EAA reports Beating FAA Safety Goal

EAA pilot and planes (experimental and amateur-built)
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FAA sets Annual Safety Goal for Experimental/Amateur Ops

Without SMS, EAA beat FY 2020 goal

GAJSC, Flight Test Manual and Workshops +++

Aviation worldwide has adopted a new safety approach based on collection of meta data, analysis of those numbers, projection of risks and defining proactive solutions. This Safety Management System discipline involves the administrative staff to forward the numbers to the FAA, follow the trend lines and respond to the proposed remedial actions.

Unfortunately, General Aviation operators usually do not have staffs to record their information. The General Aviation Joint Steering Committee collects quantitative and qualitative markers. One sector of GA which has limited administrative personnel is comprised of experimental and amateur built aircraft.

The Experimental Aircraft Association has provided a resource for its members who fly these airplanes. The below report shows that their efforts have been effective—beating the Federal Aviation Administration not-to-exceed number for the 12 months ending September 30, 2020 for these Part 91 vehicles. In particular, EAA wrote a handbook which provides excellent advice for building and flying these types of planes.

That’s tremendous progress in a drive for greater safety in these aircraft!!!

EAA workshop


Continues decade-long improvement in safety

accidents chart FY 2020


EAA AVIATION CENTER, OSHKOSH, Wisconsin — (November 17, 2020) — Safety totals for experimental amateur-built aircraft continued the decade-long improvement trend in 2020, as fatal accident totals finished below the Federal Aviation Administration not-to-exceed number for the 12 months ending September 30, 2020.

Over the 12-month period from October 1, 2019, through September 30, 2020, which mirrors that federal government fiscal year, total fatal accidents in experimental aircraft dropped more than 15 percent from the previous year, to 44 total fatal accidents including 32 in amateur-built aircraft – an 18 percent drop. The 44 fatal accidents were eight percent below the FAA’s not-to-exceed number of 48 for Fiscal Year 2020.

Sean Elliot

“This is outstanding news as far as the continuing trend of lower accident totals in experimental category and amateur-built aircraft, especially as total flight hours increased over the past 12 months,” said Sean Elliott, EAA’s vice president of advocacy and safety.The FAA continues to challenge our community by lowering the not-to-exceed number each year and we have met that challenge over the past decade, as we have seen fatal accident totals drop by nearly 40 percent for both experimental and amateur-built aircraft over the past decade.”

As a comparison, experimental category fatal accidents totaled 73 for the yearlong period ending on September 30, 2011, with 51 of those in amateur-built aircraft. Along with the amateur-built subcategory, the FAA’s experimental category includes other aircraft groups such as experimental/exhibition, experimental/light-sport aircraft, and research-and-development aircraft, among others. [see box in left upper corner in the graphic.]

The drop in experimental category accidents mirrors and, in some cases, exceeds the decline in overall general aviation fatal accidents over the past decade. Elliott noted that the overall fatal accident numbers for experimental category aircraft remain much lower than other recreational pursuits, such as boating and driving all-terrain vehicles.

General Aviation Joint Safety Committee

EAA has worked closely with the FAA and NTSB on recommendations to reduce fatal accidents, including through participation in the FAA General Aviation Joint Steering Committee (GAJSC). Efforts have also included thousands of copies of the EAA Flight Test Manual now in the hands of amateur-built aircraft owners and the increasing use of an additional safety pilot during initial flight testing in amateur-built aircraft.flight test manual


Other safety initiatives ranging from regular safety webinars and the annual Founders Innovations Prize[1] have also put the spotlight on safety for experimental category aircraft.

Founders Innovation Award




“While we are seeing already very small numbers, the continual emphasis on safety for all of us can never be overstated,” Elliott said. “This is a trend that must continue as we pursue ever-higher levels of safety. We must focus on training, safety enhancements, and good pilot skills to complement the ever-improving technology in today’s aircraft cockpits.”

About EAA

EAA embodies The Spirit of Aviation through the world’s most engaged community of aviation enthusiasts. EAA’s 240,000 members and 900 local chapters enjoy the fun and camaraderie of sharing their passion for flying, building and restoring recreational aircraft. For more information on EAA and its programs, call 800-JOIN-EAA (800-564-6322) or go to www.eaa.org. For continual news updates, connect with www.twitter.com/EAA.

[1] ETHAN BRODSKY’S invention, designed to help maintain coordinated flight, was deemed winner of the 2019 Founder’s Innovation Prize. After receiving fourth place in the 2017 competition, Brodsky worked to improve and further develop his innovation. With the win, his project gets a monetary boost of $25,000. The cash prize is to help him further develop and test the concept and, ideally, make it commercially viable.2018 Finalist topics Not-O-Pilot”; “Leading Edge Passive Disturbance Generators”; “Epic Optix”; “The Virtual Co-Pilot”; “An Angle-of-Attack Sensor in a Smartphone?”; “Feel Flight Grip”; “Enhanced Aural AOA Logic


EAA aircraft


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