This article first appeared at Aviation Week.com.
U.S. Army aviation accidents and incidents have cost the service about $16.2 billion over the past dozen years, according to an exclusive Aerospace DAILY analysis of data provided by the Army Combat Readiness/Safety Center (USACRC).
The average cost per an accident or incident for the more than 30,000 events was $539,281, the analysis shows, with a maximum single-event cost of about $62.4 million. The mishaps have lead to 2,856 deaths.
So far this fiscal year -- Oct. 1 through Nov. 10 -- the service seems to be off on solid footing as far as mishaps go, according to online statistics released through the USACRC.
The Army shows seven reported Class A-C aviation accidents in FY '09. There are three flight accidents resulting in an overall rate of 2.385 accidents per 100,000 hours flown within the Army flying hour program.
The current number of Class A-C accidents is 65 percent below last fiscal year, and 73 percent below a three-year average of the same periods. The Army has lost no soldiers this fiscal year in aviation mishaps.
Reducing fatalities and injuries has been a priority for Army safety leaders. "While I'm not a fan of statistics, it is evident soldiers and leaders get it' by the 46 percent decrease in on-duty fatalities across our Army in fiscal 2008 (compared to fiscal 2007)," wrote Brig. Gen. William Wolf, new director of Army safety and commanding general of the USACRC, in a Nov. 3 letter posted on the center's Web site.
Since 1986, the Army aircraft with the most reported fatalities due to mishaps are UH-60 Black Hawks, with more than 880 events, the analysis shows.
Placing second are the old UH-1H Hueys, with more than 460.
Next come Chinook variants, with the CH-47D accounting for more than 250 fatalities, according to the analysis.
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