Robert L. Sumwalt was sworn in as the 37th Member of the National Transportation Safety Board in August 2006, whereupon President George W. Bush designated him as Vice Chairman of the Board for a two-year term. In November 2011, President Barack Obama reappointed Member Sumwalt to an additional five year term. His term of office as a Board Member will run until December 31, 2016.
Since joining the Board, Robert has been a fierce advocate for improving safety in all modes of transportation, including teen driver safety, impaired driving, distractions in transportation, and several rail safety initiatives.
Prior to coming to the Board, Mr. Sumwalt was a pilot for 32 years, including 24 years as an airline pilot with Piedmont Airlines and US Airways. After his airline career he joined SCANA, a Fortune 500 energy company, where he managed their corporate aviation department. He logged over 14,000 flight hours and earned type ratings in five aircraft.
Mr. Sumwalt worked on special assignment to the US Airways Flight Safety Department where he was involved in the development of numerous airline safety programs. He served on the US Airways Flight Operational Quality Assurance (FOQA) Monitoring Team.
Mr. Sumwalt served as an air safety representative for Air Line Pilots Association (ALPA) for 17 years where he chaired ALPA's Human Factors and Training Group. He was a co-founder of that organization's Critical Incident Response Program, which provides guidance to airline personnel involved in traumatic events such as accidents.
From 1991 to 1999, Mr. Sumwalt conducted aviation safety research as a consultant to NASA's Aviation Safety Reporting System, where he studied flight crew human factors.
Mr. Sumwalt co-authored a book on aircraft accidents and he wrote chapters pertaining to aircraft accident investigation in two books. He has written extensively on aviation safety matters, having published over 90 articles and papers.
In 2003, Mr. Sumwalt joined the faculty of the University of Southern California's Aviation Safety and Security Program, where he was the primary human factors instructor.
In recognition of his contributions to the aviation industry, Mr. Sumwalt received the Flight Safety Foundation's Laura Taber Barbour Award in 2003 and ALPA's Air Safety Award in 2005. He is a 2009 inductee into the South Carolina Aviation Hall of Fame. He holds a Bachelor of Science degree from the University of South Carolina and a Master of Aeronautical Science (with Distinction) from Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University, specializing in Aviation/Aerospace Safety Systems and Human Factors Aviation Systems.
# End of Official Bio #
Member Sumwalt has served as the Member on-scene for the following NTSB accident investigations:
# # #
Since joining the Board, Member Sumwalt has served as the Chairman of the Board of Inquiry for the following NTSB public hearings and forums: