This is coolbert:
From the Strategy Page Professor Al Nofi CIC #77 this item:
"Between 1954 [776 in that year] and 1999 [22 in that year] the number of aircraft in the U.S. Navy destroyed in accidents fell by nearly 98-percent, from 776 to 22."
Amazing statistic. And the reason why is?
From a conversation with an acknowledged aviation authority we have an answer!
1. "Increased safety devices and training. Planes [circa WW2 and the immediate subsequent years] and pilots the former costing hundreds of thousands of dollars, were expendable. Planes were built in the tens of thousands per type/model. Once planes cost tens of millions of dollars and were built only in the hundreds or low one thousands, they became too valuable to lose to errors. Now, planes cost hundreds of millions and some were built in the low tens (21 for the B-2, 64 for the F-117 Nighthawk). The loss of even one plane will cost a commander his slot and career."
2. "There was absolutely no comparison between [current training] and what the WWII generation went through. And the safety training was [and is] intense--by [the time of the Vietnam War] USAF was very concerned about accident losses, both in pilots and planes (by this time the investment in pilots was quite expensive in time and money, especially when you have to train the guy--after college--for up to two or more years). But even then . . . accident rates would be considered outrageous, unacceptable and the subject of USAF and Congressional investigations in today's world. And we thought we were safer compared to our senior officers and the instructors who trained us. They had come out of WWII or the 1950s and accidents were terribly common."
3. "Navy pilots had it worse . . . . landing on carriers in those days was much more hazardous than USAF planes landing on long, wide, stable runways."
This is intuitive? Short landing strip [the aircraft carrier deck], a ship moving forward, with roll and up-and-down motion all at once. Intuitively much harder to land than: "USAF planes landing on long, wide, stable runways." Obvious even to the most casual of observers without question!
And thank you acknowledged aviation expert!