Safety Board Increases GA Scrutiny
General aviation safety issues have been getting more attention lately from the NTSB, and that trend is going to continue, says the board's chairman, Mark Rosenker. "From my perspective, we need to continue to elevate GA safety in public and political eyes, while operating within increasingly tight budgets," Rosenker said at a meeting of safety investigators in Wichita, Kan., late last month. "We are doing this by realigning our priorities, conserving our efforts on accidents that have no safety payback, and ramping up efforts to highlight significant accidents and safety issues. We've already seen the fruits of this realignment over the past few months through an increase in the number of Special Investigation Reports, Safety Recommendations, and board meetings that address GA issues," he said. Rosenker said that over the last few years, the presence of NTSB investigators on-scene for fatal GA accident sites was in decline.
But the accident backlog has been reduced substantially, and he expects on-site investigations to increase over the coming years. Rosenker said he intends to hire 11 investigators if next year's budget is approved, and the majority of those would be assigned to aviation. The board's current staff of just 43 regional investigators is supplemented by 3,200 FAA inspectors. Rosenker has been acting chairman of the safety board since March 2005, and was officially sworn in this August. He'll serve as chairman until August 2008.