|Owners of antique airplanes like this short-wing Piper can benefit from the safety education provided by their type clubs. PHOTO BY RANDY DUFAULT
Safety studies routinely show that pilots who are actively engaged in type clubs suffer fewer accidents when compared to pilots who are not. With that knowledge in mind, along with a strong desire to improve safety among all general aviation operators, leaders from aircraft type clubs and pilot associations met earlier this week at EAA AirVenture Oshkosh 2011 to discuss forming a coalition that will work to improve GA safety.
An objective of the coalition would be to reach those pilots who are not yet members of an organization familiar with their aircraft and get them the information they need to fly it in a safe and effective manner.
At the meeting, attendees discussed implementing a “push” strategy to reach those pilots: When a pilot registers his or her aircraft, the coalition would send the registrant type-specific safety information and how to obtain the much-needed transition training.
Any time a pilot moves to an unfamiliar aircraft—whether type-certificated, experimental amateur-built or other—transition training is critical.
Familiarity breeds safety
For many type-certificated GA aircraft, training can be found easily at a local FBO.
For experimental amateur-built, warbirds, and some specific makes and models of GA aircraft, however, that training can be difficult to obtain.
This new coalition will leverage its knowledge and resources to better prepare GA pilots for flight risks associated with known accident “hot spots.”
Risk will be reduced through focused training, outreach, and cultural change.
But we all must do a better job of educating our fellow aviators. If you or someone you know is thinking about purchasing an aircraft in which they have little or no experience, seek out a type club or owners group that has a specific make and model transition training course.
Until a pilot experiences the specific flight characteristics of that aircraft with a competent and experienced flight instructor, risk will remain elevated.
The organizations composing the type club coalition includes EAA, American Bonanza Society, AOPA Air Safety Institute, Cessna Pilots Association, Cirrus Owners & Pilots Association, Commemorative Air Force, Helicopter Association International, Lancair Owners & Builders Organization, and Van’s Aircraft.
Many of these organizations are represented on AirVenture’s grounds this week. Please visit their exhibits or go to their respective websites to obtain more information on this effort.