EAA’s Vice President of Government Affairs, from left,
John Duncan, Division Manager AFS-800 and Nick Sabatini, FAA
Associate Administrator conduct Wednesday’s meeting. Photo
by Hilary Lawrence
are living in the safest period ever in general aviation and
commercial aviation history," said FAA Associate Administrator
Nick Sabatini. But, he continued, there has been an "uptick"
in accidents involving amateur-built aircraft. In fact, he said,
"amateur-built aircraft are the only group of aircraft whose
safety numbers are going in the wrong direction."
was speaking at the inaugural meeting of the Amateur-Built
Subcommittee of the General Aviation Joint Steering Committee (GAJSC),
which is charged with gathering and analyzing aviation accident data
and developing ways to make aviation safer.
Lawrence, EAA’s vice president of industry and regulatory affairs,
and John Duncan, manager of the FAA’s General Aviation and
Commercial Division, co-chair the subcommittee. Its members include
other EAA and FAA officials and amateur-built industry leaders.
on amateur-built accidents show that fatalities are increasing even
as hours flown are declining, and that amateur-built aircraft
fatalities account for 22 percent of all fatalities among
"personal use general aviation" accidents. "Fast
glass"—high-performance composite amateur-built aircraft—continue
to drive amateur-built accident numbers, according to the
numbers also show a spike in accident rates during the first five
hours of flight for just-completed amateur-built aircraft, and
another spike just after the 40-hour test-flight period.
Amateur-Built Subcommittee will analyze existing statistics and
gather additional data as needed, analyze fatal and non-fatal
accident numbers, and look for ways to improve the amateur-built
safety record. It may develop initiatives on its own or turn to its
members—EAA, FAA, the EAA Homebuilt Aircraft Council, and industry
groups—to develop safety programs or other initiatives.
been very successful in the GAJSC," said Sabatini. "Just
look at the accident statistics" for general and commercial
aviation. This new subcommittee, he said, can be just as successful
in addressing amateur-built accidents.
FAA official noted that while there is room for improvement in
amateur-built safety, "amateur-builts are safer now than all
aircraft in 1972."
EAA publications and
the EAA website (www.EAA.org/govt)
will carry news from the subcommittee as it begins this important