By AOPA ePublishing staff
When the FAA announced this week that general aviation pilots had exceeded safety goals for the fiscal year just completed, the success was due in a large part to industry-wide efforts.
The AOPA Air Safety Foundation played a significant role, reaching tens of thousands of pilots who either attended one of more than 200 in-person safety seminars held around the country or completing one or more of the foundation's nearly two dozen online safety courses. The foundation recorded more than a quarter of a million course completions during the same fiscal year.
"For more than 55 years, we've been teaching pilots how to be safer in the air, helping to drive down the accident numbers," said Bruce Landsberg, executive director of the AOPA Air Safety Foundation. "Our in-person safety seminars set the standard in live safety education for decades. And the rise of the Internet has let us expand our reach and teach tens of thousands more each year."
The FAA had set a goal of not more than 331 fatal accidents for GA during fiscal year 2007 (Oct. 1, 2006, to Sept. 30, 2007). The actual number was 314. And the number of fatalities dropped dramatically, from 676 in FY 2006 to 564 in FY 2007.
With courses like Weather Wise: Thunderstorms and ATC, Weather Wise: Ceiling and Visibility, Runway Safety, and Single-Pilot IFR, the Air Safety Foundation has a solid history of examining safety data, identifying problems and trends, and developing courses that teach pilots how to stay out of trouble. And now, the foundation is taking steps with online course topics like aging aircraft to address safety concerns before they become safety problems.
"The key to improving safety is to help pilots understand their ability, their aircraft and their situation, and then take steps to mitigate any risks," said Landsberg.
November 1, 2007