Roughly 220,000 general-aviation aircraft are decades old. The average single-engine airplane in the Federal Aviation Administration registry is 41 years old. 50,000 of these airplanes were built more than a half-century ago.
Compared to automobiles in the U.S., this number is stark in contrast. The average automobile is only 11.4 years old and has to meet standards set from the date of manufacturing. Small aircraft, on the other hand, have an exemption policy called “grandfathering” that allows manufacturers to bypass any such safety regulation.
Greg Bowles of the General Aviation Manufacturers Association explains the severity of the issue: “If you were to own a car built 40 years ago, you wouldn’t want to drive it every day. It wouldn’t have anti-lock brakes, air bags or energy-absorbing crumple zones . . . That’s the world of (general-aviation) airplanes as well.
Many amateur pilots continue using propeller-drive airplanes from decades ago due to the FAA advisory committee announced that these airplane users would have to spend a significant amount more in order to meet current standards. With pilots flying old aircraft and not adding new protective features, “the safety level of general aviation does not improve,” the 346-page report concluded. Surprisingly, “many amateur-flown aircraft lack rudimentary safety features such as shoulder belts, which the FAA and its predecessor delayed requiring in the 1960s, 1970s and 1980s, despite repeated studies showing they would prevent hundreds of deaths a year by keeping people from slamming into hard interior surfaces in a crash.”
The fact of the matter is, these airplanes are old and outdated and the FAA is doing little to change their policies. Sadly, crashes and accidents occur every year and have continued to remain constant.
If you or a family member have suffered from an aircraft related injury or wrongful death and are seeking help, please call. In every potential life-risking, life-harming situation, it is imperative to seek an attorney for further assistance and help.
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