8 Sep 2022


Aviation Air Transport: The Future of Air Travel

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Academic level: College

Paper type: Research Paper

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The National Transportation Safety Board(NTSB) was formed through the Department of Transportation Act. This was in 1967, a year after the act was enacted. The safety board was as a result of an executive order from the president. The five member bench were sworn in after the approval of the chair, his vice any three other board members. The 5 member team then developed a detailed framework that governs transport safety and management. The board was designed to determine the cause of any accidents. Their mandates affects highway accidents, marine and train accidents as well as pipeline and aviation accidents. The NTSB has been a trend setter in making the transport industry stronger and safer for everyone. After investigating causes of accidents, the body gives recommendations. These recommendations are often implemented and some are even adopted as necessary standard safety features ( National transportation safety board ,2018). 

NTSB's dedicates a large chunk of their resources to aviation air safety. The aviation department works closely with the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) to monitor, investigate and recommend findings of aviation accidents. As mentioned above, a majority of recommendations are adopted as standard safety requirements. NTSB'S contribution can be observed in the key training units such as the pilot training and practices governing air traffic control. They also add their voice to aircraft design, maintenance and repair of the aircraft as well as commuter safety. The body has transformed the safety of the aviation industry by bringing accountability and transparency. The action taken by the team is also responsible for the downward trend or shift in aviation accidents (Wensveen, 2015). 

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The investigative process happens in stages. Immediate after a major accident occurs, the go team steps in. One board member as well as some specialists begin the inquest. They include professional interrogators who interview the witnessed. A specialist in air traffic control is also enlisted. The team begin the process at the crash site. This site is thoroughly scrutinized until the team have collected all the necessary clues. This information is then used in the laboratory. Often the crash situation is recreated to reflect the findings and determine the actual cause. This findings are converted into recommendations that are fronted to the FAA and other relevant government agencies. At this stage, a public hearing may be held to create awareness on public issues. The crash may have also elicited public interest which need to be satisfied. The last step of the accident investigation is the writing of the final report. This details all the findings and it gives the probable cause of the accident. 

The NTSB has documented the cause of aviation accidents over the years. Fatigue has been observed as a recurrent probable cause of accidents . This findings implied that lack of sufficient rest was responsible for reduced alertness during execution of duties and responsibilities. The phenomenon of fatigue was not unique to aviation and it was observed across all modes of travel. A research finding thus sought to determine whether the NTSB was doing enough to adress the issue of operator fatigue. The main objective was to determine the categories of improvement in place to reduce operator fatigue. The research was done using reports compiled by NTSB. All included reports were those where fatigue was listed as a probable cause of accidents or as a contributing factor. The recommendations fronted by the NTSB were categorised into seven broad categories. The analysis also ventured into the implementation of the recommendations by the different types of organisations which were advised. 

Operator practices and scheduling policies have been found to be the most common of NTSB's 205 recommendations. This recommendation was presented to travel operators and federal agencies. The aviation industry had a 39% of fatigue related recommendations. 16% of the closed recommendations were recorded as unacceptable while 3% of the open received the same classification. Fatigue was reported to cause a slow down in reaction time, lapses of judgment, memory lapses and broken modes of communication. The last 100 years have seen a drop in fatigue related aviation accidents to 20%. This indicates an implementation of the recommendations from the NTSB. The issue of an ineffective fatigue management program for pilots is one of the unresolved issues. The issue of fatigue however remains a major problem in air aviation transport and safety ( Marcus & Rosekind, 2017). 

The NTSB has also taken measures to ensure that accidents are reduced through prediction or analysing. This is done through careful analysis that relates the common circumstances that precede an accident. Such an analysis led to the discovery of a killing zone. This was the name used to describe a set of flight time where general aviation pilots were at the highest risks. One author suggested that accidents frequency that resulted in massive casualties was directly related to the total fight hours. Pilot flight experience snf capability is often determined by the total flight hours allocated. The National Transportation Safety Board combined data collected with the Federal Aviation Administration(FAA). The data was used to determine a function that predicted accidents rate. The reason for the slightly vague result is that aviation accidents are different in nature. Unlike highway accidents that may have one singular cause such as overspeeding, aviation accidents are usually caused by a combination of factors. It is often impossible to determine the exact cause of any aviation accident. Responsibility is therefore allocated to the various causes in varying degrees ( Knecht, 2013)

Accidents rate histograms were developed from the modelling function. This encountered problems such as that or noise. This was first handled by introducing wider data bins. The participants then tried standard deviation by dropping outliers. This failed to bring the necessary changes and data smoothing was a tempted. This distorted the results through smearing. The final method of simulated annealing which was discarded for low reliability. The final product arose from Mathematica's use of vector weights. The end of that process produced the accident rate histograms. A certain function is used to determine how the Total Flight Hours relate to Air Safety. Flight risk may be calculated based on the statistical covariate. Risk is calculated for an individual pilot as relevant accident risk or continous range. The function is designed to serve both instrument and non instrument rated pilots. This is just one of the characteristics that can be applied to the formula or prediction tool. 

The issue of a killing zone arises from prediction and analysis tools such as those above. This tool This tools are designed to relate general aviation accidents rates with the outspoken total flight hours. Stakeholders such as airline owners and pilots as well as insurance underwriters have consistently pushed for a numerical quantification. The killing zone was therefore quantified to having an upper limit of 350 and a lower limit of 50. This range is variable depending on the expertise or experience of the pilot, his health and state of mind. The killing zone is therefore assumed to be larger than predicted as additional and recent data from FAA and NTSB is not included. The bottom line is that linear relationship of independent variables versus dependent variables is in question ( Knecht, 2013). 

The combination of studies above show that the NTSB is committed to its mandate. Part of this mandate includes conducting studies on improved safety of aviation transport. 


Knecht, W. R. (2013). The "killing zone" revisited: Serial nonlinearities predict general aviation 

accident rates from pilot total flight hours. Accident; Analysis and Prevention, 60 , 50. doi:10.1016/j.aap.2013.08.012 

Marcus, J. H., & Rosekind, M. R. (2017). Fatigue in transportation: NTSB investigations and 

safety recommendations. Injury Prevention, 23 (4), 232. doi:http://dx.doi.org.ezproxy1.apus.edu/10.1136/injuryprev-2015-041791 

National transportation safety board. (2018). Fort Mill: Mergent. Retrieved from ProQuest 

Central Retrieved from https://search-proquest-com.ezproxy1.apus.edu/docview/1860767512?accountid=8289 

Wensveen, J. (2015). Air Transportation: Regulators and Associations. In Air 

transportation: A management perspective [Adobe Digital Editions] (8th ed., pp. 94-122). Retrieved from 978-1-4724-3680-1 

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