The mission of Aviation safety is to accomplish the following: 1) Investigate all civil domestic air carrier, commuter, and air taxi accidents; in-flight collisions; fatal and nonfatal general aviation accidents; and certain public-use aircraft accidents, 2) Participate in the investigation of major airline crashes in foreign countries that involve U.S. carriers or U.S. manufactured or designed equipment to fulfill U.S. obligations under International Civil Aviation Organization agreements, and 3) Conduct investigations of safety issues that extend beyond a single accident to examine specific aviation safety problems from a broader perspective.
The Office of Aviation Safety has the responsibility for investigating domestic aviation accidents and incidents (about 1,750 annually) and for proposing probable cause for the Board’s approval. In conjunction with other offices within the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB), the office also works to formulate recommendations to prevent the recurrence of similar accidents and incidents, and to otherwise improve aviation safety. The Office of Aviation Safety includes a number of regional offices spread throughout the United States to ensure that NTSB personnel are within closer proximity to potential accident sites.
The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) promotes the open exchange of safety information in order to continuously improve aviation safety. The FAA developed the Aviation Safety Information Analysis and Sharing (ASIAS) system. The ASIAS system enables users to perform integrated queries across multiple databases, search an extensive warehouse of safety data, and display pertinent elements in an array of useful formats.
Near Midair Collisions (NMAC) are reported voluntarily to the FAA so these numbers may not be representative. Reporters consist of pilots of air carriers, general aviation and other aircraft involved in public-use operations. Incidents involving military aircraft may be included if they also involved a civilian aircraft.
Before March 20, 1997, 14 CFR 121 applied only to aircraft with more than 30 seats or a maximum payload capacity of more than 7,500 pounds. Since Mar. 20, 1997, 14 CFR 121 includes aircraft with 10 or more seats that formerly operated under 14 CFR 125. This change makes it difficult to compare pre-1997 data with more recent years’ data.