The NTSB will meet with government and industry leaders next month as part of an ongoing government-industry collaborative effort to tackle loss of control in flight (LOC-I) in general aviation. The April 24 meeting will involve representatives from the FAA, industry associations, flight schools and technology manufacturers to go over possible solutions to LOC-I, which has been flagged as one of the most problematic areas of general aviation safety.
The meeting follows an NTSB government/industry discussion of the issue as part of a broader mid-term review of the agency’s Most Wanted List last fall. LOC-I in flight is the only aviation-specific recommendation on the current list.
“We learned that industry is taking the lead to improve safety, and, while some FAA initiatives have been helpful, more may be needed,” said NTSB member Earl Weener in a recent blog. “Yet the best path to getting NTSB recommendations adopted, most agreed, was encouraging a more aggressive voluntary, collaborative approach to safety.”
Collaboration so far appears to be occurring widely and effectively, Weener said. While it is too soon to say progress has been made from it, he did point to the fact that the number of LOC-I and fatal LOC-I accidents trended down in 2016, the latest full year of complete data.
Weener was encouraged by the changes in Part 23 that will help streamline adoption of technologies, such as AOA indicators, that can prevent LOC-I . “Private industry can now do what it does best: innovate,” he said.
He further noted other issues on the Most Wanted List, including expanded use of recorders. “The NTSB would like to see more cockpit cameras,” he reiterated, but acknowledged “privacy issues, data protection challenges, and fears of punitive actions by companies appear to still hinder progress in this area.”
Also concerning was a need for general aviation pilots to recognize the safety benefits of enhanced occupant protection systems, such as five-point harnesses. “While helicopter pilots appear to be buckling up, others in GA are not—including passengers,” he said.