EAA AirVenture, Day 1

By Debbie Hersman

What a day it’s been at EAA AirVenture!  I started the day with a fascinating behind-the-scenes look at all the work that goes into assuring safety for the 10,000 aircraft that fly in and out of Wittman Regional Airport as well as for overseeing the safe operations for the dozens of air show performers. Many thanks to Jim DiMatteo, Vice President of AirVenture Features and Attractions for the clear explanations.

Chairman Hersman talks about the NTSB with a visitor to the NTSB exhibit booth.

Later, I had a great time talking with numerous aviation enthusiasts at AirVenture’s first-ever Meet the NTSB Chairman forum. We had a lively discussion and I hope the attendees gained a better understanding of the NTSB’s roles and responsibilities.  I appreciated hearing about the issues facing the general aviation community and the candid exchange during the Q & A session.

A highlight of my day was a visit to KidVenture, which is a huge hands-on demonstration area and immense effort by scores of dedicated volunteers to share the excitement of aviation with our next generation. Or, with the Olympics coming up, maybe I should say to pass the torch of aviation enthusiasm!  When KidVenture started they only had 2,000 visitors that first year. Last year, it was up to 25,000 young visitors and from what I saw today, I expect that number will continue to climb.

A couple of young aviation enthusiasts showed Chairman Hersman the ropes at KidVenture.

After KidVenture I spent time at the NTSB booth at the Federal Pavilion. You can find out more about the range of NTSB activities and involvement at EAA AirVenture 2012 on this website.

Tomorrow, I’ve got another busy day.  In the morning, at 10:00 at the Honda Pavilion, I’ll be providing an overview of the NTSB’s recent study on the safety of experimental amateur-built aircraft.  I am also looking forward to spending some time with the Air Boss to see what it takes to coordinate a major air show.

One thought on “EAA AirVenture, Day 1”

  1. Sorry I was not there – but Quoting from Aeronews

    Hersman said. “And I think that among the things in the bucket that are easy … fuel starvation. How many times do our investigators need to investigate an accident like that.


    I believe this is one area that needs a closer look –

    It was on the NTSB Top 5 but seemed to be avoided in the GA Safety Board Meeting –

    your comment above suggests that an in-depth look was not warranted by the board.

    – yes the unfortunate pilot should have known how much fuel they started with. And they should know average fuel consumption – Basic Pilot skills – equally they should know which tank has the most fuel – they are required to.

    The pilot manual states that for the most engine critical procedures – Take off – Engine restart – Engine performance (spitting coughing) – switching to the fullest tank is required.

    If you would have asked the aircraft owners in attendance if they had accurate fuel level gauges – the response would startle you.

    How can you decide which tank had greater fuel if your gauges are erratic or of limited accuracy.

    You will see this in the NTSB Accident Investigation dialog for fuel starvation occurances.

    Every learning GA pilot is told not to trust the fuel level gauges – ask your fellow board members – it is common GA pilot knowledge

    Inaccurate fuel level is the norm in general aviation – not the rule

    If technology / Pilot training may help Stall Spin or flight from VFR into IMC

    I am baffled why fuel gets the short stick –

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