Thomas B. Chapman took the oath of office as the 46th Member of the National Transportation Safety Board on January 6, 2020. Member Chapman has spoken extensively on the Safe System Approach to highway traffic safety, alcohol and drug impairment, and rail worker and highway-rail grade crossing safety.
Prior to joining the Board, Member Chapman served six years as minority counsel to the Senate Subcommittee on Aviation & Space. He engaged in a broad range of issues, including the bipartisan effort to pass comprehensive legislation reauthorizing the Federal Aviation Administration, the Transportation Security Administration, and the NTSB. In total, Member Chapman has four decades of experience in government, legislative, and regulatory affairs in the transportation industry.
Chapman previously served as US Airways’ vice president for government affairs, responsible for outreach on all federal policy initiatives. Prior to joining US Airways, he was legislative counsel for Southwest Airlines. His work in the airline industry spanned approximately 16 years.
Earlier in his career, Member Chapman was senior vice president for government and technical affairs for the Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association. His time in that role capped a 17-year tenure at the Association, beginning in 1981. While at AOPA, he held a variety of policy and safety related positions. He also earned his private pilot certificate and regularly enjoyed the opportunity to improve his skills, flying out of AOPA’s home base airport in Frederick, Maryland.
Because of Member Chapman’s practical experience in the aviation industry, an awareness and sensitivity to a pervasive culture of safety is imbedded in his approach. He brings that perspective to key challenges facing the NTSB, including advances in automation and the development of autonomous vehicles, meeting the expectations stemming from NTSB’s reputation as the world’s premier transportation safety organization, and the importance of recruiting and retaining the skilled team members on which the work of the agency is highly dependent.
Chapman considers public service to be a responsibility for those who have benefitted from professional life in the private sector. Appointment to the NTSB is a rewarding opportunity for Member Chapman to apply his experience and skills in a role allowing him to continue giving back through public service.
Member Chapman is a graduate of the American University Washington College of Law in Washington, D.C. He earned a Bachelor of Fine Arts in music from C.W. Post College in Greenvale, N.Y.