National Transportation Safety Board
Office of Public Affairs
National Transportation Safety Board Chairman Mark V. Rosenker today reiterated the Safety Board's commitment to making a safe industry safer, while acknowledging that last year saw a slight uptick in general aviation related fatalities. In a speech to General Aviation Air Safety Investigators Advanced Technical Workshop in Wichita, Kansas, Rosenker said that with general aviation contributing more than $150 billion to the United States' economic output, the Board has revised its investigative strategy over recent years to maximize the safety payback of its work. With about 1,900 general aviation accidents and serious incidents a year, the Board's 43 regional investigators cannot travel to every fatal or serious injury accident. Rosenker thanked those among the 3,400 Federal Aviation Administration inspectors who have assisted with on-scene accident documentation in general aviation investigations.
"By conserving our precious time traveling to and from the sites of accidents in which there is no obvious safety payback, we are able to reduce our backlog, produce more timely reports, conduct more thorough investigations on the accidents that have safety issues, and develop more substantive GA accident reports, special investigations and recommendations."
The fruits of that strategy were realized this past year, with a major regional study released on emergency medical services flight operations in January, and a significant corporate jet icing accident report issued in May. Regional investigators also traveled overseas to two Cessna 208B in-flight icing events. Although the number of persons who died in all civil aviation accidents in the United States declined in 2005, fatalities in GA rose from 558 to 562.
Rosenker said that over the next few months and years, NTSB regional investigators will look into a number of broad GA safety issue areas, including air tour helicopter operations, human factors in glass cockpits, the aging of GA aircraft structures, and the quickly expanding industry of Very Light Jets.
"We are partners in this effort," Rosenker said, "and I look forward to working with you during the next two years of my Chairmanship on making our safe skies even safer."
A text of Chairman Rosenker's speech may be found on the Board's website, www.ntsb.gov, under "Board Members."
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.