AOPA emphasized the role of innovation, technology, and regulatory reform in improving safety during the FAA’s General Aviation Safety Summit March 31 in Washington, D.C.
George Perry, senior vice president of the AOPA Air Safety Institute, spoke about the importance of reforms that are making it easier to put modern safety equipment into older aircraft, as well as the move toward a risk-based approach to certifying new aircraft and equipment. The Air Safety Institute reaches hundreds of thousands of pilots each year with free online safety courses, accident analysis, safety quizzes and seminars, and other tools designed to help pilots enhance their knowledge and improve their safety.
“I can’t recall a time when industry, government, and the aviation community have been so well aligned to help achieve shared safety goals,” Perry said following the event. “There’s a real willingness to work together to create an environment that supports innovation and promotes a culture of safety—all of which bodes well for the future of general aviation.”
During his remarks, Perry also spoke about the benefits of ensuring universal access to traffic information through Automatic Dependent Surveillance-Broadcast, government-industry collaboration in addressing loss-of-control accidents, and the FAA’s adoption of a new compliance philosophy that focuses on helping operators learn from mistakes rather than on punishment for unintentional transgressions.
Perry’s optimism about improving GA safety was echoed by FAA Deputy Administrator Michael Whitaker, who praised the efforts of the General Aviation Joint Steering Committee to develop and promote voluntary safety measures and of the Equip 2020 team to overcome obstacles to compliance with the FAA’s ADS-B equipage mandate. AOPA is taking an active role in both groups.
“The United States has the largest and most diverse GA community in the world and we are all working together to put the right technologies, regulations, and education initiatives in place to improve safety,” Whitaker said. He added that both government and industry are committed to improving safety and that the effort is gaining momentum.
The half-day summit featured a range of speakers from GA organizations and the FAA. John Duncan, FAA director of flight standards, focused on upcoming changes to the airman certification standards designed to better integrate the knowledge, risk management techniques, and skills pilots need to fly safely. AOPA has worked closely with the FAA to develop the new standards.