The National Transportation Safety Board’s chairman Deborah Hersman and her fellow board members released the 2013 Most Wanted List of safety recommendations November 14 because, according to Hersman, “Transportation will be a big topic in the 113th Congress…We want to highlight our priorities and help assure safety has a seat at the table.” This year’s list includes an increased focus on improving airport surface safety, better detection of fires in all transportation modes and a continued look at the stubbornly st
National Transportation Safety Board
The NTSB released its annual “Most Wanted” list of safety improvements yesterday, with only one change from last year. Fatigue was removed and replaced with “preserving the integrity of transportation infrastructure.” NTSB chairman Deborah Hersman said that changes to the list represent progress made, or acknowledge that there are other areas “ripe for change” in a given year. “We’re releasing the list now so it is available to policymakers at the state and federal levels, as well as industry groups, as they craft their priorities for 2013,” she explained.
The FAA, airlines and aviation labor unions have launched a partnership with the NTSB to share summarized safety information to help prevent accidents. The information to be shared through the Aviation Safety Information Analysis and Sharing (Asias) will help the NTSB determine if an accident is unique or an indication of systemic risks.
The NTSB issued a number of recommendations on November 1–A12-64 and A12-65–in an attempt to prevent aircraft accident first responders from being injured by ejection seats or ballistic parachute recovery devices at crash scenes. The Board wants the FAA to identify the devices aboard an aircraft during every tri-year registration and also determine a method of making that information readily accessible to emergency crews. Recommendation A12-66 will also require STC-modified aircraft to report any new on-board devices.
NTSB officials recently arrived in Baghdad to train 22 students from the Iraqi civil aviation authority and air force. The training took place on October 14 through 18 at Iraq’s Aviation Training Institute in support of the country’s efforts to meet ICAO investigation standards. The U.S. Embassy in Baghdad sponsored the training.
The NTSB has issued 10 safety recommendations in the wake of its investigation into the April 2, 2011 crash of the G650 test aircraft. Five of the October 23 recommendations were intended for the FAA, two for Gulfstream Aerospace and the remaining three for the Flight Test Safety Committee. The Board recommends developing flight-test operating guidance for manufacturers.
Judging by the positive press from AOPA and EAA, one would think the pilot’s bill of rights is going to do wonders for pilots fighting FAA enforcement actions, especially the unfair kinds of action that many of us have criticized.
The safety investigator’s role has changed significantly over the past 15 years and investigators cannot use 20th century techniques to investigate 21st century accidents, NTSB chairman Deborah Hersman told last month’s International Society of Air Safety Investigators (ISASI) seminar in Baltimore.
According to some statistics, the aviation accident rate in African is nine times worse than anywhere else on earth. But it is improving, partially because of increased focus on the region internationally, but also because of efforts like the U.S. Department of Transportation’s Safe Skies Africa (SSA) program that began in 1998. It is now focusing on increasing the number of African countries that meet international aviation safety standards, and that means training accident investigators.
As an industry, aviation demands unwavering attention to procedure and regulations, and when those procedures are ignored and result in an accident, they garner the attention of NTSB member Robert Sumwalt and his colleagues. Last year pilot and air traffic controller professionalism landed on the Safety Board’s “Most Wanted” list for the first time, following a spate of concluded accident reports that indicated lapses in this area.