Question edited for clarity, see below.
In 1998 NASA published the following:
"NASA's Aviation Safety Program: Making the Skies Safer The goal of the NASA Aviation Safety Program is to reduce the fatal aircraft accident rate by 80 percent in 10 years, and by 90 percent in two decades. The ambitious $500-million program is a partnership that includes NASA, the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), the aviation industry and the Department of Defense."
I am not sure if they have been successful. Is there any research being done into a complete safety system for light aircraft, from taxi out taxi in and engine shut down?
The goal of such a system the system is to protect the occupants of the vehicle through each phase of the flight. The aircraft configuration disuccsed is the typical 4 seater piston engined light aicraft.
The approach is a to assume that pilots will ake mistakes and need to have a second chance, provided through technology. Also, there should be a demarcation between accidents caused by error and those caused by negligence, and should be categorized and treated separately so as not to affect the accident record of genuinely safe pilots.
This question is somehwat related to
Any aircraft goes through several phases of flight with its attendant risks. I have listed the risks along with some of the risk - reduction strategies for each phase. Pilot training is important, and should take place in parallel, but pilots cannot be made error-free, and technology should be able to protect them from the consequences (eg seat belts and air bags)
Take-Off run: Running off the runway Failure to stop after aborted take off
- Proposed countermeasure: Backup braking systems Multi- wheel landing gear Anti-lock braking Retro - rockets for rapid braking Crash protected structure as in cars with air bags and seat belts Safety net at the end of the field as used in aircraft carriers in emergencies
Initial Climb: Engine failure on take off Loss of control - spiral dive Stall Stall and spin
- Proposed countermeasure: Advanced engine diagnostics including audio analysis of engine Auto test of engines on start up Automated flight envelope protection Slatted wing for slower flight Stall - resistant wing Stall - resistant aircraft Anti- stall parachute
Cruising Flight: Engine Failure Loss of Control / Stall/ Spin/ Spiral dive/ dive
- Proposed countermeasure: Advanced engine diagnostics including audio analysis of engine Auto test of engines Stall - resistant wing Automated flight envelope protection Whole aircraft parachute En route safe landing areas overlaying GPS map Automated emergency landing feature
Descent: Engine Failure in descent Loss of control
- Proposed countermeasure: Same as above
Landing short of runway Overshooting runway Running off the runway Stalling on approach Hard landings/bouncing Braking failure on landing
- Proposed countermeasure: Automated flight envelope protection Backup braking systems Slatted wing for slower flight Multi- wheel landing gear Anti-lock braking Retro - rockets for rapid braking
Update: NASA is adressing some of these issues in its safety program:
Edit: The first answer by jwenting applies to the first part of this question, ending here. Also, the few comments given have been also very helpful in answering the original question. However I accept the question is too broad.
I will have to break this question up into several questions later. For now, narrowing the question down to be more specific let me ask the following question:
There are several measures mentioned above in the many efforts underway to make light aircraft safer, such as flight envelope protection, parachutes, Leaving cost aside for the moment, are these measures sufficient to reduce the risk by a significant amount in all phases of flight or are there any areas that these researchers have missed, for example?