Experimental Aircraft Research

A look at the evolution of aviation reveals that many times it was flight enthusiasts and amateurs who led the way in developing foundations on which improvements could be made to transform and develop the world of aviation as it is known today. It is for these very reasons that the National Transportation Safety Board will be conducting research into the technology and innovations of amateur built and experimental aircraft. Not only will it give the board insight into the world of experimental aircraft but assist them in establishing what safety measures are being used, as well as the experience levels of these builders.

Later in July the Experimental Aircraft Association will be hosting their annual festival, named AirVenture, where experimental aircraft will be flown in from all over the United States to participate in this event. It lasts for a week and is one of the most popular and largest aviation events on the calendar. To assist the National Transportation Safety Board in their research, the Experimental Aircraft Association will be conducting a survey amongst their more than one hundred thousand members. The survey questionnaire will be asking members about pilot training in regard to their aircraft, if pilots need to undergo additional training to pilot the aircraft, what engines were used in their design, how they configured their landing gear, and if their aircraft has any safety features such as airbags and seat belts. Members will also be asked about flight hours, what type of aircraft they have and if they hold any certificates.

The survey and its answers will allow the National Transportation Safety Board to gather enough information to find out what training and background the people working on the aircraft have, what parts of the aircraft are being modified and the reasons for modifying the parts, as well as what technical specifications the builders are following. Understanding how the experimental aircraft are being built and the experience that the builders have will give the National Transportation Safety Board the opportunity to assist experimental aircraft builders in increasing their safety measures, as it has been confirmed that of the estimated one thousand five hundred accidents that occurred in 2010, two hundred of them were amateur built aircraft, and they make up fifteen percent of the aircraft in the United States. Assisting this area of aviation will be advantageous for the experimental aviation industry and advise the NTSB on where they will be able to assist.