Member Weener good words on GA
Adds some more to FAA’s list
TONE: positive and collaborative
On November 15, 2017 issued its 2017-18 Most Wanted List (MWL) Mid-Point Progress Report. Member Weener, PHD and Director of the Office of Aviation Safety John DeLisi presided over that presentation. They mentioned that the MWL would be issued biannually with intervening updates.
As noted in the NTSB’s informative blog, COMPASS, Member Weener and Director DeLisi convened such a session to review aviation’s progress and their message, as noted on the blog:
“ Aviation is one of the safest forms of transportation—largely due to government-industry collaboration efforts such as the Commercial Aviation Safety Team and the General Aviation Joint Steering Committee. We have seen no passenger fatality in the domestic operation of a U.S. airline (Part 121) since 2009, and the accident rate is trending slightly downward in General Aviation-GA (Part 91 and Part 125). While we celebrate the safety gains made across the commercial aviation industry, there is still work to be done across all sectors, especially in GA.”
Indicative of the hard work of industry and the FAA, “our focus on preventing Loss of Control (LOC) In Flight in General Aviation (GA)—the only aviation-specific issue on the MWL—was the primary focus of our conversations.”
The Weener/DeLisi commendation list included:
- General Aviation Joint Steering Committee for “helping to facilitate this collaborative approach”.
- The NTSB, FAA, industry associations, flight schools, technology manufacturers, and others will be discussing LOC solutions at April 24, 2018 at a roundtable.
- “The number of LOC and fatal LOC accidents are both trending down as of 2016, our last complete year of data.”
- “The changes to Part 23 of the Federal Aviation Regulations reforming small aircraft certification standards have enabled streamlined adoption and installation of new technologies, such as AOA indicators that would prevent LOC, without a lengthy and costly supplemental FAA flight certification. Private industry can now do what it does best: innovate.”
- “Expand Recorder Use to Enhance Safety. In particular, the NTSB would like to see more cockpit cameras, which aid in accident investigations and provide useful data for developing policies/procedures to prevent accidents. However, privacy issues, data protection challenges, and fears of punitive actions by companies appear to still hinder progress in this area.” [NOTE: recognition of reasons why this is not moving forward is indicative of a collaborative relationship among the Board, the FAA and industry.]
- “While helicopter pilots appear to be buckling up, others in GA are not—including passengers.”
- “Child restraint systems (“car seats”) should also be used in planes; yet, they widely are not. The NTSB reported at this meeting that we are collecting more data on if/how seat belts are used in our accident investigations.”
- “Progress is being made on the carriage of lithium-ion (LI) batteries.”
- “Just before the beginning of this MWL cycle, in 2016, the new flight and duty regulation went into effect, a huge win for managing fatigue in commercial aviation. We continue to fight for the small wins. We still need to apply the same level of safety to cargo flights, but we have seen progress toward applying it to maintenance personnel.
- And, in 2017, the FAA communicated that they’ll research the prevalence of impairing drug use – OTC, illicit, and prescription – throughout aviation. Previously, we had studied their presence in pilots in fatal accidents, which revealed an alarming rate of OTC use in fatal accidents. It may be too early to discuss any changes to medical fitness in aviation due to BasicMed. However, one of the related concerns is the loss of flight time data that we previously gathered as part of the medical certification process.
Some of the past MWL text has conveyed a sense of disappointment verging on condescension about the FAA’s/industry’s inability/failure to meet the NTSB’s goals. Dr. Weener’s word choice reflects more understanding and collaboration. That’s a good thing!!!
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