The Senate confirmed three new members of the NTSB, including its new chairman, and a new FAA deputy administrator. Former DOT official Ellen Engleman was sworn in March 24 as the new NTSB chairman. Before her appointment, Engleman served for 18 months as the administrator of the DOT’s research and special programs administration. The new FAA deputy administrator is Robert Sturgell, a former Top Gun staffer and airline pilot.
National Transportation Safety Board
President Bush last month nominated two new members to the NTSB and designated long-time board member John Hammerschmidt as the agency’s new vice chairman.
Retired Coast Guard Capt. Richard Healing will fill the remainder of a term expiring on Dec. 31, 2006, and Gen. Mark Rosenker will serve a term expiring on Dec. 31, 2005. Because the NTSB does not currently have a chairman, Hammerschmidt will serve as the acting chairman.
The NTSB has called for improvements in the way the Transportation Department collects data, including the FAA’s Accident/Incident Data System (AIDS), the Near Midair Collision System (NMACS) and NASA’s Aviation Safety Reporting System (ASRS).
The Helicopter Association International (HAI) recently hosted a series of meetings in Las Vegas aimed at deflecting recent NTSB criticism of the industry and heading off any possible new FAA regulations or restrictions. The NTSB is calling for stricter FAA en route surveillance of Grand Canyon area air-tour operators based on its findings from two fatal helicopter accidents there in 2001 and 2003.
By mid-October, NTSB chairman Ellen Engleman Conners had not yet invited Board members Carol Carmody, Richard Healing and Deborah Hersman to a meeting to discuss their grievances, which they articulated in a late-August letter to the Board chairman.
The 11th annual Safety Standdown–sponsored by Bombardier Aerospace, NBAA, the FAA and the NTSB–concluded late last month in Wichita. This year’s “War on Error” was expanded to a three-day general session, preceded by optional one-day workshops on Monday. The annual event is free to attendees. This year marked the first time the Safety Board cosponsored the seminar.
The 11th annual Safety Standdown–sponsored by Bombardier Aerospace, NBAA, the FAA and the NTSB–concludes today in Wichita. This year’s “War on Error” was expanded to a three-day general session, preceded by optional one-day workshops on Monday.
The National Transportation Safety Board announced early last month it has embarked on a 30-day review of its advocacy programs.
Less than 10 percent of an aircraft accident investigation takes place at the scene. After an initial seven to 20 days on-site, the process moves to file cabinets and back offices; parts, maintenance and service suppliers; and government and industry laboratories. On average, six months of post-accident meetings are coordinated from a local command center; most often the ballroom of the nearest hotel.