Fatal amateur-built aircraft accidents remained under the historic average over the 12-month period ending in September 2022, but the Experimental Aircraft Association (EAA) notes that an uptick over the previous year’s total shows that focused efforts to enhance safety remain essential.

For the federal fiscal year ending Sep. 30, 2022, the FAA reported 56 fatal accidents in experimental-category aircraft over the preceding 12 months, including 39 in amateur-built aircraft. Those statistics compare with 42 total accidents—33 in amateur-built aircraft—during the previous 12-month period between October 2020 and September 2021.

“The fatal accident totals, for both amateur-builts and experimental aircraft overall, remain 30% to 35% below where they were just a decade ago, including when looking at the three-year rolling average on which the FAA bases its annual not-to-exceed number,” said Sean Elliott, EAA vice president of advocacy and safety. “While that’s good news, we never want to see an annual increase in the totals. That’s a reminder that we all must continue to work to make safety the top priority even with the small numbers we see each year.”

The higher accident totals in experimental-category aircraft mirror an increase for all of general aviation (GA) over the same 12-month period. This increase coincides with preliminary figures that show flight hours increasing in 2021 and 2022.

“EAA has been deeply involved in FAA’s safety analysis teams for several years, and we consistently see that experimental-aircraft accident causes are very similar to accident causes for all GA accidents,” Elliott said. “It shows that the accidents overwhelmingly do not occur because a pilot is flying an amateur-built or experimental aircraft, but because of factors relating to pilot decision-making or flight procedures. Those are areas where EAA safety programs and resources can make a difference.”

EAA has worked closely with the FAA and the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) on recommendations to reduce fatal accidents through its participation in the FAA General Aviation Joint Safety Committee. EAA safety initiatives include distributing thousands of copies of the EAA Flight Test Manual to amateur-built aircraft owners, promoting the use of an additional safety pilot during initial flight testing of amateur-built aircraft, and holding regular safety webinars for experimental-category

About EAA
The Experimental Aircraft Association is based in Oshkosh, Wisconsin. EAA’s 260,000 members and 900 local chapters share a passion for flying, building, and restoring recreational aircraft. For more information on EAA and its programs, go to www.eaa.org. For continual news updates, connect with www.twitter.com/EAA.