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Speeches

Board Meeting - Aircraft Accident Report - Collision into Mountainous Terrain - Aleknagik, Alaska- August 9, 2010 - Chairman's Closing Statement
Deborah A. P. Hersman
National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB), Crash after Encounter with IMC During Takeoff from Remote Landing Site, New Mexico State Police Agusta, Near Santa Fe, New Mexico, June 9, 2009, Washington, DC
5/24/2011

I want to thank my fellow Board members for their participation today.

In closing, I'd like to recognize the Safety Board staff who investigated this accident and developed this excellent report; in particular, staff from the Offices of Aviation Safety and Research and Engineering. Led by Clint Johnson, the Investigator-in-Charge, the team brought this report to the Board within nine months of the accident. That is a tremendous achievement. I understand that it was the tenacity of Clint and report writer, Cathy Gagne, who made this effort possible. I commend staff for making sure that every stone was turned over in the investigation and for your commitment, day-in and day-out, to improving aviation safety.

Perhaps one of the greatest lessons from this tragedy is the powerful reinforcement of the need for onboard crash-resistant recorder systems. With onboard recorders, we can learn so much more from crashes, like this one, to prevent future tragedies and loss of life.

In addition, other lessons learned emphasize the importance of:

  • properly designing and maintaining emergency locator transmitter mounting and retention mechanisms;
  • inadequate FAA guidance related to the medical certification of pilots who have had a cerebrovascular event;
  • equipment deficiencies at automated weather system sensor sites;
  • real-time weather information collected from data link-equipped aircraft; and
  • passenger briefings related to survival and communications equipment.

Several years ago, Alaska's senior Senator told Administration officials that safety was the moral and professional duty of aviation stakeholders. If the recommendations adopted today are implemented, safety can be improved, particularly in Alaska where aviation is so essential.

Thank you.