NTSB Chairmn Hersman Emphasizes Collaboration with Rotorcraft Community to Reduce Accidents

 - February 26, 2014, 11:15 PM

The National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) is engaging with the rotorcraft community to reduce accidents involving helicopters, NTSB chairman Deborah Hersman told attendees at the second-day general session here at Heli-Expo.

One of the NTSB’s “10 Most Wanted” safety recommendations for 2014 is to address the unique factors of helicopter operations, to promote industry safety. Hersman thanked HAI for the association’s willingness to engage with the Board on finding common ground and work toward solutions.

“We thank Matt [Zuccaro, HAI president] and his team for really embracing this,” she added. “I think people can really look at being on our ‘10 Most Wanted’ list in two ways: as an opportunity, or as punishment. It’s about changing the dialogue, changing the discussion and about learning.”

Hersman also called attention to the Board’s participation at Heli-Expo, including NTSB vice chairman Christopher Hart’s participation Tuesday in the forum “NTSB: Lessons Learned from Helicopter Accidents.” Board member Robert Sumwalt will also give a keynote speech during the International Helicopter Safety Symposium, which begins Thursday evening following the close of Heli-Expo 2014.

Hersman emphasized the Board’s clarity of purpose, which is focused exclusively on determining methods to reduce accidents. “We are really, truly investigators,” she said. “We don’t have any other authority. We can’t force anyone to do anything–we can’t incentivize anyone to do anything because we don’t have any grant-making authority or money.”

“We do hope we can be a catalyst to improve safety,” she told attendees. “Many times our recommendations are implemented not because of a rule or regulation, but because people feel that they’re the right thing to do.”