NTSB Chief Cites 'Urgency' to Improve Charter Flights' Safety

"While these tragic accidents are still under investigation, and no findings or causes have been determined, each crash underscores the urgency of improving the safety of charter flights by implementing existing NTSB safety recommendations," said Robert L. Sumwalt, NTSB's chairman.

When the National Transportation Safety Board released the preliminary report on its investigation of the May 13, 2019, fatal mid-air collision near Ketchikan, Alaska, the board's chairman pointed out that existing NTSB recommendations could have helped to prevent it, as well as other recent crashes involving for-hire aircraft. The collision between a float-equipped de Havilland DHC-2 Beaver and a float-equipped de Havilland DHC-3 Turbine Otter occurred about 7 miles northeast of Ketchikan; the DHC-2 commercial pilot and four passengers sustained fatal injuries and the DHC-3 certificated airline transport pilot sustained minor injuries, nine passengers sustained serious injuries, and one passenger sustained fatal injuries.

The two planes were operating under Part 135 of FAA regulations, which govern the operation of business and charter flights. So was a plane that crashed on May 26 in Alaska and a helicopter that crashed in Hawaii on April 29. "While these tragic accidents are still under investigation, and no findings or causes have been determined, each crash underscores the urgency of improving the safety of charter flights by implementing existing NTSB safety recommendations," said Robert L. Sumwalt, NTSB's chairman. "The need for those improvements is why the NTSB put Part 135 aircraft flight operations on the 2019-2020 Most Wanted List of transportation safety improvements."

NTSB's safety recommendations call on Part 135 operators to implement safety management systems, record and analyze flight data, and ensure pilots receive controlled-flight-into-terrain avoidance training. Major passenger airlines, which operate under Part 121, have adopted these measures and have seen a great improvement in safety, according to the board.

"A customer who pays for a ticket should trust that the operator is using the industry's best practices when it comes to safety. And it shouldn't matter if the operator has one airplane or 100. Travelers should have an equivalent level of safety, regardless of the nature of the flight for which they paid," Sumwalt said.

The preliminary report on the Ketchikan crash is available here, and the preliminary report on the April 29 helicopter crash is available here.

Download Center

HTML - No Current Item Deck
  • Incident investigation guide

    Need some tips for conducting an incident investigation at work after there’s been an occupational injury or illness, or maybe even a near miss? This guide presents a comprehensive overview of methods of performing incident investigations to lead you through your next steps.

  • Steps to Conduct a JSA

    We've put together a comprehensive step-by-step guide to help you perform a job safety analysis (JSA), which includes a pre-built, JSA checklist and template, steps of a JSA, list of potential job hazards, and an overview of hazard control hierarchy.

  • Levels of a Risk Matrix

    Risk matrices come in many different shapes and sizes. Understanding the components of a risk matrix will allow you and your organization to manage risk effectively.

  • Free Safety Management Software Demo

    IndustrySafe Safety Management Software helps organizations to improve safety by providing a comprehensive toolset of software modules to help businesses identify trouble spots; reduce claims, lost days, OSHA fines; and more.

  • Industry Safe
Bulwark FR Quiz

OH&S Digital Edition

  • OHS Magazine Digital Edition - July August 2020

    July August 2020

    Featuring:

    • CONFINED SPACES
      Addressing Confined Spaces and Heat Stress Concerns
    • PROTECTIVE APPAREL
      Why Daily Wear FR Garments Make Sense No Matter the Season
    • HAND PROTECTION
      The Magic of New Technology
    • CHEMICAL SAFETY
      Why Effective Chemical Safety Training is More Important Than Ever
    View This Issue