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Wed, Jul 22, 2015

NTSB Chairman Christopher Hart Addresses Oshkosh Forum

Reducing Loss Of Control Accidents Remains A Top Priority For The Board

By Tom Patton

Christopher Hart, the recently-confirmed chair of the NTSB, was the featured speaker at a forum on safety at AirVenture Tuesday morning.

Hart (pictured) said that the agency's role is not regulatory. Rather, it is charged with investigating accidents and making recommendations to regulators in an effort to reduce the number of aviation accidents. And because of the board's reputation for world-class investigations, about 80 percent of the time, Hart said, the agency or other entity targeted in the recommendations sees them through.

One of the items that the NTSB has placed on its "Most Wanted List" is a major reduction in Loss of Control (LOC) accidents in general aviation. "More than 40 percent of fatalities in General Aviation accidents are the result of loss of control," Hart said. "One of the most troubling things for us is that even though the accident rate has been pretty steady over the past several years ... if you look at business flying, and take the business flying piece out of that ... business flying is actually improving, which means personal flying is getting worse."

NTSB Board Member Earl Weener (pictured) said that GA should follow the example that has led to a sharp reduction in air transport accidents over the past several years. "Industry, government, and the labor community all got together and decided to work collaboratively in an activity called the "Professional Aviation Safety Team". That's a really great model that's now being applied to General Aviation," he said.

Hart said that it is important for the NTSB to have a presence at AirVenture as a way to reach out to the general aviation community, present the board's message, and learn what are the safety issues that are top of mind for GA pilots. Hart and Weener are both GA pilots themselves, and Weener said that among the approximately 400 employees at the NTSB, there are about 40 airplanes, many of them experimental or restorations. He said that in his mind, that makes the board and its employees very aware of, and responsive to, the issues faced by GA pilots.

FMI: www.ntsb.gov



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