Last week ended the FAA’s fiscal year and with it, the totals for experimental category and amateur-built aircraft fatal accidents for the 12-month period ending September 30. While the rate of accidents based on flight hours will not be available until the FAA releases general aviation survey data next year, the total number of accidents over the past year in experimental aircraft was the lowest on record.
The 28 fatal accidents in amateur-built aircraft over that period was down 28 percent from the previous year, when 39 fatal accidents were recorded. In addition, the 40 fatal events in experimental category aircraft was down nearly 30 percent from the previous 12-month period and fell seven below the FAA’s not-to-exceed period for the 2022-23 fiscal year.
“The activity data is necessary to paint the full picture, but the initial indications are very positive indeed,” said Sean Elliott, EAA’s vice president of advocacy and safety. “It shows a continuing trend toward safer operations, even as total hours flown increase. It reminds us that safety is an ongoing journey that always needs the highest attention of our flying community.”
The homebuilt fatal accident total has been cut by nearly half over the past 15 years, from 598 in the period from 1998-2007 to 338 from 2014-23. Over that period, EAA has introduced or championed a number of safety initiatives, including the EAA Flight Test Manual and the FAA-approved second safety pilot option. Those programs complemented the long-established EAA Technical Counselor and Flight Advisor programs.