NTSB Press Release

National Transportation Safety Board
Office of Public Affairs


June 23, 1998

(Washington, D.C.)-Dr. Vernon Ellingstad, Director of the National Transportation Safety Board's (NTSB) Office of Research and Engineering has been chosen for the prestigious Arthur Flemming Award in the applied science category. Dr. Ellingstad was chosen for his outstanding achievements as a research scientist and for his exceptional dedication to leadership in applied science.

The Arthur Flemming Awards program is designed to honor outstanding men and women in the Federal Government.

Since Dr. Ellingstad came to the Safety Board in June of 1990 as Deputy Director of the Office of Research and Engineering, he has had oversight and responsibility for a variety of functions. His duties range from managing the laboratory and technical support for the Board's investigations to maintaining the agency's technological currency. As a member of NTSB's investigative team he has coordinated prominent research in major investigations such as TWA 800. He coordinated the technical research laboratories (Sandia National Laboratories, the UK's Defense Evaluation and Research Agency and the California Institute of Technology) that assisted in determining that TWA Flight 800 suffered an explosion of fuel vapors in its center wing tank. His research has led regulatory agencies to think more seriously about the fuel tank design of the Boeing 747 and other aircraft models.

Under Dr. Ellingstad's direction, the Office of Research and Engineering provides continual assistance to the Safety Board during major investigations in all modes of transportation (aviation, rail, marine, highway and pipeline) by providing recorder readout services, creating graphics for public presentations such as congressional and public hearings, and researching many aspects of transportation accidents.

Before joining the Safety Board, Ellingstad served as professor of psychology, chairman of the psychology department, and director of the human factors laboratory at the University of South Dakota. He has been involved in a variety of transportation research projects including laboratory and on-the-road studies of driver performance, as well as program evaluation studies of the U. S. Department of Transportation Alcohol Safety Action Project. Dr. Ellingstad's research at the University of South Dakota focused on a number of human factors issues related to computer controlled systems.

A native of Eau Claire, Wisconsin, Ellingstad received his B.A degree in psychology from the Wisconsin State University at Eau Claire in 1965 and his Ph.D. in human factors psychology from the University of South Dakota in 1969. He is a member of the Human Factors and Ergonomic Society, the American Psychological Association, and the American Psychological Society.

Dr. Flemming established the Arthur Flemming Award in the late 1940s after years of providing exemplary service to the Federal Government and higher education. He was the recipient of the Medal of Freedom for his dedication to the country. Dr. Flemming felt that this award was a good way to educate the public on the contributions of civil servants. The first award was presented in 1948. Since then more than 400 individuals have been recognized in the areas of administrative, scientific and applied science. In 1998 the George Washington University assumed sponsorship of the award.

Dr. Ellingstad received the award on June 11 at The George Washington University, Washington, D.C.



The National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) is an independent federal agency charged with determining the probable cause
of transportation accidents, promoting transportation safety, and assisting victims of transportation accidents and their families.