February 29, 2008
"Aging" general aviation aircraft are still safe, AOPA told the FAA "General Aviation Summit" meeting in Kansas City, Missouri, January 10-11.
In his opening remarks, Dennis Roberts, AOPA vice president and executive director of government and technical affairs, said any new FAA initiatives must be "data driven." The summit must not result in a "solution looking for problem."
Roberts said that there is no current data to show that older aircraft are at greater risk for mechanical-related accidents. He said that inadequate maintenance is usually the root cause of these types of accidents.
Another summit participant cited the AOPA Air Safety Foundation's Safety Advisor Propeller Safety, which notes that the "root cause of mechanically induced accidents is almost always neglect."
The FAA's Small Airplane Directorate is gathering information from the GA community on the continued airworthiness of the aging GA fleet. The FAA is considering whether further regulation is needed to ensure the continued safety of older aircraft.
Roberts encouraged the FAA to recognize that just because a general aviation aircraft is old doesn't mean the aircraft is less safe.
AOPA is working proactively on the aging-aircraft issue. The association will help ensure the continued airworthiness of the GA fleet by improving communication and owner education, advocating improved maintenance practices, and working for the simplification of the aircraft certification standards.
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