NTSB Completes Study
On Amateur Built Aircraft Accidents
By Mike Mitchell
January 25, 2012 - Throughout the 2011 calendar year,
the National Transportation Safety Board has been
conducting a study of Experimental Amateur-Built (E-AB)
aircraft to evaluate the safety of this growing and
innovative segment of general aviation.
addition to using the information gathered during its
accident investigations, the NTSB has been working with
the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), the
Experimental Aircraft Association (EAA), and individual
owners and builders to evaluate a range of issues unique
to this popular segment of general aviation.
"The cooperation we have received from EAA and the E-AB community has been tremendous," said NTSB Chairman Deborah A.P Hersman.
"Through this study, we hope that we'll be able to give the innovators and aviators in the community information about accidents that will result in a real and immediate safety payoff for them when they are flying these aircraft."
As part of
the study, NTSB investigators have conducted in-depth
investigations of 222 E-AB aircraft accidents that occurred
during 2011. Fifty-four of these accidents resulted in 67
fatalities. Most of these accidents (93%) involved amateur-built
airplanes, the remaining accidents involved gyroplanes (4%),
helicopters (2%), and gliders (1%).
accidents occurred in 44 states, with California (18 accidents),
Texas (16 accidents), and Florida (14 accidents) accounting for
the most. More than half (53%) of the E-AB accidents
investigated in 2011 involved E-AB aircraft that were bought
used, as opposed to having been built by the current owner.
has supported the study by conducting a web-based survey of E-AB
owners and builders. More than 5,000 E-AB owners and builders
responded to EAA's survey, and 4,923 of these responses were
sufficiently complete to use in analyses. Most respondents (97%)
described E-AB airplanes, while gliders, gyrocopters, and
helicopters were each described by slightly less than 1% of the
Sixty-three percent of respondents had already built their E-AB aircraft, 13% were currently building their E-AB aircraft, and nearly 24% had bought used E-AB aircraft. More than 340 distinct makes of amateur-built aircraft were reported, although kit manufacturers accounted for more than 55% of the reported aircraft.
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