Accident Investigation

On March 6, Representative Garret Graves of Louisiana introduced H.R. 1562, the Commercial Space Transportation Safety Act of 2019.  The bill’s text, which became available only recently, indicates that its main purpose is “to provide certain authority to the National Transportation Safety Board to investigate commercial space transportation accidents.” 
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If you are in the aviation industry and operate internationally (airlines, charter operators), your product is used outside the United States, (OEMs, component manufacturers), or you have a presence outside the United States (MROs), you cannot afford to miss this webinar.
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A long long time ago
I can still remember how
That music used to make me smile
And I knew if I had my chance
That I could make those people dance
And maybe they’d be happy for a while

But February made me shiver
With every paper I’d deliver
Bad news on the doorstep
I couldn’t take one more step

I can’t remember if I cried

When I read about his widowed bride
Something touched me deep inside
The day the music died

Lyrics from “American Pie,” by Don McLean, 1971, © Universal Music Publishing Group, BMG Rights Management

The Day the Music Died refers to a fatal Beech Bonanza aircraft crash that occurred 60 years ago yesterday, near Mason City, Iowa.  Killed in the crash were three early rock and roll legends: Charles Hardin Holley (Buddy Holly), J.P. Richardson (The Big Bopper), and Richie Valenzuela (Richie Valens). The 23-year pilot was also killed.
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Wow! The clock is ticking and The 2019 Aviation Symposium is rapidly approaching.

Our opening panel will focus upon accidents/incidents/events outside the United States. Nimbus Airlines will (in all likelihood), shortly before the Symposium, experience an issue somewhere in the world.

Our crystal ball tells us there will be serious injuries, possibly a fatality, a criminal investigation, language and cultural issues, time zone problems and more. So get ready for an energetic and thought provoking discussion/panel.
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–Executives, employees and contractors should know the specifics of federal agency’s process, caution attorneys; Massachusetts explosions highlight NTSB’s role in oil and gas sector.

The National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) is well known for its sleuthing on plane crashes. However, oil and gas executives often need better education about how the agency tackles one of its other responsibilities—investigating pipeline accidents, advise veteran attorneys with our national law firm.

The catastrophic gas explosions that destroyed dozens of homes in Massachusetts this month have called attention to the NTSB’s role in investigating such incidents, noted Mark A. Dombroff,  co-leader of our Transportation Industry practice. “Most, but not all, in the pipeline business are aware that something like this will immediately trigger a federally mandated and led investigation,” he said. “But their counterparts in aviation tend to be far better prepared to contend with the highly specific—and high-stakes—investigative process relied upon by NTSB.”
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According to a new Report from the National Academies of Sciences, the FAA’s commercial drone rules are too strict and the FAA’s zero tolerance policy towards commercial air accidents is stifling development of the industry. This report comes on the heels of recent 95-page report by the US Government Accountability Office criticizing UAS policy as being based largely on guesswork over the risks to the airspace, rather than hard facts.

The GAO’s Report noted that, while the FAA has collected over 6,000 reports of UAS sightings near manned aircraft or airports. These reports are almost entirely unverified, as the pilots can rarely make a positive identification of the make or model of aircraft, and, due to the small size of the vehicles, the sightings cannot be backed up by radar.  As a result, the GAO argues that the FAA’s restrictions on commercial UAS flight cannot amount to more than an educated “best guess” as to the magnitude of the risk and the likely harm in the event of an accident.
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