“In aviation safety, tombstone mentality is a pervasive attitude of ignoring defects until people have died because of them.” - Wikipedia
For years, US aviation safety progress was on the backs of the dead for commercial carriers. To change at least pilot induced accidents, the major airlines internally created a program called the Advanced Qualification Program (AQP). This program wasn’t mandated by the FAA but developed by the carriers themselves. AQP in a nutshell is practicing the things that will kill you in a plane, not what the FAA tests for the ability to fly the plane. Most safety officials and insurance companies point to this as the single biggest factor in driving mortality rates to zero in FAA part 121 carrier operations in the USA. Part 121 operations are where there is a scheduled flight times and advanced ticket sales.
General Aviation, sometimes called private pilots (part 91) and the first step in commercial aviation (FAA part 135) where flights are chartered, operate on a lower standard of testing for pilots and on aircraft maintenance than part 121. The problem is that based on per miles flown, you could make an argument that part 91 and 135 pilots are taking perfectly good airplanes and crashing them at an alarming rate that can easily be avoided. From the Addison Texas incident and even the Dale Earnhardt small business jet plane crash in the last year, just a few of these additional proficiency tests in simulators could have avoided most all these major failures.
“It quickly became clear this (AQP) has the potential to affect massive change in general aviation. An AQP is advanced qualification program. It says that you can design your own check ride maneuvers specific to what you are wanting to do. The airlines practice and review the maneuvers that are totally critical to them. General aviation keeps on practicing and reviewing steep turns and Shondells. When do we need a steep turn to get us out of something? How about the maneuvers that are actually going to kill us? How about after you get your privates license? If you learn what the maneuvers are that are actually going to kill you, if you practice those so that you can absolutely be ready to deal with any of those at any time.” Dan Gryder
Dan Gryder has started a grass roots movement backed by the most popular private aviation channels on YouTube. With 224 fatal general aviation accidents in 2019 it was high time someone spoke up with a solution. Private pilots using proven instruction in commercial aviation seems so easy an answer. My questions start with how likely this is to catch on with private pilots where there is not a single entity in charge. I call it the herding cat’s phenomena. What other areas of proven safety have not migrated to public or civilian adoption in other sectors?