Air Transport World

Of sound and fury. (the National Transportation Safety Board is increasingly speculating on airline crashes before investigations are complete) (Column)

The National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) never has been press shy. But it has guarded the process of disseminating accident-related information to the press and traveling public jealously. In recent months, the U.S.'s official accident investigator has been a veritable blabber-mouth. Increasingly, it has speculated on the cause of air crashes both here and abroad long before the official investigations have been completed. It claims the contrary.

Not only has the board speculated about probable cause of accidents, it provides information to the media that is unsolicited and fragmented. Not long ago, ATW and other media outlets received a copy of several previous NTSB requests that FAA require that operators of Boeing 737-100s and dash 200s with aft-mount engine-support cables check for engine security by performing a "red stripe inspection" before each flight to verify that the aft cone-attachment bolt is intact on each engine. …

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