NTSB Considering Improvements to Incident Reporting in Aviation Industry


October 20, 2018

UNITED STATES – October 11, 2018 (wsbradio.com) The National Transportation Safety Board is considering recommendation of improvements to the aviation industry’s system for incident reporting, after five planes were almost involved in a major crash in San Francisco, California. The story is reported online at wsbradio.com.*

Shortly before midnight on July 7, 2017, an Air Canada jet nearly landed on a taxiway at San Francisco International Airport, where four passenger-packed planes were idling on the ground before takeoff. The jet aborted the landing and swooped to just 60 feet above the ground to pass over the four planes. 

NTSB determined that the Air Canada pilots were confused about the location of an open runway because one of two parallel runways was closed that night. The pilots were informed of the closure during a briefing. However, NTSB had little information to use during its investigation because the Air Canada captain waited until the next day to report the incident. By that time, the plane had been used for another flight, and the audio loop on the cockpit voice recorder had been taped over. 

The captain said he was too tired the night of the incident to undertake reporting the incident. NTSB did not imply that the captain and co-pilot purposefully delayed reporting, but the Board indicated it would have gained a better understanding of what occurred if the pilots had been more diligent. NTSB is making a point of the late reporting because of the potential destruction a crash could have caused. 

“Only a few feet of separation prevented this from possibly becoming the worst aviation accident in history,” said NTSB Vice Chairman Bruce Landsberg. 

NTSB is considering recommending that cockpit recorders capture the last 25 hours of flying time. Current rules require only the last two hours to be captured. The Board also discussed the aviation industry’s reliance on self-reporting, saying stronger measures should be considered. 

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Category: Accident News

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