in the Skies:
Personnel and Parties
by Cynthia C.
Lebow, Liam P. Sarsfield,
Stanley, Emile Ettedgui, Garth Henning
Summary Published 1999 by RAND
Published in 2000 by RAND
To place an
Monica, CA 90407-2138
0-8330-2806-5, 56 pages
Is the NTSB at its
breaking point? Will the NTSB be able to function effectively
over the next decade,
or beyond, given the
expected exponential changes in technology and air travel? The
of the NTSB aviation
accident investigations recommends a major overhaul to ensure the
agency's investigative independence and integrity. Conducted
at the request of Chairman Jim Hall, the research provides the most
comprehensive look at operations of the NTSB in it's history.
Dealing with the
complexities, costs & lengths of investigations such as TWA 800
and USAir 427,
has highlighted the
key factors desperately in need of remedy at the NTSB. The
RAND analysis identifies these urgent objectives:
1. " strengthen the party system"
2. "create more expansive statement of causation"
3. "modernize investigative procedures"
4. "streamline internal operating procedures"
5. "better manage resources"
6. "maintain strategic view of staffing"
7. "streamline training practices"
8. "improve facilities for engineering and
The NTSB was found
to be desperately understaffed & inadequately equipped to deal
effectively with complex modern aviation accidents. The
present party system allows manufacturers and airlines,
candidates in civil litigation, to assist in the NTSB
investigation. Consequently, pertinent information is not
always forthcoming. NTSB investigators must "ask the
right question" and be able
to know if they are
receiving the right answers.
The RAND study also
suggests that nonparties, such as claimants or their attorneys be
allowed to petition for reconsideration when new evidence relating
to probable cause or safety recommendations
is discovered through
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More information on
the Institute of Civil Justice can be found at:
A statement from
the NTSB can be read at:
Remarks by C.O.
Miller concerning the RAND study can be located at
Reports - Preliminary Commentary on the RAND Corporation Study
and also at
on RAND -ICJ Report about NTSB
provide a professional perspective from the field of aviation