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Old 2nd Aug 2004, 20:10
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White Bear
Join Date: Jul 2003
Location: Minnesota
Posts: 139
Do the CAA/FAA obstruct Flight Safety?

There are sensible things one could and should do to reduce the risks inherent in flying, but you cannot reduce any of them to zero. (Aside from not flying at all)
Therefore one must use reasonable judgment, and good assessment of the odds against failure to ensure as far as possible a safe flight.
It seems to me there is a major obstruction in improving flight safety, and that is the CAA/FAA. I have a theory:

There are many traditionalists in flying who will tell you that only the tried/tested/approved things are safe. This thinking, IMHO, makes approval of modifications to GA aircraft so expensive and difficult, it in fact contributes to the dangers, because it financially inhibits carrying out improvements/updates to existing aircraft. For example, most aero engines flying today belong in the technological ark, they are so outdated. It would be safer, cheaper and more reliable to replace magnetos with battery powered ignition modules, it would be safer/more reliable, and more efficient to replace carburetors with manifold fuel injection systems. Given the option, would most GA pilots prefer to use GPS as their primary navigation tool instead VOR/DME, or ADF? True these updates are available, but at a huge price. I believe the reason they are so expensive, is because of the 'certification requirements' and what I see as CAA/FAA failure to actively encourage safety improvements to GA aircraft. The CAA/FAA should strongly recommend updates be done to make GA aircraft more reliable and cheaper to operate, and work with the manufacturer to ensure the cost of these improvements are not prohibitive. Instead the status quo is maintained by requiring the aircraft to be maintained as it was when it left the factory, (excluding A.D's) no matter how many years ago that was, or pay the exorbitant cost of installing 'approved' updates, along with all the attendant CAA/FAA certification costs, thereby ensuring most GA pilots fly engines with 1930's technology, with all the inherent maintenance issues.

No matter how well intentioned, surely with all the modern technology that could be used to improve flight safety, the CAA/FAA must be held to account for holding back, by excessive caution, and increasing the costs with their certification requirements, what it should be actively promoting.

Well that's my theory anyway.
Sorry I've been so rambling, but I do feel there is so much that could be done in the field of GA flight safety, reliability and cost containment that is not done because of obstructions from an organization that was originally set up to do the opposite of what they now do.
In spite of the fact the CAA/FAA say they know best, they have not convinced me they have my, or my fellow GA pilots, best interests at heart.
White Bear.
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