Last week, FAA Administrator Michael Huerta met with leaders from the general aviation community to agree on actions to enhance safety and reduce accidents. The general aviation fatal accident rate, according to an FAA release, has remained flat over the past five years and 149 fatal accidents have occurred so far this fiscal year, killing 262 people.
Although safety has always been at the forefront of aviation groups and the FAA, Huerta said they cannot become complacent about safety. “Together, we must improve the safety culture to drive the GA fatal accident rate lower.”
In the short term, the group agreed to raise awareness on the importance of basic airmanship and to continue to promote a positive safety culture. The following organizations attended the meeting and are partnering with the FAA to reach out to the many diverse facets of the general aviation community: Aircraft Electronics Association (AEA), Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association (AOPA), Experimental Aircraft Association (EAA), General Aviation Manufacturers Association (GAMA), Helicopter Association International (HAI), International Council of Air Shows (ICAS), National Agricultural Aviation Association (NAAA), National Air Transportation Association (NATA), National Business Aviation Association (NBAA), National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) and the U.S. Parachute Association (USPA).
For the long term, Huerta called on the aviation community to install life-saving equipment (angle of attack indicators, inflatable restraints, two-axis autopilots) in older airplanes, to improve general aviation data, and to improve airman certification testing and training. To meet these goals, the general aviation community and the FAA agreed to work together to move forward as quickly as possible on three key initiatives:
Participate and invest in the General Aviation Joint Steering Committee (GAJSC): Industry participation is key to data analysis that leads to the development of voluntary safety enhancements. The group uses a data driven process modeled on the highly successful Commercial Aviation Safety Team (CAST). Sharing data through the Aviation Safety Information Analysis and Sharing (ASIAS) system and other voluntary programs will help educate and shape the safety culture of the GA community. The FAA plans to expand ASIAS to general aviation in the next few years. FAA and industry will work together to find incentives to increase voluntary reporting.
Support the overhaul of airmen testing and training standards: An industry and government working group is overhauling the standards by incorporating risk management and decision-making into flight training and testing.
Expedite the Part 23 certification process to reduce costs and install new technology in airplanes: An industry and government committee is working on streamlining certification for the installation of certain safety technologies.