FAA Tackles Alaska Air Safety

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The FAA will start implementing five safety initiatives next year aimed at curbing the high accident rate in Alaska aviation. The agency launched its Alaska Safety Initiative a year ago and held meetings with stakeholders and government groups to come up with a game plan. It identified five measures and will start implementing them next year. Among the recommendations are adding AWOS to airports that don’t have it, expansion of ADS-B to areas not served, improving charting, developing an Alaska-specific airspace navigation strategy, including establishment of low-altitude flight routes and improving GPS backup, and keeping the dialogue going on ideas to improve safety.

“Alaska depends on aviation more than any other state, and we are committed to doing everything possible to make flying safer,” said FAA Administrator Steve Dickson. “We teamed up with the flying community and together developed this comprehensive blueprint for our safety work going forward.” There has been a rash of high-profile commercial crashes in Alaska in the last few years, many of them involving sightseeing tours for international tourists on cruise ships. Beyond that, many of the state’s remote settlements depend on aviation for supplies and services and the weather can be awful. The plan will move toward implementation by next summer and a progress report will be issued in the fall of 2022.

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2 COMMENTS

  1. From the press release: “Among the recommendations are adding AWOS to airports that don’t have it, expansion of ADS-B to areas not served, improving charting, developing an Alaska-specific airspace navigation strategy, including establishment of low-altitude flight routes and improving GPS backup, and keeping the dialogue going on ideas to improve safety.”

    These are hardly new ideas–aren’t each of these things something the FAA is SUPPOSED to do already?

    Those that have been around for a while might remember the FAA’s “Capstone Project” for Alaska in 1996–25 years ago. That project had similar goals–use of GPS for position awareness, FIS (Flight information system for airspace and weather) CFIT avoidance through graphical position reporting…..sounds a lot like what they are STILL proposing.

    To quote Pat Benetar: “You can change the future, but first you have to WANT TO…” (or, like the old joke–“How do you change a light bulb? It’s EASY, but first the light bulb has to WANT to change!”)

  2. FAA Administrator Steve Dickson needs to concentrate on his four year project of defining the word “Commercial”. Alaska’s aviation is much better off without the FAA stifling regulations. The “High-Profile” accidents are mostly related to the lack of available pilots. In the 60’s, 70’s and early 80’s the Air-Taxis had stacks of resumes each spring to sort through. Today the Air-Taxis are begging any pilot with bare minimum requirements.

    Dear Mr. FAA Administrator, focus on the “Pilot Shortage”. The technology implementation and word definition game will take care of itself. Over 35 percent of the U.S. population should have aviation ground school before graduating college. Put the money into high school and college Aviation Education and Instruction of our youth.