January 27, 2014
January 27, 2014–Improving general aviation safety is a top priority for the FAA and industry. The general aviation fatal accident rate has flattened over the past six years and there were 259 fatal accidents in 2013, at a cost of 449 lives. Today, FAA Administrator Huerta met with general aviation leaders to jump start efforts for this year’s flying season and they 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, Administrator 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. Since 2005, RVSM has allowed pilots domestically 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.