The U.S. Department of Transportation’s Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) and general aviation groups will launch an eight-month national safety campaign titled, “Got Weather? #GotWx,” to help general aviation (GA) pilots prepare for potential weather challenges they may encounter during the 2014 flying season. FAA Administrator Michael Huerta and GA leaders will kick-off the Got Weather? campaign this Sunday, May 4, in Anchorage at the Great Alaska Aviation Gathering.
“General aviation is a vibrant part of our country’s culture and our economy,” said U.S. Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx. “But too many lives are lost each year in general aviation crashes related to weather. This campaign will help ensure that our general aviation pilots are prepared in the face of bad weather and are as safe and well-trained as possible.”
The United States has the busiest and most complex airspace in the world, including a very active GA community of 188,000 pilots. Weather is the most lethal cause of all major causes of GA accidents. According to the Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association (AOPA), nearly 75 percent of weather-related accidents are fatal.
“GA pilots have an opportunity to make a real difference in improving safety this season by asking friends and family to get engaged in the campaign, by being prepared, and fine tuning their pre-flight decision making skills,” said FAA Administrator Huerta. “The Got Weather? campaign takes advantage of the tremendous resources our GA partners have for pilots to improve their skills and knowledge.”
The Got Weather? safety campaign will run through December and refresh each month to feature a new weather topic such as turbulence, thunderstorms, icing, crosswinds, and the resources available to pilots. Pilots can go to one user-friendly website to get fast facts about the topic and links to partner videos, safety seminars, quizzes, proficiency programs, online training, case studies, and more. The campaign partners will share campaign materials, link to the website, and promote the campaign on social media.
“Weather is the one variable in flight that we haven't certificated, and Mother Nature's performance is capable of overriding forecasts and aircraft specifications. The best preparation is a full understanding of what you're up against,” said Bruce Landsberg, president of the AOPA Foundation.
“The link between aviation safety and weather is something that can never be overemphasized,” said Sean Elliott, vice president of safety and advocacy for the Experimental Aircraft Association (EAA) in Oshkosh, Wisconsin. “Understanding weather and how it affects your planned flight is essential, and that's why EAA supports this safety initiative for all aviators.”
“Ensuring a safe flight is the first and most important responsibility for all pilots,” said National Business Aviation Association (NBAA) President and CEO Ed Bolen. “Since adverse weather is the leading cause of the most severe aviation incidents, we are joining with FAA and the industry to promote an intense focus on using the best weather information available and making sound judgments to ensure continued enhancements to aviation safety.”
The National Transportation Safety Board’s (NTSB) Most Wanted List includes “GA: Identify and Communicate Hazardous Weather,” as one of the Board’s advocacy priorities. According to the NTSB, FAA’s Got Weather? outreach efforts are an encouraging sign of the FAA and aviation community’s commitment to improving GA safety.
The Got Weather? campaign partners are: Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association (AOPA), Aircraft Electronics Association (AEA), American Electronics Association (AEA), Experimental Aircraft Association (EAA), FAA Safety Team (FAASTeam), GA Joint Steering Committee, General Aviation Manufacturers Association (GAMA), Helicopter Association International (HAI), National Agricultural Aviation Association (NAAA), National Air Transportation Association (NATA), National Association of State Aviation Officials (NASAO), National Association of Flight Instructors (NAFI), National Business Aircraft Association (NBAA), Soaring Society of America (SSA), Society of Aviation and Flight Educators (SAFE), University Aviation Association (UAA), U.S. Parachute Association (USPA).