On June 9, 2010, the NTSB issued Safety Recommendations A-10-102 through -104 to the Air Care Alliance (“ACA”) requesting the ACA to take actions to enhance the safety of charitable flying. The recommendations address “verification of pilot currency; passenger awareness of operating standards; and the need for dissemination of safety guidance, information about best practices, and training material for pilots and organizations providing charitable medical transport flights.” These recommendations were derived from the NTSB’s investigation of four fatal aircraft accidents involving charitable flight organizations who are ACA members.
Specifically, the NTSB recommends that the ACA:
- Require voluntary pilot organizations to verify pilot currency before every flight. (A-10-102)
- Require that voluntary pilot organizations inform passengers, at the time of inquiry about a flight, that the charitable medical flight would not be conducted under the same standards that apply to a commercial flight (such as under FAR Part 121 or Part 135). (A-10-103)
- In conjunction with your affiliate organizations and other charitable medical transport organizations, develop, disseminate, and require all voluntary pilot organizations to implement written safety guidance, best practices, and training material for volunteer pilots who operate charitable patient transport flights under FAR Part 91. The information should address, at a minimum, aeronautical decision-making; proper pre-flight planning; pilot qualification, training, and currency; and self-induced pressure. (A-10-104)
These recommendations don’t really involve any issues that haven’t already been discussed in the charitable flying community. However, the fact that the recommendations are made to the ACA is unusual since ACA is merely an organization whose members are involved in charitable flying. ACA does not facilitate or conduct specific charitable flight operations. Rather, it exists to support and promote charitable flying. Additionally, I’m not sure that the ACA is in a position to, or has the authority to, implement these recommendations. I think it would make more sense to direct these recommendations to the organizations engaged in charitable flight operations.
But, since compliance with the NTSB safety recommendations isn’t mandatory, maybe it doesn’t matter. Maybe the NTSB felt that issuing the recommendations to the ACA was the best way to get the various organizations further engaged in discussing these issues. Since the NTSB asks the ACA to submit an initial response within 90 days addressing the actions the ACA has taken or intends to take to implement the NTSB’s recommendations, maybe we will find out at that time.