EAA: Dramatic Drop In Experimental Fatal Accidents

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According to figures release by the FAA, fatal accidents involving aircraft registered in the experimental category fell 25 percent from 2012 to 2013, EAA reported. For 2012, 73 accidents involved fatalities in the category. In 2013, the number dropped to 55. The number of lives lost to accidents was also down, but by a lower amount, providing an 18-percent decrease. EAA says it has been working to promote transition and recurrent training as endemic with pilots of experimental aircraft and that it is "cautiously optimistic" the figures reflect its safety initiatives gaining a foothold in the community of experimental pilots. However, some important and relevant numbers are not yet factored in.

The FAA can take up to two years to generate an accurate accident rate -- a figure for the number of fatal accidents in relation to hours flown. So it's possible that experimental pilots flew fewer hours in 2013 than they did in 2012 and, if that's the case, the lower number of fatal accidents may reflect that. We don't yet know. But Sean Elliott, EAA vice president of advocacy and safety, delivered EAA's broader message. "We hope that by encouraging builders and pilots who purchase E-AB aircraft to seek out the best training and information available," he said. "We can help those in our community avoid some of the most common accident causes."