National Transport Safety Board

NTSB Logo. (image embedded from NTSB on 28 August 2011)


The National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) started in 1967. In 1974 the NTSB became a completely separate entity in order to investigate accidents in the transport industry without bias or pressure. This means that the board can find out the actual reason for accidents and recommended the appropriate actions. The board was originally made to investigate major aviation accidents it has now expanded to include all modes of transport. In 2000 the NTSB established a training centre to internally train new staff.
Since the board started, they have investigated thousands of accidents both air and surface and has made a great contribution to the safety of transport through their investigations of causes of accidents and also its recommendation to help prevent accidents1.

The Process

In order an investigation to come up with the answers it needs facts. Therefore, the NTSB has a ‘Go Team’ that respond as quickly as possible to an accident to begin the investigation. The ‘Go Team’ is made up of specialists that each has a responsibility which is clearly defined when investigating an accident. This means that no part of the possible of causes of an accident is missed and all the fact can be found. The board also assists with disaster control. For an aviation accident the ACT that the NTSB follows is the Aviation Disaster Family Assistance Act of 1996.
Once the investigation has started, the team begins the necessary process of determining the cause of the accident. Each specialist will do what is required. Whether it is staying at the site or moving on the parts to testing centres. Their work then moves to the Washington headquarters where the drafting of the report is completed and then sent to the Safety Board. However, any safety recommendation may be issued at any time.
The team will respond to accidents on U.S. territory or in international waters. If the accident is elsewhere and involves any U.S. aircraft, the board will send a representative2.

Safety Recommendations

This is the most important part of the NTSB. The board will issue any safety recommendation before the investigation is complete if deemed necessary. The necessity of the recommendation is dependent on the impact it has on the safety of aviation. These recommendations may not have a direct impact to the accident in question.

Final Report

Before the final report is realised, there are many months of testing and analysis until finally the report goes through a public Board meeting. Once this has been completed, the document is realised on the web site and includes probable causes and safety recommendations.

Importance to aviation

The NTSB provides the aviation body with reason of accidents and also provides possible changes. This information is extremely valuable because the aviation industry can evolves to help reduce the accidents that happen. Though accidents will never stop happening, the investigation of causes of accidents can help keep the number of them as low as possible. This means that we can feel safe to fly around the world.

1. NTSB (n.d.). History of The National Transportation Safety Board Retrieved from
2. NTSB (n.d.). The Investigative Process at NTSB Retrieved from
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Want to know more?

Safety Recommendation
Here you can find information on the recommendations that the board has given
AviationKnowledge's Investigation Page
Approach to Investigations

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