Biographies - NTSB Staff
Dana Schulze, Deputy Director, Office of Aviation Safety, has been with the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) since 2002. She began her career with the NTSB as an Aircraft System Safety Engineer in the Aviation Engineering Division and served as a group chairman and investigator on numerous major domestic and international airline accident investigations, including Alaska Airlines flight 261, Pinnacle Airlines flight 3701, and American Airlines flight 587. In 2006, Ms. Schulze became Chief of the Aviation Engineering Division, which is responsible for investigating the airworthiness of aircraft involved in major aviation accidents. Ms. Schulze later served as the Chief of the Major Investigations Division where she oversaw more than a dozen major airline accident investigations, including the investigation of US Airways flight 1549 in Weehawken, New Jersey and Colgan Air flight 3407 in Clarence Center, New York, before moving into the role of Deputy Director.
Prior to joining the NTSB, Ms. Schulze worked in the commercial aerospace industry in various engineering and engineering management roles related to design, system safety, reliability, and quality. She received her Bachelor of Science degree in Space Sciences and Mechanical Engineering from the Florida Institute of Technology and Master of Science degree in Mechanical Engineering from the State University of New York
Brian Soper is a Senior Air Traffic Control (ATC) Investigator with the National Transportation Safety Board's Operational Factors Division in Washington, D.C. He has served as investigator-in-charge, ATC group chairman, and investigator on several hundred accident and incident investigations. Prior to joining the NTSB, Mr. Soper served 24 years active duty in the United States Navy. After a short period as an Avionics Technician, he qualified as an Air Traffic Controller and went on to serve as a certified professional controller, supervisor, and manager of several tower and radar air traffic control facilities both domestically and internationally. Rounding out his naval career, he was selected as the ATC analyst and investigator for the Department of the Navy, a position he held for 3 years before retiring from military service with numerous campaign, unit, and individual awards. He holds a Federal Aviation Administration control tower operators certificate and ATC certificate with radar final control, radar air traffic control facility, terminal radar approach control, and carrier air traffic control center ratings.
Paul Suffern is a Senior Meteorologist for the NTSB. He has been with the NTSB since January 2011, supporting investigations in the Office of Aviation Safety. He has provided meteorological expertise in support of more than 250 accident investigations, including Asiana flight 214 in San Francisco, Caribbean Airlines flight 523 in Guyana, Southwest Airlines flight 1919 in Chicago, and a few hundred general aviation accidents in the United States. He is a member of the National Weather Association Aviation Meteorology Committee. Paul holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Meteorology and a Master of Science degree in Atmospheric Science from North Carolina State University. Before serving with the NTSB, Mr. Suffern worked as a forecaster for the National Weather Service in Juneau, Alaska.
Millicent Hoidal has been a regional Aviation Accident Investigator since 2014. Before becoming an Investigator, she was a Watch Officer in the Response Operations Center at the Safety Board. Prior to that, she was an Intern for the AS-30 Division, which included Operations, Air Traffic Control, and Meteorology. Ms. Hoidal has a Bachelor of Science degree in Professional Aviation from Louisiana Tech University, where she was also a flight instructor. She also has an Associate of Science degree in Air Traffic Management from Texas State Technical College.
Mr. Richards is a Senior Meteorologist with the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) and has provided meteorological expertise to accident and incident investigations in aviation and other transportation modes for 6 years. While working in the NTSB's Office of Aviation Safety, Mr. Richards has supported more than 200 aircraft accident and incident investigations, both domestic and abroad, including fixed-wing and rotorcraft commercial and general aviation events. In addition, Mr. Richards participates in marine vessel accident investigations, and is currently serving as the Meteorology Group Chairman for the NTSB's investigation into the sinking of the El Faro. Mr. Richards also supports numerous weather-related NTSB safety studies and projects, and, in 2014, served as the technical lead for the NTSB's Most Wanted List item, "General Aviation: Identify and Communicate Hazardous Weather." Mr. Richards has also provided the technical and investigative support that resulted in 18 Safety Recommendations adopted by the NTSB aimed at improving weather-related safety in the national airspace system, as well as a Safety Alert identifying concerns with in-cockpit weather radar time stamps. Prior to joining the NTSB, Mr. Richards worked for the Federal Aviation Administration as a research meteorologist at the William J. Hughes Technical Center in Atlantic City, New Jersey. Mr. Richards holds a master's degree in Atmospheric and Oceanic Science from the University of Wisconsin.
Brice Banning is a Senior Aviation Accident Investigator with the National Transportation Safety Board's Alaska Regional Office, in Anchorage, Alaska. He has been the investigator-in-charge of more than 90 aviation accidents in the state of Alaska, and has served as the operations group chairman on multiple investigations. Prior to joining the NTSB, Mr. Banning served as a Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) Principal Operations Inspector, and in 2010, he was awarded the FAA Alaska Region's Mission Possible Award for his outstanding dedication to ensuring the safety of Part 135 operators and his commitment to reducing fatal/serious injury accidents for Part 91 and Part 135 personnel. Mr. Banning holds an airline transport pilot certificate with a Learjet type rating, and is a certified flight instructor, including multi-engine and instrument. Additionally, he holds commercial privileges for airplane single-engine land and sea, and is a certified airframe and powerplant mechanic. His commercial flying career began in Alaska more than 17 years ago, and he has accumulated more than 7,900 hours of flight time in types of aircraft ranging from the Piper Lance and Navajo to King Airs and Learjets. He has served in many required management positions for multiple Part 135 airlines. Mr. Banning is a longtime resident of Alaska.