FAA Expects 2017 to be Safest Year on Record

General Aviation Safety Summit brings good news to industry.

michael huerta faa
FAA Administrator Michael Huerta (second from right) delivered some great news at this year's General Aviation Safety Summit in Washington D.C.FAA

There was good news at the FAA’s General Aviation Safety Summit held this week in Washington, D.C. “We’re still finalizing the numbers, but it looks like 2017 will end up being our safest year yet,” said FAA Administrator Michael Huerta in a speech at the Summit. The fatal accident rate has declined below one per 100,000 flight hours.

Huerta credited safety measures implemented through the General Aviation Joint Steering Committee (GAJSC) for the decrease in accidents. The GAJSC's Fly Safe campaign targeted millions of social media followers with information designed to help pilots avoid accidents related to loss of control. The modified Part 23 rule was finalized, making it easier for manufacturers to implement safety-enhancing technologies, such as angle-of-attack indicators, into general aviation aircraft. The committee also worked with industry experts to update pilot training directives to include risk management through the Airman Certification Standards.

Despite the success in decreasing general aviation accidents, Huerta feels there is more that can be done. “As long as general aviation accidents keep occurring, we must stay vigilant and keep finding new ways to advance our shared safety mission, he said.

The focus now turns to developing consensus standards for the new Part 23 certification rule in collaboration with industry leaders. The FAA is using data from the Aviation Safety Information Analysis and Sharing (ASIAS) to learn more about what areas could need help in making flying more safe. Finally, Huerta pointed to the mandated implementation of ADS-B, which he referred to as a “life-saving” technology.

The GASJC includes a long list of aviation alphabet groups, such as the NTSB, AOPA, NBAA, EAA, LAMA and more. It was formed in the mid-1990s to combat fatal accidents. This week's General Aviation Safety Summit is the fifth of its kind.