In a safety recommendation to the Experimental Aircraft Association (EAA), the U.S. National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) issued four recommendations regarding experimental kit-built aircraft, including kit-built helicopters:
Flight Test Training
The NTSB recommended that the EAA undertake an initiative to encourage owners, builders, and pilots of experimental aircraft to complete flight test training, noting that eight out of 34 experimental aircraft accidents that occurred in 2011 were in the first phase of flight testing following construction of the aircraft.
The NTSB recommended that the EAA work with its membership, kit manufacturers, and avionics manufactures to develop standards for the recording of data in electronic displays and glass cockpits, noting that some glass cockpit displays include flight recording capabilities that have significantly benefited accident investigations. The agency also noted that electronic instruments and other flight recording devices also enhance the efficient accomplishment of flight test objectives.
Listing of LODA Holders
The NTSB stated that the largest proportion of amateur built aircraft accidents occurred due to loss of control in flight. The greatest way to reduce accidents, the NTSB noted, was through proper training of pilots. In order for a flight instructor to instruct in their aircraft, a Letter of Deviation Authority (LODA) must be granted by the FAA. While the NTSB has made it clear to the FAA that they need to develop a database of LODA holders, the NTSB recommends that the EAA also develop a database of voluntarily collected information.
An initiative announced by the EAA in the summer of 2011 was intent to improve safety by seeking out pilots transitioning to new aircraft and to notify them of model-specific safety information and how to obtain transition training. The NTSB recommended that the EAA and FAA follow through on a planned action to create a coalition of kit manufacturers, type clubs, and pilot owner groups and (1) develop transition training resources and (2) identify and apply incentives to encourage both builders of experimental amateur-built aircraft and purchasers of used experimental amateur-built aircraft to complete the training that is developed.