Critique of NTSB



US Safety Record 

With 10,554 airline-related fatalities, the US has had almost twice as many as Russia, five times as many a Canada, or the UK, or France, or India, or China, and ten times as many as Germany, Venezuela, or the Ukraine.  Many African countries have been banned from landing in Europe because of their very poor safety record, being 20% of fatal accidents versus only 3% of air traffic.


Only Africa Has a Worse "Safety" Record, Even in Kenya

The updated EU air safety list includes all airlines certified in 21 states, for a total of 295 airlines fully banned from EU skies: Afghanistan, Angola, Benin, Republic of the Congo, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Djibouti, Equatorial Guinea, Eritrea, Gabon (with the exception of 3 airlines which operate under restrictions and conditions), Indonesia (with the exception of 5 airlines), Kazakhstan (with the exception of one airline which operates under restrictions and conditions), Kyrgyzstan, Liberia, Mozambique, Nepal, Philippines (with the exception of one airline), Sierra Leone, Sao Tome and Principe, Sudan, Swaziland and Zambia. The list also includes 2 individual airlines: Blue Wing Airlines from Suriname and Meridian Airways from Ghana, for an overall total of 297 airlines.

Additionally, the list includes 10 airlines subject to operational restrictions and thus allowed to operate into the EU under strict conditions: Air Astana from Kazakhstan, Afrijet, Gabon Airlines, and SN2AG from Gabon, Air Koryo from the Democratic People's Republic of Korea, Airlift International from Ghana, Air Service Comores from the Comoros, Iran Air from Iran, TAAG Angolan Airlines from Angola and Air Madagascar from Madagascar.



Africa once again reported the world's highest rate of fatal commercial aviation accidents in 2013, despite increased local and international efforts to improve air safety in the region.

Africa has just 3% of global air traffic. But African crashes accounted for roughly 20% of the 29 accidents and 265 fatalities world-wide involving passenger and cargo planes designed to carry the equivalent of at least 14 passengers, according to an affiliate of the Flight Safety Foundation, an advocacy group for global aviation safety based in Alexandria, Va.

TWA Flight 841: the Plane that Fell From the Sky

The pilots who saved the lives of their passengers had their own lives and careers destroyed ONLY because the HNTSA asked Boeing to investigate their own faulty Boeing 727's aileron strut.

Predictably, Boeing claimed that it was "impossible to fail", which NO reputable aircraft manufacturer should EVER be allowed to utter.  Needless to say, the NHTSA followed suit, and the accident was blamed on the pilots.

Since then, the NTSB has gotten a bit more user friendly, and perhaps too much so, because they now appear to be blaming accidents on everything but the pilots or copilots.


Jewish pilot Crashed Flash Airlines # 604

Did this Jewish general and pilot have an accident, or crash it on purpose?

Flight # 604 charter flight

Captain Kayliff? Kayo?

War hero, 7,000 hours?

Vertigo?  Egyptians agree he was disoriented, but crew resource management system which the law requires was never administered.

Was the very young Flight Officer really intimated by a Jewish Air Force general?

The NTSB report issued March 2006 did not even cite the role of this Jewish pilot, and instead stated it was a combination of factors.

However, European nations, who clearly disagreed with the NTSB assessment, all agreed to ban dangerous African and Israeli airlines, who are over-represented by 26 FOLD in airline crashes.

U.S. Summary Comments on Draft Final Report of Aircraft Accident Flash Airlines flight 604, Boeing 737-300, SU-ZCF January 3, 2004, Red Sea near Sharm El-Sheikh, Egypt. Quote from page 5 of 7:

"Distraction. A few seconds before the captain called for the autopilot to be engaged, the airplane’s pitch began increasing and airspeed began decreasing. These deviations continued during and after the autopilot engagement/disengagement sequence. The captain ultimately allowed the airspeed to decrease to 35 knots below his commanded target airspeed of 220 knots and the climb pitch to reach 22°, which is 10° more than the standard climb pitch of about 12°. During this time, the captain also allowed the airplane to enter a gradually steepening right bank, which was inconsistent with the flight crew’s departure clearance to perform a climbing left turn. These pitch, airspeed and bank angle deviations indicated that the captain directed his attention away from monitoring the attitude indications during and after the autopilot disengagement process. Changes in the autoflight system’s mode status offer the best explanation for the captain’s distraction. The following changes occurred in the autoflight system’s mode status shortly before the initiation of the right roll: (1) manual engagement of the autopilot, (2) automatic transition of roll guidance from heading select to control wheel steering-roll (CWS-R), (3) manual disengagement of the autopilot, and (4) manual reengagement of heading select for roll guidance. The transition to the CWS-R mode occurred in accordance with nominal system operation because the captain was not closely following the flight director guidance at the time of the autopilot engagement. The captain might not have expected the transition, and he might not have understood why it occurred. The captain was probably referring to the mode change from command mode to CWS-R when he stated, “see what the aircraft did?,” shortly after it occurred. The available evidence indicates that the unexpected mode change and the flight crew’s subsequent focus of attention on reestablishing roll guidance for the autoflight system were the most likely reasons for the captain’s distraction from monitoring the attitude".


El Al Israel Airlines Flight #1862

Again, the investigator failed to cite a Jewish captain and General Fuchs who was directly responsible for this crash which killed 43 people and destroyed an apartment complex in Amsterdam after takeoff from Schipohl Airport with ILLEGAL arms in its cargo bay.


Ethiopian Flight 409

Black pilots with 10,000 hours, GOT CONFUSED, dove into the Med.

"subtle incapacitation" my ASS.

90 dead

Valujet Flight 592 Crash CAUSED by FAA Largesse, Yet Shut Down by the FAA

WHO was responsible for 110 deaths?

Valujet = ZERO percent

FAA = 100%

At the time of the crash, NOBODY, not Valujet, and not even the NTSB, could possibly have known that packaging oxygen breathers in bubble wrap WOULD cause a fire, and that packaging them with NO bubble wrap would have PREVENTED a fire.  And yet the FAA shut down Valujet because they DID follow ALL FAA regulations, including the one about not putting fire detectors and fire sprinklers in cargo holds.

Ironically, had Valujet IGNORED FAA instructions about not putting detectors and sprinklers in cargo holds, and instead installed them as common sense would have demanded them to do, this accident could NOT have happened.

So rather than shutting down Valujet which harmed millions of employees, travelers, and stock holders, let's shut down the FAA which will make the airways safer AND cost only a few plum federal jobs.

300 PLUS Almost killed by BLACK MASS MURDERER 




Flight Engineer Auburn Calloway knew his career was about to end. His employer, Federal Express, had recently uncovered a series of irregularities and outright falsifications in both his original employment application and in hundreds of hours of flight records. He was ordered to appear at a disciplinary hearing in the second week of April, 1994. He understood that the likeliest outcome of such a hearing would be his termination, and subsequently the loss of his FAA flight certification.
His solution was as simple as it was horrifying. He would provide for his family financially, end his own life, and in the process he would punish FedEx in the worst way imaginable.

April 7, 1994: FedEx Flight 705 was scheduled to depart the company’s home hub of Memphis, Tennessee for a routine flight to San Jose, California at a little after 3:00 in the afternoon. As Captain David Sanders, First Officer Jim Tucker and Flight Engineer Andy Peterson boarded the aircraft, they were somewhat startled to see Auburn Calloway already on board, settled into the Flight Engineer’s station and initiating pre-flight procedures. Although it was not unusual for FedEx employees to hitch rides on regular flights - a practice termed “jumpseating” - it was a pronounced breach of protocol for such deadheaders to interfere with flight operations. They said nothing, though, and Calloway wordlessly gave his seat to Andy Peterson. He strapped himself into a jumpseat aft of the cockpit. At his feet was a guitar case, the only baggage he had brought on board.

Less than thirty minutes into the flight, the bloodbath began.

The weapons that Calloway chose for his attack seem bizarre and indicative of a deranged mind. When one understands the cold calculation of his plan, though, the terrible logic becomes clear. The guitar case contained two claw hammers, two sledge mallets, a knife and a speargun. Calloway could have easily smuggled a gun on board Flight 705, but he wanted to inflict no injuries that were inconsistent with an air crash—for that was at the heart of his plan. Having already purchased thousands of dollars worth of death and dismemberment insurance, he planned to bludgeon to death the crew of Flight 705, then crash the DC-10 into the terminal of the Memphis Superhub. His own death would secure his family’s future, while the devastating crash would likely destroy FedEx. But first he had to kill the crew; it was their will to survive that foiled Auburn Calloway’s plan.

None of the three men heard Calloway enter the cockpit. Sanders suddenly became aware of a struggle, and heard the awful sound of hammer blows raining down upon his crewmates. He turned to see both men slumped in their chairs, injured terribly, and a blood-soaked Auburn Calloway moving toward him.

Calloway swung wildly at Sanders. Some of the blows landed, some were deflected. The plane lurched as Sanders desperately tried to defend himself. Then something happened that Calloway had not counted upon. Tucker and Peterson recovered and began fighting back. Calloway was surrounded; he flailed about with the hammer, still inflicting gruesome injuries. The men would not give up, though, and Calloway at last retreated from the cockpit.

Sanders, Tucker and Peterson scarcely had time to register what had happened—they didn’t even have a chance to radio for help—before Calloway returned. Now armed with the speargun, he threatened the men who were advancing upon him once again.

“Sit down! Sit down! This is a real gun, and I’ll kill you.”

Andy Peterson was bleeding from nearly a dozen wounds to his face and head. He teetered on the brink of consciousness, and couldn’t even see Calloway, who was only a few feet away. He could see the speargun, though—he could see the barbed steel shaft that protruded from the barrel just inches from his face. He grabbed at the weapon and threw himself on top of Calloway.

Captain Sanders joined the fray as Jim Tucker struggled to control the airplane. By now, Tucker’s right arm was nearly useless as the grave injuries to his skull brought on paralysis. He knew that his wounded crewmates could not last long against Calloway, so he assisted the only way he could. He pulled the control yoke all the way back to his chest, and rolled it to the left.

The DC-10 was executing a barrel-roll at nearly 400 miles per hour—something the aircraft had never been designed to do. Peterson and Sanders were shouting “Get him! Get him!” to each other, as the three struggling men were tossed about the galley area, alternately weightless and pressed upon by three times their weight in G forces. By now, the aircraft was inverted at 19,700 feet, and the alarmed air traffic controllers in Memphis were desperately calling for Flight 705.

Tucker initiated a series of wild maneuvers. He knew he had to keep the craft’s motion unpredictable, or Calloway would simply wait for the roll to end then resume his attack. Tucker abruptly threw the yoke forward, and sent the plane into a vertical dive. He realized then that the throttle controls, located to his right, were pressed forward to their stops; he could not reach them with his limp right hand. The diving DC-10 accelerated past 500 miles per hour, then past the instruments’ capacity to register. Flight 705 was now traveling faster than any DC-10 had ever gone, and was undergoing velocity stresses that the airframe could not sustain.

Somehow, Tucker pulled from the dive, then reached across the yoke with his left hand to cut speed. At last he grabbed a radio headset and called Memphis.

Flight 705 turned back for Memphis and was cleared for any runway. No one on the ground understood what had happened—all they knew was that an unnerved crew member had reported some sort of “attack,” and had requested an emergency landing.

A paramedic boarded the plane, and found blood and gore everywhere he looked. Sanders and Peterson were laying on top of a still-struggling Calloway, while Jim Tucker sat shaking at the co-pilot’s station. Calloway was handcuffed and hauled away.

Within days, the FBI searched Calloway’s apartment and uncovered detailed evidence of his plan. Calloway would attempt to have that evidence suppressed for lack of probable cause, but was unsuccessful. He was convicted on a two-count indictment of air piracy and interference of flight operations. Auburn Calloway was sentenced to life imprisonment without the possibility of parole, and is currently residing at the federal penitentiary in Atlanta.

Sanders, Tucker and Peterson had survived a suicidal act of piracy, but at a terrible cost. Sanders suffered multiple lacerations to his head, had been stabbed in his right arm and had a dislocated jaw. His right ear had been almost completely severed.

Jim Tucker’s skull was severely fractured. The right-sided paralysis would pass, but he would experience ongoing motor-function impairments to his right arm and leg. He was also blinded in one eye.

Andy Peterson also suffered a skull fracture, as well as a severed temporal artery.

None would ever fly again......

Flying While Black

Africa still is the least safe continent, accounting for 22% of all fatal airliner accidents while the continent only accounts for approximately 3 percent of all world aircraft departures.
This is also reflected by the fact that, on average, African nations score 4.5 on a scale of 10 in aviation safety audits performed by the International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO). And the airlines of several nations are not allowed to fly into the E.U. (14) and United States (6).
The Aviation Safety Network is an independent organisation located in the Netherlands. Founded in 1996. It has the aim to provide everyone with a (professional) interest in aviation with up-to-date, complete and reliable authoritative information on airliner accidents and safety issues. ASN is an exclusive service of the Flight Safety Foundation (FSF). The figures have been compiled using the airliner accident database of the Aviation Safety Network, the Internet leader in aviation safety information. The Aviation Safety Network uses information from authoritative and official sources.



Flying While Black: David Burke Mass Murderer of 44 on PSA Flight 1771

David Burke


A Call comes in to the San Luis Obispo County, California Sherrif's Office citing a small plane crash in the mountains of southern California. Detective Bill Wammock is the first to arrive on the scene. He recalls “nothing that resembled an airliner... we went on for hours, before we heard the news reports of a missing airliner, believing that we were dealing with a small airplane full of newspapers that had crashed. We saw no pieces of the aircraft that were larger than, maybe, a human hand. It did not look like a passenger aircraft.”

Two days later, an FBI Agent working the scene found what appeared to be the barrel and trigger of a handgun. Forensic Analysists examined the pieces, and found a small peice of skin wedged between the trigger and the barrel. By matching the skin prints to the passenger manifest, investigators were able to conclude that the gun had been in the hand of USAir employee David Burke at the time of impact.

horizontal rule

December 7, 1987, was not a typical day for USAir employee David Burke. Two weeks prior, Burke had been placed on unpaid leave, awaiting the outcome of an investigation into whether he had stolen $68.00 from a drink fund set up by Flight Attendants. The date of Burke's appearance before the Board of Appeals at USAir was today.

In the hearing, Burke admitted to the act and pleaded for leniency, citing his family's well-being. Despite telling the members of the committee that he was “regrettably sorry,” and that his “children would have no one to support them,” Burke's pleas for his job went unheard, and he was summarily dismissed by his supervisor, Raymond Thompson. As Burke left his office after the hearing, Thompson's secretary wished him to “have a nice day.” Burke paused, turned around, and replied “I intend on having a very good day.”

David Burke then purchased a ticket on Pacific Southwest Airlines flight 1771, a daily non-stop along PSA's “Pacific Highway” between Los Angeles and San Francisco. This flightwas also taken by Burke's supervisor, Raymond Thompson, every day on his commute home from the USAir Headquarters at LAX.

Using his USAir employee credentials, which had not been seized and were later found at the crash site, David Burke bypassed security at Los Angeles International Airport and stepped aboard the BAe-146 aircraft, armed with a loaded 44-magnum pistol. Upon entering the aircraft, Burke scrawled a note onto an air-sickness bag which read:

“It's kind of ironical, isn't it? I asked for leniency for my family, remember? Well, I got none, and now you'll get none.”

As the aircraft reached its cruising altitude of 29,000 feet, Burke calmly vacated his chair and made his way to the lavatory, dropping the air-sickness bag in his supervisor's lap as he passed. Moments later, he emerged with the handgun, and immediately shot Thompson. The sound of the gunshot is picked up on the cockpit voice recorder, and seconds later the sound of the cockpit door opening is heard. A female, presumed to be a FlightAttendant, advises the cockpit crew that “we have a problem.” The Captain replies with “what kind of problem?” Burke then appears at the cockpit door and announces “I'm the problem,” simultaneously firing two more shots that fatally injure both pilots.

Several seconds later, the CVR picks up increasing windscreen noise as the airplane pitches down and begins to accelerate. A final gunshot is heard as Burke fatally shoots himself. Airspeed continues to build until 13,000 feet, when traveling at a velocity of 1.2x Mach, the aircraft breaks apart and the Flight Recorders cease functioning.

All 44 passengers and crew aboard PSA Flight 1771 died as the aircraft crashed into a Farmer's field in the Santa Ana Hills. The accident spelled the end of Pacific Southwest Airlines, which in April of the following year was absorbed into USAir. A federal law was passed which required “immediate seizure of all airline employee credentials” upon termination from an airline position. Most importantly, however, the Federal Aviation Administration adapted policy to require that all members of any airline flight crew, including the Captain, be subjected to the same security measures as are the passengers.







Rather than spending a few hundred thousand dollars to simply maintain the nation's ILS systems which could have saved THOUSANDS of lives, we instead spent $85 Billion for TSA which saved NO lives and simply pissed off EVERYONE [Congressmen, great-grandmothers, and children]

Rather than looking like the world's policeman or superpower, we are the laughing stock of nations


250 ALMOST Killed with Out of Service ILS 

"On July 25th, flight EVA28, a Boeing 777 flying from Taiwan to SFO, was on the final approach for runway 28L when they were alerted by ATC that they were only at 600ft above the ground at less than 4NM from the threshold. SFO's tower directed the flight crew to climb immediately and declare missed approach. Assuming they were flying at 140 knots (typical approach speed of a 777), they were less than 2 minutes from the runway and at a 3 degree angle (approx 500ft/min descent), about a minute from impact. This is the same type of aircraft and runway used by the crashed Asiana flight. Similar weather conditions and awfully similar flight path. Is there a structural problem with computer-aided pilot's ability to fly visual approaches?"      

OUT of Service ILS Kills 2, Injures Hundreds, Destroys $300 Million Jet

April 23, 2013

July 08, 2013

To be further in tune with the facts here.... There are more approach aids than the ILS. Safety in aviation is layered and in the case of approach aids there are at least three more ways a pilot should be able to use to judge his approach and correct. There are the VASI lights which tell you if you are too high or low. There are the markings on the runway, which are of standard sizes and locations which aid the pilot who is looking out the windows. Then there is the "visual picture" that the pilot will have seen many times before when landing, even if only in the simulator.

Any of these *should* have been enough to safely land.

My guess is that what really happened here is a combination of ATC directions and pilot errors. ATC likely directed a short approach which started pretty high making it difficult for the pilots to properly stabilize the approach. The inexperience of the pilot in command contributed to the issue because it took him longer to make all the complex adjustments, get the gear down, flaps down, get on the glide path at the proper airspeed and complete the landing checklists and he lacked experience to recognize what was happening. The PIC got behind the aircraft and by the time they realized the sink rate was way to high they where to low and slow to recover. They landed way short.

This is an old story, told time and time again. A flying aircraft does not wait for the pilot who doesn't keep ahead of the situation. Landing and take off phase of flight are fast paced (compared to other phases) and also the least forgiving of falling behind. The PIC fell way behind and failed to fly the aircraft properly. He failed to recognize the danger and deal with the problem and was lucky to survive. In this case I don't think ILS wold have mattered.


Out of Service ILS Kills 96 People on Polish Air Force Jet 

The 2010 Polish Air Force Tu-154 crash occurred on 10 April 2010 when a Tupolev Tu-154M aircraft of the Polish Air Force crashed near the city of Smolensk, Russia, killing all 96 people on board. These included president Lech Kaczyński and his wife Maria, former president Ryszard Kaczorowski, the chief of the Polish General Staff and other senior Polish military officers, the president of the National Bank of Poland, Poland's deputy foreign minister, Polish government officials, 18 members of the Polish parliament, senior members of the Polish clergy, and relatives of victims of the Katyn massacre. They were en route from Warsaw to attend an event marking the 70th anniversary of the massacre; the site is approximately 19 kilometres (12 mi) west of Smolensk. 

Smolensk North Airport is a former military airbase now in mixed military-civilian use. At the time of the crash the airport was not equipped with a Western-style instrument landing system (ILS); the airport used to have a Russian version of ILS, but this system was decommissioned upon the airport becoming a joint civil-military airfield.[1] The Polish aircraft was modified to use Western-style ILS.[3] A non-directional beacon system (NDB) was installed at the airport,[4] but such a system can be used only for a non-precision approach to the runway, as its antennas are situated on the opposite ends of the runway and thus give only basic directional information about a landing plane's position relative to the axis of the runway. Since it is a navigational aid, not a landing aid, it remains the crew's responsibility to keep track of the plane's altitude.[5] The airport was equipped with both surveillance and landing radar.[1] The lowest available approach minimums were 100 meters (330 ft) lowest cloud base and 1,000 meters (3,300 ft) visibility.[1] 

3 Killed on National Airlines Flight 193 SOLELY because of ILS being down

LUCKILY, 55 of 58 passengers did survive, but many had serious problems because of it.

214 of 237 Killed in Guam on Korean Airlines Flight 801 on Boeing 747 

There was heavy rain at Guam so visibility was significantly reduced and the crew attempted an instrument landing. The glideslope Instrument Landing System (ILS) in runway 6L was out of service; however, the captain believed it was in service and at 1:35 am managed to pick up a signal which was later identified to be from an irrelevant electronics device on the ground. The crew noticed that the aircraft was descending very steeply, and noted several times that the airport "is not in sight". Despite protests from the flight engineer that the detected signal was not the glide-slope indicator, the captain pressed on[11] and at 1:42 am, the aircraft flew into Nimitz Hill, about 3 nautical miles (5.6 km) short of the runway, at an altitude of 660 feet (200 m). 

The U.S. National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) investigation report stated that the ATC Minimum Safe Altitude Warning (MSAW) system at Antonio B. Won Pat International Airport had been deliberately modified so as to limit spurious alarms and could not detect an approaching aircraft below minimum safe altitude. The captain also failed to follow a normal non-precision approach and prematurely descended to impact a hillside short of the runway. Contributing to the accident were the captain's fatigue and Korean Air's lack of flight crew training, as well as the intentional outage of the Guam ILS Glideslope due to maintenance. The crew had been using an outdated flight map, which stated that the Minimum Safe Altitude for a landing aircraft was 1,770 feet (540 m) as opposed to the correct altitude of 2,150 feet (660 m). Flight 801 had been maintaining 1,870 feet (570 m) when it was waiting to land. 


74 Killed on Korean DC-10 In Tripoli Because the ILS Was Out of Service


They were only lucky that not all 199 on board were killed.


 101 Died Decembar 1998 / Thai Airways Flight 261 / Surat Thani, Thailand / Airbus A310-204

The aircraft crashed while attempting its third non-precision approach to Surat Thani. The ILS was out of service for maintenance, which necessitated the use of the less accurate VOR approach by the crew. Crew fatigue having completed two previous approaches unsuccessfully.


Bhoja Air B732 Crash at Islamabad kills 127 Because of ILS Being Down

Firstly, the aircraft impacted terrain about 5 km short of Islamabad's runway 30 near Jinnah Gardens, completely broke up, burst into flames and came to rest in Hussain Abad Village at around 18:45 PST. Around 50 houses on the ground are reported to have been destroyed in this crash. Reports from local authorities confirmed there have been NO fatalities on the ground however, all passengers and crew of this flight perished in the crash. Different report came through as to how many passengers and crew were on board this Boeing 737-236(A) aircraft. According to an official list released by the airline, there were 121 passengers and 6 crew.


34 killed with out of service ILS 

1986 Mozambican Tupolev Tu-134 crash

Around 21:15 the navigator stated that the distance to Maputo was 60 kilometres (32 nmi). Over the next few minutes, there were several comments from the crew indicating that they believed the navigational aids at Maputo were unavailable: the captain stated that "there is no Maputo" and "electrical power is off, chaps!", while the navigator reported that the Instrument Landing System (ILS) and Distance Measuring Equipment (DME) were switched off and that the non-directional beacons (NDBs) were not working.[11]

Landing clearance and crash

Shortly after 21:18, the aircraft reached 3,000 feet in its descent, and the crew informed the Maputo controller that they were maintaining that altitude, however the airplane continued to descend.[citation needed] The Maputo controller granted clearance to the flight for an ILS approach to runway 23,[11] but after the flight crew reported the ILS out of service, the controller changed the clearance to a visual approach to runway 05. During this time, the navigator stated the distance to Maputo as 25–30 km (16–19 mi), the captain remarked that something was wrong, and the co-pilot said that the runway was not lit.[12]

The crew radioed the Maputo controller and asked him to "check your runway lights". Around 21:21 the navigator stated the range to Maputo as 18–20 km (11–12 mi), and the flight repeated its request to Maputo to check runway lights. Upon reaching an altitude of 2,611 feet (796 m) AGL the Ground Proximity Warning System (GPWS) sounded and remained on, and although the captain cursed, the descent continued.[13]


11 Killed On American Flight 1420 with Down ILS

‘good evening little rock adams field information romeo zero four two two zulu special observation wind one niner zero at one four visibility seven thunderstorm few clouds at seven thousand cumulonimbus ceiling one zero thousand broken temperature two five dew point two three altimeter two niner eight eight frequent lightning in cloud cloud to cloud west through northwest thunderstorm west through northwest moving northeast ils runway two two left approach in use notices to airmen runway two two right four left ils out of service attention all aircraft hazardous weather information for the little rock area available on hiwas flight watch or flight service departing aircraft contact tower one one eight point seven for clearance and taxi advise on initial contact you have romeo'” 

75 Killed Because of one DUMB Airbus A320 Design Flaw



NTSB: James E. Hall



Alcohol and Other Drug Use in Commercial Transportation

James E. Hall

Chairman, National Transportation Safety Board, Washington, D.C. 20594 USA


Quite a bit of progress has been made in the United States in reducing the use of alcohol and drugs by commercial vehicle operators in all modes of transportation over the past few years. Drug use prevention and testing programs have been required by the Federal Government since the mid to late 1980's. More than 7,000,000 employees in safety-sensitive jobs are covered by the required programs.

Random drug testing of rail workers in 1993 continued to show a reduction in the number of those testing positive for the fourth consecutive year. The positive rate was again less than 1.00 percent. This percentage is down from 6 percent in 1988. The U.S. Federal Aviation Administration reported that 1993, was the fourth year in a row that aviation workers tested positive at a rate less than one percent. Because of these low rates, new regulations that became effective in 1995, will permit the random testing rates for those industries to be reduced from 50 percent to 25 percent. In the trucking industry, one survey conducted by the American Trucking Associations, compiled drug testing data from its member companies for the year 1990. A positive rate from random tests was 2.5 percent. As in the other industries, marijuana was the drug of choice followed by cocaine. More recently, the Federal Highway Administration conducted a four State roadside random pilot drug and alcohol testing program. Through the end of 1993, the positive rate for drugs was 3.8 percent and for alcohol the positive rate was 0.18 percent. Earlier studies in the trucking industry had found considerably higher positive testing rates.

This paper will discuss the progress that has been made and review current developments in the field and discuss new testing requirements.


Much has changed in the United States since we reported to you at T-92. Indeed, there have been significant changes in alcohol-related crashes in both commercial and non-commercial areas of highway safety and in transportation safety in general. There have been similar significant changes in employee drug and alcohol testing programs and in the rate of positive drug tests in commercial transportation over a long period of time. Until recently, very little was known about the use of impairing drugs (including alcohol) by the operators of railroad trains, airplanes, ships and heavy trucks. In the United States, the data indicated that a significant problem existed and that strong action was required to control it.

I have the honor to chair the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB). The Board is an independent accident investigation agency chartered by Congress to investigate transportation accidents, determine their probable causes, and make recommendations to prevent their recurrence. We have no regulatory authority and no financial incentives to promote our recommendations. Keep that in mind as I address alcohol and other drugs in the commercial transportation system and as a context in which progress has been achieved.

We have already reported to you that the Safety Board began documenting the abuse of alcohol and other drugs in transportation accidents in the 1970's. By the early 1980's, it became clear that a problem existed in all modes of transportation and that not much was being done about it. In 1983, the Safety Board recommended that the Department of Transportation (DOT) issue rules to prohibit the use of alcohol or other drugs while on duty or for a specified period before duty and to require toxicological tests on all employees responsible for train operation. In 1985, the Federal Railroad Administration (FRA) of the DOT issued a final rule on "Control of Alcohol and Drug Use in Railroad Operations." The rule required alcohol/drug testing after accidents, for reasonable cause, and for those applying for employment. Following additional recommendations by the NTSB, the DOT in 1988, issued drug testing rules for more than 4,000,000 persons working in safety sensitive occupations in all areas of commercial transportation (Sweedler, 1992).

As you may know, the U.S. testing rules apply to Federal transportation employees and to private sector transportation employees in safety-sensitive positions. The original rules specified urine tests for the presence of marijuana, opiates, cocaine, amphetamines, and phencyclidine (PCP). In addition to the pre-employment, post-accident, and reasonable cause tests required for railroad workers, the rules added random testing to all modes, including railroad. The random test rate was 25 percent of covered employees in the first year and 50 percent in subsequent years. There were many differences in the rules among the various transportation modes including a lack of test result reporting in all modes except aviation and rail and omission of alcohol tests in all modes except rail. Further, the rules do not separate post-accident testing for more comprehensive blood testing as requested by the NTSB. However, as a result of landmark legislation, many of the rules changed.

The Omnibus Transportation Employee Testing Act of 1991 was sparked by the derailment of a New York City subway train. The train operator had a BAC of 0.21 percent more than 13 hours after the crash. The Omnibus Testing Act is the legislation that changed the face of alcohol and other drug testing in the United States. The legislation required the DOT to issue regulations to include testing for alcohol, the most commonly used and abused substance in the United States. It expanded the drugs for which tests would be conducted from a maximum of five to a minimum of five and allowed for expansion to a greater number based on analysis by the Departments of Transportation and Health and Human Services. Mass transportation was specifically included in the drug testing programs to override a court decision that the Federal Transit Administration lacked specific regulatory authority in this area. It did not include the commercial maritime industry as regulated by the United States Coast Guard. Nearly 8 million transportation personnel in safety sensitive positions are now included in the alcohol and other drug testing program. Notably, every holder of a commercial drivers license (CDL) is included. That means every driver of a bus and large truck is now subject to testing regardless of whether the driver operates in intra or interstate commerce (Federal Register, 1994).

During the regulatory process of implementing the legislation, a number of key changes were made in the commercial transportation alcohol and drug testing system. The drug test rules now allow the random drug test rate to be reduced from 50 percent to 25 percent of covered employees if the industry-wide drug test positive rate on random tests is below 1 percent for 2 consecutive years. When an industry qualifies for the 25 percent testing rate, it must maintain the positive rate below 1 percent. If it doesn't, the random test rate will increase to 50 percent of covered employees. All transportation industries are now required to report test results.

Alcohol testing is the major change required by the Omnibus Testing Act. In general, the rules implementing the act prohibit covered employees from performing safety sensitive functions: 1) when test results indicate an alcohol concentration of 0.04 or greater; 2) within 4 hours after using alcohol (8 in aviation); 3) while using alcohol on the job; 4) during the 8 hours following an accident if their involvement has not been discounted as a contributing factor or until they are tested; and 5) if they refuse to submit to required alcohol tests. Employers must remove an employee from the safety-sensitive function if they violate any of these prohibitions and keep them off duty until they have met the conditions. If an employee has an alcohol concentration of 0.02 or greater, but less than 0.04, or is otherwise impaired by behavior, speech, and performance indicators, that person is removed from duty for 8 hours or until a test result below 0.02 is obtained. The rules require employers to conduct pre-employment, reasonable suspicion, post-accident, return-to-duty, and follow-up alcohol testing. The random alcohol test rate for covered employees was set at 25 percent. However, this rate could be reduced to 10 percent if the industry-wide random test positive rate is below 1 percent for 2 consecutive years. I hasten to point out that there are differences in each mode of transportation that are specific to that mode. For additional detail, the rules were published in the Federal Register on February 15, 1994.

In general, the rules require implementation on January 1, 1995 for large employers (generally 50 or more covered employees) and January 1, 1996 for all other employers. All other existing drug testing rules and alcohol testing in rail remain in effect until the new rules are implemented. Certain transportation industries have filed suit regarding certain aspects of the rules. For example, some trucking industry organizations objected to pre-employment alcohol tests as "an intelligence test." The Secretary of Transportation has supported elimination of pre-employment alcohol tests as an unnecessary burden on the industry.

I am able to report on some exciting results in two industries where drug test results have been reported for several years and on a special program in the trucking industry.


At T-92, we reported that the felony conviction of three former Northwest Airlines pilots of flying a passenger jetliner while intoxicated brought new focus to the problem of flying under the influence of alcohol. (ICADTS Reporter, 1991). In 1990, the FAA issued new rules designed to identify and ground pilots involved in alcohol or drug-related motor vehicle offenses that result in convictions or administrative actions. Pilots applying for a medical certificate must consent to the release of information from the National Driver Register (NDR) to enable the FAA to obtain and review motor vehicle offense information pertaining to the applicant. The FAA can deny or take action to suspend a certificate of a pilot who receives two or more alcohol or drug-related convictions or administrative actions within a 3-year period (ICADTS Reporter, 1990). To date, over 1,000 cases have been referred to the FAA's chief counsel for administrative action (FAA, 1994).

From 1983 to 1988, no pilot in a fatal commuter crash tested positive for alcohol. However, the pilot of one of these fatal crashes did test positive for a metabolite of cocaine. In 1988, a Trans-Colorado Airlines, Fairchild Metro III, operating as Continental Express, with two crew members and 15 passengers on board, crashed short of the runway at Durango, Colorado, killing the two crew members and seven passengers. The NTSB found that the captain's use of cocaine degraded his performance and contributed to the accident (NTSB, 1989). For on-demand (unscheduled) air taxi fatal accidents, the percentage of those pilots tested that were positive for alcohol declined from 7.4 in the 1975 to 1981 period to 1.8 in the 1983 to 1988 period (NTSB, 1984 and NTSB, 1992).

An aviation success story in the United States is the effectiveness of the drug testing program. Testing program results have shown a low rate of positive drug tests in aviation from the beginning of the testing program, especially among flight crews. In 1991, FAA statistics from drug tests conducted on 279,881 aviation employees and job applicants in safety and security-related positions showed that 0.96 percent of the tests were positive for drugs of abuse. In 1992, 275,176 tests were conducted and 2,605 were positive, a rate of .95 percent. These results include repair facilities workers, contractors, and airline personnel and applicants. The positive rate for airline employees and applicants remained about the same in 1991 (0.46 percent) as 1990 (0.40 percent).

Pre-employment tests accounted for 49 percent of the positive total in 1991 and 44 percent in 1992. Random tests of current employees accounted for the 46 percent of the positives in 1991 and 50 percent in 1992. Return to duty, reasonable cause, and periodic tests, in that order, accounted for the remaining positive tests in 1992. There were no positive post-accident tests in 1992 and four in 1991. Positive results from random tests remained below 1 percent for the third consecutive year. Flight crew accounted for 42 positive tests in 1991 and 32 in 1992. By far the largest number of positive tests come from maintenance personnel (1,586 in 1991 and 1,598 in 1992). Positive tests for both years indicated that marijuana was most prevalent (52 percent in 1991 and 57 percent in 1992), followed by cocaine (42 percent in 1991 and 33 percent in 1992), amphetamines (4 percent in 1991 and 4.7 percent in 1992), opiates (5 percent in 1991 and 4 percent in 1992), and PCP (1 percent in 1991 and 0.7 percent in 1992). Some persons tested positive for more than one drug (DOT, 1992,1994). Clearly, progress has been made and the aviation industry has now been permitted to reduce the random drug test rate to 25 percent of covered employees.


In 1972, the Safety Board recommended that the FRA, "...prohibit the use of narcotics and intoxicants by employees for a specific period prior to their reporting for duty and while they are on duty." Accidents in which alcohol and other drugs were involved continued to occur. In 1987, the Safety Board investigated a total of 156 selected accidents in which toxicological tests for alcohol and/or drug use were available in 103 cases (88 under the FRA rule, 14 transit, and 1 other). In 29 of these accidents, 1 or more railroad or rail/rapid transit employees used alcohol and/or drugs (including prescription drugs) (NTSB, 1988a).

Perhaps the most serious railroad accident involving drugs or alcohol took place at Chase, Maryland in January, 1987. A freight train improperly passed a stop signal and entered a main line track and stopped. A passenger train travelling at 120 miles per hour crashed into the freight train killing 15 passengers, the engineer and injured 174 others. Both the freight train engineer and brakeman were found to be heavy or frequent users of marijuana and were impaired by marijuana at the time of the crash (NTSB, 1988b).

The results of the FRA's employee testing program showed significant reductions when we last reported the 1991 results to you. I am pleased to report that the trend of lower positive test rates has continued in 1992 and 1993. In mandatory tests conducted on rail workers after accidents, 1.5 percent tested positive for alcohol or other prohibited drugs in 1991, 2.1 percent in 1992 and 2.0 percent in 1993. This is a substantial decrease from the 6.0 percent level in 1988. In the reasonable cause tests, 2.1 percent were positive in 1991 and 1.9 percent were positive in 1992 and 1993. This, too, is a substantial decrease from 5.4 percent in 1988. In 1990, random testing was introduced. In 1991, 0.9 percent were found positive for drugs and by 1993 the random drug test positive rate decreased to 0.7 percent (FRA, 1994). The railroad industry has also been permitted to reduce its random drug test rate to 25 percent of covered employees.


At T-92, we reported that drivers of heavy and medium trucks with positive BACs are involved in about 750 fatal crashes each year, 7,700 injury crashes, and 4,750 property damage-only crashes (TRB, 1987). We also reported on the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety roadside voluntary survey of truck drivers in which 29 percent had evidence of drugs in their blood or urine. Cannabinoids were found in 15 percent, nonprescription stimulants in 12 percent, prescription stimulants in 5 percent, cocaine metabolites in 2 percent, and alcohol in less than 1 percent. In 1992, we reported on a 1989 FHWA audit of more than 143,000 truck driver drug tests. The overall positive test result rate was 2.1 percent. By category of tests, 2.8 percent were positive on pre-employment test, 0.8 percent positive on biennial tests and 14.2 percent positive for reasonable cause tests. However, these results were not consistent with the IIHS or the Safety Board's study.

In the Safety Board's study of fatally-injured truck drivers, we found that 33 percent of the drivers tested positive for one or more drugs of abuse. The most prevalent drugs found were alcohol and marijuana (13 percent each), followed by cocaine (9 percent), methamphetamines/amphetamines (7 percent), other stimulants (8 percent), and other drugs at less than 1 percent. Forty one percent of those drivers tested positive for drugs of abuse were found to be multiple drug users. Almost 11 percent were positive for three or more drugs of abuse (NTSB, 1990b). In that study, we recommended that the Federal Highway Administration conduct a study of roadside drug and alcohol testing. The Omnibus Testing Act I referred to earlier included a provision requiring that study and results are now available.

A 1-year pilot study was conducted on interstate and major State roads in Nebraska, Utah, Minnesota, and New Jersey. Only Nebraska and Utah could conduct random, suspicionless drug and alcohol tests. Minnesota and New Jersey conducted probable-cause based testing supplemented by voluntary tests. The study found an overall positive test rate of 4.6 percent for drugs and 0.20 percent for alcohol. The positive drug test rate was substantially lower than the 29 percent found in the IIHS study. Both the IIHS and FHWA studies found an alcohol positive test rate of less than 1 percent. The test refusal rate was 4.2 percent for drugs and 1.0 percent for alcohol. The refusal rate in this study was much lower than the 12 percent refusal rate in the IIHS roadside testing study.

Marijuana was the most frequently identified drug, followed by cocaine, amphetamines, opiates, and PCP. Rates varied markedly among the States with amphetamine usage higher in Utah and cocaine usage highest in New Jersey. Study data may be subject to interpretation because the reporting procedures included both a medical review officer and a drug hierarchy in which some drugs were not counted, for example in multiple drug cases. Further, the type of roadway and truck included in the sample led the authors to believe that "the results presented, understate the actual level of alcohol and drug use." (FHWA, 1995) Nevertheless, this random roadside study provides the best data currently available on the prevalence of alcohol and drug use by commercial truck drivers in these States.

Approximately 7 million holders of a commercial drivers license are now subject to alcohol and other drug testing and the regulations now require test result reporting. Therefore, I have great confidence that we will soon have even more comprehensive data to report to you and that we can, as in aviation and rail, report reductions in positive drug and alcohol test rates.


The maritime industry was not included in the Omnibus Testing Act. We remain concerned that the U.S. Coast Guard does not include uninspected fishing vessels in its post-accident testing program. We note, however, that all merchant mariners are now required to be tested for drug use when applying for new or renewed licenses, certificates of registry, or other credentials. (Federal Register, 1995) We look forward to better data reporting as well.

As I noted earlier, the crash of a subway train at Union Station in New York sparked Congressional passage of the Omnibus Testing Act and granted specific safety and testing authority to the Federal Transit Administration. Most of the rail rapid transit systems in the U.S. have had some sort of alcohol/ drug testing programs. A study of substance abuse in the transit industry showed that drug and alcohol use was highest at transit agencies with limited or no testing programs. We believe that the Omnibus Testing Act will help standardize and improve the testing and prevention programs used by the industry.


I believe that the U.S. Federal Government has been exceptionally successful in its drug testing programs and that at least one agency with a history of alcohol testing has been very successful in reducing positive test rates. I have every expectation that other transportation industries will achieve similar success and that we will be able to document that success as fully as the rail and aviation industries have done. Any attempts to further weaken our currently successful programs should be very carefully considered.

I would like to note that the transportation workforce has a very low positive drug test rate compared to the total workforce in the United States. A large independent testing lab reported that less than 3 percent of transportation workers in safety-sensitive positions tested positive for drugs in 1992 and 1993 while about 10 percent of the general workforce tested positive in these years. (SKB, 1994) That said, there must be no tolerance, absolutely zero, for alcohol and drug use in transportation. We have had great success, but we are only half-way there. Obviously, testing alone will not solve this problem. Testing does have a deterrent effect, but effective programs must also include strategies to identify and treat abusers before it is too late.


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