Crashes, and subsequent fatalities, of small private planes have "fallen to the lowest levels in decades" thanks to mobile devices that give pilots "much better weather information" than a few years ago, along with other benefits. These devices mainly include Apple's iPad lineup and, in 2015, helped contribute to the lowest rate of fatal crashes ever recorded by the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration: 1.03 fatal accidents per 100,000 flight hours (via Bloomberg).
As pointed out by John Hansman, an astronautics and aeronautics professor at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, the data should be "approached with care," due to the fact that there is far less information and data available on general aviation as opposed to commercial flights. Private airplane flights per year have also decreased, which would help lessen the overall chance for accidents in the first place. Still, the new data collected "jibes with broad new efforts to improve safety in that arena," according to Hansman.
“It’s encouraging,” said Hansman, who has studied private-aircraft safety data. “There are reasons to think it might be accurate. There’s a lot of things happening in the system that are slowly making it better.”
In reaction to these accidents, the FAA and the U.S. National Transportation Safety Board moved to bolster each private aircraft pilot's safety levels, leading to the official approval of "weather and other programs for mobile devices." To improve the regulation of these aircrafts, the two administrations also approved ways to make it easier to add safety equipment to planes, including devices that warn of engine failure and the impending loss of control of the plane.