Controlled Flight into Terrain (CFIT) refers to accidents in which there was an in-flight collision with terrain, water, or obstacle, without indication of loss of control. The critical distinction in these types of accidents is the fact that the aircraft was under the control of the flight crew at the time of the collision.  Although CFIT is not the most frequent of accident categories, such accidents account for a substantial number of fatalities. Between 2017 and 2021 6 CFIT accidents resulted in 108 fatalities. IATA advocates for a data-driven approach to the evaluation of risks and the development of solutions to mitigate CFIT accidents.

A study on “Terrain Awareness Warning System Capability and Human Factors in CFIT Accidents” (pdf) led IATA to recommend a number of safety enhancements to mitigate CFIT.

Managing the risks​

The joint IATA / Honeywell guidance on Performance assessment of pilot response to Enhanced Ground Proximity Warning System (EGPWS) (pdf) highlights the importance of keeping the terrain/obstacle/runway database up to date. It also makes several recommendations that may result in significantly reducing CFIT risks. In support of the guidance document, IATA has developed a CFIT Detailed Implementation Plan (DIP) and is working with airlines, OEMs, international organizations and other relevant stakeholders to see they are applied.

Run your own CFIT analysis

The CFIT Accident Analysis Report (pdf) can help you evaluate the risk factors present in recent CFIT accidents and implement  mitigation strategies.

This interactive PDF report is organized in a way to provide dynamic environment data from 47 CFIT accidents that occurred between 2008 and 2017. It contains interactive Excel graphs and is written to support a user-friendly methodology to analyze and visualize CFIT accident data and to identify patterns, trends and comparisons between data selections.

For maximum functionality, please download and save a copy of the report, before opening with Adobe Acrobat. The embedded MsExcel graphs are available for users with Microsoft Office versions 2013, 2016 and Office 365. Please close any open excel files after viewing in order to maintain optimum performance. If you don't have Adobe Acrobat, please write to us at to obtain an MS Word file.