Attrition: USAF Breaks Safety Record


December5, 2006: Despite being wartime, last year (2006, which ends September 30th for the Department of Defense) turned out to be the safest in U.S. Air Force history. Consider, for example, that in the year the air force was founded, 1947, there were 1,500 aircraft accidents, with about a third resulting in a destroyed aircraft. Over 500 airmen died in these accidents. In 2006, there were 19 accidents ("major mishaps"), eight destroyed aircraft and one dead airman. This follows a trend that began in the 1950s, as safer aircraft began to appear. After World War II, jets began to replace propeller driven aircraft, and the new jets were more accident prone. But decade after decade, aircraft became safer and safer, despite being built to travel at higher speeds, carrying more weapons, and becoming more maneuverable.


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