FAA’s 46th Annual General Aviation Survey Kicks Off


The FAA announced yesterday (Feb. 14) it has begun work on its annual general aviation survey, the 46th such survey in its history. Data from the research is critical to assessing a wide range of parameters in GA flying activity. It is the only method of estimating the total number of hours flown by GA pilots, for example.

The FAA further reports that the survey enables researchers to anticipate and meet demand for National Airspace System facilities and services, evaluate the effects of existing safety initiatives and regulatory changes, and more accurately measure the overall safety of the general aviation industry and community.

Survey results are also available to other government agencies, the GA industry as a whole, trade associations, such as the General Aviation Manufacturers Association (GAMA) and the Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association (AOPA), private businesses—and even aviation journalists. FAA officials advise that the data enables those entities “to pinpoint safety problems and to form the basis for critical research and analysis of general aviation issues.”

The FAA notes that only about 30% of aircraft owners receive survey forms via mail or email, so participation by as many recipients as possible is critical to establishing accurate databases of information. GA advocates say those who are contracted are “strongly encouraged to respond to the survey so that GA activity may be more accurately represented.”

See the results from past years’ surveys here.

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Mark Phelps is a senior editor at AVweb. He is an instrument rated private pilot and former owner of a Grumman American AA1B and a V-tail Bonanza.


  1. Could the FAA please survey maintenance facilities for current average labor rates when calculating the impact of Airworthiness Directives?

    No facility I’m aware on the West coast charges $85hr. The typical labor rate is closer to $150hr. It has been years since labor rates were $85hr out west.

    • True. I think the “Costs of Compliance” section in every AD is completely frivolous anyway since it has zero impact on the justification for passing the final rule.

  2. Note the FAA did not address other concerns such as poor administrative support of pilots, slow resolution of medical branch, determination if DPE can operate with Basic Med.
    Very few FSDOs understand the concept of customer service.

    • A good reason for your poor experiences with FSDOs is that they are not provided the resources to provide the best customer service. The FAA has failed in its organizational structure by making FSDO personnel the ‘jack of all trades’ for servicing the public stakeholders. It’s an impossible feat for your average FSDO.

      • Or maybe read the FAA’s DIE preferred hiring policies established two years ago, aimed at those who suffer severe intellectual disabilities, psychiatric problems and other mental and physical conditions, straight from their website:

        “Targeted disabilities are those disabilities that the Federal government, as a matter of policy, has identified for special emphasis in recruitment and hiring,” the FAA’s website states. “They include hearing, vision, missing extremities, partial paralysis, complete paralysis, epilepsy, severe intellectual disability, psychiatric disability and dwarfism.”

  3. Department of Transportation/FAA, cares nothing about GA. We don’t pay in a significant amount of money, have no real lobby or advocates, and have to gaul to tell them how poor a job they are doing. It’s an appointed position, no real qualifications required. Look how long we have been waiting for an unleaded fuel. The FSDO issue can be easily fixed by hiring more. There are plenty of qualified people out there. It’s artificially restricted, and to a great extent a “good ole boy’s” club.