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Richard Keltner

By Richard Keltner
Safety Specialist, Global Aerospace, Inc.

If you have a significant aviation accident or incident, it is probable that the NTSB, and perhaps the FAA, will become involved. Both agencies have responsibility for monitoring and improving our country’s aviation safety but only the FAA has enforcement authority. The FAA can create regulations and they can invoke administrative law to punish those who violate those regulations. It is essential to understand agency responsibilities and the
authority of the FAA and NTSB.

The FAA is tasked with providing the safest, most efficient aerospace system in the world. It is responsible for enforcing the Federal Aviation Regulations.

NTSB: The NTSB is responsible for investigating every civil aviation accident in the United States. They are responsible for issuing safety recommendations aimed at preventing future accidents. They serve as the administrative “court of appeals” for any airman, mechanic or operator whenever certificate action is taken by the FAA.

The FAA, working as an agency under the Department of Transportation, is authorized by Congress.

The NTSB is a Federal agency charged by Congress. They have wide ranging authority to investigate and report publicly on transportation related safety issues. As part of those investigations they have authority to take charge of aviation accident scenes/wreckage, subpoena evidence and request testimony.

Guiding Documents:
FAA. There is no part of the Federal Aviation Regulations that places requirements as respects an owner’s or operator’s post accident responsibility.

NTSB. CFR Part 830: Notification and Reporting of Aircraft Accidents or Incidents and Overdue Aircraft, and preservation of Aircraft Wreckage, Mail
Cargo and Records. This is the primary guidance for owners and operators. You can access the document through the Government Printing Office website:

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