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Free Content Control Pattern Injuries in Fatal Fixed-Wing General Aviation Accidents

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Olson DM. Control pattern injuries in fatal fixed-wing general aviation accidents. Aviat Space Environ Med 2014; 85:618–23.

Background: In aviation accident investigations, control pattern injuries (CPIs) have been useful for accident reconstruction and for determining who was in control of the aircraft at the time of impact. Recently, CPIs have been considered nonspecific. This study compares CPIs suffered by pilots and passengers in fatal fixed-wing general aviation (GA) accidents. Methods: Accident data were collected from the Federal Aviation Administration’s Civil Aerospace Medical Institute (FAA-CAMI) and National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) accident reports for the year 2010. Pilot and passenger data were analyzed by comparing the number, type, and location of CPIs. Results: Of 22 types of CPIs, 2 were found to be individually statistically significant, but neither was significant when corrected for multiple comparisons. When comparing solo pilots to all passengers, fractures of the right metatarsals occurred more frequently in solo pilots (9.3%) than in all passengers (1.69%) and fractures of the distal radius and ulna occurred less frequently for solo pilots (11.36%) than in all passengers (22.41%). Conclusion: Proportional differences appear to exist when comparing specific CPIs between pilots and passengers. Control pattern injuries are an important part of accident investigation and may be helpful in determining the pilot in control at the time of impact.

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Keywords: accident investigation; aircraft crashes; extremity fractures; pilot in command

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: Wright State University Aerospace Medicine Residency Program, Wright State University, Dayton, OH, USA

Publication date: June 1, 2014

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