NTSB/EAA Experimental Aircraft Safety Study

The NTSB with the support of EAA has launched a study to evaluate and improve the safety of amateur-built experimental aircraft, beginning with an online survey. Nearly 15 percent of general aviation aircraft (33,000 of 224,000) in the U.S. fall into the amateur-built experimental classification, the NTSB says.

And that group exhibits “accident rates greater than those of other comparable segments of GA.” Together with EAA, the NTSB hopes to identify risks unique to the segment and improve on the segment’s record. According to the NTSB, the study will be the first to examine the building and piloting of experimental aircraft with direct input from owners and operators.

Amateur-built experimental aircraft are statistically more dangerous than more conventionally built aircraft and the NTSB and EAA hope to use information collected through the study to change that. The study will cover topics ranging from builder assistance programs to transition training, flight testing and certification requirements, maintenance, systems, structures and power plants. The study will seek input on day-to-day operations as well. EAA will collect data through the summer. Owners, operators and builders of amateur-built experimental aircraft are encouraged to participate by taking the survey online at http://www.EAA.org/AB-Survey. The NTSB expects to publish the completed safety study by fall 2012.

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