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Controlled Flight Into Terrain (CFIT)

IATA is dedicated to implementing a data driven approach to the evaluation of aviation safety risks and the development of potential solutions to mitigate Controlled Flight Into Terrain (CFIT) accidents.

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 is under the control of the flight crew.

The IATA Accident Database shows that CFIT is not the most frequent of accident categories. However, these accidents account for a substantial number of fatalities.

Managing The Risks​

During the period spanning from (2005-2014) a total of 1,346 fatalities occurred from 67 CFIT accidents.  Comparing this number with the total number of accidents recorded in the Global Aviation Data Management (GADM) accident database over the same period, the likelihood of a CFIT accident occurring is very low. However, when CFIT accidents did occur, 99% resulted in hull loss and 88% incurred fatalities.

IATA conducted a study on “Terrain Awareness Warning System Capability and Human Factors in CFIT Accidents” (pdf) to understand if there are commonalities with these accidents, to compile lessons learned, and to provide the industry with recommendations that can help mitigate CFIT accidents.

CFIT Analysis

Download the CFIT Accident Analysis Report (pdf) to get an evaluation of the risk factors from recent CFIT accidents and information designed to aid industry in the implementation of mitigation strategies.

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