May 8, 2012
By Jim Moore
While data has shown a slight improvement in recent years, general aviation continues to be dogged by accidents with the same causes—and results—year after year. The National Transportation Safety Board will convene a two-day GA safety forum in June, and pilots are encouraged to participate.
The forum, "General Aviation Safety: Climbing to the Next Level," will take place at NTSB headquarters in Washington, D.C., and be led by NTSB Chairman Deborah A. P. Hersman. All five board members will take part, along with representatives from industry, government, academic, and professional associations. Discussion will focus on improving pilot training and performance, access to and use of weather information, and aircraft design and certification.
"Each year, hundreds of people are killed in general aviation crashes, and thousands more are injured," Hersman said in a news release. "Tragically, the circumstances leading to these accidents are often repeated over and over, year after year. If we are going to prevent future fatalities and injuries, these common causes must be addressed."
In 2011, according to the most recent available NTSB data, there were 263 fatal GA accidents, with 444 lives lost—a very small decline from the 2010 totals of 268 fatal accidents and 454 fatalities.
The NTSB added GA safety to its Most Wanted List of transportation safety improvements in 2011.
Admission to the two-day forum is free and open to all, and the event will also be webcast. The forum will take place at 429 L'Enfant Plaza, S.W. Washington, D.C.
AOPA Online Associate Editor Jim Moore joined AOPA in 2011 and is an instrument-rated private pilot who enjoys competition aerobatics.
Safety and Education
The FAA on Feb. 23 issued a special airworthiness information bulletin recommending preflight inspection of Robinson R44 and R44 II main rotors.
The FAA has released an eight-minute video providing aviation medical examiners with guidance on the agency's new obstructive sleep apnea policy, which takes effect March 2.
New legislation in both houses of Congress would allow thousands of pilots to fly without a third class medical and offer new protections for GA pilots.
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