EAA welcomes continued
trend in safety statistics for homebuilt aircraft
The Experimental Aircraft Association's programs dedicated to
enhancing the safety of amateur-built aircraft continue to pay
dividends, as homebuilt aircraft accident totals are lower than
projected figures through the first 10 months of the 2003-2004
fiscal year that ends September 30.
These welcome numbers continue a trend noted in March 2004, when
the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) announced that the
homebuilt aircraft accident rate for fiscal year 2002-2003 (ended
September 30, 2003) dropped 25 percent, from 218 to 164, from the
previous year. More remarkably, fatal accidents for homebuilts
dropped 36 percent, from 71 to 52, during that same time frame when
amateur-built aircraft registrations surpassed a record-total
25,000 in the U.S.
"The latest figures
show how invaluable EAA's programs have been to the continued
safety and reliability of homebuilt aircraft," said Earl Lawrence,
EAA's vice president of industry and regulatory affairs.
"With August and September still ahead of us, which are
historically two of the year's busiest flying months, EAA wants to
re-emphasize to all pilots to pay close attention to flight
safety. EAA will continue to serve its members and all of
aviation with its programs that improve safety while opening the
world of flight to more people."
According to federal figures, the total number of fatal
accidents for all of general aviation (including the amateur-built
total) stood at 266 as of August 10. Projected to the end of
fiscal year 2003-2004, the total would be 334 -- fewer fatalities
than FAA Administrator Marion Blakey's safety benchmark "cap" of
349 she established earlier this year.
In addition, as of August 10 NTSB also reported 44 fatal
accidents involving amateur-built aircraft. At this rate, the
2003-2004 fiscal-year total would be 51, continuing the downward
trend in the homebuilt category.
FAA has specifically recognized EAA's homebuilt programs as
major factors leading to the reduced homebuilt accident rate.
These EAA programs include Technical Counselors and Flight
Advisors, as well as the Homebuilt Aircraft Council and the new
volunteer Amateur-Built Designated Airworthiness Representative
(AB-DAR) program. Lawrence also credited the valuable "peer
influence" provided by more than 900 EAA chapters in the U.S.
EAA chapters often include a number of experienced builders and
pilots who provide an excellent forum for fellow enthusiasts as
they complete their aircraft projects. Most EAA technical
counselors and flight advisors are associated with at least one
local EAA chapter.
"Simply put, EAA's programs work," Lawrence said. "They
help homebuilt aircraft enthusiasts and pilots construct safer
aircraft and fly more safely. One accident or fatality is
always one too many, but these programs are doing an enormous part
to enhance safety and further improve the record for all of general
aviation. No one should consider building or flying a
homebuilt aircraft without participating in these programs."