Accident rates among general aviation pilots are on the decline, as noted by the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) at a recent meeting of transportation stakeholders to review progress made in addressing the agency’s 2017-18 Most Wanted List.
The NTSB Most Wanted List identifies the most critical areas in need of attention to reduce transportation accidents, including several affecting business aviation operations. Loss of Control In-Flight (LOC-I) has been on the list for two years, and has generated a lot of attention on issues such as stall avoidance, distraction management and situational awareness.
LOC-I also has been identified as a Top Safety Focus Area for business aviation stakeholders by the NBAA Safety Committee and the General Aviation Joint Steering Committee (GAJSC), a collaborative effort between regulators and the industry to develop safety enhancements that mitigate problems associated with fatal general aviation accidents.
“We’ve made some real progress in reducing GA fatality rates as an industry, in large part from the work of the GAJSC and other groups in which NBAA is actively involved,” said NBAA Operations Manager Peter Korns. “There’s more work to be done, but the downward trend is reassuring and we’re hopeful that ongoing work will continuing to prevent these accidents.”
Held Nov. 15 at NTSB headquarters, the MWL Mid-Point Progress Report meeting also featured breakout sessions for the various transportation modes. NTSB Member Earl Weener and John DeLisi, director of the NTSB Office of Aviation Safety, led the aviation breakout session, which involved approximately 30 industry stakeholders who discussed a variety of topics, including the reduction of fatigue-related accidents, the safe transport of lithium-ion batteries and eliminating alcohol and drug impairment.
“This became an open discussion about what more we can do in these areas,” Korns noted. “We’ve had some successes, including greater awareness of the side effects of medications and increased availability of angle-of-attack cockpit indicators to help prevent LOC-I, but there’s still a long way to go.”
Once issued annually, the MWL began to be published biennially in 2017 to provide additional time to address areas of concern and encourage stakeholders to collaborate on effective solutions.
“The Mid-Point Progress Report affirmed that we are making progress in these areas, and we expect to see that reflected shortly in updated statistics that align with the GAJSC’s goal of no more than one fatal GA accident per 100,000 flight hours by 2018,” said Korns. “There’s value in acknowledging our successes and that these enhancements are having a positive effect, but we must also remain vigilant and continue to make improvements in safety.”