Labor Day Marks Spike in Air Traffic, Margin for Error

Garrett Turner Garrett Turner, Investigative Environmental Reporter, gturner@ktuu.com
POSTED: 10:34 PM AKDT Sep 01, 2013    UPDATED: 08:40 AM AKDT Sep 02, 2013 
Labor Day Marks Spike in Air Traffic, Margin for Error

The National Transportation Safety Board calls Labor Day weekend its last summer spike in air traffic.

This time of year is one of the busiest for the NTSB, said spokesman Clint Johnson. And it can also mean if the board is busy, there's a chance it's because it is investigating a plane crash.

"This time of the year we see deteriorating weather conditions," Johnson said. "Knowing the limitations of your airplane -- whether it's airspeed or weight limitations -- are key in providing a safe flight for you and your family."

In fiscal year 2012 there were 88 flight accidents and nine fatalities, according to the NTSB. But so far in 2013 there have been 79 flight accidents and 30 deaths.

Adam White of the Alaska Airmen's Association explained not only should one know the plane's limits, but it's also important to know one's own limits as a pilot.

"Make sure the weather is within your personal limits," White said. "Just because it may be legal or good VFR weather doesn't necessarily mean that's safe weather for you personally to be flying in."

It's basic aviation fundamentals officials say people should be extra concerned about, especially with winter coming.

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