Honorable Deborah Hersman, NTSB Board Member

Chairman Deborah A.P. Hersman
National Transportation Safety Board
Closing Remarks
General Aviation Safety Issues
Washington, DC - March 12, 2013
(As Prepared for Delivery)


On behalf of my fellow Board members, I want to thank the Office of Aviation Safety, the Office of Research and Engineering, the Office of Communications and the entire team who did such excellent work analyzing accident reports to identify recurring causes and then developed mitigation strategies and created these five Safety Alerts. Thank you, Cathy Gagne, Chris Shaver, Jennifer Rodi, Craig Hatch, Tim Sorensen, Dennis Diaz, Mike Huhn, Eliott Simpson, Josh Cawthra and editor Noel Coleman.

Improving GA safety is a big challenge. The nation's population of pilots and mechanics is immense: about 617,000 active pilots and some 335,000 mechanics. And, as we heard at last summer's GA safety forum, only a small portion of these are taking online courses and attending safety seminars or doing other things to improve their flying skills and risk-management abilities.

So much of general aviation is a world apart from air carriers, which have training departments, safety officers, and safety management systems. GA is essentially an airline or maintenance operation of one, which puts the responsibility for sound decision making on one person's shoulders.

We are promoting and distributing the alerts to reach those pilots and mechanics who can benefit from this lifesaving message. The NTSB is also embracing a number of new outreach methods, including videos featuring our accident investigators.

Philosopher George Santayana could have been writing about general aviation safety when he wrote, "Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it."

Let's break this senseless cycle of tragic loss in our GA community. And, let's start today.

We stand adjourned.