Controlled flight into terrain

In aviation, a controlled flight into terrain (CFIT; usually /ˈsfɪt/ SEE-fit) is an accident in which an airworthy aircraft, under pilot control, is unintentionally flown into the ground, a mountain, a body of water or an obstacle.[1][2] In a typical CFIT scenario, the crew is unaware of the impending disaster until it is too late. The term was coined by engineers at Boeing in the late 1970s.[3]

Accidents where the aircraft is out of control at the time of impact, because of mechanical failure or pilot error, are not considered CFIT (they are known as uncontrolled flight into terrain or UFIT), nor are incidents resulting from the deliberate action of the person at the controls, such as acts of terrorism or suicide by pilot.

According to Boeing in 1997, CFIT was a leading cause of airplane accidents involving the loss of life, causing over 9,000 deaths since the beginning of the commercial jet aircraft.[4] CFIT was identified as a cause of 25% of USAF Class A mishaps between 1993 and 2002.[5] According to data collected by the International Air Transport Association (IATA) between 2008 and 2017, CFITs accounted for six percent of all commercial aircraft accidents, and was categorized as "the second-highest fatal accident category after Loss of Control Inflight (LOCI)."[2]


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