I am honored to be here today along with so many leaders of the aviation community to commemorate the 50th anniversary of la Junta de Investigación de Accidentes de Aviación Civil - one of the few accident investigative bodies that is older than the NTSB!
All of us share the same important goal -- ensuring the safety of the skies. Over the years, the NTSB and the JIAAC have joined forces to investigate accidents involving American-made products and air carriers. When I checked our database, I found that we have assisted in 18 JIAAC investigations just since 1999, including the crash of an Austral DC-9 in 1997 with 74 fatalities; a LAPA B-737 in 1999 with 63 fatalities; and, more recently, a Cessna 208 in 2001 with 10 fatalities. By working together to find the cause of these and other accidents and incidents, we have furthered the cause of safety and helped prevent future accidents.
We have also joined together to ensure the continued professionalism of our staffs. Members of the NTSB have attended your courses, just as your investigators have come to Washington to attend our classes. To solidify our relationship even further, several years ago we established a memorandum of understanding that defines our cooperative interests.
This sharing of ideas and practices, this collaboration is important for all of us - and I hope it continues and expands. This was an animating idea when we recently established our new NTSB Academy.
The academy opened last fall and is located outside Washington in Ashburn, Virginia. It is a state-of-the-art facility that not only provides the training necessary to keep our accident investigators current with investigative technology and performance -- but also advances transportation safety worldwide by providing an excellent platform for sharing knowledge.
Currently, the academy is offering courses such as:
- a two-week course in basic aircraft accident investigation for newly hired investigators from the NTSB, industry, and other government agencies from the U.S. and other nations.
- a comprehensive family assistance courses for those who assist friends and families of major transportation accident victims.
- airline industry training to familiarize industry representatives with their duties and responsibilities during NTSB accident investigations.
- a course designed for law enforcement officers who initially respond to transportation disasters.
- several advanced courses to enhance investigator skills -- such as proper interviewing techniques and documenting human fatigue in accident causation.
Some of you may have already taken advantage of some of these courses. I hope others will -- so that we can all get to know each other better - before a disaster strikes and we need to call upon one another.
As we all know, aviation continues to be the safest mode of transportation available to the world's travelers. Our job is to ensure that it remains that way. Thank you again for inviting me to be here with you to share in your commemoration. On behalf of the Board Members and staff of the NTSB, congratulations on 50 years of ensuring the safety of our skies.