June 17, 2015

The FAA recently joined with 16 general aviation (GA) organizations and stakeholders, including NBAA, to launch the “Fly Safe” national safety campaign to educate pilots about factors contributing to loss-of-control (LOC) accidents and methods operators may use to avoid them.

“Loss of control remains the highest categorical occurrence leading to fatal accidents across the entire spectrum of general aviation operations, including business aviation,” noted Peter Korns, NBAA project manager of operations. “The FAA points out that a fatal accident involving LOC occurs every four days. This is an issue that affects us all.”

The Fly Safe campaign launched earlier this month and will run through December, with a new safety topic highlighted each month on the FAA website. These focus areas were determined from the work of the GA Joint Steering Committee (GAJSC) – on which NBAA serves – following detailed analysis of fatal accidents and the development of safety recommendations. June’s Fly Safe topic is the use of angle-of-attack indicators as an effective tool for pilots to avoid aerodynamic stalls.

“The GAJSC has promoted 28 safety enhancements in an effort to reduce LOC-related accidents,” Korns noted. “These enhancements range from technology and equipment, to issues involving training and fitness for duty. NBAA has been involved in this ongoing effort and fully supports the FAA’s campaign as a way to bring more awareness to Members and industry.”

Earlier this year, NBAA’s own Safety Committee identified LOC as one of its Top Safety Focus Areas for 2015. Committee member Paul Ratte, director of aviation safety programs at United States Aircraft Insurance Group, welcomed the FAA campaign as another resource for pilots and operators.

“Several factors may lead to an LOC event, including improper aeronautical decision-making, weather and even a flight department’s safety culture,” Ratte noted. “For example, we’ve seen a number of instances of inadvertent stalls during circling approaches. That data point offers the opportunity to incentivize organizations to review their procedures on when to fly circling approaches, and determine how they can mitigate such risks in their operations.

“That said, as mature as aircraft systems have become, there is no one ‘golden BB’ that will solve this issue,” continued Ratte. “It’s going to take a multifaceted approach involving interventions to pilot knowledge and training, operator procedures and policy, and flight deck automation.”

Learn more about the Fly Safe campaign.