NTSB’s Deputy Director for Regional Operations Makes Public Statement

The National Transportation Safety Board issued a statement this week detailing the actions the agency has taken since Friday (10.02) in its ongoing investigation of the fatal crash of a Socata TBM 700 (file image pictured below) airplane near Pembroke, New York.

“Contrary to some media reporting, the NTSB is, and has been since Friday, actively investigating this crash,” said Tim LeBaron, Deputy Director for Regional Operations in the NTSB’s Office of Aviation Safety. “Our investigation of this crash does not rely solely upon our physical presence at the crash site, in fact, on-scene activities are but one portion of the many necessary to our investigative process.”

The NTSB’s working relationship with the FAA facilitated the NTSB Investigator-in-Charge’s ability to obtain information about the condition of the wreckage and the crash site. The NTSB directed that the salvaged wreckage be taken to a secure facility for examination, and the airplane’s insurer selected a facility in Springfield, Tennessee. The recovery of the wreckage is ongoing, and the NTSB’s Investigator-in-Charge will receive updates as the recovery progresses.

The Investigator-in-Charge has named parties to the NTSB’s investigation as well as two accredited representatives representing the investigative bodies from the country of manufacture for the airplane and the country of manufacture for the plane’s engine.

Examination of the wreckage will include follow-up testing of components as needed, a search for indications of malfunctions that could have contributed to the crash and examination of controls for continuity.

“Away from the scene, we are following our standard investigative processes that include obtaining air traffic control data, meteorological data, pilot training and medical certification records, and maintenance records for the airplane,” said LeBaron. “Our investigators have interviewed numerous witnesses Sunday as part of our standard process for gathering factual information.”

NTSB does investigate every aviation accident in the United States, which number on average around 1,300 annually. However, NTSB investigators do not travel to the site of each and every accident they investigate. For example, in 2019, the NTSB sent aviation investigators to the scene of 221 accidents out of the 1,310 aviation accidents investigated by the agency that year. Travel to crash sites is not the only travel associated with accident investigations; many investigations require follow-up travel to conduct examinations and tests of recovered hardware and components.

The NTSB expects to publish its preliminary report for the investigation of Friday’s crash within the next few weeks.  Investigations involving fatalities, and other major investigations, currently take between 12 and 24 months to complete.

FMI: www.ntsb.gov