By: Douglas Lovell
E-mail Address: firstname.lastname@example.org
GA Summary of White House Commission
A summary for General Aviation interests of recommendations of the White House
Commission on Aviation Safety and Security
On July 25, 1996, President Clinton ordered the formation of the
White House Commission on Aviation Safety and Security
to examine the safety of Commercial Aviation. Two airline catastrophies -- TWA
800 in New York and ValueJet in Florida --had put the question of airline safety
and security very much in the public awareness. The commission released a 71
page final report to the President on February 12, 1997.
The report contains three chapters and eight appendices. The first two chapters
are of most interest to General Aviation (GA) pilots. The rest is largely related
to issues of the security of commercial flights against willful terrorist
Chapter one is concerned with improving aviation safety. It notes
that "While fatality rates in general aviation are higher than in
commercial operations, the principal causes of general aviation
accidents are similar to commercial aviation accidents. The
Commission's recommendations will help address the safety of general
aviation as well" (p. 7).
The report sets a goal (1.1, p.8) of reducing the accident rate
by five times within ten years. It suggests that
the FAA continue to work with NASA, in research and
development partnerships with industry to prevent equipment
malfunctions, human error, and ensure separation between aircraft.
The report notes (p.11) that 70% of accidents occur due to loss of
control or controlled flight into terrain. It asks for more human factors
studies of pilots, and for wider application of
predictive ground proximity warning systems.
It recommends (1.4, p.10) that the FAA set performance
based standards for safety improvement rather than prescribe specific
Air Traffic Control
Chapter two is concerned with Air Traffic Control.
The report recommends rapid modernization of the Air Traffic Control (ATC)
system, using off-the-shelf equipment as much as possible (p.18).
The report encourages adoption of the Free Flight proposal (p.17)
and recommends (2.3, p.21) that the FAA consider upgrades of
GA aircraft communications and navigation equipment required by
changes in the National Airspace
System (NAS). The types of equipment mentioned are, "digital radios,
GPS recievers, and automatic dependent surveillance equipment."
The report makes no distinction between VFR and IFR equiped GA aircraft.
This is an unofficial summary written by one interested GA pilot.
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