WASHINGTON, D.C. — The number of fatal general aviation accidents declined by 5 percent this year, the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) announced last week.
The FAA’s goal was to have no more than 331 fatal general aviation accidents during the 12 months ending Sept. 30. The actual number was 314. Fatalities in general aviation accidents also declined significantly, from 676 in fiscal 2006 to 564 in fiscal 2007. For these calculations, “general aviation” includes not only privately flown planes but also non-scheduled air taxi flights.
“This record is due to a dedicated commitment to safety by everyone in general aviation,” said FAA Associate Administrator for Aviation Safety Nicholas A. Sabatini. “In particular, manufacturers are providing sophisticated technology like GPS and glass cockpits — and the training to go with them — and the FAA is vigorously encouraging adoption of these safety enhancements.”
In October 2006, the FAA ushered in a new effort to help aircraft owners, pilots and aviation maintenance technicians avoid mistakes that lead to accidents.Called the FAA Safety Team,the program is devoted to decreasing aircraft accidents by promoting a cultural change in the aviation community toward a higher level of safety. The program features data mining and analysis, teamwork, instruction in the use of safety management systems and risk management tools, and development and distribution of educational materials.
For more than 37 years, the FAA has pursued a comprehensive program to improve the safety of the general aviation community. The original program introduced the concept of a joint effort sponsored by the FAA and the aviation community to reduce the aviation accident rate. Over the years, the endeavor evolved into the Aviation Safety Program, and demonstrated that the general aviation accident rate could be reduced. In the 1990s, the program expanded to include aviation maintenance technicians.