Chairman Rockefeller Statement on NTSB Investigation of NY Midair Collision

August 18, 2009

WASHINGTON, D.C.— Chairman of the U.S. Senate Committee on Commerce, Science and Transportation John D. (Jay) Rockefeller IV (D-WV) released the following statement today on the National Transportation Safety Board’s (NTSB) investigation of the midair collision of an air tour helicopter and a small plane over the Hudson River on Saturday, August 8, 2009:
“The midair collision over the Hudson River is a tragic reminder that we must remain vigilant in ensuring the safety of our aviation system.  Preliminary information released by the NTSB last week regarding the conduct of the individuals responsible for the airspace during the incident is alarming, but the NTSB must be allowed to complete a full investigation before conclusions are drawn.  Even if the investigation reveals their actions did not contribute to the accident, it represents a serious violation of Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) procedures. The investigation of the accident is still ongoing, and the Committee will be monitoring its progress closely to determine what actions should be taken to fully address any safety concerns uncovered through the process.  I have full confidence in the NTSB, and we will be working with the Board and the FAA as they conduct a comprehensive review of this incident and agency safety practices.  These recent safety incidents underscore the need for Congress to take action on FAA reauthorization legislation to allow the agency to move forward with the implementation of key measures and programs that will strengthen the safety of the aviation system.”