Yes, there have been more light aircraft accidents in 2008. Sadly, the author of this article appears to be trying to link the rise in Recreational Aviation to the increase, throwing in comments about maintenance being done by non-CASA certified engineers and how RAAus wants to increase the weight of aircraft it is allowed to govern.
Suffice to say, I submitted a comment to the newspaper:
Is Paul Bibby trying to imply that RAAus is the reason for the increase in accidents this year? An interesting concept given that the aircraft involved in the 4 most recent crashes were in no way RAAus aircraft but were, in fact, covered by CASA and their maintenance, monitoring and training regimes (2 x Cessna 172s, 1 x Lake Buccanneer and a crop duster). Further, the two mid-air collisions in 2008 (Moorabbin and Bankstown) both involved VH registered aircraft that were covered by CASA, not RAAus.
So, while over half the fatalities were in the 0 – 2250 category, how many were actually weighing less than 544kg and thus governed by RAAus instead of CASA? It is also important to compare the number of fatalities against the number of hours flown. It may be that there are more deaths because people are flying more but that, over all, we’re having fewer accidents per thousand hours, etc. Paul’s report doesn’t supply that information.
Fewer regulations are not necessarily indicative of a lax safety attitude. In fact, fewer regulations that are easier to learn & follow often lead to a safer environment. It seems of late that CASAs view on air safety is that we’d be safest if no-one actually flew. RAAus has been working hard to safely get more people flying once again and it is no surprise that the Recreational space is growing while the CASA controlled flight training environments are shrinking.
The increase in aviation related deaths, while still tiny compared to Australia’s annual road toll, is a trigger that we should be reviewing our procedures & processes in general. From this review we can determine where it may be necessary to educate to address common factors or revise procedures.
Combining information about increased fatalities with references to RAAus having fewer regulations and wanting to increase its area of control only serves to make me wonder about Paul’s motives in writing this story.
Thanks for pointing out this story. It, and your comments, made me react on a couple of points.
Firstly – oh, how tiresome it is responding to misinformed aviation reporting by people who know little about aviation (and bother to find little out before coming to broad and often wrong conclusions). Sometimes I wonder whether we should bother, or just leave them to it. Of course, the answer is, we should bother, since the future of aviation depends upon it.
As for the article itself – although your response mostly sums it up, I have a couple more thoughts:
1. Not sure whether it’s the writer’s motives we should be questioning… more likely he was just naive and believed AIPA and ALAE’s lines that the RA-Aus weight increase and or the RA-Aus category generally is dangerous; despite these organisations’ apparent vested interests against RA-Aus. (I say ‘apparent’ because looking at the big picture, The RA-Aus movement – as an affordable entry into both piloting and aviation mechanics is critical to the growth and survival of civil aviation!)
2. What on earth does two hours of instrument training have to do (a) with safety generally and (b) with the recent accidents specifically? (a) As you point out, all were in the VH category anyway, so the instrument training / RA issue is irrelevant anyway, and (b) There is no suggestion, let alone evidence, that instrument proficiency would have averted these accidents, since they were all in VMC! Does the writer even know what instrument training is for?! To someone who knows nothing to little about aviation, I’m sure “flight instrument training” sounds very critical and important… but what the hell does that have to do with not hitting each other in the circuit, or clipping power lines at bush strips?
Whew… I guess I’d better calm down now. Happy new year :-)
Yeah – stuff like this does get one a little naffed off and warmed up, no? :)
Do you get the RAAus magazine? Perhaps a letter to their editor with reference to both our letters could do well? You OK to send one in?