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General Aviation to NTSB: Help Media Report GA Correctly
September 28, 2016 – EAA has joined 20 other general aviation organizations in a letter to the National Transportation Safety Board urging the government panel to correctly express general aviation’s safety record and help media show an accurate portrayal of flying.
The letter came about because of NTSB data sourced for a NBC Nightly News story earlier this month involving a mid-air collision in Georgia that killed three people. That data gave a distorted picture of fatal aviation accidents, which have been dropping at a steady rate over the past 30 years.
“We respectfully request the board to publicly convey that general aviation is one of the safest modes of transportation in the United States,” the letter stated. It also noted that aviation accidents receive high media attention because they are infrequent.
“We believe the NTSB has an inherent responsibility to help provide media outlets with a comprehensive view of safety trends and outline the improvements in general aviation safety over the years,” the letter continued.
AOPA authored the letter circulated among the GA organizations, as it contacted the television network regarding its coverage of the accident at West Georgia Regional Airport. The on-air report made several erroneous assumptions regarding overall aviation safety and accident causes, without input from on-site NTSB investigators and using fragments of NTSB data chosen to fit the narrative.
EAA and other organizations have worked with the NTSB to implement a number of the board’s recommendations over the past decade, as well as developing safety programs that earned praise from NTSB for enhancing aviation safety.
“We must not let media reports like these discredit the hard work and gains we have all made together, and we encourage the NTSB to help set the record straight,” the letter concluded.