GA Aviation Summit: More WX Actions can be taken NOW

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Article: Huerta: FAA, Industry Will Work Together To Improve GA Safety

Administrator Meets With GA Leaders In Washington, D.C.

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The Administrator held a meeting with the aviation leaders to talk about General Aviation safety. While the numbers on airline accidents and incidents are good and getting better, the performance of smaller aircraft is not as strong. Administrator Huerta mentioned a number of initiatives which he finds to be promising:

· Implementing an Aviation Safety Information Analysis and Sharing (ASIAS) program for GA, similar to the data-oriented program which has been so effective of the Parts 121 and 135 environments, a very useful program,

· An announcement on RVSM, and

· A fact sheet on how the expedited Part 23 processes are coming

While the both the RVSM and Part 23 actions were stimulated by industry complaints and actions, these are all positive developments.

The NTSB added GA to its 2014 Top 10 Most Wanted List and specifically pointed to:

Identify and communicate hazardous weather. A frequent cause or contributing factor to general aviation accidents is a failure to recognize or take appropriate steps to avoid hazardous weather. The NTSB investigated a total of 1,466 general aviation accidents in 2011, resulting in 444 deaths.

Weather was mentioned by AOPA in its review of the GA Summit The Administrator announced a joint government-industry effort to address weather-related accidents. A nice first step and after the task force responds and after the FAA reviews its report, then there will be action. There seems to be things for which the FAA can take immediate and direct actions.

The Automated Flight Service Stations program has received primarily positive reviews. Should the availability, depth, reliability and future forecasting of the WX information be reviewed? Is there an APP for that? Is there more that can be done to make sure that this primary source of WX information for GA pilots is providing all that is needed, can be more efficiently delivered and can be used.

If you make a review of the staffing of Flight Standards District Offices, it is clear that the staffing is heavily oriented toward the air carrier work. In that GA appears to need greater positive support (not enforcement), might the Administrator consider realigning resources? ASIAS requires some expertise and the GA pilots are not going to have the resources required to accurately complete the reports.

Equally the initial ASIAS review will require added FAA resources. These needs might suggest moving some of the Part 121/135 resources to make the GA safety outreach efforts more robust? Yes, we know that carrier positions rank higher in the OPM GS evaluation assessments, but these technical data tasks may make the transfers not require reductions.

The Administrator hopefully has already considered these important practical implementation steps. If not, he would be well advised to back his words with resources. GA deserves the FAA’s proactive support.

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