NTSB Chairman: Safety Improvements Needed in Corporate Aviation

ON Oct. 23, National Transportation Safety Board Chairman Mark V. Rosenker told pilots and mechanics of corporate aviation departments that, while they are maintaining an enviable safety record, accidents in recent years have highlighted shortcomings in several important elements of their industry.

Addressing the 2007 Bombardier Safety Standdown Seminar in Wichita, Kan., Rosenker said that corporate jet and turboprop airplanes flown by professional crews under part 91 (non-commercial aviation) have accident rates that are comparable to scheduled air carriers. "Some flight departments, however, operate aircraft on a shoestring budget with inadequately experienced or trained crews or shoddy maintenance practices," he said. "These types of operations are typically the ones that garner the NTSB's attention. There is always room for improvement."

In his speech, Rosenker touched on flight crew and mechanic training, preflight preparation, human fatigue, and maintenance issues. After recounting three accidents in which flight crews failed to perform their duties to an acceptable level of professionalism, he said pilots shouldn't confuse getting paid to fly with the concept of professionalism. There are many elements to being a professional pilot that include preparation, team work, compliance with regulations and constant vigilance.

Rosenker also said that "regulation is not the only way to improve safety …Voluntary action by industry, in partnership with government, is one of the most effective ways to decrease accidents."

The text of Rosenker's speech can be accessed at http://www.ntsb.gov/speeches/rosenker/mvr071023.html.

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