Alaska leads US in cargo plane crashes

Posted: Monday, June 29, 2009

FAIRBANKS - Alaska led the nation in fatal cargo plane crashes over the past decade.

From 1997 through 2008, Alaska had 18 of the 93 fatal air cargo accidents in the U.S., according to a report by the Government Accountability Office, an investigative arm of Congress.

The GAO said better technology on aircraft, better data on small operators and flight risk checklists would improve safety.

The report, released Wednesday, blamed Alaska's high crash rate on challenges such as unusual weather conditions, relatively heavy air traffic because of a lack of roads, and poorly maintained and substandard rural airports.

The GAO said top risk factors nationwide include a sole pilot on board, night flights, winter operations and low pilot experience.

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