Improving general aviation safety is a top priority for the FAA, FAA Administrator Michael Huerta told industry leaders when he met with them Jan. 27 to jump start efforts for this year’s flying season.
Huerta reported that the general aviation fatal accident rate has flattened over the past six years, noting there were 259 fatal accidents in 2013, at a cost of 449 lives.
During the meeting, Huerta and GA’s leaders agreed to work together to raise awareness to prevent weather related accidents for the upcoming flying season.
The FAA is also working with industry on a prototype program to use de-identified GA operations data in the Aviation Safety Information Analysis and Sharing (ASIAS) program to help identify risks before they become accidents.
Lastly, Huerta announced that the agency is issuing a policy that streamlines the process for granting approval to use Reduced Vertical Separation Minimums (RVSM). The new policy establishes a more flexible and efficient process that will allow the FAA to customize its evaluation for RVSM based on the circumstances of the applicant, he noted.
Since 2005, RVSM has allowed pilots to fly with 1,000 feet of vertical separation rather than the previous 2,000 feet at cruising altitudes.
The FAA will consider previous operator and aircraft experience in determining the extent of the evaluation, and this will reduce the amount of time for operators to receive an authorization, FAA officials said.