident in the flight safety arena.

With seven major aircraft accidents, the Air Force saw a 32 percent reduction in overall Class A aviation mishaps, which are classified by loss of life, an injury resulting in permanent or total disability, destruction of an Air Force aircraft, or more than $2 million in property damage or loss. That’s a record-setting rate of .44 per 100,000 flying hours. AETC bested those historical lows for the service with only one Class A mishap for a rate of .25. The command also celebrated zero flight-related fatalities in fiscal 2014.

“This is truly a good news story,” Neubauer said. “Flying is a ‘by the book’ or ‘buy the farm’ type of business. Our flyers showed great discipline while executing the mission. Aviator attention to detail, commander involvement at all levels and proper risk management enabled these historic lows.”