Concerned by mounting losses in emergency medical services (EMS) flights, the NTSB has added the safety of such flights to its 2009 Most Wanted List of Safety Improvements.
National Transportation Safety Board
Due to a high number of fatal aeromedical accidents over the past year, the NTSB yesterday announced it will hold a public hearing on the safety of helicopter emergency medical services (HEMS) operations. The three-day hearing will begin on February 3 at the NTSB’s headquarters in Washington, D.C.
Aviation deaths decreased from 784 in 2006 to 545 last year, according to the NTSB. Although nearly 90 percent of the 2007 aviation fatalities occurred in general aviation accidents (491), they still represented a significant decrease from the previous year (703). Marine deaths decreased from 800 to 766, and rail fatalities increased slightly from 774 to 808.
The U.S. aviation system received a score of 91 out of 100 in a new safety audit released by the Montreal-based International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO), a United Nations agency that oversees international civil aviation.
You said recently that the NTSB could become more proactive if it investigated incidents, as well as accidents. Please explain.
The two aeromedical Bell 407s involved in a fatal midair over Flagstaff, Ariz., on Sunday afternoon were not equipped with traffic collision avoidance systems or cockpit voice or data recorders, an NTSB spokesman told AIN.
The NTSB cited three accidents and an incident involving a regional airline as the basis for a pair of recommendations issued Tuesday to the FAA related to pilot fatigue.
Former National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) boss Marion Blakey became the ninth chairperson of the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB), taking over from Jim Hall in late September. Hall resigned last January after seven years with the independent safety agency, six of them as chairman.
President Bush nominated former National Highway Traffic Safety Administration administrator Marion Blakey to the NTSB. If she is confirmed by the Senate, Bush plans to nominate her as chair of the Board.
Although the number of general aviation accidents last year was the lowest total since record keeping began in 1938, the NTSB noted that the accident rate increased slightly from 6.33 accidents per 100,000 flight hours in 2000 to 6.56 accidents last year.