Striving for better general aviation accident statistics, the US National Transportation Safety Board is urging the Federal Aviation Administration to develop more accurate methods for determining non-airline flying activity.

The NTSB is recommending the FAA to require fractional-ownership operators to report their activity annually, including total hours flown, revenue hours and miles flown and number of departures by category of aircraft. A significant portion of fractional flying under Part 91 Subpart K rules is "deadhead" time, with only crew on board, as aircraft are repositioned to pick up owners.

The board wants the FAA to find ways of generating and revising estimates of air-taxi and GA flying based on operator surveys or reporting. The NTSB also wants the FAA to identify measures independent of the surveys that can be used to check the accuracy of non-airline flight hour estimates.

The NTSB says total GA accidents fell from 1,741 in 2003 to 1,614 last year, and the rate from 6.77 to 6.22 per 10,000 flight hours. Fatal accidents dropped from 352 in 2003 to 312 last year, and the rate from 1.37 to 1.2/10,000h. But a forthcoming special report criticises the accuracy of the operator surveys that generate the activity estimates on which these statistics are based.

Source: Flight International