...The Public And Press Meet LSA
When a 66-year-old man was killed Sunday in Lexington, Tenn., while flying an ultralight aircraft, at least one news report on the accident noted that new FAA rules are about to take effect that will attract more pilots to sport flying. "Under the new rules, an estimated 15,000 people will now earn FAA certificates to operate more than 15,000 existing ultra-light-like aircraft," said a story in the Jackson Sun. "Another 12,000 pilots and new aircraft will be certified over the next 10 years." Some of those may be past pilots returning to the sport (some sources report this was the case in Lexington). While the story was not alarmist, the juxtaposition seems sure to raise questions in the reader's mind about the safety of all those thousands of new aircraft (and pilots). On the other hand, the Everett, Wash., Daily Herald wrote about the economic boost the Sport Pilot rule is expected to bring to a local airport. "The new rule will woo back former pilots and new people to the industry, hopefully pumping money into the area economy," the paper said, paraphrasing two local aviation businesspeople. When the rule came out last month, the Poynter Institute, a resource for journalists, posted a briefing about it online, with links to the relevant FAA and EAA sites. That should (could) help the non-aviation-literate reporters to keep their stories accurate.