NTSB Presses For Loss-Of-Control Awareness


In its annual list of most-wanted safety improvements for aviation, the NTSB on Wednesday reiterated last year’s choice for general aviation — loss-of-control accidents. GA pilots should take advantage of training opportunities and new technologies, such as angle-of-attack indicators, and practice “vigilant situational awareness” to help reduce the number of LOC accidents, the board said. Also, the board said helicopters used in the transport category or for emergency medical missions should be equipped with flight recorders. The NTSB also pressed for expanding the use of cockpit image recorders in smaller turbine aircraft. Having a visual record of what went on in the cockpit prior to an accident would be a big help for investigators, and the board has been asking the industry for this for many years.

The safety board also cited the role of pilot impairment in aviation accidents. In a recent study, the NTSB found the prevalence of potentially impairing drugs in fatally injured accident pilots increased from an average of 11 percent in 1990-1997 to an average of 23 percent from 2008 to 2012. During the same time periods, positive marijuana results increased from 1.6 percent to 3.0 percent. The most commonly found impairing substance in fatal crashes was diphenhydramine, a sedating antihistamine found in over-the-counter medications. The annual NTSB Most Wanted List aims to highlight safety issues identified from the NTSB’s accident investigations to increase awareness about the issues and promote safety solutions.

More details about the NTSB analysis of LOC accidents can found in this fact sheet (PDF).