EAA AVIATION CENTER, OSHKOSH, Wisconsin — The safety level of homebuilt aircraft continues to improve, as fatal accident totals have dropped significantly over a 12-month period covering much of 2015, according to data analyzed by the Experimental Aircraft Association (EAA).
The totals, which include fatal accidents during the 2015 federal fiscal year (October 2014 through September 2015), showed that fatal accidents in amateur-built aircraft registered in the FAA’s experimental category fell 20% from the previous 12-month period.
The specific totals indicate 40 fatal accidents in those aircraft during the period, compared to 51 during the prior year.
In addition, all fatal accidents for the experimental category that includes racing aircraft, those used for exhibition only, research-and-development, and some types of light-sport aircraft, also fell. Those fatal accidents fell from 68 to 61 during the 12-month measurement period, EAA officials noted.
The fiscal year 2015 totals also bettered the FAA “not-to-exceed” goal of 64 for that period.
“This is excellent news to see this type of reduction in fatal accident numbers, which are already smaller than other types of popular recreational pursuits, such as paddle sports, horseback riding, and driving all-terrain vehicles,” said Sean Elliott, EAA’s vice president of advocacy and safety. “However, when discussing small totals such as those in homebuilt aviation, even an uptick of three to five accidents per year is a major percentage increase. That’s why it’s so important for EAA and the entire amateur-built aviation community to continue focusing on safety and education, which is always more effective than additional regulation.”
Just as important as the raw numbers within the data are several factors that include an increased number of flight hours in recent years and an increasing total of amateur-built aircraft on the FAA register, EAA officials pointed out.