Safest Year In Two Decades For Alaska

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Alaska pilots just recorded their safest year in 20 years. There were "only" 100 accidents in the state in the fiscal year ending Sept. 30. By contrast, the worst year for accidents during the period was 1995, chiming in with 173. FAA Administrator Marion Blakey told the Juneau Empire the statistics "just turn one's head around" and she credited a coordinated effort to improve flight safety in Alaska with the improvement. John Duncan, a spokesman for the FAA's Flight Standards office in Anchorage, said accident stats have been going down for five years. Several programs, including Capstone, which fits commercial aircraft with the latest in navigation and communications gear, and the Medallion Program, which rewards air carriers with insurance-premium reductions for their completion of safety programs, have been implemented in recent years. Duncan said the next focus will be on flight instructors "to improve the way pilots are trained at the start."