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NBAA Responds to Misleading USA Today Article About General Aviation Safety

USA Today
ATTN: Letters Editor
7950 Jones Branch Drive
McLean, VA 22108

October 28, 2014

Dear Editor,

On behalf of the more than 10,000 Member Companies of the National Business Aviation Association (NBAA) using general aviation (GA) as a safe mode of transportation across the country and around the globe, I find it unfortunate that USA Today has again published what seems to be a biased, sensationalist opinion piece ("Investigation: Post-crash fires in small planes cost 600 lives"), which paints an unfair and inaccurate portrait of our industry, rather than presenting an objective and fact-based analysis of the many facets that have contributed to safer GA operations over the past several years.

Specifically, I find it particularly unsettling that the report was published without any reference to the most recent data from the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) published last month that GA safety is, in fact, the strongest it has ever been.

These impressive figures are indicative of an overall trend of improved safety across general aviation, as well as the significant and continuing investment in new safety technologies by manufacturers of GA aircraft and their related systems.

In fact, in direct contradiction to the tone and substance of the USA Today report, I would call attention to the industry's significant investment in a host of new safety technologies over the past 20 years.

These advances include digital avionics and engine-monitoring systems, affordable and easy-to-install angle of attack (AOA) indicators, GPS-based navigational technologies used by pilots and air traffic controllers, to aircraft parachutes and more.

Furthermore, these technologies – and the aircraft they are installed in – must adhere to rigorous government certification standards under constant review by the FAA, as well as increasingly advanced and thorough training requirements for pilots.

Improving post-impact fire safety is certainly a top priority for our industry. Rather than promoting an effective discussion on an important safety matter, however, for the second time in four months USA Today has chosen to portray instead an incomplete, and above all negative image about the safety of general aviation across the U.S.

This is a tremendous disservice to your readership, as well as to the hundreds of thousands of aviation professionals nationwide working diligently to continually improve the safety of every aspect of this vital American industry.


Ed Bolen
President and CEO
National Business Aviation Association