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This Type Of Flight Causes 25% Of Fatalities In General Aviation

VFR flight into IMC is incredibly dangerous, not to mention illegal. Here are some stats from the Nall Report explaining why.

1) About 4% of general aviation accidents are weather related, but they account for over 25% of all general aviation fatalities.


2) Nearly half of weather related accidents involve pilots attempting fly under Visual Flight Rules (VFR) into Instrument Meteorological Conditions (IMC).


3) Over 72% of VFR into IMC accidents are fatal.


4) Private pilots account for 38% the overall pilot population, but they are involved in 49% of all accidents.


5) Student pilots are statistically safer than private pilots. Students make up 15% of all pilots, but they only account for 6% of all accidents.


6) In the majority of VFR into IMC accidents, the pilot received a weather briefing. Most of those weather briefings included "VFR not recommended".


7) As pilot certification level increased, the accident rate decreased. However, high-time private pilots were involved in more accidents than low-time private pilots.

Fernando X Sanchez

8) Increased confidence of high-time, non-instrument rated pilots may be the single biggest contributing factor for VFR into IMC accidents.


There's nothing wrong with flying in the clouds, just get your instrument rating first. It's one of the best (and safest) things you can do as a pilot.

Colin Cutler

Colin is a Boldmethod co-founder, pilot and graphic artist. He's been a flight instructor at the University of North Dakota, an airline pilot on the CRJ-200, and has directed development of numerous commercial and military training systems. You can reach him at

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