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Loss of Control In-flight (LOC-I)

Loss of Control In-flight (LOC-I) remains one of the most significant contributors to fatal accidents worldwide. LOC-I refers to accidents in which the flight crew was unable to maintain control of the aircraft in flight, resulting in an unrecoverable deviation from the intended flight path.

LOC-I can result from a range of interferences including engine failures, icing, or stalls. It is one of the most complex accident categories, involving numerous contributing factors that act individually or, more often, in combination. Reducing this accident category, through understanding of causes and possible intervention strategies, is an industry priority.

Environmental Factors Affecting LOC-I

Less than one tenth of accidents in the period 2011 – 2015 were categorized as LOC-I. where Environmental threats were identified in a significant proportion of all LOC-I accidents and therefore a strong link can be drawn between environmental factors and LOC-I accidents.
IATA has prepared “Environmental Factors Affecting Loss of Control In-Flight: Best Practice for Threat Recognition & Management” (pdf) guidance material to provide a point of reference for the understanding and mitigation of the risk of LOC-I as a result of the environmental factors encountered in flight.
For the purpose of this document, the environmental factors to be considered are meteorological phenomena such as connective weather and the associated conditions, turbulence in clear air turbulence from aircraft wake vortices.

LOC-I Analysis​

Data on LOC-I accidents and contributing factors involved in these accidents are provided in the 2010-2014 LOC-I Accident Analysis Report (pdf).

The LOC-I Accident Analysis Report analyzes the 38 LOC-I accidents that occurred during the reported period, which included 37 fatal accidents and caused 1,242 fatalities and contributing factors.

Current training methodologies and regulatory requirements have had little success in mitigating this most frequent fatal aviation accident category. 

A focus on effective upset prevention, recognition and recovery training is required to mitigate the risk of LOC-I accidents and reduce the unacceptably high number of fatalities.

Pilot training programs must also ensure that pilots have sufficient aircraft system and environmental knowledge to recognize when they are exposed to enhanced risk of LOC-I, and to respond effectively to the threats.​

LOC-I Prevention

Numerous fatalities resulted from Loss of Control In-Flight (LOC-I) accidents in recent years and the industry sees a need to take action. As an accident category, LOC-I is very broad and there are many different sequences that can lead up to an accident. This makes it difficult to produce a single, effective guidance document to help prevent LOC-I. 

Analyses of LOC-I range from considerations of aircraft design to pilot training, regulatory oversight to change management. The Loss of Control Prevention: Beyond the Control of Pilots (pdf) document covers the aircraft design/manufacture characteristics as well as the organizational/managerial aspects and their role in aviation accidents.
The management section focuses on organizational and managerial issues which have the potential to create undesirable latent conditions contributory to LOC-I.
The design and manufacture section of this document concentrates on aircraft characteristics, and in particular some of the certification specificatios for transport category aircraft, which may have an influence upon LOC-I.​

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