On July 30th, 2009, Randy Babbitt took to the podium for the
first time as the FAA Administrator, addressing EAA AirVenture
attendees in the Honda Pavilion. With nearly 70,000
operations every day, and over 753 million people transported each
year, Babbitt explained that the overall system is unquestionably
the safest, most efficient system in the world.
In his first year, Babbitt placed substantial focus on
addressing general aviation safety concerns. Though flying hours
are indeed down, the rates of fatal accidents themselves are
Attributing the changes to continued professionalism throughout
the industry, Babbitt highlighted several significant improvements
seen in recent years. Overall, fatal accident rates have seen
a 12 percent decrease over the last two years.
Much of the improvement, Babbitt explains, reflects the
industry’s willingness to embrace new
technology. Between 8,000 and 10,000 new all-glass cockpit
aircraft have entered the fleet.
The technological enhancement provides pilots better spatial and
situational awareness; though the technology does significantly
increase safety, Babbitt urges pilots to continue to fly regularly
in order to keep their skills sharp.