That’s the question Richard Collins asks in a new blog post at Air Facts.
He notes: “The higher incidence of accidents in experimental aircraft is just as logical as the fact that the fatal accident rate in private (general) aviation is almost infinitely higher than it is in airline flying. When more freedom is granted by reducing regulations and eliminating stifling procedures, then the risk goes up.”
In general aviation, he notes, “risk management is left solely to the pilot. For experimental-amateur built, that freedom extends to the building and testing of the airplane, though the FAA does have requirements for the flight testing of newly-built E-AB airplanes.”
He continues: “The accident record in private flying when I soloed in 1951 was about like the accident record in experimental flying today. When I started, we were free spirits, a band of brothers, who loved to fly. It was almost holy and we weren’t looking for anyone to save us. We knew that what we were doing was a lot riskier than knitting and we didn’t care. That is all true of many, if not most, experimental pilots today and I think that in both cases the accident record is simply the result of the interface between the romance of flying and the pilots who practice the art.”
“So if you ask me what is wrong with experimental pilots, I say nothing. Just leave them alone and let them enjoy flying.”