The FAA is launching a research project aimed at reducing loss of control scenarios, which it says account for about 50% of all GA accidents.
The study’s goal is to determine the “feasibility of leveraging existing technology currently available in the GA market to implement automatic envelope warning and protection devices and improve GA safety in a cost-effective manner,” according to FAA officials.
Existing technology includes digital Attitude Heading Reference Systems (AHRS) and GPS, which could be linked with autopilots to limit pitch, airspeed and bank angles.
While the necessary technology is available, the FAA says GA has been reluctant to use advanced control systems due to concerns about costs. “There is a misconception that these systems would require the development of new actuator and flight control computer hardware,” say FAA officials.
“However, existing displays and new digital autopilots that take advantage of cheaper sensor, computer and actuator technology may provide a means to finally develop advanced controls at a price that would fit the GA industry budget.”