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March 16, 1984

Federal board seeks to reduce toll from general aviation accidents

JAMA. 1984;251(11):1396. doi:10.1001/jama.1984.03340350008004

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"The standards for occupant protection in general aviation [noncommercial] aircraft have remained essentially unchanged for about the last 30 years," says the National Transportation Safety Board. So the five-member Washington, DC, board is in the midst of a multiyear project to deal with the problem.

What concerns the board, as well as many physicians, is that more than 21,000 persons were killed or seriously injured in 41,319 general aviation accidents over a ten-year period beginning in 1972. About one third of these accidents were not classified as severe, such as hard or gear-up landings or nosing-over after landing, and the board says most of the deaths and serious injuries in those "nonsevere" accidents could have been avoided.

Reporting on the first phase of its study project, the board says "some preliminary findings indicate that problems may exist concerning the adequacy of seat and restraint [lap and shoulder belts] certification and