Parking: this phase ends and starts when the aircraft respectively begins or stops moving forward under its own power.
Accidents by flight phase
The largest percentages of accidents occur during approach and landing
It is not a surprise that the largest percentages of both fatal accidents and hull losses are seen to occur during approach and landing.
Approach and landing are highly complex flight phases which place significant demands on the crew in terms of navigation, aircraft configuration changes, communication with Air Traffic Control, and frequently in responding to congested airspace or degraded weather conditions.
This confluence of high workload and the increased potential of unanticipated circumstances is exactly the kind of complex interplay of contributing factors that can lead to accidents.
The percentages of accidents occurring in approach & landing highlight that these phases are operationally complex with high crew workload, which can be further aggravated by disadvantageous weather or traffic conditions.
Accident by flight phase as a percentage of all accidents 1999 - 2018
Definitions of flight phases
Taxi: this phase includes both taxi-out and taxi-in. Taxi-out starts when the aircraft begins moving forward under its own power and ends when it reaches the takeoff position. Taxi-in normally starts after the landing roll-out, when the aircraft taxis to the parking area. It may, in some cases, follow a taxi-out.
Takeoff run: this phase begins when the crew increases thrust for the purpose of lift-off. It ends when an initial climb is established or the crew aborts its takeoff.
Aborted takeoff: this phase starts when the crew reduces thrust during the takeoff run to stop the aircraft. It ends when the aircraft is stopped or when it is taxied off the runway.
Initial climb: this phase begins at 35 feet above the runway elevation. It normally ends with the climb to cruise. It may, in some instances, be followed by an approach.
Climb to cruise: this phase begins when the crew establishes the aircraft at a defined speed and configuration enabling the aircraft to increase altitude for the cruise. It normally ends when the aircraft reaches cruise altitude. It may, in some cases end with the initiation of a descent.
Cruise: this phase begins when the aircraft reaches the initial cruise altitude. It ends when the crew initiates a descent for the purpose of landing.
Initial descent: this phase starts when the crew leaves the cruise altitude in order to land. It normally ends when the crew initiates changes in the aircraft’s configuration and/or speed in view of the landing. It may, in some cases end with a cruise or climb to cruise phase.
Approach: this phase starts when the crew initiates changes in the aircraft’s configuration and/or speed in view of the landing. It normally ends when the aircraft is in the landing configuration and the crew is dedicated to land on a particular runway. It may, in some cases, end with the initiation of an initial climb or go-around phase.
Go-around: this phase begins when the crew aborts the descent to the planned landing runway during the approach phase. It ends with the initiation of an initial climb or when speed and configuration are established at a defined altitude.
Landing: this phase begins when the aircraft is in the landing configuration and the crew is dedicated to land on a particular runway. It ends when the aircraft’s speed is decreased to taxi speed.