FAA administrator calls for more action on GA safety

As the busy summer flying season approaches, FAA Administrator Michael Huerta recently met with leaders from the general aviation community to agree on actions to enhance safety and reduce accidents.

The general aviation fatal accident rate has remained flat over the past five years and 149 fatal accidents already have occurred so far this fiscal year, killing 262 people, FAA officials note.

“We cannot become complacent about safety,” Huerta said. “Together, we must improve the safety culture to drive the GA fatal accident rate lower.”

In the short term, the group agreed to raise awareness on the importance of basic airmanship and to promote a positive safety culture.

The following organizations attended the meeting and are partnering with the FAA to reach out to the many diverse facets of the general aviation community: Aircraft Electronics Association (AEA), Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association (AOPA), Experimental Aircraft Association (EAA), General Aviation Manufacturers Association (GAMA), Helicopter Association International (HAI), International Council of Air Shows (ICAS), National Agricultural Aviation Association (NAAA), National Air Transportation Association (NATA), National Business Aviation Association (NBAA), National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) and the U.S. Parachute Association (USPA).

For the long term, Huerta called on the aviation community to install life-saving equipment, including angle of attack indicators, inflatable restraints, two-axis autopilots, in older airplanes, to improve general aviation data, and to improve airman certification testing and training. To meet these goals, the general aviation community and the FAA agreed to work together to move forward as quickly as possible on three key initiatives:

  1. Participate and invest in the General Aviation Joint Steering Committee (GAJSC): Industry participation is key to data analysis that leads to the development of voluntary safety enhancements. The group uses a data driven process modeled on the highly successful Commercial Aviation Safety Team (CAST). Sharing data through the Aviation Safety Information Analysis and Sharing (ASIAS) system and other voluntary programs will help educate and shape the safety culture of the GA community. The FAA plans to expand ASIAS to general aviation in the next few years. FAA and industry will work together to find incentives to increase voluntary reporting.
  2. Support the overhaul of airmen testing and training standards: An industry and government working group is overhauling the standards by incorporating risk management and decision-making into flight training and testing.
  3. Expedite the Part 23 certification process to reduce costs and install new technology in airplanes: An industry and government committee is working on streamlining certification for the installation of certain safety technologies.

See FAA Fact Sheet-General Aviation Safety

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Comments

  1. I desperately want to install a dual axis autopilot in my 1979 Piper Warrior but at $15k minimum for a install, that’s half what the plane is worth. I read how a experimental airplane can install a brand new Garmin G3x glass cockpit with free autopilot system for half the cost. Why? Because of legalities? Get rid of the bureaucratic red tape and make it possible for people to afford the safety systems.

    Death and destruction is no different whether the words “Experimental” are written on the side.

  2. Considering all the turmoil surrounding the proposed control tower closures, I think the FAA has absoulutely no creditability/integrity when it comes to flight safety, and has lost all moral authority to impose any additional restrictions. The agemcy has too many strictly political appointees in its upper echelons, and needs to be completely reformed. Leave the political appointees at the cabinet level agencies (as a concession to reality). FAA needs to be all career aviators/maintenence managers/avionics, etc. My humble $0.02

  3. So if we don’t install this equipment, then what? Are we grounded?

  4. I wonder why NAFI or some other organization representing the training industry was not present at the meeting. Are flight instructors going to be invited to be involved in the overhauling flight training?

  5. Regarding equipment, I would love to drop a 2-axis autopilot and an approach-capable gps in my 43-year-old bird, but $15,000 for an autopilot is a lot of change, and used ones have to go back to the factory for an expensive reassignment that ends up costing the same as new. Panel gps’s are also terribly expensive. When such items approach the cost of an engine overhaul, how can we possibly afford to put this wonderful safety equipment in our planes?

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