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76

I think it is quite unfair to paint the NTSB investigators as villains just for the dramatic effect when nothing of the sort happened in real life. It is the job of the NTSB to investigate all possible reasons for the accident. It includes pilot error among other things. They were doing precisely that in the actual investigation. Among other things, the ...


44

The issue has always been human perception. Pilots are tasked with trying to make great landings. One way they do that is with peripheral vision. If the runway is too wide, they lose that extra clue on when to roundout and flare. They may flare too early and stall the aircraft too high above the runway. This perceptual clue is more important for ...


40

This is actually a fairly standard thing to do with electronics that have been submerged: They are placed in water (ideally fresh, clean water) to both delay the onset of corrosion and dilute any salts or other chemicals that they came in contact with while submerged. When you remove electronics from water and let them dry out they begin to form corrosion ...


37

No, they are not. The NTSB simply investigates accidents to determine the root causes of the accident and to make recommendations as to how to improve aviation safety. It has no bias nor does it play favorites. The NTSB investigation of US Airways flight 1549 was the most unrealistic element of the Sully movie. Director Clint Eastwood portrays The NTSB ...


35

When it comes down to it, accident investigations involve lots of coordination between many different groups, companies, and agencies, often around the world. These groups may range from helpful and responsive to completely uncooperative. Visiting the Site - First there will be a team that heads to the incident site to collect information. If the site is ...


26

When landing an airplane you get used to visual reference points to evaluate your position relative to the ground. Optical illusion are therefore quite common. A narrower-than-usual runway can create an illusion that the aircraft is higher than it actually is, leading to a lower approach. A wider-than-usual runway can create an illusion that the aircraft is ...


17

I have not done any aviation investigation (I am far from even qualifying for the job), but I will try to relate it to something I have experience with: research paper writing. A couple of similarities between both come to mind: You don't know what you're looking for. You take a quick look at the big picture, pick your best guess (sometimes a wild guess), ...


15

From NTSB site, regarding FOIA requests: "Cockpit Voice Recorder (CVR) tapes. Title 49 U.S.C. § 1114(c) prohibits the release of any CVR tape. However, the NTSB may release a CVR transcript (edited or unedited), in accordance with 49 U.S.C. § 1114(c)(1)." Transcripts may be disclosed, but not 'tapes'. Which makes sense, as transcripts may be edited ...


14

This FAA webpage has a list of the various transponder codes and what they are used for, which will give you an idea of what the problem is. Unless there is an actual aircraft incident or accident which requires the FAA to investigate though, you won't be able to find a record of it. In fact, pilots aren't even required to file a report unless requested, ...


13

As a pilot, switching from my training on a 50 ft runway to landing frequently on a 150 ft wide runway was slightly challenging. The FAA describes two illusions: Wide Runway Looks closer on final and you will tend to float and flare high. Narrow Runway Looks farther away on final and you will tend to approach at a higher rate of descent.


12

There are simply too many variables to answer this question, even in general terms. And wreckage accessibility is just a small part of it. If an aircraft runs off the end of the runway and the pilot survives to make a statement that can be corroborated by another crewmember, tower and other eyewitnesses, as well as weather reports, it doesn't take much ...


12

Generally you do not notify the FAA, you notify the NTSB (the relevant regulations are in 49CFR, specifically 49CFR830). If you notify the FAA they will contact the NTSB, because the NTSB is the agency charged with investigating aircraft accidents. If you crash in a cornfield somewhere and notify the NTSB they will probably ask the nearest FSDO to send ...


11

Well, #2 is actually surprisingly easy. At the top middle of the NTSB website, under "Other ways to Contact NTSB" there is an innocuous-looking link that says "Submit a TCAS Notification" (which has you send an email to tcas@ntsb.gov). Personally I'd follow that up with a phone call to the appropriate regional NTSB office as well, just to be sure you've ...


11

No. Federal law prohibits the NTSB from releasing any CVR recordings, and the NTSB notes that they are exempt from FOIA requests. The same law requires them to release a transcript, like the ones seen in accident reports, if the transcript is relevant to the accident or incident. See 49 U.S.C. § 1114(c): (1) The Board may not disclose publicly any part ...


10

If you would like a little "light-reading" to answer the question. Take a look at the NTSB investigation manual as well as the 315 page appendix that goes with it. Together they will give you some sense of the investigation process. Just the time to read through that manual will take a while, let alone to perform the processes that it discusses.


10

They're also extraordinarily harrowing. If you ever do read the transcripts, try and imagine them taking place between two or more pilots trying to deal with a deadly situation for themselves and their passengers. While accompanied by the background noise of violent maneuvering, alarms or engines screaming or indeed engines on fire or exploding. Or in really ...


9

Absolutely: Here's one of many examples, and you can search the NTSB database for "GoPro" and find plenty more. The NTSB will use anything and everything available to them in their investigation, though release of certain materials is prohibited by law (e.g. CVR contents are not released, only transcripts). I believe the NTSB is observing a similar protocol ...


8

The NTSB will investigate every aircraft accident in the US, and any that foreign authorities delegate to them. As you found, there thousands of accidents ever year. Most of these are not fatal. The NTSB will at least gather the factual information and do their best to arrive at a probable cause. With limited resources, the NTSB must decide which accidents ...


8

After being sunk in water, especially salt water, the devices are more susceptible to corrosion when removed from the water. In order to better ensure a successful recovery of the data contained within, the investigators keep them immersed in water until they can be properly cleaned and dried in a laboratory. If they were to be simply removed into the air, ...


7

An emergency requiring a Service Difficulty Report (SDR), generated by owner self-reporting or investigation results, is reported by tail number. If you know the number, or other equipment identifying attribute, you can search here. For reports filed less than a week to 6 months after incident, FAA packages are published within a week. You can find these on ...


5

There's a book called "The Killing Zone - How and Why Pilots Die" by Paul A. Craig which has a great deal of statistical work in it around aircraft accidents which may be useful to you. It's an alarming title which might make you think it's some sort of sky is falling mentality, but it's actually very sensible, statistics-based information about aviation ...


3

Most units today will have some sort of CISM procedure. Critical Incident Stress Management (CISM) is the structured assistance for a normal reaction to an abnormal event. CISM methods are secondary preventive measures which consist of discussions about the incidents in the form of structured individual and group discussions and help the persons affected ...


3

No, there does not need to be visible plasma, and smoke alone is enough to constitute a fire onboard an aircraft. FAA Advisory Circular 120-80A contains the following definitions that indicate that a visible flame is not the only definition meaning "fire" pertaining to aircraft. In my experience, it's reasonable to expect that the FAA's definitions in this ...


1

There are a couple of part 91 regulations that require 'general' incident reporting, but only if the FAA or ATC requests it. 14 CFR 91.3(c) says that if a pilot exercised emergency authority to deviate from part 91 rules then the FAA can ask for a report: (b) In an in-flight emergency requiring immediate action, the pilot in command may deviate from any ...


1

I don't think your "death-defying experience" was classified as an incident or accident. Checking the list of occurrences the NTSB classifies as an incident does not show that what happened to you needs to be reported as one. Mechanical failures of all kinds happen on aircraft all the time. Very few of them are required to be reported to the NTSB.


1

You can search the NTSB's accident database here: https://www.ntsb.gov/_layouts/ntsb.aviation/index.aspx Results can be filtered by date, aircraft type, location, etc. Another good reference source would be the General Aviation Manufacturer's Association. https://gama.aero/ Their annual report publishes accident data on general aviation aircraft. The ...


1

The NTSB does so routinely find pilots at fault for virtually everything under the sun (with all other factors and actors only as "contributing") that when they don't, as in US1549, it's now a notable event. However, I don't think it's fair to call that hostility. Regulators and vendors have (at enormous cost) engineered virtually all safety problems out of ...


1

This is not a canonical answer to this Q as asked. But I will add: a slow investigation is not a bad thing, thorough is good a completed investigation is just one part of the value in the holistic process of aviation safety when investigators find something obviously wrong, corrective actions are sent out immediately to the aviation community in various ...


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