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NTSB to Hold Forum on Cockpit Distractions, Professionalism

April 29, 2010 — Several recent high-profile accidents and incidents involving distracted pilots and air traffic controllers have brought increased scrutiny from the FAA and the NTSB. The FAA issued an InFO letter this week to commercial operators emphasizing the role that Personal Electronic Devices have played in recent distraction incidents such as the Northwest Airlines flight that overflew its destination in February.

In the letter, the FAA asked operators to increase training and to create a safety culture that minimizes distractions and increases professionalism. The increase in noted distraction related incidents has spurred the NTSB to hold a three-day forum on professionalism in aviation in late May. (webcast)

“NTSB’s investigations into the mid-air collision over the Hudson River last August, the crash of Colgan Air flight 3407 in February 2009, and the October 2009 Northwest pilots’ overflight of their intended airport provided the impetus for this forum because all of them clearly demonstrated the hazards to aviation safety when pilots and air traffic controllers depart from standard operating procedures and established best practices,” NTSB Board Chairwoman Debra Hersman said. “During the forum, we will gather information on the screening, selection and training of pilots and controllers and methods to reinforce professionalism and excellence.”

Watch as NTSB Issues Probable Cause for Hudson River Ditching
The NTSB will meet next Tuesday, May 4, to adopt a probable cause regarding the ditching of US Airways Flight 1549 after it encountered a flock of Canada geese in January 2009. The board will also issue any safety recommendations relating to the incident. Watch the meeting via a live webcast.

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