FAA's Fuzzy GA Math

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"The number of fatal general aviation accidents declined by 5 percent this year," the FAA announced in a news release on Monday. But a closer look at the FAA data showed that 5 percent was the difference between the number of accidents they had projected for the fiscal year -- 331 -- and the number that occurred, which was 314 -- that is not quite the same thing as an actual decline. AVweb asked the FAA if they could provide the number of fatal accidents for the previous fiscal year, to see if there really was a decline or not, but so far they haven't gotten back to us. However, the same news release also reported that the number of people killed in GA accidents did decline significantly, from 676 in fiscal 2006 (the 12 months ending Sept. 30) to 564 in fiscal 2007. That's about 20 percent fewer fatalities. For these calculations, "general aviation" includes not only privately flown planes but also non-scheduled air taxi flights, the FAA said.

"This record is due to a dedicated commitment to safety by everyone in general aviation," said Nicholas Sabatini, FAA associate administrator for aviation safety. "In particular, manufacturers are providing sophisticated technology like GPS and glass cockpits -- and the training to go with them -- and the FAA is vigorously encouraging adoption of these safety enhancements."