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Homemade aircraft cause more deaths than other planes

May 23, 2012, 04:51 pm

A recent National Transportation Safety Board study found that in 2011, homemade aircraft were twice as likely to have accidents and three times more likely to be involved in fatalities when compared to the rest of the aviation community.

The study that began last year found that 10 of 102 experimental, amateur-built aircraft crashed on their first flights. The most common causes of the accidents were powerplant failures and loss of control during the flight.

In response to the study, the five-member NTSB board unanimously approved recommendations for the Experimental Aircraft Association and the Federal Aviation Administration to develop more stringent flight plans, training for pilots and fuel tests on aircraft.

"One of the most important findings of this study is the number of seasoned and experienced pilots getting into accidents so early in the life of structurally sound airplanes," said NTSB Chairman Deborah A.P. Hersman. "The recommendations we issue today can improve safety while encouraging the continued growth of this innovative and vibrant segment of the aviation community."

There are nearly 224,000 general aviation aircraft in the United States, 33,000 of which are experimental. The aircraft account for 20 percent of the aviation industry's deaths, even with such a small population.

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