Homebuilt Fatalities Drop

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While aviation safety has generally improved over the years, it appears the homebuilt sector is making the biggest gains. Granted, it had the farthest to go, but stats released by EAA this week seem to show it's getting there. In a news release, EAA says the number of fatal homebuilt crashes from Oct. 1, 2005, to Sept. 30, 2006 (49) is 21 percent lower than in the previous year. "This is excellent news, especially since the number of homebuilt aircraft continues to rise each year," said Earl Lawrence, EAA's vice president of industry and regulatory affairs. "While one fatality is always one too many, the trend continues toward increasing safety by those who build and fly homebuilt aircraft."

While better kits and more reliable engines undoubtedly have a lot to do with the safety improvements, EAA says education also plays a role. For one thing, along with the quality improvements in homebuilts has come increasing complexity. EAA technical advisors are available in most areas. Builders sometimes put together airplanes that are much different from the aircraft they're used to flying and there are flight advisors available to help builders learn to fly their creations safely. "Among all the programs that EAA administers to benefit its members and all recreational aviators, those that enhance safety are the top priority," Lawrence said.