Oct. 28, 2014
Contact: Steve Hedges
FREDERICK, Md. – The Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association (AOPA) says that, once again, USA Today has offered its readers sensationalistic and incomplete journalism with its latest story targeting general aviation, namely an Oct. 28 article that purports to examine the potential for post-crash aircraft fires.
In the article, the author blames manufacturers for being reluctant to change and improve upon designs. This is a gross distortion. In fact, the manufacturers, AOPA, the General Aviation Manufacturers Association (GAMA) and others have been active supporters of safety improvements.
One of the real issues has been the need for regulatory a change that is designed to simplify aircraft certification rules and simultaneously improve safety while reducing costs. This reform is designed to streamline the process for incorporating innovative and affordable technologies that will enhance safety. These changes are known as the Federal Aviation Regulation Part 23 reform. At the urging of AOPA and GAMA, Congress in 2013 passed, and President Obama, signed this reform legislation.
USA Today has largely excluded mention of this legislation in its articles on general aviation, presenting an incomplete picture of the safety initiatives that are taking place.
Readers will also find that USA Today has ignored information that shows a reduction in general aviation fatalities. For instance, in 2013 general aviation realized its lowest number of fatalities in decades: 382.
In fact, federal records show that GA fatalities have decreased by 75 percent since 1973. AOPA submits that this improvement is the result of persistent pilot education, improved flying techniques and safety enhancements in aircraft, such as improved restraints.
Pilot education and aviation safety were primary goals when AOPA was founded 75 years ago, and that mission has not changed. Today we offer more than 300 safety and aviation skills courses, and our work to protect the freedom to fly, and to make flying safer, continues.
Since 1939, AOPA has protected the freedom to fly for thousands of pilots, aircraft owners and aviation enthusiasts. AOPA is the world’s largest aviation member association, with representatives based in Frederick, Md., Washington, D.C., and seven regions across the United States. AOPA provides member services that range from advocacy at the federal, state, and local levels to legal services, flight planning products, safety programs and award-winning media. To learn more, visit www.aopa.org.
- AOPA -