Cover: Safety in the Skies

Safety in the Skies

Personnel and Parties in NTSB Aviation Accident Investigations-Master Volume

Published 2000

by Liam P. Sarsfield, William Stanley, Cynthia C. Lebow, Emile Ettedgui, Garth Henning


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Recent high-profile commercial aviation mishaps have stretched the National Transportation Safety Board's resources to the limit and are testing the agency's ability to unravel the sorts of complex failures that lead to tragic accidents. In recognizing the enormous challenges the NTSB faces, agency Chairman Jim Hall sought a critical examination of the NTSB's ability to investigate major transportation accidents, and in particular commercial aviation accidents. The results of that study are contained in this report, the most comprehensive examination of the workings of the NTSB in the 30-year history of the agency. Adopting a multidisciplinary approach, RAND used a variety of quantitative and qualitative research techniques to assess the NTSB's operations and processes. This research, conducted in the RAND Institute for Civil Justice, outlines recommendations aimed at strengthening the party process-which involves manufacturers, operators, and others in the determination of the probable cause of an accident expanding the statement of causation modernizing the NTSB's investigative procedures and streamlining its internal processes managing the agency's resources and staffing more effectively developing training opportunities for NTSB staff improving the agency's R&D facilities.

The research described in this report was performed under the auspices of the RAND Institute for Civil Justice.

This report is part of the RAND monograph report series. The monograph/report was a product of RAND from 1993 to 2003. RAND monograph/reports presented major research findings that addressed the challenges facing the public and private sectors. They included executive summaries, technical documentation, and synthesis pieces.

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