Through mid-May, 262 people have been killed in 149 aviation accidents this year. That’s more than half of the 275 fatal aviation crashes that occurred in 2011. (The most recent statistics.) And the busiest flying season of the year – summer – has yet to kick in.
Earlier this month, the Federal Aviation Administration met with several aviation-related organizations to review what can be done to improve flying safety. The FAA previously announced a goal of reducing the rate of fatal aviation accidents in this country 10 percent by 2018.
Steps to Prevent Aviation Accidents
Following this recent meeting, the FAA announced an agreement with the groups to work on three steps to improve flying safety. The first step is to better report and share key data throughout the aviation community. The intent is that this will lead to identifying risks and then preventing them from causing catastrophic aviation accidents.
The second mutually agreed upon step is enhancing pilot testing and training.
And the third action is developing a set of design standards to improve the safety of a group of airplanes, and to streamline the certification process for safety technologies to get them into all aircraft much faster. The enhanced design standards are targeted to Part 23 airplanes. Part 23 airplanes include a variety smaller aircraft, from piston-powered airplanes to powerful executive jets, which are used in a multitude of purposes, including commuter transportation and flying shows.
The new technology includes measures to address stalls, and to help prevent pilot error with terrain avoidance equipment. The increased use of technology is aimed at new aircraft as well as retrofitted into older airplanes.
Common Causes of Aviation Accidents
According to the FAA, the top 10 leading causes of general aviation accident deaths in the United States from 2001 to 2011 include:
- Loss of control in-flight – largely “stalls”
- System component failure
- Controlled flight into terrain
Given the recent increase in aviation fatalities, any measures that limit pilot error, structural failures, and other leading causes of airplane crashes are well worth pursuing.