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April 11, 1966

The Role of the Aviation Medical Examiner in Aircraft Disasters

Author Affiliations

From the Federal Aviation Agency, Washington, DC. Dr. White is now Command Surgeon, Pacific Air Force.

JAMA. 1966;196(2):159-160. doi:10.1001/jama.1966.03100150105025

Aircraft disasters are fortunately few. Airplane L crashes involve far fewer individuals than the numbers commonly associated with the word "disaster." Nevertheless, aircraft accidents should be included in a community disaster plan. The possible role of the Aviation Medical Examiner (AME) in such plans merits consideration.

Nature of Aircraft Accidents  Major aviation accidents, while receiving a disproportionate share of the headlines, are relatively rare. United States carriers have the most outstanding safety record of those of any nation. For example, in 1964 US airlines, with approximately 2,000 aircraft carrying over 80 million passengers for over 50 billion passenger miles, had 77 accidents, nine of which produced fatalities. In these nine accidents, 200 persons were killed. In this same period, in general aviation, which includes approximately 85,000 aircraft used in private business, pleasure, and sport flying, there were 403 fatal accidents in which 930 persons were killed.Aircraft accidents usually result

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