FAA 'Flight Plan' for 2009 Focuses on Safety and Capacity

This year's forward-looking report from the FAA puts much of its emphasis on advancing safety and improving airspace capacity. Though understandably weighted heavily toward airline issues, the report includes information on initiatives vital to general aviation pilots, as well. For example, under the heading of 'Safety' the second topic identified is improving the general aviation safety record. Though the accident rate has improved significantly in the past 18 months or so, most attribute the reduction in accidents to steep cutbacks in flying due to steeply increased fuel costs. Also presented prominently in the report is the FAA's commitment to improving the airspace infrastructure. The agency wrote that it expects to commission 500 GPS WAAS approaches in 2009, providing lower minimums and safer access to more airports.