Part 135 Under The Microscope In NTSB’s Most Wanted List

  • E-Mail this Article
  • View Printable Article
  • Text size:

    • A
    • A
    • A

The National Transportation Safety Board released its 2019-2020 Most Wanted List of Transportation Safety Improvements and, among the broad recommendations of eliminating distractions, reducing fatigue-related accidents and full implementation of positive train control is this: Improve the safety of Part 135 flight operations.

According to the board, “Most of the organizations that conduct Part 135 operations do not have—and are not required to have—a safety management system (SMS), flight data monitoring (FDM) or controlled flight into terrain (CFIT)-avoidance training program. We don’t know how many operators have SMS or FDM programs because the FAA doesn’t require operators to implement and report on them.”

The NTSB is calling on operators to “Install an SMS and FDM, appropriately scaled to the size of your operation, to detect and correct unsafe deviations from company procedures before an accident occurs … Use analysis tools provided by associations and the FAA’s InfoShare to identify safety trends ... Incorporate a CFIT-avoidance training program that addresses current TAWS technologies relevant to your operational environment.” Turning its attention to the FAA, the NTSB is calling for regulators to “Require all Part 135 operators to install flight data recording devices capable of supporting an FDM program and to establish SMS programs,” and to “Work with Part 135 operators to improve voluntarily implemented training programs aimed at reducing the risk of CFIT accidents involving continuing flight under visual flight rules into instrument meteorological conditions, paying special attention to human factors issues.”

In the 2017-2018 Most Wanted list, both the fatigue-related and distraction-based accidents were highlighted—clearly there’s more work to be done—while GA was tasked with reducing accidents resulting from loss of control.

Comments (4)

Let's form our own Most wanted safety list.

#1. Fuel injection. Why do people still die from Carb-Ice?
#2. ADS-B In Sure the FAA has their mandate, but it does nothing for safety. The reason ADS-B was created in the first place was to help see and avoid, resulting in a 20% reduction in accidents.

Posted by: Thomas Wiley | February 5, 2019 10:57 AM    Report this comment

"Fuel injection. Why do people still die from Carb-Ice?"

I agree that new aircraft should have fuel injection, but there's no reason anyone should have an engine fail due to carb icing when it's preventable. From day one in helicopter training we're mindful of the carb temp gauge, and doing the same in fixed-wing flying for the majority of aircraft will keep carb icing a thing of the past. It might require installation of a carb temp gauge, but that's a pretty small price to pay giving the possible alternatives.

Posted by: Gary Baluha | February 5, 2019 11:31 AM    Report this comment

Several of the jets I fly pt135 have ADS-B in and I now understand why the airlines have been dragging their feet on ADS-B compliance. ADS-B in mandate would be a waste of money in turbine or jet aircraft that already have TCAS II, weather radar, ACARS or other data links. Without an EFB on board (or an IPad) it is worthless. FDM in piston airplanes would not be practical since flight data recorders are not required. The equipment would cost more than many piston planes are worth. Already flew for a company that has a SMS program due to international flights they do. Was not impressed with this either. Seemed more like duplication and additional paperwork for little benefit. The FAA doesn't push this because it is an ICAO program, and several inspectors feel it is an intrusion to their authority. ICAO couldn't care less about GA. I get training in CFIT avoidance now so not sure what the NTSB wants here. It seems like more and more like any recommendations the NTSB put out are either costly or impractical. Surprised that nothing is mentioned about pt 135 time and duty rules and the lack of consistant enforcement by the FAA. There are still companies(fortunately my current employer is not one) out there that require crews to be available 24 hr, 7 days a week on call even though the FAA legal department has publicly said that that is not legal. Where is the NTSB on this?

Posted by: matthew wagner | February 5, 2019 5:16 PM    Report this comment

According to the NTSB, one size. Yes, just one size, and only one size... fits all. My read of the NTSB recommendations is "nice first draft". Now, please return to the task and craft something that will improve safety without bankrupting operators who provide essential services (fire patrol, fire fighting, small community air taxi, mail delivery to rural communites, back country support, etc).

At least 5% of the GA fleet is exempt from ADSB-OUT. Most MAC occur in the pattern. A lot of planes that operate VFRand outside B, and C airspace will likey forego the multi-thousand dollar panel ornament. The expected boost in safety from the traffic info offered by "IN" will likely reduce the already small number of MAC, but it will scarcely innoculate us against the MAC hazard. "See and Avoid" remains one of our important PIC tasks.

Posted by: John Townsley | February 6, 2019 5:48 PM    Report this comment

Add your comments

Log In

You must be logged in to comment

Forgot password?


Enter your information below to begin your FREE registration