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EAA Already Hunting NTSB’s ‘Most-Wanted’

Programs actively addressing loss-of-control accidents

November 16, 2016 - EAA is already in active pursuit of the aviation safety enhancements announced Monday by the National Transportation Safety Board as part of its new “Most Wanted List” of transportation safety improvements, with those EAA activities already making a difference in aviation safety.

The NTSB announced the list in Washington, D.C., that included recommendations for aviation, highway, rail, marine, and pipeline areas. One of these 10 recommendations – prevent loss of control in flight in general aviation – was the only recommendation specific to aviation.

“We’re pleased to say that EAA has been focused on preventing loss of control accidents in general and recreational aviation for several years,” said Sean Elliott, EAA’s vice president of advocacy and safety. “The NTSB has recognized EAA for its rapid and effective response to its previous recommendations for general aviation, particularly for amateur-built aircraft. We have been actively focused on loss-of-control prevention for some time now.”

EAA’s programs and awareness efforts have helped bring the amateur-built fatal accident total for the past 12 months to the lowest level in recent memory, down more than one-third over the past two years.

Among the current EAA programs and activities that have helped reduce loss-of-control accidents and seek to lower the totals even further are:

  • Approval of a second pilot as part of Phase 1 flight testing for amateur-built aircraft. This allows the pilot-in-command to focus on flying responsibilities while having another qualified pilot on-board to perform other essential flight test duties.
  • Creation of the EAA Safety Pledge that seeks commitments from aircraft builders to ensure safety of pilot and passengers through best practices for fuel systems and evaluating angle-of-attack and other alerting systems.
  • Creation of the Founders Innovation Prize in 2016, which drew more than 100 entries specifically focused on preventing loss-of-control accidents in homebuilts. The success of this first-time competition, which was highlighted at EAA AirVenture Oshkosh 2016, encouraged EAA to continue the program in 2017 and future years.
  • EAA’s chairmanship of the FAA’s General Aviation Joint Steering Committee, an industry-agency partnership working to improve general aviation safety. It analyzes safety data and uses a consensus method to develop risk reduction efforts.
  • Establishment of a Safety Committee to further study pathways to safety enhancements, working with the EAA Board of Directors and the Homebuilt Aircraft Council.
  • Enhancement of EAA’s long-standing Technical Counselor and Flight Advisor programs designed to ensure that expertise is shared in aircraft construction and transition training phases of amateur-built aircraft operations.

“EAA is engaged and widely recognized for its individual and collaborative safety efforts,” Elliott said. “Our work is making a difference that will continue in the future.”

Other NTSB “Most Wanted” recommendations that included some aviation element for either commercial and general aviation included reducing fatigue-related accidents; requiring medical fitness for aviation professionals; eliminating distractions; strengthening occupant protection; expanding recorder use to enhance safety; ending drug and alcohol impairment in transportation; and ensuring safe shipment of hazardous materials.

The NTSB also changed its schedule for its “Most Wanted” updates to a biennial release, better allowing stakeholders to review and respond to the board’s recommendations. The next list will be issued in 2018.

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