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Thu, Jun 24, 2010

U.S. Senate Confirms Drs. Earl Weener And Mark Rosekind To NTSB

Vote Was By Unanimous Consent Request, No Opposition To Nominations

A former Boeing engineer and a former NASA scientist have been  unanimously confirmed to the NTSB. The Senate approved the nomination of Dr. Earl Weener and Dr. Mark Rosekind to the Board on Tuesday by unanimous consent. The White House nominated Dr. Rosekind to the NTSB in October 2009, while Dr. Weener's nomination was submitted to the Senate in January of this year.

Weener, who turned 65 Wednesday, has lived in Sherwood, OR since 2005. The Sherwood Gazette reports that he holds a degree in aerospace engineering and is a fellow at the Flight Safety Foundation. He was chief engineer in Boeing's Commercial Airplane division.

During his confirmation hearings in March, Weener told the Senate Transportation Committee "I have been actively involved in advancing safety, more specifically, aviation safety, for more than four decades as a private citizen, as a participant and technically trained professional in the commercial or private sector and as an active professional and consultant, educator and advocate in the not-for-profit sector. As an individual, at the beginning of my aviation career, I flew as an Air Taxi pilot and endeavored to teach people to fly airplanes safely. I continued as a flight instructor throughout my college days to the present."

"I was involved in assignments that included developing the flight crew interface of the Boeing 767 and 757 flight decks, as well as the preliminary development of the modifications to the 747 that lead to a modern two crew flight deck," he continued. "During the mid 1980's, I was involved, as an employee of Boeing, in government affairs in this city, and, in that capacity, dealt extensively with aviation safety issues."

Since retiring from Boeing, Weener said "I have continued to be active in the area of aviation safety and have worked with the Flight Safety Foundation to develop and lead two international programs focused on enhancing ground safety and runway safety. More recently, I was involved in leading the Flight Safety Foundation Runway Safety Initiative, an effort focused on preventing runway excursions, which were involved in approximately 30% of the commercial air transport accidents world-wide over the past decade and a half."

Dr. Rosekind lead significant early investigative work into flight crew fatigue during his time with the NASA, and his research into fatigue has made him one of the preeminent authorities on the issue, a point he made during his confirmation hearing in November. "My own passion has been to study human fatigue and apply scientific knowledge to improve performance and safety in diverse settings, including all modes of transportation," Rosekind said. "Fatigue has been on the NTSB's Most Wanted List since its inception in 1990. Clearly, over the years the NTSB's findings and my professional endeavors have led us to the same conclusion: that effectively managing fatigue is a critical factor in human performance and transportation safety.

The NBAA Wednesday enthusiastically welcomed the appointment both of these respected figures with a thorough understanding of safety issues important to the business aviation community to the NTSB.

"NBAA and the business aviation community have long-standing and highly productive working relationships with Dr. Rosekind and Dr. Weener," said NBAA President and CEO Ed Bolen. "Each is very knowledgeable about business aviation, and each has long been focused on safety, which is the industry's highest priority. The superior level of technical experience and investigative knowledge that each will bring to the Board will contribute significantly to the expertise already present at the NTSB. We look forward to working with Doctors Rosekind and Weener, and their colleagues on the Board."

NBAA worked with Dr. Rosekind on the development of a Fatigue Countermeasures Toolkit, which includes several resources and videos to increase awareness among flight crews and passengers about the dangers of flying while fatigued. Dr. Rosekind was interviewed about fatigue countermeasures for the business aviation community in an article for the July/August 2008 edition of Business Aviation Insider.

Weener will fill out the term of former NTSB chair Mark Rosenker, who resigned last summer. Both have been confirmed to full five-year terms on the board.

FMI: www.ntsb.gov

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