NBAA Applauds Nomination of Robert Sumwalt to Lead NTSB

Contact: Dan Hubbard, 202-783-9360,

Washington, DC, July 14, 2017 – The National Business Aviation Association (NBAA) welcomes the recent nomination of safety visionary Robert L. Sumwalt III to be the 14th chair of National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB).

Sumwalt’s extensive and successful career in aviation makes him a compelling choice for heading an organization that is dedicated to improving aviation safety.

Sumwalt, a former member of NBAA’s Safety Committee, managed a small flight department for a utility company in South Carolina before being appointed to the NTSB in August 2006, when he was also designated vice chair of the board for a two-year term. In November 2011, President Barack Obama appointed Sumwalt to another five-year term as a board member, and Sumwalt was again designated vice chair on March 31, 2017.

While on the board, Sumwalt has led teams of NTSB investigators and other parties as the member on-scene for several significant investigations, including an Embraer Phenom 100 accident in Gaithersburg, MD in 2014; a Hawker Beechcraft Premier 1A accident in Thompson, GA in 2013 and the crash of an emergency medical services helicopter in Georgetown, SC in 2009.

In addition to Sumwalt’s career in business aviation, he was a pilot for 24 years with Piedmont Airlines and US Airways, where he was on a special assignment to the flight safety department and served on the company’s flight operations quality assurance monitoring team. He was also a consultant to NASA’s Aviation Safety Reporting System.

Sumwalt is a frequent and engaging presenter at NBAA safety events, where he shares his wealth of knowledge with attendees. His focus on safety leadership has helped promote the importance of proactive safety management. Further, his diligent work on safety awareness and leadership has greatly influenced business aviation, guiding the industry’s voluntary adoption of safety programs that have demonstrated real value in helping improve business aviation safety.

“Robert is a stalwart advocate of safety, not only for business aviation, but for all of aviation,” said NBAA President and CEO Ed Bolen. “His strong leadership and the resulting increase in implementation of safety programs benefits aircraft operators, travelers and the greater transportation industry. We look forward to supporting his nomination and working with him once he takes office.”

If Sumwalt’s nomination is confirmed by the Senate, he will lead the NTSB for a two-year period as chair.