In the USA Today article on the fatal plane crash that killed legendary MLB pitcher Roy Halladay, Ladd Sanger provided insight on the risks associated with flying smaller planes.
Halladay was flying an Icon A5, a light-sport aircraft certified by the Federal Aviation Administration and marketed as an amphibious aircraft that can maneuver in unforgiving environments, specifically at low altitudes, on the water and in mountainous terrain. Despite the risks of smaller planes, their popularity continues to grow, and according to the FAA, the number of sport-pilot certificates for planes like the A5 grew to nearly 5,889 last year, and the number of light-sport aircraft reached 2,369 in 2015.
According to Ladd, these experimental aircrafts are marketed as only needing a lower level of training to operate. “It is putting novice pilots in an unforgiving machine in an incredibly unforgiving environment,” said Sanger. “I’m not saying the airplane is inherently unsafe. What I’m saying is you’re putting inexperienced people in the most difficult environments and they’re not up to the task of safely operating aircrafts like that.”