J.J., I would think that more people would weight in on this, especially if it would mean that people without Instrument ratings, but with regular Private Pilots licenses might lose the ability to take more than one passenger, if not Grandfathered and if Grandfathered, how long will it take to make the New S-P license a significant percentage of those flying and have a possible impact on the accident rate. Not to say that something that takes a long time to have effect shouldn't be done.
I think that when you take the Non-Commercial fatalities it would be interesting to dig down and do a break down of those flying with what kind of licenses and in what kind of equipment. Inadvertent flight into IMC and Fuel Starvation, have usually been big one. Then lets include rigorous psychological requirements to insure that no hot shot, maverick Multi-Passenger pilots stop showing off, flying like barnstormers or fly when drunk or on drugs. The assumption seems to be that the accident rate is driven mostly by low time or non-instrument rated pilots, which may be the case, but there have been lots of C-210, Malibu and Bonanza fatal accidents piloted by commercial, instrument rated, experienced pilots. Or the pilot that does not preflight and tries to take off in a tail dragger with the seat belt holding back the controls stick in the rear and pitches up, stalls and dies.
As an A&P professional, should the industry also look at, aircraft age, cycles, the annual inspection rather than 100 hour inspections? When Cessna paid the highest punitive charges in history on a law suit regarding a seat latch, part of Cessna's defense was that they never envisioned their planes to have that long of a life span and if memory serves, that plane was only 14 years old. So should all planes over 10 years old be scrapped? Should all planes without a parachute system be grounded? Those with them have showed an damage level with a decrease in fatalities. at least 5 of those were totaled when floating into open fields, where a landing could have been made by an experienced pilot with little or no damage (those 5 were all fuel mismanagement) and no loss of life. How many remember the automatic seat belt craze many years back. Must not have been effective as you don't see them anymore nor do I know any current cars that disconnect the ignition if your seat belt is not on. In my opinion, none of the safety precautions stops Stupid.
And of course there are the Ultra Light accidents with only one person on board, for just flying in bad wind conditions or starting out in good wind and then having everything turn.
People don't need licenses to pilot light boats in most states and multiple people get killed in boating accidents, but even without required training or recurrency, boat insurance is low priced. Though I could ramble on about walking across the street or riding a snowmobile, motorcycle or bike without a helmet I think the non-flying public, just don't think flying is anything but a high risk endeavor. JFK Jr was hangered 5 down from me right up to the night that he died along with his two passengers. His mother hated that he flied, but John had the money to upgrade from his 172 to a more complex aircraft, had over 400 hours, a private pilots license and considerable time toward is instrument rating and should have been able to make it that night if he had stayed along the coast where there were ground lights rather than heading out over the water to Nantucket. I flew out from the same airport that night to East Hampton and even though it was legal VFR, with an over water leg and only 6 miles of visibility with some high cloud cover, I filed. John let his wife force him to take her and her sister over water to their deaths. Maybe not stupid, but for some, all the training in the world will not correct some errors that circumstances may cause.
Under current regulations, you still do not have to have an instrument rating to get your commercial licence, nor do you have to have a 2nd class medical anymore to get the license. Without the instrument rating though you could only fly within 50 miles for hire and only day time and obviously VFR. You must hold a 2nd Class medical to exercise the privileges though of flying for pay. Look at the push back on the commercial side of the business for the requirement of a First officer or Second in Command to have 1,500 hours or a R-ATP. When I was a new CFI I took most of my students on most of the flights to at least one other airport so that I could legally log at least part of the time as cross country. Another area where there has always been confusion, as a Cross County Flight is ANY flight where a landing is made anywhere other than the originating airport. Only for licenses and ratings are their requirements for Cross Country Flight "Of al least xx miles" though many pilots I know have only logged cross country flight for flights with landings at airports at least 50 miles away. There are lots of levels of R-ATP including allowances for XC of only 200 hours and dependent on Military Vs. Civilian Training, Edcuation, 4 year degree in Aviation, Associates Degree in Aviation etc. But the bottom line has always been more about hiring practices and how marketable your experience and license/rating level is.
Since neither a conversion to this form of licensing, nor whether more or less pilots enter the industry/pastime, effects me at my age and license type, I guess I should be less vocal about my thoughts.
I agree better training would be a positive.
SUPPORTING MEMBERBobWest Nyack Aviation, L.L.C. New York, New York - East Hampton, New York & Warwick, New York firstname.lastname@example.org