Aviation Groups Urge NTSB to Tell the Whole Story on GA Safety

An NBC News segment about a fatal crash in Georgia portrayed personal flying as a highly risky activity. NBC News

In a September 23 letter to the National Transportation Safety Board, 21 general aviation associations wrote to voice their displeasure with the panel's apparent role in a recent NBC Nightly News report on an aircraft accident that portrayed personal flying as a highly risky activity. The groups are urging the NTSB to "publicly convey that general aviation is one of the safest modes of transportation in the United States."

“Given the hundreds of thousands of flight hours each year it is understandable that aviation accidents receive significant media attention because they are so infrequent given the enormous amount of private and business flying in the United States,” the groups said in the letter. “The media’s reporting of general aviation accidents should be balanced just as we believe NTSB accident investigations should be thorough and rely solely on facts and not speculation. We believe the NTSB has an inherent responsibility to help provide media outlets with a comprehensive view of safety trends and outline the improvements in general aviation safety over the years.”

When the NTSB first put general aviation safety on its Most Wanted List of safety improvements in 2011, the industry applauded. Now, the GA groups appear to be growing weary of the bull’s-eye that this label puts on aviation’s back.

The NBC report noted that loss of control is the No. 1 cause of fatal general aviation accidents and quoted statistics supplied to the network by the NTSB. The piece failed, however, to note that GA safety has been improving over the years and in 2014 recorded the lowest fatal accident rate ever.

“We, as a responsible industry, do everything within our power to ensure that safety remains our top priority and we must continue to work together to manage risk in general aviation,” the aviation groups, which included AOPA, EAA and NBAA, wrote. “We must not let media reports like these discredit the hard work and gains we have all made together, and we encourage the NTSB to help set the record straight.”


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