Fatal Accidents Drop for Experimentals

EAA suggests its initiatives helped.

Experimental RV-12

Experimental RV-12

Mark Phelps

Fiscal year 2013 was less unlucky than 2012 for fatal accidents among the experimental category. There were 55 accidents involving fatalities this year, compared with 73 last year, a 25 percent decrease. The accidents resulted in 70 deaths, down 18 percent from the 85 who lost their lives in 2012.

EAA also reports that the FAA sets "not to exceed" limits as guidelines for safety performance, as part of its 10-year plan to reduce all accidents. The agency's goal for this year was 69, so the actual total of 55 beat the FAA's projections by 14.

The "experimental" category represents several factions besides amateur-built aircraft, including warbirds, developmental aircraft prototypes and others. Among experimental amateur-builts (E-ABs), the accident rate improved from 50 in 2012 to 35 in 2013, a decrease of 30 percent. Meanwhile, figures on fatal accidents among the overall general aviation fleet remained essentially flat for the same time period, supporting the contention that the improvement for experimentals was not based on people flying fewer hours.

EAA Vice President of Advocacy and Safety Sean Elliott said, "We are cautiously optimistic that these figures represent many of our safety initiatives starting to take hold in the E-AB community … We hope that by encouraging builders and pilots who purchase E-AB aircraft to seek out the best training and information available, we can help those in our community avoid some of the most common accident causes."

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