EAA Safety Efforts Aim to Lower GA Accident Rate

November 14, 2012 - EAA is continuing to lead and collaborate on a variety of programs that are focused on lowering the general aviation accident rate, with efforts that range from aircraft construction to pilot decision-making.

These EAA initiatives, both long-standing programs and new partnerships with other aviation organizations and industry members, are aimed at a single goal: Enhancing GA safety. They also show the continuing work of the GA community to raise safety awareness as the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) studies ways to improve aviation safety. The NTSB on Tuesday released its annual "Most Wanted List" that included general aviation safety on a list that also included safety issues in automobiles, buses, trains, and pipelines.

"Everyone agrees that safety is a never-ending priority and that's why EAA has been so active in working with other organizations such as AOPA, as well as type clubs, pilot groups, manufacturers, and government agencies," said Sean Elliott, EAA vice president of advocacy and safety. "We maintain that education is a far better way to improve safety than regulation. That includes education from our organization and the safety mindset that every aviator must have. Many of the accidents we see are from common avoidable factors. We can never stop learning from each other."

Among EAA's recent participation in safety initiatives include:

  • Co-founding the Type Club Coalition, which represent aviators in a variety of aircraft types who are seeking best practices in flight operations
  • Leadership within the FAA's Loss of Control Working Group, part of the General Aviation Joint Steering Committee, which is studying accident factors and possible ways to minimize those risk areas
  • Participation in the FAA's Part 23 committee that is studying aircraft certification

These efforts reinforce some of EAA's long-standing programs that have proven to enhance safety for EAA member builders and pilots to participate in them. Those include the Technical Counselor program that offers guidance for aircraft builders and the Flight Advisor program, which allows pilots who are transitioning to new or unfamiliar aircraft to evaluate their piloting skills and seek additional training, so they are fully prepared when initially flying that aircraft.

"We have worked with the NTSB, FAA, and other agencies to find the ways that are the most effective for pilots to be aware of safety and make that a part of every flight," Elliott said. "The GA accident rate has dropped drastically over the past quarter century, but there's more that can be done. The flying community uniting in these efforts will help enhance safety and preserve the freedoms to fly that we enjoy."