Pilots who operate under visual flight rules (VFR) and in visual meteorological conditions, who then continue flight into instrument meteorological conditions (IMC), remain as one of the leading causes of fatal aircraft accidents in general aviation. This paper examines past and current research initiatives, in seeking to identify causal factors and gaps in training that lead to VFR-into-IMC aircraft accidents, using a mixed methods approach. The Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association Air Safety Institute database and the National Transportation Safety Board database search engines were used to identify accident reports associated with VFR flight into IMC/deteriorating weather conditions for a 10-year time period (2003 to 2012). A national survey was also conducted to gain deeper insight into the self-identified training deficiencies of pilots. There is evidence that situational awareness is linked to decision-making, and there is a lack of proper training with regards to weather and weather technology concepts, making it difficult for pilots to gain these knowledge areas, skills, and abilities throughout their initial flight training and subsequent experience.

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