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Hersman To Depart NTSB

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Hersman at Oshkosh 2012

Hersman at Oshkosh 2012

After nearly 10 years at the NTSB, chairman Deborah Hersman is leaving to take a job as president of The National Safety Council, she announced on Tuesday. "It has been an honor to be associated with a noble mission that has at times inspired and evoked passion and at other times, been in the crosshairs of controversy, as real change doesn’t come without a cost," Hersman wrote in a blog post at the NTSB website. 

Hersman has been a highly visible player in the aviation world, participating in forums at EAA AirVenture, and taking on a wide variety of aviation issues, including pilot fatigue after the Colgan Air crash, air racing after the Reno crash that killed a pilot and 10 spectators, and homebuilt safetyShe was on-scene for more than 20 accident investigations, including the Asiana Airlines crash last summer. The NTSB response to the Asiana crash drew some protest from the Air Line Pilots Association, which said too much information was released too soon. 

"I look back at the hundreds of investigations and recommendations that have been issued during my tenure at the NTSB, and I have seen the landscape of transportation safety improve before my eyes," Hersman wrote. She cited changes in work schedules for pilots that allow for more rest opportunities as one of the achievements during her tenure. "The NTSB and often, the families of victims, have served as critical catalysts for bringing about change after a terrible accident," she wrote. She said leading the NTSB has been a "dream job" for her. "If you are really lucky, you get to have more than one dream job. I look forward to continuing to improve the safety landscape with the board of directors and employees of the National Safety Council." Hersman was named chairman of the safety board in 2009. She will depart April 25, and vice chairman Christopher Hart will serve as acting chairman. 

By Tuesday evening, many of the aviation alphabet groups had responded to the news of her departure. "We appreciate Ms. Hersman’s dedication to promoting safety in all aspects of aviation and her willingness to listen to the concerns and recommendations of the general aviation community," said AOPA President Mark Baker. "We thank her for her professionalism, her fair-mindedness and her continuing readiness to maintain an open dialogue with NBAA and the industry, and we wish her well in her new role," said NBAA President Ed Bolen. "Chairman Hersman has been an extraordinary leader on aviation safety issues," NATCA said in a statement. "We will miss her."

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