Category Archives: Aviation Safety

I Lived My Dream: Looking Back on 15 years at NTSB

By Chairman Robert L. Sumwalt

I guess it all started on an overcast day in 1973, when I found myself on the scene of a fatal aviation crash for the first time. I had heard of the crash on my car radio, and, as a curious 17‑year-old, I decided to find the crash location. Once there, I saw the remains of a twin-engine airplane lodged in the bases of the surrounding pine trees. Seeing that accident scene sparked an acute interest within me for accident investigation. In college, I spent copious amounts of time in the government documents library reading NTSB aircraft accident reports. It was then, in the mid-1970s, that I began to dream of becoming an NTSB Board member. Today, as I wrap up 15 years with the agency, serving as Board member, vice chairman, and chairman, I can look back and say I have truly lived that dream.   

Photo of ‘The State’ newspaper article on the 1973 plane crash

I was sworn in as the 37th member of the NTSB in August 2006. Seven days later, I found myself on the scene of another aviation disaster. Comair flight 5191, a regional jet operated as a Delta Connection, crashed just off the departure end of a runway in Lexington, Kentucky. Forty-nine lives were lost that morning after the pilots inexplicitly attempted to take off on a short, closed, unlighted runway. The investigation found that the pilots’ casual attitude during preflight and during the brief taxi, including their engaging in nonpertinent conversation, enabled the crew’s errors. Quite simply, the crew wasn’t paying attention and lost positional awareness. As a result, we issued and reiterated several recommendations to prevent that same type of accident. Today, flights are safer because airline pilots use enhanced procedures to ensure they are aligned with the proper runway before departure, and pilots have electronic maps that provide real-time position information during taxi.

Since the Comair crash, I’ve been on the NTSB Go-Team and served as the Board member on scene for 35 transportation accidents and crashes, and I’ve been involved in the deliberation and determination of probable cause of over 250 accidents and crashes. I’ve met with grieving family members and friends of victims on the worst day of their lives. Through these interactions, the one thing that really stands out to me is just how precious life really is. I’ve often said that we are here to give a voice to those who don’t have a voice—the victims of transportation accidents and their families. I take great solace knowing our work really does make a difference and keeps others from enduring similar tragedies.

Looking back, I believe there are two things that allow the NTSB to truly be one of the “Best Places to Work in the Federal Government,” as ranked by the Partnership for Public Service: the agency’s mission, and our people.

First, the agency’s mission: Congress charged the NTSB with investigating transportation accidents and crashes, determining their cause, and issuing safety recommendations to prevent similar accidents and crashes, reduce injuries, and save lives. It’s an important calling—taking something tragic and learning from it so others don’t have to endure such a tragedy. Since the NTSB was formed in 1967, we have investigated over 150,000 aviation accidents, along with thousands of highway, marine, rail, pipeline, and hazardous materials accidents and incidents. In that period, we’ve issued over 15,000 safety recommendations, the majority of which have been successfully implemented.  

Our people: Even with a respectable mission, you’re nothing without great people. Fortunately, this is where the NTSB really takes the cake. We’re able to attract and retain dedicated, bright employees who love their work. We actively promote diversity and inclusion, and my hope is that the agency will continue to expand this effort. Our investigators’ passion and determination to find the truth is uplifting. Even throughout the pandemic, although working remotely, NTSB employees found ways to continue delivering our high-quality products. For example, before the pandemic, we had never conducted virtual Board meetings, where we deliberate accident findings, determine the probable cause, and adopt safety recommendations. Even with the challenges of 2020, our employees figured a way to get it done. We held 12 virtual Board meetings in a year, which compares favorably to a normal year of in-person meetings. Although I’ve always had high expectations of the NTSB workforce, I can honestly say that, considering the challenges we all faced during the pandemic, NTSB employees surpassed all expectations.

There are several other qualities that allow the NTSB to be a highly respected federal agency. One of our core values is transparency; we are open and honest with the public about our work. We realize that, when a transportation disaster occurs, the public needs to be assured that the government is conducting an open, competent, and thorough investigation. Therefore, we deliver fact-based information as we learn it. We don’t speculate—just the facts, ma’am. All NTSB Board meetings and hearings are open to the public (literally in person when not in pandemic times, and always via webcast). We post all our accident reports and publications on our website, along with the docket for each accident, which provides reams of background information such as interviews, photos, and technical information that may not be in the final accident report.

When I was sworn in for my first term at the agency in 2006, I told the audience something I had read: “Public service is one of the highest callings in the land. You have the opportunity to make a positive impact on families, communities, states, and sometimes the world.”

I followed up by saying, “I truly believe this statement applies so well to the work of the NTSB. When my term expires, I hope we can look back and say, ‘you know, we—Board members, professional staff, industry, labor, government—we all worked together, and we did make a positive impact.”

Indeed, looking back, I truly believe we have made a difference.

I will very much miss working with the incredibly dedicated men and women of the NTSB. It will be hard to stop referring to the NTSB as “we.” Although I will no longer be part of it, the NTSB will always be part of me. For that privilege, I am forever proud and grateful. I have lived my dream.

Twelve Years After Colgan 3407, FAA Still Hasn’t Implemented Pilot Records Database

By Chairman Robert Sumwalt

I grew up in the South, and people sometimes say we do things slowly in that part of the country. Whether there’s any validity to that claim, I can’t say with certainty. What I can say with great certainty, however, is that speed isn’t an attribute commonly associated with the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), an agency within the US Department of Transportation. Below is a sad, but true, example of the glacial pace of the FAA’s rulemaking processes—even in the wake of a congressional mandate to get something done. Perhaps the new secretary of transportation can give a needed boost to this untenable situation.   

On this date 12 years ago—February 12, 2009—while on approach to the Buffalo‑Niagara International Airport in New York, Colgan Air flight 3407, a Bombardier Q-400 turboprop, plunged from the sky. Fifty lives were lost, including that of a man who died when the turboprop crashed into his home.

The NTSB’s year-long investigation revealed that, as the airplane slowed on approach, the captain became startled by the activation of the aircraft’s stall warning system. In response to something that should have been easily dealt with, the captain inappropriately manipulated the elevator controls, forcing the aircraft into its fateful dive. Our investigation found that the captain had a history of piloting performance deficiencies, including having failed several flight tests. Possibly more troubling, he concealed these performance deficiencies from Colgan when he applied for employment.

The Colgan crash was the deadliest US airline disaster in the past 19 years.

In response to this tragedy, the NTSB issued safety recommendations to the FAA to strengthen the way airlines ascertain a pilot applicant’s background, including requiring previous employers to disclose training records and records of any previous failures.

Congress took note of these recommendations and included them in a bill signed into law in August 2010. This law required the FAA to establish a pilot records database (PRD), and stipulated that “before allowing an individual to begin service as a pilot, an air carrier shall access and evaluate . . .  information pertaining to the individual from the pilot records database.” Items required to be entered into the PRD, and considered by hiring airlines, included “training, qualifications, proficiency, or professional competence of the individual, including comments and evaluations made by a check airman . . . any disciplinary action taken with respect to the individual that was not subsequently overturned; and any release from employment or resignation, termination, or disqualification with respect to employment.” Congress appropriated $6 million per year for the next 4 years to help facilitate creation of the PRD—a total of $24 million.

The FAA’s response reminds me of my college’s football team—they get off to a good start, but after scoring on the opening drive, they have difficulty executing for the rest of the game.

In early 2011, the FAA established an aviation rulemaking committee (ARC) to develop recommendations on the best way to implement the PRD. Despite the ARC completing its work and issuing a report to the FAA in July 2011—just 6 months after being tasked with developing recommendations—it wasn’t until September 2015 that the FAA began a phased approach to implementing the PRD.

By July 2016, Congress had become impatient with the FAA’s lack of progress. After all, it had been 6 years since the FAA was required to create the PRD, and there was still no appreciable progress. Congress gave the FAA a new deadline: it mandated the PRD be in place by April 30, 2017.

Unfortunately, April 30, 2017, came and went. Still no PRD. Meanwhile, 40 days after that deadline, a young pilot applied for employment at Atlas Air and was hired shortly thereafter. As with the Colgan Air captain, this pilot concealed his history of performance deficiencies, which deprived Atlas Air the opportunity to fully evaluate his aptitude and competency as a pilot. He struggled with training at Atlas, but after failing his check ride, he was retrained and passed. Tragically, on February 23, 2019, on what should have been a routine cargo flight from Miami to Houston, this pilot, like the Colgan Air captain, encountered something that startled him. He overreacted and put the Boeing 767 into a fatal dive. The commonalities between the Colgan Air crash and the Atlas Air crash are striking: Both pilots had a record of poor performance prior to their employment, both pilots concealed that information when applying for airline employment, and both pilots misapplied the flight controls following events they weren’t expecting. Events that should have been easily corrected. Events that, tragically, led to their aircraft plunging to the ground.

Neither of these sad events was an isolated case. Including these two crashes, the NTSB has investigated 11 air carrier accidents over 3 decades in which pilots with a history of unsatisfactory performance were hired by an airline and then were later involved in an accident attributed to their poor piloting performance.

After years of foot dragging, last March, the FAA provided its first visible indication of moving forward with the PRD, publishing a notice of proposed rulemaking (NPRM) to give the public a glimpse of what the proposed rule may look like—10 years after Congress initially mandated it, and 3 years after the April 2017 deadline that Congress eventually imposed.

The NPRM indicated that the PRD should be implemented sometime this year; however, the NPRM also proposes allowing a 2-year phase-in period. This puts complete implementation somewhere around a 2023 timeframe, assuming this proposed timeline holds. If that’s the case, we will finally have the PRD 14 years after the Colgan Air disaster, 13 years after Congress mandated it, 5 years after the deadline imposed by Congress, and 4 years after the Atlas Air crash.

A crash is a tragedy. It’s even more tragic to see a similar crash happen again and again and not have the regulatory agency responsible for safeguarding the skies take corrective action in a reasonable timeframe. We’re past the point of reasonable, and the traveling public deserves better.

The Safety of ‘Part 135’ Flights—Why Should You Care?

Shaun Williams, Senior Aviation Accident Investigator, and Amy Terrone, Safety Advocate

Ever paid for a helicopter tour over a scenic spot, like the islands of Hawaii or the Grand Canyon? Ever needed an emergency medical flight to a hospital or known someone who has? Ever joined the company CEO on a chartered flight to visit a client, or pitched in with friends to charter an airplane as part of a hunting trip or wedding party?

Part 135 certificated flights—more specifically, commuter and on-demand operations—include a variety of aircraft types and segments, many subject to different requirements. Although Part 135 operations are generally very safe, what you may not know is that these operations aren’t required to have all the same safety systems as commercial airlines. The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) doesn’t mandate all air medical service, air taxi, or on-demand flights to have safety management systems (SMSs), flight data recorders and systems, and some other key safety critical training practices required of passenger-carrying commercial operations (or “Part 121”).

Unfortunately, our recent accident investigations have highlighted this safety gap. We have investigated too many Part 135 accidents since 2000, resulting in dozens of fatalities, that may have been prevented if operators had implemented important safety processes, whether as a result of FAA regulations or their own initiative. Because of our concerns, the NTSB added “Improve the Safety of Part 135 Aircraft Flight Operations” to our Most Wanted List of transportation safety improvements for 2019–2020.

The number of commercial flights this year has decreased dramatically due to the COVID‑19 pandemic, and there are indications that customers are turning to the Part 135 segment for some of their flying needs. This only increases our concern for the safety of these operations. According to a recent New York Times article, for example, many more travelers are considering Part 135 operations for leisure and business travel due to the limited availability of commercial flights as well as the desire to avoid crowded airports and airplanes.

So, what specific regulations are we asking the FAA to implement that are already required of commercial airliners but not of Part 135 operators? We want the FAA to:  

  • require SMSs—a formal, top-down, organization-wide approach to managing and tracking safety that also helps instill a strong safety culture in operations, and
  • require flight data monitoring programs (FDMs)—that is, use technology that records airplane flight data, then make adjustments based on operational data to improve safety going forward.

Although most executive-style Part 135 jets and turboprop aircraft chartered for business purposes are quite safe and even sometimes operate above and beyond what commercial airlines implement, we have seen a few cases in this segment in recent years that raise concern and prompted the bulk of our recommendations in this area. For example, in November 2015, we investigated an accident involving a chartered business jet, Execuflight flight 1526, that crashed into an apartment building on approach to the Akron Fulton International airport in Akron, Ohio. The flight was carrying seven employees of a Florida-based company, all of whom, as well as the captain and first officer, died. Fortunately, no one on the ground was injured. As an on‑demand flight, Execuflight flight 1526 was operating under Part 135 regulations. Our investigation revealed that the operator did not have a SMS or FDM program, either voluntarily or by regulation, that may have prevented the accident. As a result of this crash, we recommended that the FAA require that Part 135 operators like Execuflight have SMS and FDM programs, just as commercial airlines have had for years.

Image from November 2015 Execuflight crash on approach to the Akron Fulton International airport in Akron, Ohio.

Even if the FAA doesn’t require these programs, Part 135 operators should voluntarily adopt them, scalable to their operations, to ensure the highest level of safety for their aircraft and passengers. But, without regulatory requirements, some operators may not implement these safety policies to ensure that their flights are as safe as possible.

It’s important to remember that aviation in the United States is the safest form of transportation. As a customer, you can play a role in keeping it the safest and in improving the safety of on-demand operations. Before you book a flight, do a bit of research and ask a few questions. The following are a few examples of questions you might ask air charter operators directly or the broker if that’s who made your flight arrangements:

  • Does the operator hold its own FAA Air Carrier Certificate? Request copies.
  • Does the operator have a history of any accidents or recordable incidents?
  • Does the operator have an SMS program?
  • Does the operator use flight data recorders and FDM programs?
  • Does the operator belong to any safety organizations? Do these organizations audit or provide some sort of safety review for their members, which could possibly give an insight into their safety program?

You can visit the websites of organizations such as the Air Charter Safety Foundation and its sister organization, the National Air Transportation Association (NATA) for information on these types of operations. The NATA also fulfills the important role of educating the flying public about illegal charters, an increasing safety concern for the industry and for the NTSB.  The FAA also has a helpful website to identify safe air charter operations and how consumers can identify safe and unsafe operators. Illegal or unlicensed air charter operations—those who avoid FAA regulations and compromise safety for a buck or to meet a customer’s unrealistic demands—pose a serious safety hazard. You should look for charter operators who at least comply with current regulations—if not those that do more, such as have an SMS program in place—and reward them with your business.

By doing a little homework in advance, you can make an informed—and important—decision about boarding a Part 135 flight. You might also be making these flights safer for other passengers by making operators aware that their customers are watching and demanding safer operations.

General Aviation’s Silent Killer in the Sky

By Michelle Watters, MD, PhD, MPH

As the weather gets colder and using your aircraft’s cabin heater becomes more of a necessity than a luxury, there’s no better time to start thinking about a plan for handling carbon monoxide. Commonly called the “silent killer,” carbon monoxide is best known as the cause of household poisonings from oil or gas furnaces, stoves, water heaters, or portable generators or fireplaces. For general aviation pilots, carbon monoxide exposure poses a particularly concerning threat because impairing levels can build quickly in an enclosed cabin, and even nonfatal levels can lead to tragic consequences in flight.

For example, in 2017, a private pilot was flying his newly purchased Varga 2150A airplane on a visual flight rules cross-country flight. After flying for about 80 minutes, the airplane suddenly entered a spiraling descent from cruise flight. Witnesses observed the airplane flying erratically at low altitude before it impacted an open field near Bowling Green, Ohio; they stated that the engine was running until impact. Toxicological testing of the pilot’s blood found 55% carbon monoxide saturation (toxic level is 20 percent).

Image from June 1, 2017, airplane crash near Bowling Green, OH

Carbon Monoxide and the Danger of Exposure

So, what is carbon monoxide and why is it dangerous? Carbon monoxide is a simple chemical formed from the incomplete combustion of carbon-containing compounds, such as aviation fuel. It’s odorless, tasteless, and colorless, so your senses don’t provide much of a warning if you’re exposed! (Although, if you do smell exhaust fumes, always assume they contain carbon monoxide.) Carbon monoxide is harmful to people because it competes with oxygen to bind to hemoglobin, an iron-containing protein in your red blood cells. Not only does it outcompete oxygen—which means there’s less oxygen circulating in your blood—but it prevents the blood from unloading oxygen to the tissues and vital organs that need it—including your brain.

What happens when you’re exposed? At low concentrations, symptoms of exposure are mild and vague, and include headache, nausea, and fatigue. You might think you’re just feeling a bit off that day. As the concentration of carbon monoxide in your blood increases, so does impairment, and you’ll start experiencing dizziness, confusion, and disorientation. For longer exposures or high enough concentration levels in your blood, symptoms can be incapacitating and include unconsciousness, coma, and even death.

In the case of the Varga pilot, exposure to carbon monoxide explains his loss of control—he likely suffered confusion, disorientation, and loss of consciousness. But how was he exposed to carbon monoxide in the first place? Examination of the Varga’s heat exchanger showed that the outside casing had either previously been repaired or had been originally constructed of metals with different properties. About half the casing was discolored and exhibited varying signs of corrosion. Small holes from corrosion were found in the casing material, which provided a means for carbon monoxide to enter the cockpit from the exhaust system.

Internal Combustion Engines and Carbon Monoxide Exposure

Wherever there’s an operating internal combustion engine, carbon monoxide is likely being produced. Many airplanes with internal combustion engines are heated by air warmed from circulating around the exhaust system using a heater shroud. As in the case of the Varga pilot, a defect or leak in the exhaust pipes or muffler can introduce carbon monoxide into the cockpit. Although piston engines produce the highest concentrations of carbon monoxide, exhaust from turbine engines can also cause carbon monoxide poisoning.

Our accident investigations show that there are one or two fatal or serious aircraft accidents each year in which carbon monoxide is a finding, contributing factor, or probable cause. Although these accidents are more prevalent in colder months, carbon-monoxide-related accidents happen throughout the year (for instance, the Varga accident occurred in June).

Maintenance and Inspection Issues

Maintenance logbooks indicated that the Varga’s most recent annual inspection was completed less than a month before the accident, and the logbooks didn’t contain any record of heat exchanger repair or replacement. The heat exchanger’s condition at the time of the accident indicates an insufficient annual inspection.

A Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) report found that inadequate maintenance and inspection has contributed to many carbon-monoxide–related accidents. Deficiencies included poor welds, unapproved modifications, and missed holes or cracks on visual inspection. The FAA also found that, for carbon-monoxide–related accidents involving mufflers, there was a strong relationship between the muffler’s lifespan and its failure—the mufflers in the majority of these accidents had more than 1,000 hours of use.

Preventing Carbon Monoxide Exposure

So, how do you prevent carbon monoxide exposure? The first key step is preventing exposure—make sure to routinely inspect your aircraft’s exhaust system and replace when warranted. During each 100‑hour or annual aircraft inspection, ensure your mechanic thoroughly inspects the exhaust systems, air ducting firewalls, and door and window seals. During preflight inspections, look for cracking at the ends of your muffler and evidence of soot, which might indicate cracking in the muffler. Follow the manufacturer’s recommendations for the lifetime limit on your muffler and schedule for replacement parts.

Even with best efforts, leaks may happen. Secondary prevention involves being alerted to the danger before it becomes a problem. Don’t rely solely on knowing the symptoms of carbon monoxide as your warning system—they’re not specific enough to be recognized as exposure before impairment sets in. You might have heard that your skin, lips, or fingernails turn red when you’re exposed to carbon monoxide, but discoloration only happens sometimes, and only at very high levels of exposure. If you do turn red, you’re probably already too impaired to realize it, and it’s probably too late to recover.

So how can you be alerted to dangerous levels of carbon monoxide? Just like for your home, multiple types of carbon monoxide detectors are available for your aircraft and can be placed on your instrument panel. Detectors that only change color when carbon monoxide reaches a certain level are undesirable. The color change may be subtle in some lighting, and these detectors require that you regularly scan the device. Also, color-change devices need to be replaced regularly, and their useful lives may be shortened by exposure to direct sunlight—there’s often no way to tell when they’ve stopped working. Detectors mounted on the instrument panel with audible alerts or flash notifications provide the best warning. The FAA report mentioned earlier in this article found that electrochemical sensors were most suitable for use in general aviation due to their relatively high accuracy, quick response time, and low power consumption.

The next thing to consider is what you’ll do if your carbon monoxide detector goes off, you feel symptoms, or you suspect carbon monoxide in your aircraft. Unlike other medical emergencies where your crew may be able to assist, carbon monoxide exposure affects everyone on your aircraft. Communicate with air traffic control immediately and tell them you suspect carbon monoxide leak and exposure. When flying to the nearest airfield, descend to the lowest safe altitude, as carbon monoxide binds hemoglobin more readily and strongly at higher altitudes. Turn off the heater. Maximally increase cabin fresh air ventilation, open windows if permissible. Consider supplemental oxygen if it’s safe to use. Once on the ground, seek medical attention and do not continue your flight until the aircraft is inspected and repaired.

The NTSB determined that the probable cause of the Varga aircraft accident was the pilot’s loss of control due to impairment from carbon monoxide poisoning. Contributing to the accident was the corrosion of the heat exchanger and the failure of maintenance personnel to adequately inspect and repair or replace the exchanger during the most recent annual inspection. These factors were all avoidable with a little extra care. Inspect your aircraft. Know the symptoms of carbon monoxide poisoning, but don’t rely on them for warning. Install a carbon monoxide detector. Take immediate action.

Interested in more information?

You can learn more by viewing these NTSB and FAA resources:

EAA AirVenture is Off, but Our Focus on Summer Flying Safety Remains

By Aaron Sauer and Michael Folkerts, NTSB Air Safety Investigators

In normal times, many NTSB staff—including investigators and Board members—would be participating at the world’s largest general aviation (GA) event this week: Experimental Aircraft  Association’s (EAA’s) AirVenture 2020. The event is held annually in late July in Oshkosh, Wisconsin, and features hundreds of seminars, presentations, and workshops—including many delivered by NTSB investigators—focused on safety and current flying trends. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the in-person event was canceled this year, and that means we aren’t able to share our NTSB safety messages in person with the throngs of AirVenture eventgoers. So, we’re turning to this platform to highlight some of the lessons learned and safety messages we planned to discuss at AirVenture 2020.

EAA ImageOne speaker slated to join us in a panel discussion was Mike Patey, the pilot of the famous “Draco,” a Pzl Okecie PZL104, that experienced a loss-of-control accident in Reno, Nevada. We determined the probable cause of the accident to be a failure to maintain bank control during takeoff in gusting crosswind conditions, resulting in a loss of control in flight and subsequent impact with terrain. Fortunately, Patey had built a very rugged airplane and took extraordinary steps to make a potential crash survivable, and neither he nor his two passengers were injured. We were pleased that Patey was willing to share his story during our panel discussion, and, even though that panel won’t be taking place, you can head to his YouTube channel to hear him share it. His accident serves as a reminder that, as we take to the air this summer, we need to ensure we’re prepared to mitigate loss-of-control scenarios, especially in the event of stall recovery.

Loss of control in flight in which weather is a key factor remains a significant safety concern for the GA flying community. This safety issue has been featured on the past three iterations of our Most Wanted List of transportation safety improvements (MWL). To mitigate any potential loss-of-control incidents, GA pilots should ask themselves the following before taking to the air:

    • Have I thought about and trained for possible loss-of-control scenarios?
    • Am I proficient and up to date on all aspects of my airplane?
    • Am I aware of risks so I can avoid ending up in a loss-of-control situation?

Flight instructors should also ensure they practice stalls in a variety of scenarios with their students.

Another reason for loss of control involves distractions. Personal electronic devices in the cockpit have become a real and growing threat to safety. Eliminating distractions, not just in aviation, but in all transportation modes, is another issue on our current MWL. We know that pilots involved in GA operations are more susceptible to distraction-related accidents because they are subject to minimal federal regulations, such as the “sterile cockpit” rules seen in commercial airline operations. We believe that all pilots should keep distractions to a minimum, regardless of FAA requirements.

Mike Folkerts and Aaron Sauer talk with guest speaker and acrobatic pilot Patty Wagstaff
Mike Folkerts and Aaron Sauer at EAA AirVenture in 2019 talking to Patty Wagstaff, an NTSB panelist.

Although we could not participate in AirVenture this year to share our safety concerns in person, we urge all pilots to consider the following important safety tips to prevent in-flight loss of control and other avoidable tragedies:

    • Properly train and maintain currency in the aircraft you operate.
    • Maintain proficiency on how to avoid stalls and consider adopting available technologies that provide you with greater awareness, such as angle-of-attack indicators.
    • Take advantage of available commercial trainers, type clubs, and transition training opportunities, as they are an excellent way to improve your knowledge and abilities.
    • Don’t forget about the risks associated with unaddressed maintenance issues. Staying vigilant regarding your aircraft’s airworthiness could be the difference between life and death.
    • Safety restraints can make a difference in the event of an accident. Have your restraints examined by a mechanic or manufacturer to verify that they meet required specifications. Replace the restraint systems if the examination deems it necessary. If your airplane is not equipped with shoulder harnesses, install them if possible. (Note: “Strengthen Occupant Protection” is also an issue area on our current MWL).

We hope to see you at AirVenture next year! For more safety tips, check out our NTSB GA safety alerts here: https://www.ntsb.gov/safety/safety-alerts/Pages/default.aspx.