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Unfit for Flight

USAToday story covered on AvWeb.

http://www.usatoday.com/longform/news/nation/2014/06/12/lies-coverups-mask-roots-small-aircraft-carnage-unfit-for-flight-part-1/10405323/

I agree with a lot of it’s findings. They miss the obvious point that the national regulators cause many of the crashed by prohibiting some technical progress and not mandating other progress. It would have been interesting if they covered topics should as Diamond’s excellent fuel cell design or the Cirrus SR22 engine failure statistic I commented on. I believe for example, Garmin’s ESP is the most under rated safety advances for light GA – and it deserves more coverage.

Last Edited by DMEarc at 18 Jun 09:58

They miss the obvious point that the national regulators cause many of the crashed by prohibiting some technical progress and not mandating other progress.

Maybe. But regarding this point, I strongly believe that owners and owner associations are to blame as well. Safety does not come for free. Redundant systems cost money. Modern technology costs money. For many owners, being forced to spend money on their aircraft (other than for fuel) seems to be a violation of their personal rights that must be fought against with all available means. As long as not even a simple and efficient 2000 Euro safety feature like a transponder can be enforced on all aircraft within controlled airspace we don’t need to discuss aviation safety for small aircraft any further…

Last Edited by what_next at 18 Jun 10:45
EDDS - Stuttgart

For many owners this is true because they are already at the limit of affordability, and being forced to spend 2 grand on a transponder (which really provides very little benefit to them) means they don’t fly any more because they no longer have the money to pay for the next annual. Or they have to defer some other maintenance to install a transponder that gives them actually almost no benefit whatsoever. Or just the opportunity cost or panel space. My aircraft is an antique built before radios are common, and as such our radio is on the roof and the transponder is getting in the way of the passenger’s knee. If we were forced to carry one additional piece of avionics the aircraft would become a single seater!

Andreas IOM

There is going to be an excuse for everything. The same applies to the manufacturers. Forcing Piper and Cessna to replace every carburetor they sold between 1950 and 2010 will drive them into bankruptancy immediately (if they are not already operating under “chapter 11”…). So they will find a way not to replace those carburetors, as owners will find a way not to install transponder, GPS, BRS, crash resistant seats, fireproof interior, …. And safety levels will stay exactly where they are. The equation is wery simple: More safety = more money = less people who can afford their aeropane. But this is nothing new and has not changed the least since 1903. Therefore articles like the one quoted above are not really worth being written I’m afraid.

Last Edited by what_next at 18 Jun 11:10
EDDS - Stuttgart

The problem is that you are not paying 2k for the transponder. You are paying £1k for the transponder and £1k for indirect regulatory costs. For example, the Garmin G3X Touch is safer than a vacuum powered gyro in a 1940’s Cessna – but it’s not allowed…. the affordable & safety technology remains banned. The regulators don’t know how to actually care about safety, they care about obedience and control.

Another question – why was every regulator afraid of GPS? Until it actually reduced CFIT by 90%, they remained uneducated and warning us to stay in the past.

Last Edited by DMEarc at 18 Jun 11:27

As long as not even a simple and efficient 2000 Euro safety feature like a transponder can be enforced on all aircraft

Yeah right. Except many of those who resist the transponder change aren’t getting any benefit from the transponder. How often do those who fly low level VFR get traffic information? In germany, for example, mainly during bad weather days when you’re almost alone in the air and the collision risk is virtually zero.

Furthermore, the authorities always state that the benefit of the transponder is that they can more easily find out who busted what airspace.

Small wonder noone wants to pay 2000€ to be more easily prosecuted.

Furthermore, EASA actively denies safety benefit of the transponder to small GA, by making the two wires from your certified GPS to your certified transponder a costly (well into 4 figures) major change.

LSZK, Switzerland

The equation is wery simple: More safety = more money

That’s BS. It’s not simple. More money does absolutely not automatically mean more safety, on the contrary.

Safety is always used as an excuse to force “regulatory subjects” to shell out money, for things that have no proven safety benefit and would likely not hold up in any serious investigation.

One of the main accusations (besides all this personal touchy stuff) of the article is that not enough information is recorded during accident investigations to actually build a safety case for or against certain things.

Last Edited by tomjnx at 18 Jun 11:38
LSZK, Switzerland

One of the main accusations (besides all this personal touchy stuff) of the article is that not enough information is recorded during accident investigations to actually build a safety case for or against certain things.

Yes. But again: More information = more staff required = more money spent. Where can that money only come from? Aircraft owners, through regulatory cost. But as you say, what I write is “BS” therefore I will not continue with that discussion.

EDDS - Stuttgart

More information = more staff required = more money spent.

Again, not automatically. More common sense and less preoccupation trying to prove it was pilot error would go a long way, IMO. Pilot error is like heart attack, it’s the default finding if the actual reason cannot be found.

LSZK, Switzerland

Equating GA to airliners regarding safety is like equating personal cars to trains. These are completely different things.

Once you accept the fact that flying a small aircraft is a risky thing to do, and there is only so much you can do to reduce that risk within practical means, things suddenly gets much less complicated. If you want to live a “safe” life, then do not fly small aircraft, it is as simple as that.

ENVA ENOP ENMO, Norway
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