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Senate Office Building
Washington, D. C.

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE                                                                                                                                                                          October 29, 1943

Senator Harry S. Truman (D. Mo.), Chairman of the Special Committee Investigating the National Defense Program stated today:

"General Henry H. Arnold, Commander of the Army Air Forces, today made a private report to the Committee on the result of an extensive study of aviation accidents. Many figures in the report cannot be made public but General Arnold authorized the following summary of some of the more important points which he made:

(l) All activities of the Army Air Forces have undergone tremendous expansion since 1940. This is particularly true of the flight personnel training programs. In the year ended June 30, 1943, the Army Air Forces flew 3 1/2 times the number of hours flown in the entire 20 years from 1921 to 1940. In spite of this increase the rate of aircraft accidents per 1,000 hours flown in the fiscal year ended June 30, 1943 was less than the average rate for the 10 peace time years 1931-1940 and was only slightly greater than the average for the 5 best peace time years. The rate of accidents in the Army Air Forces per 1,000 hours of flying is less than that of our Allies and is believed to be substantially less than that of our enemies. As a result of the increased proportion of larger and heavier planes, of faster military aircraft, and of newly trained pilots, the rate of fatal accidents (that is, accidents in which one or more men are killed) was up fractionally for the full fiscal year 1943. The trend near the end of the year was downward and in the last quarter the rate was below that of 1942.

(2) As a result of the very large number of medium and heavy bombers and of troop carrying aircraft a much greater number of flight personnel are now involved in any single fatal accident. This has caused the rate to fatalities to increase.

(3) General Arnold stated that he is constantly reviewing accident problems and that be takes prompt action against any Air Force personnel who fail to follow safety instruction or who fail to maintain the standards of discipline and efficiency necessary for safe operation.

(4) General Arnold also pointed out that ultimate safety for pilots means that they pass through their training period without accidents. It means that they must receive training which will enable them safely to undertake their combat missions. To do this their own safety requires that they be trained here in night and bad weather flying which, of course, raises the accident rate here but which tremendously reduces the combat losses abroad. This not only makes them capable of accomplishing combat missions which they might not otherwise be able to accomplish but in the long run saves lives. It would be shortsighted and unfair to sacrifice men and equipemnt in combat for the sake of making an apparent reduction in aircraft accidents. The true record is the combined accident and combat loss, measured against the successful accomplishment of the combat mission and the losses inflicted on the enemy. The record has so far been most gratifying.


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