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DoD Sets Aviation Safety Record

American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, Dec. 5, 1997 – The Defense Department logged its safest flying year on record in fiscal 1997.

Despite a cluster of unrelated accidents during the final weeks of the fiscal year, there were only 68 major aviation accidents in 1997. The toll was 76 deaths and 54 aircraft destroyed. DoD began keeping statistics in 1958.

Defense Secretary William S. Cohen announced the record results Dec. 1. He had ordered the first DoD-wide, 24-hour aviation standdown in September following a series of accidents. At that time, he issued a memorandum to commanders "to thoroughly examine our training missions, ensuring that our crews are appropriately tasked and that missions are conducted as safely as possible consistent with training requirements."

"Perfection is impossible, but that is our goal for aviation safety," Cohen said in a statement Sept. 17. "The lives of our aircrews and passengers are very precious, and each loss is a great tragedy."

The department logged 116 deaths and 66 aircraft destroyed in 71 major aviation accidents in fiscal 1996. In 1994, DoD had its lowest number of fatalities, 68.

(From a DoD release)

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