WASHINGTON, 1 May 2014. General aviation (GA) groups and the U.S. Department of Transportation’s (DOT’s) Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) are partnering to launch an eight-month “Got Weather? #GotWx” national safety campaign to help GA pilots prepare for potential weather challenges during the 2014 flying season.
FAA Administrator Michael Huerta and GA leaders will kick-off the Got Weather? campaign this week in Anchorage at the Great Alaska Aviation Gathering.
“General aviation is a vibrant part of our country’s culture and our economy. 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,” says U.S. Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx.
The United States has the busiest and most complex airspace in the world, including a very active GA community of 188,000 pilots, officials say. Weather is the most lethal cause of all major causes of GA accidents; in fact, nearly 75 percent of weather-related accidents are fatal, according to the Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association (AOPA).
“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,” adds 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,” says Bruce Landsberg, president of the AOPA Foundation.
“The link between aviation safety and weather is something that can never be overemphasized,” notes 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,” says 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), and U.S. Parachute Association (USPA).
Visit Got Weather? and follow #GotWx on Twitter, Facebook, and YouTube.