NTSB Chair Says Key to Aviation Safety is “Cooperation”

National Transportation Safety Board Chairman Deborah Hersman spoke today at the Aero Club of Washington, D.C., on the topic of “Improving Aviation Safety: Reactive, Predictive, Preventive.”

“As a result of a lot of hard work by people in this room--including operators, like the A4A members here today; labor, like NATCA and ALPA; manufacturers, like Boeing and Airbus; regulators and legislators--there's been great progress in improving commercial aviation safety. The result: no fatal air carrier accidents since 2009,” she noted.

Talking about developments in technology, the chairman noted that USAir Flight 427, which crashed outside of Pittsburgh eighteen years ago, was only required to have 8 parameters on its flight data recorder. Today, the minimum is 88 and manufacturers provide aircraft with hundreds-to-thousands of parameters.

Hersman continued “Maintaining aviation's strong safety record is going to take all the tools in the safety toolkit, including continued emphasis on accident and incident investigation, data collection and analysis, new and emerging technologies, and, to be sure, cooperation.”

The NTSB chairman concluded her presentation, saying, “Remember, as the sergeant used to say on (the former NBC television series) Hill Street Blues, ‘Let's be careful out there.’”