The NTSB has clarified a section of a press release issued last Friday in which it said the Teterboro controller working a Piper PA32 had a radar contact on the sightseeing helicopter with which it would collide in time to warn the Piper pilot of the possible conflict. The board has issued a statement agreeing with the position put forth by National Air Traffic Controllers Association spokesman Ray Adams in a podcast with AVweb on Monday. But the board has also removed NATCA as an official party to the investigation, saying that by publicly raising the issue of the apparent misstatement, the union violated an agreement signed by all participants in NTSB investigations to let the board handle the press. "Among the rules parties agree to is that they will not reveal investigative information being learned through that process, nor publicly comment on it," the board said. "Parties agree that only the NTSB will release factual information on the progress of the investigation and discuss the progress of the investigation with the public, including the news media."
In the podcast, Adams said the NTSB was given ample opportunity to correct the Friday statement without a fuss but, after initially agreeing to do so, refused. NTSB spokesman Terry Williams told AVweb on Sunday that the board "[stood] by the information we put out on Friday." As the AVweb interview was appearing in subscribers' inboxes, NATCA issued a news release and also held a teleconference on the issue. NATCA spokesman Doug Church said the union's main goal was to correct the record. "That it has now gotten us kicked off the investigation is unfortunate but we will always speak out to correct the record in a matter as gravely serious as this one," he said.