IAOPA: Global Support Needed For GA Safety

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The directors of the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) met in Montreal, Canada, this week to discuss a global strategy for aviation safety. While most of the conference dealt with air-carrier issues, GA concerns were represented by John Sheehan, of the International Council of Aircraft Owner and Pilot Associations (IAOPA). Addressing the conference, Sheehan emphasized the need for GA pilots to have sufficient, affordable information pertinent to the safety of flight. "Weather and airport information are not always available or affordable, and regulatory restrictions and high fees deter pilots in obtaining added experience and proficiency," said Sheehan. "General aviation has become safer over the past decade yet improvements are still needed. ... Insufficient, nonexistent or delayed meteorological reporting, unavailable NOTAM information, and out-of-date aeronautical information references make the pilot's job more difficult under the dynamic conditions that accompany every flight. The partnership between pilot and ground-based information systems is of critical importance to flight safety." Sheehan added that increased fees work against aviation safety. "Rising aircraft operating costs and regulatory restrictions serve as a disincentive for pilots to gain additional experience," he said. "Experience in a broad range of operating environments, proficiency, and recency of experience are proven antidotes to aviation mishaps."