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Safety Recommendation Details

Safety Recommendation A-98-102
Details
Synopsis: On January 9, 1997, an Empresa Brasileira de Aeronautica, S/A (Embraer) EMB-120RT, operated by COMAIR Airlines, Inc., crashed during a rapid descent after an uncommanded roll excursion near Monroe, Michigan. The flight was a scheduled, domestic passenger flight from the Cincinnati/Northern Kentucky International Airport, Covington, Kentucky, to Detroit Metropolitan/Wayne County Airport, Detroit, Michigan. The flight departed Covington with 2 flightcrew, 1 flight attendant, and 26 passengers on board. There were no survivors. The airplane was destroyed by ground impact forces and a postaccident fire. IMC prevailed at the time of the accident, and the flight was operating on an IFR flight plan.The probable cause of this accident was the FAA's failure to establish adequate aircraft certification standardds for flight in icing conditions.
Recommendation: TO THE FEDERAL AVIATION ADMINISTRATION: Require air carriers to adopt the operating procedure contained in the manufacturer's airplane flight manual and subsequent approved revisions or provide written justification that an equivalent safety level results from an alternative procedure.
Original recommendation transmittal letter: PDF
Overall Status: Closed - Acceptable Action
Mode: Aviation
Location: MONROE, MI, United States
Is Reiterated: Yes
Is Hazmat: No
Is NPRM: No
Accident #: DCA97MA017
Accident Reports: In-Flight Icing Encounter and Uncontrolled Collision with Terrain, Comair Flight 3272, Embraer EMB-120RT, N265CA
Report #: AAR-98-04
Accident Date: 1/9/1997
Issue Date: 11/30/1998
Date Closed: 1/8/2014
Addressee(s) and Addressee Status: FAA (Closed - Acceptable Action)
Keyword(s):

Safety Recommendation History
From: NTSB
To: FAA
Date: 1/8/2014
Response: On May 28, 1999, the FAA issued a joint flight standards handbook bulletin for air transportation, airworthiness, and general aviation, titled “Flight Standards Policy–Company Operating Manuals and Company Training Program Revisions for Compliance,” which it believed would fully satisfy these recommendations. The handbook bulletin directed that POIs encourage their operators to (1) have a reliable delivery system in place for flight manual revisions to ensure that operators receive revisions within 30 calendar days of approval and (2) develop an action plan to notify, in writing, respective POIs of new flight manual revisions within 15 days after receipt. On July 7, 2000, the FAA informed the NTSB that it had initiated a notice of proposed rulemaking (NPRM), proposing to revise 14 Code of Federal Regulations (CFR) Part 121, subparts N and O, to include the policy contained in the bulletins, and that the FAA anticipated that the NPRM would be published in the Federal Register for comment by February 2001. It was not published until January 12, 2009, when the FAA published an NPRM titled “Qualification, Service and Use of Crewmembers and Aircraft Dispatchers,” which was followed on May 20, 2011, with the publication of a supplemental notice of proposed rulemaking (SNPRM) with a similar title. Both that NPRM and the SNPRM proposed revisions to Part 121, subparts N and O, and both contained proposed revisions that addressed Safety Recommendations A-98-89 and -102. As recently as March 14, 2013, then?Secretary of Transportation Ray LaHood stated in the second annual report to the Congress on the Department of Transportation responses to the NTSB’s air carrier safety recommendations that Safety Recommendations A-98-89 and -102 had “been incorporated into the proposed rule change to part 121, subparts N and O. The Qualification, Service, and Use of Crewmembers and Aircraft Dispatchers NPRM was published for public comment on January 12, 2009. Due to the extensive comments received, the FAA drafted an SNPRM, which was published for public comment on May 20, 2011. The SNPRM proposes to include §121.134, Preparation of Manuals, and §121.540, Manual Procedures Requirements.” The November 12, 2013, final rule was based on the NPRM and SNPRM but did not contain the proposed revisions to Sections 121.134 and 121.540. We reconsidered whether the bulletins issued on May 28, 1999, fully addressed these recommendations without the revisions contained in the SNPRM. The FAA no longer uses flight standards handbook bulletins; however, the relevant information in the May 1999 bulletins is now contained in FAA Order 8900.1, “Flight Standards Information Management System,” Volume 3, Chapter 32, “Manuals, Procedures, and Checklists for 14 CFR Parts 91 K, 121, 125, and 135.” In addition, we learned that the FAA’s air transportation oversight system contains procedures in element performance inspection 2.1.1 and safety attribute inspection 2.1.1 on manual management that require POIs to perform recurrent checks of the items specified in the recommendations. Consequently, Safety Recommendations A-98-89 and -102 are classified CLOSED—ACCEPTABLE ACTION.

From: NTSB
To: FAA
Date: 6/20/2012
Response: On May 28, 1999, the FAA issued a joint flight standards handbook bulletin for air transportation, airworthiness, and general aviation, titled “Flight Standards Policy–Company Operating Manuals and Company Training Program Revisions for Compliance,” which it believed would fully satisfy this recommendation. The handbook bulletin directed that FAA principal operations inspectors (POI) encourage their operators to (1) have a reliable delivery system in place for flight manual revisions to ensure that operators receive revisions within 30 calendar days of approval and (2) develop an action plan to notify, in writing, respective POIs of new flight manual revisions within 15 days after receipt. The FAA also planned to include these directions in a revision to its regulations concerning training for airline flight crews and the flight procedures used. We subsequently indicated that issuance of the bulletins constituted effective interim actions and that we would consider the FAA’s action completed upon its issuance of a final rule addressing the issues specified in the recommendation. Since that time, the FAA has replaced flight standards handbook bulletins with FAA Order 8900.1. Currently, Order 8900.1, Volume 3, Chapter 32, Section 1, contains similar guidance to that contained in the bulletins issued on May 28, 1999. On January 12, 2009, the FAA published a notice of proposed rulemaking (NPRM), titled “Qualification, Service and Use of Crewmembers and Aircraft Dispatchers,” and a supplemental notice of proposed rulemaking (SNPRM) with a similar title on May 20, 2011. We submitted comments in response to both the NPRM and SNPRM, indicating that both proposed requirements would address this recommendation. In most circumstances, the NTSB would not classify in an acceptable status a recommendation over 13 years old for which action had not yet been completed. However, we recognize that the FAA took effective interim action within 6 months of our issuance of this recommendation, that the interim action remains in effect, and that the FAA has issued the SNPRM that will complete the recommended action. Accordingly, we believe that the FAA has continued to respond in an acceptable manner despite the extended timeframe. Therefore, pending issuance of a final rule based on the May 20, 2011, SNPRM that addresses all the issues specified in the recommendation, Safety Recommendation A-98-102 remains classified OPEN—ACCEPTABLE RESPONSE.

From: FAA
To: NTSB
Date: 5/5/2012
Response: -From Michael P. Huerta, Acting Administrator: As stated in previous responses, the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) decided to incorporate the policy contained in Joint Flight Standards Handbook Bulletin for Air Transportation, Airworthiness, and General Aviation, Flight Standards Policy – Company Operating Manuals and Company Training Program Revisions For Compliance into part 121, subparts N & 0 rulemaking. The FAA published the Qualification, Service and Use of Crewmembers and Aircraft Dispatchers Notice of Proposed Rulemaking on January 12, 2009, and a supplemental notice of proposed rulemaking (SNPRM) on May 20, 2011. The SNPRM proposes to include §121.134, preparation of manuals, and §121.540, manual procedures requirements (enclosed). We believe these changes to the rule address the intent of this recommendation. I will keep the Board informed of the FAA's progress on this safety recommendation and provide an updated response by July 30, 2013.

From: NTSB
To: FAA
Date: 7/15/2011
Response: Notation 8106A: The National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) has reviewed the Federal Aviation Administration's (FAA) supplemental notice of proposed rulemaking (SNPRM) titled "Qualification, Service, and Use of Crewmembers and Aircraft Dispatchers," published at 76 Federal Register 29336-29526 on May 20, 2011. The notice proposes to amend the regulations for flight and cabin crewmember and aircraft dispatcher training programs in domestic, flag, and supplemental operations. The proposed regulations are intended to contribute significantly to reducing aviation accidents by requiring the use of flight simulation training devices (FSTD) for flight crewmembers and including additional training and evaluation requirements for all crewmembers and aircraft dispatchers in areas that are critical to safety. The proposal also reorganizes and revises the qualification, training, and evaluation requirements. The SNPRM is based on the FAA's review of comments submitted in response to the January 12, 2009, notice of proposed rulemaking (NPRM) on these issues and its determination that the NPRM did not adequately address or clarify some topics; it is also based on provisions of the Airline Safety and Federal Aviation Administration Extension Act of 2010. Although the FAA has previously indicated to the NTSB that the subject rulemaking would address the issues in this recommendation, the January 2009 NPRM did not contain associated language. Similarly, the NTSB's review of the SNPRM did not find any language that specifically addresses this recommendation.

From: NTSB
To: FAA
Date: 5/7/2009
Response: Notation 8106: The National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) has reviewed the Federal Aviation Administration's (FAA) notice of proposed rulemaking (NPRM) titled, "Qualification, Service, and Use of Crewmembers and Aircraft Dispatchers," which was published in 74 Federal Register 1280 on January 12, 2009. The FAA has previously indicated to the NTSB that the NPRM would address the issues in this recommendation. However, the NTSB did not see any language in the NPRM that specifically addresses Safety Recommendation A-98-102, which is currently classified "Open Acceptable Response" pending a requirement for the recommended action.

From: NTSB
To: FAA
Date: 10/17/2005
Response: NMC# 102719: Because there has been no formal correspondence on these recommendations for a considerable period of time, the Board would appreciate an update on recent FAA activities in response to these safety recommendations, including when the FAA expects the recommended actions to be completed. These seven open safety recommendations are dependent, according to the FAA, on the proposed, but as yet unpublished, revisions to Part 121, subparts N and O. Through correspondence with the FAA on these recommendations, we have seen the proposed date for the FAA's publication of a notice of proposed rulemaking (NPRM) related to revisions to Part 121 subparts N and O, repeatedly delayed. The NPRM was first promised in July 1998, then December 2000, then February 2001; and an NPRM has yet to be published. All of these recommendations are more than 7 years old, and one is 12 years old. The Board anticipates that a considerable period of time will be taken to collect and analyze comments from the public following publication of the NPRM and that, consequently, a final rule will not be issued until several years after the NPRM is published. The Board urges the FAA to issue this NPRM soon. The Board also requests that the FAA advise us on the most current schedule for issuing this NPRM and for implementation of the final rule. We would appreciate receiving this information before we reevaluate the status of these recommendations.

From: FAA
To: NTSB
Date: 2/11/2003
Response: "FAA Staff advised via telephone that the NPRM package with changes to 14 CFR subparts N and O is in internal FAA coordination at this time. The document is 1000 pages and they expect to have it submitted to OST in May 2003."

From: NTSB
To: FAA
Date: 1/3/2002
Response: The FAA states its belief that the safety policy outlined in Joint Flight Standards Handbook Bulletins for Air Transportation (HBAT), Airworthiness (HBAW), and General Aviation (HBGA), "Flight Standards Policy-Company Operating Manuals and Company Training Program Revisions For Compliance," addresses the full intent of this safety recommendation. The FAA reports that it is continuing its effort to develop a notice of proposed rulemaking (NPRM) proposing to make the policy contained in the bulletin mandatory. Pending a requirement to make the policy in the bulletin mandatory, Safety Recommendation A-98-102 remains classified OPEN -- ACCEPTABLE RESPONSE.

From: NTSB
To: FAA
Date: 10/23/2001
Response: This safety recommendation was addressed by NTSB AAR-1/02. On November 30, 1998, Safety Recommendation A-98-102 was issued because air carriers had the prerogative not to adopt certain manufacturer procedures without clear written justification. Safety Recommendation A-98-102 asked the FAA to "require air carriers to adopt the operating procedures contained in the manufacturer’s airplane flight manual and subsequent approved revisions or provide written justification that an equivalent safety level results from an alternate procedure." In response to this recommendation, the FAA issued, in May 1999, the Joint Flight Standards HBAT, Airworthiness, and General Aviation, Flight Standards Policy—Company Operating Manuals and Company Training Program Revisions for Compliance. The handbook bulletin directed that POIs encourage their operators to (1) have a reliable delivery system in place for flight manual revisions, which ensures that the operators receive the revisions within 30 calendar days of approval, and (2) develop an action plan to notify, in writing, respective POIs of new flight manual revisions within 15 days after receipt. In addition, on July 7, 2000, the FAA stated that it had initiated an NPRM proposing to revise 14 CFR Part 121, Subparts N and O, to reflect the policy included in the May 1999 Joint Flight Standards HBAT, Airworthiness, and General Aviation, Flight Standards Policy—Company Operating Manuals and Company Training Program Revisions for Compliance. On January 12, 2001, the Safety Board acknowledged the FAA’s actions and stated that, pending the issuance of the NPRM and implementation of the proposed regulation, Safety Recommendation A-98-102 was classified OPEN -- ACCEPTABLE RESPONSE. On August 2, 2001, the FAA stated that it was continuing to develop the NPRM. At the public hearing on this accident, the POI for American indicated that a carrier might choose not to make a manufacturer’s suggested change because of the way that the carrier has configured the particular airplane. However, it is critical that the carrier provide written justification to the FAA regarding the reasons for not making a change or for implementing an alternative procedure in case the manufacturer’s performance data do not support the carrier’s justification. It is also critical that the carrier make its POI and respective aircrew program manager (APM) aware of any manufacturer’s recommended procedure that is not being adopted or is being altered. The Safety Board recognizes that American, since the time of the accident, has revised its DC-9 Operating Manual to include spoiler deployment and autobrake procedures similar to Boeing’s. The Board further recognizes that the FAA has taken positive steps toward implementing the intent of this recommendation. However, this accident highlights the need for timely action to ensure that pilots are operating airplanes according to procedures that reflect the manufacturer’s safest operating practices. Therefore, the Safety Board reiterates Safety Recommendation A-98-102.

From: FAA
To: NTSB
Date: 8/2/2001
Response: Letter Mail Controlled 08/10/2001 1:11:47 PM MC# 2010634: - From Jane F. Garvey, Administrator: The safety policy outlined in Joint Flight Standards HBAT, HBAW, and HBGA, "Flight Standards Policy - Company Operating Manuals and Company Training Program Revisions For Compliance" addresses the full intent of this safety recommendation. The FAA is continuing its effort to develop a notice of proposed rulemaking (NPRM) proposing to make the policy contained in the bulletin mandatory. I will keep the Board informed of the FAA's progress on this regulatory effort.

From: NTSB
To: FAA
Date: 1/12/2001
Response: The Safety Board believes the FAA is taking the action recommended. Pending issuance of the NPRM and implementation of the proposed regulation, A-98-102 remains classified OPEN – ACCEPTABLE RESPONSE.

From: FAA
To: NTSB
Date: 7/7/2000
Response: Letter Mail Controlled 07/12/2000 9:46:00 AM MC# 2000878 - From Jane F. Garvey, Administrator: The FAA agrees with the intent of this recommendation and on 5/28/99, issued joint flight standards handbook bulletin for air transportation (HBAT), airworthiness (HBAW), and general aviation (HBGA), flight standards policy - company operating manuals and company training program revisions for compliance. The bulletin directs POI's to encourage their operators to have a reliable delivery system in place for airplane flight manual and rotorcraft flight manual revisions. The delivery system should ensure that the operator receives flight manual revisions within 30 calendar days of FAA approval. A copy of the bulletin was provided to the Board on 9/16/99. The FAA has initiated a notice of proposed rulemaking (NPRM) proposing to revise 14 CFR Part 121, subparts N and O. The FAA will include the policy contained in the bulletin in the NPRM. It is anticipated that the NPRM will be published in the Federal Register for comment by February 2001. I will provide the Board with a copy of the NPRM as soon as it is published.

From: NTSB
To: FAA
Date: 4/11/2000
Response: The Safety Board notes that although the interim action of issuing the bulletin is not regulatory in nature, it is a positive step in meeting the goals of this recommendation. Pending completion of the regulatory process, A-98-102 is classified OPEN – ACCEPTABLE RESPONSE.

From: FAA
To: NTSB
Date: 9/16/1999
Response: Letter Mail Controlled 9/22/99 9:22:50 AM MC# 991064 - From Jane F. Garvey, Administrator: The FAA agrees with the intent of this recommendation and on 5/28/99, issued joint flight standards handbook bulletin for air transportation (HBAT), airworthiness (HBAW), and general aviation (HBGA), flight standards policy - company operating manuals and company training program revisions for compliance. The bulletin directs principal operations inspectors (poi) to encourage their operators to have a reliable delivery system in place for airplane flight manual (AFM) and rotorcraft flight manual (RFM) revisions. The delivery system should ensure that the operator receives flight manual revisions within 30 calendar days of FAA approval. Each operator will be encouraged to develop an action plan and notify its respective poi in writing within 15 calendar days of receipt when a new afm/rfm revision has been received. I have enclosed a copy of the bulletin for the Board's information. In previous correspondence, the FAA stated that it agrees with this safety recommendation and will consider regulatory action to address its intent. Clearly, the bulletin establishes the guidance and the safety policy necessary to address this safety recommendation. Presently, the existing regulations do not allow the FAA to compel an operator to comply with an aircraft manufacturer's recommended operating procedures (regulations only make those elements in the operating limitations section of the AFM/RFM mandatory). Consequently, the FAA is considering a regulatory change that will require the safety policy contained in the bulletin to be mandatory. The issue concerning the incorporation of aircraft manufacturer's recommended operating procedures into company flight manuals was addressed by working group V at the FAA's in-flight operations in icing conditions conference in February 1999. The working group V participants agreed that current policy and rules on this issue needed improvement. The working group V participants agreed that the policy outlined in joint flight standards handbook bulletin for air transportation (HBAT), airworthiness (HBAW), and general aviation (HBGA), flight standards policy - company operating manuals and company training program revisions for compliance and the FAA's electronic data base, referenced in response to A-98-103, provide effective measures to address the current problems. The following recommendations were made and adopted by working group V: (1) AFM/RFM revisions should be the only source of information used by operators to make changes in their company flight manual, aircraft operating procedures, and training programs because the AFM/RFM revisions have been reviewed and approved by the FAA. (2) Other sources of information, like the aircraft manufacturers' operations bulletins, should be used by the FAA to determine which procedural changes are incorporated in an AFM/RFM revision. The AFM/RFM revision would then be required to be adopted by all operators unless an equivalent level of safety results from an alternative course of action specified by the operator and approved by the FAA before implementation. The FAA believes that the safety policy outlined in the bulletin addresses the full intent of this safety recommendation. I will keep the Board informed of the FAA's progress on the regulatory change to make the policy contained in the bulletin mandatory.