The NTSB on Tuesday released 16 recommendations for improving the safety record of experimental amateur-built aircraft, which have a fatal accident rate 3 to 4 times higher than the rest of the general aviation fleet. Most of the recommendations focus on transition training, which has long been recognized as a problem, and also suggest changes in how flight tests are conducted and how the flight characteristics of each airplane are documented. Nearly 10 percent of E-AB aircraft accidents occurred during first flight, the board said, and 14 out of the 125 accidents in aircraft that were sold crashed on the new owner's first flight. The recommendations are meant to "improve safety while maintaining the adventure of this vibrant segment of aviation," said board chair Deborah Hersman.
Besides 12 recommendations to the FAA, the board also suggested four actions the EAA could take to advance flight safety. The EAA should help develop flight manuals and flight-test standards for experimental aircraft, create a repository of information about flight instructors for experimental aircraft, and help create transition-training resources, the board said. Listen to the board's findings and the 16 recommendations (12 minutes) below.
The webcast of the two-and-a-half-hour discussion will be posted online soon, and the complete report will be posted at ntsb.gov in a few weeks. AVweb will post a podcast interview with EAA officials later this week, with analysis of the NTSB conclusions and recommendations.
The NTSB On E-AB Safety
The NTSB has completed its study of safety issues affecting experimental-amateur-built aircraft. This 12-minute audio clip from Tuesday's board meeting includes the conclusions of the study and the 16 recommendations to the FAA and EAA.
Click here for the MP3 file.