Rosenker Discusses FAA's Role in the Oversight of Commercial Air Carriers

WASHINGTON, D.C. — National Transportation Safety Board Acting chairman Mark V. Rosenker today testified before Congress about the Federal Aviation Administration's (FAA) role in the Oversight of Commercial Air Carriers and the relevance to Safety Board recommendations.

Testifying before the U.S. Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation's Subcommittee on Aviation Operations, Safety and Security, Rosenker said that the recent public hearing on the Colgan Air flight 3407 accident investigation produced vital information and the investigation is continuing to explore numerous safety issues in significant detail.

Rosenker made it clear however, that these issues are not relevant to regional airlines alone. "They are pertinent to every airline operation, major air carriers as well as regional air carriers," he said.

The NTSB has previously issued recommendations on stall training, stick pusher training, pilot records, remedial training for pilots, sterile cockpit, situational awareness, pilot monitoring skills, low airspeed alerting systems, pilot professionalism and fatigue, and aircraft icing.

Rosenker noted that on January 12, 2009, the FAA published a notice of proposed rulemaking (NPRM). The notice proposes to amend the regulations for flight and cabin crewmembers and dispatcher training programs in domestic, flag, and supplemental operations.

The Safety Board provided comments to the NPRM on May 7, 2009. While the NTSB generally supports the proposed rule changes, the Board suggested additional requirements, including substantive changes that improve or enhance crew and dispatcher procedures, qualifications, and training and the replacement of advisory circulars and other recommended guidance with regulatory changes requiring compliance.

"We will continue to highlight and follow-up in these areas because the Board believes they will significantly enhance the safety of the nation's transportation system," Rosenker stated.

Rosenker is to testify on the same subject tomorrow before the U.S. House of Representatives' Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure, Subcommittee on Aviation.

A copy of Rosenker's testimony can be found here.