Alaska's Governor Proclaims Aviation Safety Month

Gov. Sean Parnell's proclamation says the six fatal crashes and 12 deaths in 2010 were higher than the previous yearly average.

Sean Parnell, governor of Alaska, asked his state's residents to pay particular attention to aviation safety this month. Parnell's proclamation of Aviation Safety Month during August 2011 asks "all Alaskans to be cautious, attentive, and safe as they enjoy the opportunities that aviation creates in our great state."

In it, the governor notes Alaska has more private pilots than any other state, and air travel is a daily mode for many Alaskans, with 82 percent of the state's communities not connected to a highway or road system, "making aviation essential to the Alaskan way of life and a vital link for access to food, mail, schools, medical services, and travel," the proclamation states. He writes that aviation contributes $3.5 billion to the state economy and employs 47,000 people, which is about 10 percent of all jobs in Alaska.

"[P]er capita, there are more private pilots in Alaska than anywhere else in the nation. However, while air travel is a daily mode of transportation for many Alaskans, we must remember that safe flying requires careful planning, attention to weather conditions, and knowledge of Alaska's unique terrain," it states. "[A]ircraft crashes are the second leading cause of occupational deaths in Alaska. While crash and fatality rates have declined over the last decade due to enhanced education efforts, increased audits and training, and advanced safety equipment, in 2010 numbers were higher than the previous yearly average with six occupational fatal crashes resulting in 12 deaths."

The proclamation supports continued efforts to increase public knowledge and awareness regarding aviation safety. "By acknowledging frequent causes of aircraft crashes, identifying risk factors, utilizing advanced safety equipment and training, and following aviation safety guidelines, we can continue to decrease the number of accidents in Alaska and make aviation safer for all," it says.

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