New Report Examines Safety, Training Issues For Advanced Aircraft

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Technically advanced aircraft (TAA) are defined by the FAA as having at least a moving-map display, an IFR-approved GPS navigator and an autopilot. The advent of this technology has raised issues about training, which AOPA's Air Safety Foundation (ASF) addresses in a new report, released last week. The report suggests how training should change to reflect the demands of flying TAA, and also takes a preliminary look at assessing the safety record for these aircraft. The report examines the challenges for pilots transitioning to TAA and flight schools starting students out on the new systems; handling characteristics; and TAA hardware and software, including terrain, traffic, weather and engine-monitoring equipment. Recent research might suggest a tiered learning approach. Twelve accidents involving TAA are examined, and the ASF found that most were pilot-related. "Poor judgment will always be poor judgment, regardless of the aircraft being flown," said Air Safety Foundation Executive Director Bruce Landsberg. The entire report can be downloaded for free at the ASF Web site.