NTSB Press Release

National Transportation Safety Board
Office of Public Affairs


February 24, 2005

National Transportation Safety Board Chairman Ellen Engleman Conners issued the following statement in reaction to a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking released today by the Federal Aviation Administration changing current regulations dealing with flight recorders on aircraft.

"Flight recorders have proven to be such vital tools in aviation accident investigation that a number of open recommendations focused on improving these devices have been on our Most Wanted list of safety improvements since 1997.

"The FAA's proposed rule is addressed primarily to flight recorder deficiencies pointed out by the NTSB when it assisted the Canadian Transportation Safety Board in the investigation of the crash of SwissAir Flight 111 in 1998. We will carefully review the proposed rule to see whether those concerns have been addressed. I can say that I am gratified that the proposed rule will expand the cockpit voice recorder requirement from 30 minutes to 2 hours, and that independent power supplies will be required to prevent the loss of data if power to the recorder is interrupted during the crash sequence, as occurred on SwissAir.

"The NTSB hopes that the FAA will address several of its other crucial flight recorder recommendations that are still on the Most Wanted List. The Board urges the FAA to act swiftly to rectify the unacceptable FDR data sampling and filtering issues that impeded the investigation of the Airbus A-300-600 involved in the American Airlines Flight 587 accident. Similar data sampling issues also affect the popular regional jet aircraft. The installation of cockpit image recorders, as recommended by the Board, would also assist in the investigations of both larger transport category aircraft and smaller for-hire turbine powered aircraft that may not have any existing safety recorders installed."

NTSB Office of Public Affairs: (202) 314-6100



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.