The NTSB today issued five recommendations as a result of its investigation into the 2010 turbine beaver accident that claimed the life of then former Alaskan Senator Ted Stevens. Safety Recommendations A-11-048 through A-11-051 are directed to the FAA and recommend that the FAA:
- Consult with appropriate specialists and revise the current internal Federal Aviation Administration guidance on issuance of medical certification subsequent to ischemic stroke or intracerebral hemorrhage to ensure that it is clear and that it includes specific requirements for a neuropsychological evaluation and the appropriate assessment of the risk of recurrence or other adverse consequences subsequent to such events. (A-11-48);
- Correct the deficiencies with the in-service automated weather sensor system (AWSS) stations, specifically the known problems with present weather sensors and ceilometers, to ensure that the AWSS stations provide accurate information as soon as practical. (A-11-49);
- Implement a collaborative test program in Alaska between the Federal Aviation Administration, the National Weather Service (NWS), the local academic community, and private entities to establish the viability of relaying weather information collected from airborne aircraft equipped with existing data-link technology, such as universal access transceivers, to the NWS Alaska Aviation Weather Unit in real-time. (A-11-50); and
- If the Federal Aviation Administration’s test program recommended in Safety Recommendation A-11-50 establishes that the use of existing data-link technology, such as universal access transceivers, is a viable means of relaying collected information in real-time from an airborne platform, encourage and provide incentives to data link-equipped aircraft operators in Alaska to outfit their aircraft with weather-sensing equipment for real-time data relay. (A-11-51)
Safety Recommendation A-11-052 is directed to AOPA and recommends that the association:
- Educate pilots of 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91 flight operations about the benefits of notifying passengers about the location and operation of survival and emergency communication equipment on board their airplanes. (A-11-52)
Of course, these safety recommendations are just that, recommendations. Neither the FAA nor AOPA are obligated to comply with the recommendations. In fact, the NTSB has made many recommendations in the past that with which the FAA has not complied.
However, with respect to the AOPA recommendation, I wouldn’t be surprised if AOPA took some action in response to the recommendation. Although it seems to me that the passenger notification should already be part of a thorough pilot’s pre-flight briefing of his or her passengers.