April 20, 2012
By Dan Namowitz
AOPA and the Alaska Airmen’s Association, working to reduce aircraft collision risk in the Mat Su Valley, have launched an online pilot survey about flight operations in the region located north of Anchorage.
Members are encouraged to participate in the online effort to collect information about flight operations and collision avoidance methods used in the area. The survey, which includes a question that asks pilots to identify Mat Su’s high traffic areas, will assist a joint industry-government working group as it works to develop safety recommendations to be presented to the FAA.
“The working group strongly urges pilots who fly in the Mat Su area to take a few minutes to answer these survey questions. Please help in this effort by sharing your experiences and discussing the collision-avoidance practices you employ in the Mat Su Valley,” said Tom George, AOPA’s Alaska regional manager.
Officials who analyzed a decade’s worth of data collected in NASA and FAA reporting systems are concerned that the reported numbers dramatically underestimate near midair collisions in Alaska skies, he said.
Airspace users and stakeholders who have shared their evaluations of flight operations with the working group include FAA air traffic control staff, the airports division, and flight standards. Subject matter experts from the Air Force, Army, and Air National Guard have also participated.
A summary of the survey results will be another important component of the effort to enhance aviation safety for the area.
Dan Namowitz is an aviation writer and flight instructor. He has been a pilot since 1985 and an instructor since 1990.
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