Aircraft Accidents and Promising Change

Twelve years ago I investigated the Air Midwest 5481 accident in Charlotte. The most heartbreaking part of accident investigation is being unable to fix the problems that led to the accident to begin with. It was not that the Federal Aviation Regulations were incorrectly written; they were ignored, and that led to the accident. Furthermore, past lessons of other disasters never influenced the industry to change the way they do business.
But regulations aren’t the only way to fix the broken system. Policy for regulators can also be changed quicker and less expensively. The policy changes mean inspectors in turn push the operators to shore up their practices. The FAA drives the train and steps in to play the adult in the room, requiring changes that operators would otherwise be hesitant to make.
The Air Midwest 5481’s recommendations that we put forward have resulted in several policy changes that increase the effectiveness of required inspections and how consistent the operators become. It isn’t government intrusion; instead it is clarification. With these changes industry now has clearer guidelines on doing business.

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