Tracking down answers at Oshkosh


Over the years, you may have noticed my lack of enthusiasm for many of the changes and upgrades made to the Experimental Aircraft Association‘s (EAA) Oshkosh event, now called AirVenture.

In the good old days, Oshkosh was a technical information exchange and social gathering. The primary purpose of the event was for homebuilders and aircraft owners to learn about their aircraft. It has now become a major sales event with some social and technical information mixed in.

For example, the major exhibitors are such general aviation stalwarts as John Deere, Ford, Honda and Boeing. Consequently, even the GA companies now send sales personnel to man the booths. This makes finding answers to technical questions challenging at best. [Read more…]

Report shows drop in GA accidents

The Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association (AOPA) Air Safety Institute has released the 24th edition of the Joseph T. Nall Report, general aviation’s (GA) most comprehensive safety review.

The report, which provides an in-depth analysis of accidents that occurred in 2012, shows that there were 17% few GA accidents in 2012 than in 2011.

Other highlights:

  • 75% of the GA fixed-wing accidents were attributed to pilot-related causes, continuing the pattern that has characterized this sector for years;
  • Accidents attributed to fuel management issues (starvation, exhaustion, and contamination) were the cause of 79 accidents, the second-lowest number on record;
  • The report includes ASI’s first-ever analysis of the causes of helicopter accidents.

ASI also prepared a brief statistical analysis of GA accidents in calendar years 2013 and 2014, most of which have preliminary NTSB accident reports.

Highlights from those years include:

  • In 2013, the number of GA fixed-wing accidents decreased by an unprecedented 18% from the year before, falling below 1,000 per year for the first time. This improvement continued in 2014 with 923 total accidents, an all-time low.
  • The number of fatal accidents fell 24% from 2012 to 2013. While this was followed by a 12% increase in 2014, these remain the only two years in the past half-century with fewer than 200 fatal accidents in light airplanes per year.
  •  The GA fatal accident rate dropped below 1.00 per 100,000 flight hours for the first time ever in 2013. FAA estimates of GA flight time confirm that the accident rate improvements in 2013 did not result from decreased activity.