Politico recently published the results of its investigation of the gaps in government agencies’ legal authorities to investigate space tourism accidents and impose safety protections for space launch participants. Politico’s
Continue Reading Setting the Record Straight: The NTSB’s Authority to Investigate Commercial Space Launch Accidents

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.” 
Continue Reading NTSB and Commercial Space: The Final Frontier

In issuing its 2019-2020 Most Wanted List of Transportation Safety Improvements last month and in holding a recent public meeting, the National Transportation Safety Board has renewed its efforts in identifying safety gaps in Part 135 [Code of Federal Regulations, title 14, Part 135] aviation operations and recommending actions that the Federal Aviation Administration and Part 135 operators to eliminate preventable crashes.
Continue Reading The Feds Turn the Spotlight On Part 135 Operators

Now in its third week, the impact of the current partial federal government shutdown has been widely felt and reported. In addition to the impacts on federal employees subject to furlough (defined in Office of Personnel Management (OPM) regulations as “the placing of an employee in a temporary status without duties and pay because of lack of work or funds or other nondisciplinary reasons”), contractors, and their respective families, significant attention is also focused on federal employees, such as FAA air traffic controllers and TSA security screeners, who are not furloughed but continue to perform their duties in the absence of funding to pay their salaries.
Continue Reading Shutdown Blues at the USDOT, FAA, and NTSB

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.
Continue Reading Agenda Update: The 2019 Aviation Symposium, Feb 5 – 7, 2019 in Tysons Corner

–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.”
Continue Reading Pipeline Companies Should Do More to Prepare for NTSB Accident Investigations

For the first time since April 2014, the National Transportation Safety Board will soon have a full complement of Board members. On July 24, 2018, the U.S. Senate confirmed the President’s nominations of Bruce Landsberg and Jennifer Homendy to serve as Board members. This is particularly welcome news because since January 31 of this year when former chairman and Board member Christopher Hart departed the agency, the NTSB has been operating with only three Board Members — the minimum number of members needed to meet the statutory requirement for a quorum to conduct official agency business.

Under the statute that addresses the appointment and terms of NTSB Board members, 49 U.S.C. § 1111, the Board is composed of five members appointed by the President, by and with the consent of the U.S. Senate.  The statute specifies that the term of office of each member is five years; however, “an individual appointed to fill a vacancy occurring before the expiration of the term for which the predecessor of that individual was appointed, is appointed for the remainder of that term.”


Continue Reading A Full House at the NTSB…