National Transportation Safety Board
Office of Public Affairs
Washington, D.C. - Robert L. Sumwalt was sworn in today as a Member of the National Transportation Safety Board. His term of office will run until December 31, 2011. President Bush also has designated him as Vice Chairman of the Board for a two-year term.
Prior to coming to the Board, Mr. Sumwalt was Manager of Aviation for the SCANA Corporation, a Fortune 500 energy- based company.
Mr. Sumwalt was a pilot for 24 years with Piedmont Airlines and then US Airways, logging over 14,000 flight hours and earning type ratings in five aircraft before retiring from the airline in 2005. He has extensive experience as an airline captain, airline check airman, instructor pilot and air safety representative.
Mr. Sumwalt worked on special assignment to the US Airways Flight Safety Department from 1997 to 2004, where he was involved in the development of numerous airline safety programs, including an enhanced crew awareness program and a windshear training program. From 2002 to 2004, he served on the US Airways Flight Operations Quality Assurance (FOQA) Monitoring Team.
Mr. Sumwalt served as a member of Air Line Pilots Association's (ALPA) Accident Investigation Board from 2002 to 2004, and also worked with ALPA's Aviation Weather Committee on improving the quality of weather products available to pilots. He has chaired ALPA's Human Factors and Training Group and 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.
A trained accident investigator, Mr. Sumwalt participated in the NTSB's investigation of the crash of US Air flight 427 in 1994 near Aliquippa PA, and the Transportation Safety Board of Canada's investigation of the accident involving Swissair flight 111 off the coast of Nova Scotia in 1998.
From 1991 to 1999, Mr. Sumwalt conducted aviation safety research as a consultant to NASA's Aviation Safety Reporting System, studying various issues including flight crew performance and air carrier deicing and anti-icing problems.
Mr. Sumwalt has written extensively on aviation safety matters and has published over 85 articles and papers in aviation trade publications. He has broad experience in writing aircraft operations manuals and airline and corporate aviation policy and procedure guidelines. He has been a regular contributor to Professional Pilot magazine.
In 2003, Mr. Sumwalt joined the faculty of the University of Southern California's Aviation Safety and Security Program, where he has been 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 2004.
Mr. Sumwalt is a graduate of the University of South Carolina.
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.