November 14, 2012
By Jim Moore
Hoping to shape policy and priorities, the NTSB has issued a new list of its 10 “Most Wanted” areas of focus for 2013.
Six of the agency’s priorities relate, at least in part, to highway safety, where annual fatalities have declined in recent years, but remain more than 30,000 per year.
General aviation, first included in 2012 on a list created in 1990, remains on the 2013 edition. Like most forms of motor transportation, GA has also seen a decline in fatalities: In 1980, 1,239 lives were lost in GA accidents, a figure reduced to 454 in 2010 (revised this year from the initially reported total of 450), and 444 in 2011 (still a preliminary figure, though unlikely to change significantly).
AOPA, through the AOPA Foundation and Air Safety Institute, remains committed to continued improvement of GA safety, according to foundation and Air Safety Institute President Bruce Landsberg.
“AOPA has been a leader in the study and prevention of accidents and our dedication to improving GA safety through online courses, safety videos, live seminars, and publications continues,” Landsberg said. “These training efforts reached 1.9 million people in 2011, and they are on track to meet a similarly high number of aviators this year.”
Several Air Safety Institute training tools were introduced this year in direct response to NTSB requests, including a video on preflight safety briefing of passengers that includes information on what to do in the event the pilot becomes incapacitated. The video presents scenarios and details information that can help passengers survive and get help after a crash or emergency landing, even if the pilot is unable to assist. The Air Safety Institute also developed a course on humanitarian flights (including interactive decision-making scenarios) developed as a specific response to an NTSB request. The institute has also developed courses that target the most common causes of accidents, and taken a leading role in the General Aviation Joint Steering Committee, a public-private partnership with a focus on enhancing safety.
“AOPA has been especially involved in the committee’s focused, data-driven approach to improving the safety of GA,” said Robert Hackman, AOPA’s vice president of regulatory affairs. “It is our hope that by using proven procedures we will identify the causes of accidents and apply common sense, mutually agreed upon strategies to prevent such accidents from occurring again.”
The NTSB’s 2013 list covers all modes of transportation, including a newly introduced focus area on pipeline safety, where accidents have claimed comparatively few lives but lead to significant environmental and economic impacts.
Distractions—in all forms of transportation—are another new area of focus, and the NTSB in its 2013 list recommends a making collision avoidance systems mandatory for ground vehicles:
“The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration should establish performance standards where still needed and mandate that these technologies be included as standard equipment in cars and commercial motor vehicles alike,” the NTSB states on its website. “Their full life-saving and crash-avoidance potential will not be realized until supported by federal rulemaking and related standards.”
Eliminate distraction in transportation
General aviation safety
Improve fire safety in transportation
Safety management systems
Airport surface operations
Improve safety of bus operations
Bus occupant safety
Pilot and ATC professionalism
Implement positive train control systems
Teen driver safety
Eliminate substance-impaired driving
Addressing alcohol-impaired driving
Mandate vehicle collision avoidance
AOPA Online Associate Editor Jim Moore joined AOPA in 2011 and is an instrument-rated private pilot who enjoys competition aerobatics.
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