WASHINGTON (Aug. 15, 2019) — National Transportation Safety Board Chairman Robert L. Sumwalt is slated to host a public roundtable discussion Sept. 6, 2019, with Alaska-based commercial operators, safety experts, aviation industry associations, Federal Aviation Administration officials, and Alaska native tribal leaders on ways to improve the safety of commercial operations conducted under Part 135 of FAA regulations.
Part 135 operations encompass both on-demand and scheduled operators, as well as air medical operations that provide essential air transportation services within Alaska. Between January 2008 and June 2019, 80 people died in 207 accidents involving Part 135 operations in Alaska.
“The number of Part 135 fatal accidents in Alaska is troubling,” said NTSB Chairman Sumwalt.
(In this photo, taken June 30, 2015, NTSB investigators Brice Banning and Clint Crookshanks are working at the scene of the June 25, 2015, crash of a Part 135 operated float-equipped de Havilland DHC-3 Turbine Otter 24 miles east-northeast of Ketchikan, Alaska. NTSB photo)
Alaska’s heavy reliance on aviation coupled with the unique terrain conditions, challenging weather and areas of congested airspace are factors in these accidents, but the NTSB believes many of these accidents could have been avoided if operators had implemented safety management systems, installed flight data monitoring devices, and ensured pilots received comprehensive controlled-flight-into-terrain avoidance training. All of these measures have been recommended by the NTSB. “Improve the Safety of Part 135 Flight Operations” is an issue on the NTSB 2019–2020 Most Wanted List of transportation safety improvements.
If the FAA and industry do not address these safety gaps, the Part 135 accident rate in Alaska is unlikely to budge,” said Sumwalt. “The objective of this roundtable is to reduce that rate by focusing on the proven ways to make these types of flights safer.”
WHAT: Roundtable on Part 135 operations in Alaska: “Alaska Part 135 Operations: Charting a Safer Course.”
WHEN: Friday, Sept. 6, 2019, 8:30 a.m., Alaska Daylight Time.
WHO: NTSB Chairman Robert Sumwalt, NTSB staff, Alaska-based flight operators, safety experts, flight associations and the Federal Aviation Administration.
WHERE: University of Alaska Anchorage, Wendy Williamson Auditorium, 2533 Providence Drive, Anchorage, Alaska, 99508
The event is scheduled to be live-streamed.
For more information, including the agenda, list of participants and schedule, go to the event page at https://go.usa.gov/xVcmp.