NTSB celebrates its Past; what does its Future hold?

ntsb anniversary
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NTSB’s 50th Anniversary

A Chronicle of Accomplishments

It has been noted before, but it bears repeating again. Happy 50th NTSB!!!!

The occasion for repetition is the Board’s release of a six minute video which chronicles its accomplishments and an Interactive Timeline. The latter includes 56 milestones of its history.

What is missing is some over the horizon look at the Board’s future, like:

•  What will be its role in the development of unmanned (personed?) ground and ground to air vehicles. Clearly, it will be involved in accident investigations, but will the regulators seek the NTSB’s expertise in these systems?

ntsb drones

•  The NTSB timeline places heavy emphasis on its Federal Family Assistance Plan; what of its future? Is this a function which might be better equipped and with greater resources like FEMA?

ntsb federal family assistant plan aviation

•  The Board’s statute and current membership reflects the high level of qualifications required for those “political” positions. Not every White House has appreciated the significance of these nominations. Should the statute’s requirements become more specific—as to credentials, modes of transportation experience and area of expertise (human factors, safety prevention, engineering, forensics, law, etc.?).

ntsb safety recommendations

•  The Board’s mission is to investigate accidents, which by definition are retrospective in nature. The Board has urged that the modes under its jurisdiction adopt SMS which is a proactive discipline. What role, if any, should the NTSB have in this accident preventing process?

•  The Board Members and staff more than likely have even better questions.

The past of the NTSB is exemplary, but the forward look is critical to tomorrow’s successes.


NTSB Marks 50th Anniversary
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