ACRO E-mail Archive Thread: Regulating Safety
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Thread: Regulating Safety
Message: Regulating Safety
Follow-Up To: ACRO Email list (for List Members only)
From: "Dave Swartz" <DaveSwartz at msn.com>
Date: Sun, 25 Feb 1996 23:09:54 UTC
The current discussion on safety and what can be done to improve it, is a good one. My feelings line up with Guenther's last post. Many things can be done to improve safety - some are more effective than others, some are more practical than others and some are more expensive than others. We clearly accept some risk each time we step into our aircraft. The question of how far each pilot should go to improve the odds is not that simple. There are limits to what burden (financial, convenience, weight) different pilots can accept. I need more information before I can decide if a fireretardent suit would be a practical safety improvement for myself. South Florida is a great place to fly, but I am wringing wet by the time I've got the engine turning most of the year. I understand that the suit would give me some number of additional seconds (which could make the difference) to get out in the event of fire, b u t , if wearing a suit would put me in danger of heat exhaustion or even take the joy out of flying, I personally would prefer to accept the additional danger. If it were mandated that I must wear the suit, I would probably have to get one but I know it is unlikely that I would wear it while practicing. I'm in the box at contests a total of about 1 hour each year. I practice away from the box about 120 hours. A mandate to wear a suit obviously wouldn't improve my odds much if I didn't wear it for every flight. No one would argue against requiring a fire extinguisher at the starting line. There is an excellent payback at an extremely small price (most likely a borrowed extinguisher anyway). Forcing each aircraft owner to install an engine fire suppression system is not as simple. This requirement would reduce the number of rental aircraft available at contests and would also reduce the number of non-competition aerobatic pilots that give competition a try. The new environmental restrictions on Halon could impact availability and cost. Those of us that fly factory built aircraft would have to find STC'd equipment. I'd personally consider a helmet but I would still prefer to choose for myself. I think the best thing the IAC can do for safety is to continue to be a conduit for educating the membership. If the membership is exposed to powerful evidence that one safety device or another can make the difference, many will adopt it. If the current rules are changed to mandate additional equipment, I would expect to see a reduction in the number of new competitors and some attrition in the ranks of current competitors.