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TXAA Foundation urges pilots to take the PLEDGE

December 11, 2012, 05:50 pm

The Texas Aviation Association Foundation recently launched the PLEDGE program, which looks to reduce the number of accidents in the general aviation industry. TXAA officials have made it clear that the accident rate in the general aviation community is too high.

In a monthly newsletter, TXAA board members said that although the accident rate for commercial operations has gone down in the last 10 years, the general aviation accident rate remains at what they say is an unexpected level.

In response, they created the PLEDGE program, which will allow increase awareness on accidents in general aviation. The staff made a list of six leading causes of accidents for general aviation, including running out of gas, ignoring weather forecasts, continuing to fly visual flight rules in instrument meteorological conditions, stalls (mainly at takeoff and landing), buzzing (hitting the ground while showing flying skills) and landing configuration - or what pilots know as gas, undercarriage, mixture, propeller and seatbelt (GUMPS).

The officials picked the name PLEDGE, which represents an acronym: "P" for peeking into a gas tank, "L" for looking at the weather, "E" eluding VFR into IMC, "D" do not stall, "G" ground hurts and "E" exclaim GUMPS.

The TXAA Foundation made placards for the six causes of general aviation accidents and the of how to avoid them.

Last month general aviation was named to the National Transportation Safety Board's 10 Most Wanted List of Safety Improvements. The accident rate for aviation has remained steady, averaging 6.8 accidents per every 100,000 flight hours in the past 10 years. NTSB officials warned, however, that personal flying accidents have increased 20 percent and incidents of death have gone up 25 percent. The NTSB also named general aviation to the list last year.

“We're releasing the list now so it is available to policymakers at the state and federal levels as well as industry groups as they craft their priorities for 2013," said Deborah Hersman, NTSB chairman. "We want to highlight the results of our investigations and ensure that safety has a seat at the table when decisions are made."

The NTSB held a forum earlier this year at the Experimental Aviations Association's Oshkosh fly-in to increase awareness.

"In Oshkosh, we'll have tremendous opportunities to share lessons learned from our investigations with an enthusiastic aviation community," said NTSB Chairman Deborah Hersman before the event. "In particular, we're [looking] forward to interacting with experimental aircraft builders to relay the findings and recommendations from our E-AB safety study."

Pilots are encouraged to follow TXAA Foundation's PLEDGE, heed the NTSB warnings and obtain pilot life insurance to make sure their family's finances are covered.

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