At the conclusion of four days of National Transportation Safety Board public hearings on the safety of helicopter emergency medical services (HEMS) operations earlier this month, board member Robert Sumwalt summed up what several witnesses had already conceded: “There is no single magic bullet.”
National Transportation Safety Board
The NTSB member who has served as the board’s on-scene spokesman for the investigation into the February 12 crash of a Colgan Air Q400 outside Buffalo has just announced his resignation from the board, effective at the end of this month.
A Safety Board member since January 3, 2007, Steven Chealander has accepted a position with Airbus in Miami as Airbus Americas vice president of technical training.
The NTSB’s chief administrative law judge dismissed an FAA emergency order of revocation of a New Jersey A&P’s mechanic certificate, Inspection Authorization and commercial pilot certificate following an investigation resulting from a nose-gear collapse on a 1947 Beech Bonanza. “This case is just another example of the FAA’s abuse of prosecutorial discretion,” said attorney Gregory Winton, who represented the mechanic.
The official Brazilian report on the September 2006 midair between an Embraer Legacy and a Boeing 737 is a “missed opportunity for the Brazilian aviation authorities to restore trust and safety in the national aviation system,” according to a statement by the International Federation of Air Traffic Controllers’ Associations (Ifatca).
An NTSB safety alert issued late last month urges pilots to activate leading-edge de-ice boots as soon their airplane enters icing conditions, “unless the aircraft flight manual or the pilot’s operating handbook specifically directs not to activate them.” According to NTSB acting chairman Mark Rosenker, “This Safety Alert is intended to increase the visibility of airplane icing issues and address procedures taught regarding the accumulation of
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.
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.