Aviation alphabet groups slammed USA Today’s “sensationalistic” story published yesterday about general aviation safety. The story, “Unfit for Flight,” “fails to acknowledge the significant progress general aviation manufacturers have made to improve safety,” noted GAMA president and CEO Pete Bunce. “The reality is that the number of fatal accidents in general aviation aircraft has declined substantially in recent years. In fact, the goal of one fatal accident per 100,000 hours flown by 2018 now appears increasingly likely.”
NBAA president and CEO Ed Bolen called the story “one sided,” saying it “mixed a lot of data and information, some of it inaccurate, and in the process left readers with the false impression that the general aviation industry is less than totally committed to the safety of flight.” Bolen noted that omitted, but available, information “illustrates the industry’s focus on safety. Contrary to the writer’s assertion, the safety trend for general aviation over the nearly 50-year period the story’s author referenced has been one of significant improvement, as government data shows.”
AIA president and CEO and former FAA Administrator Marion Blakey charged that the story “ignores overwhelming evidence of improving general aviation safety in a misguided effort to paint aerospace manufacturers in a bad light.” She said that going back through five decades of accident data “significantly” distorts the marked decline in both fatal and nonfatal accidents that occurred from 1999 to 2011, with fatal accidents falling 24 percent and nonfatal accidents falling 29 percent over that period.