NTSB's Weener Urges Risk Management to GA Pilots

A Sept. 7 item posted on the National Transportation Safety Board's Safety Compass blog by board member Earl F. Weener, Ph.D., appeals to general aviation pilots do a better job of identifying and managing their risks. Weener titled it "GA's Summer 2011 Safety Report Card" but did not include a letter grade. Going by his text, C is the most likely grade.

"Labor Day marks the end of the busy summer flying season," wrote Weener, who is a licensed pilot and flight instructor. "This summer, my wife and I had several great -- and, happily, uneventful -- flights in our Bonanza. However, sadly, many of our fellow general aviation (GA) pilots did not fare so well. The NTSB's initial reports show that between Memorial Day and Labor Day, 158 pilots and passengers perished in 94 fatal GA accidents. While those numbers are slightly lower than the previous year, on an annual basis, the GA accident rate has been largely static for the last several years.

"As a community, we can do better. That's why the NTSB placed improving GA safety on its Most Wanted List.

"Recently, Vice Chairman Chris Hart, also a GA pilot, and I visited the Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association (AOPA) Air Safety Institute (ASI). In an AOPA Live interview with ASI President Bruce Landsberg, we talked about how to improve GA safety. The Vice Chairman stressed education. I pointed out that improving safety does not necessarily require new regulations or new equipment. I emphasized that GA pilots largely determine their personal safety by the level of proficiency they maintain, the capability and condition of the aircraft they fly, and the manner in which they identify and manage their risks.

"Improving GA safety mostly means doing the things that we do as GA pilots, but doing them better, more safely, more thoughtfully, and with a better understanding of the situation and the risks. And, that leads directly to the Vice Chairman's point: education. Pilots, please note that an excellent first stop for education is the AOPA website and ASI's great online courses."

Posted by Jerry Laws on Sep 15, 2011