Author Archives: David K. Tochen

About: David K. Tochen

Criminalization of Aviation: ‘You Have the Right to Remain Silent’

In Managing the Risks of Organizational Accidents (1997), Dr. James Reason defined “just culture” as: An atmosphere of trust in which people are encouraged, even rewarded, for providing essential safety-related information–but in which they are also clear about where the line must be drawn between acceptable and unacceptable behavior. While line drawing often involves sensitive tradeoffs and judgments, recent judicial decisions by the courts in Switzerland involving air traffic controllers provoke vigorous head-scratching, not to mention strong condemnation from the international air traffic control community.

NTSB and Commercial Space: The Final Frontier

On March 6, Representative Garret Graves of Louisiana introduced H.R. 1562, the Commercial Space Transportation Safety Act of 2019.  The bill’s text, which became available only recently, indicates that its main purpose is “to provide certain authority to the National Transportation Safety Board to investigate commercial space transportation accidents.” 

The Feds Turn the Spotlight On Part 135 Operators

In issuing its 2019-2020 Most Wanted List of Transportation Safety Improvements last month and in holding a recent public meeting, the National Transportation Safety Board has renewed its efforts in identifying safety gaps in Part 135 [Code of Federal Regulations, title 14, Part 135] aviation operations and recommending actions that the Federal Aviation Administration and Part 135 operators to eliminate preventable crashes.

The Day the Music Died, February 3, 1959

A long long time ago I can still remember how That music used to make me smile And I knew if I had my chance That I could make those people dance And maybe they’d be happy for a while But February made me shiver With every paper I’d deliver Bad news on the doorstep I couldn’t take one more step I can’t remember if I cried When I read about his widowed bride Something touched me deep inside The day the music died Lyrics from “American Pie,” by Don McLean, 1971, © Universal Music Publishing Group, BMG Rights Management …

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Shutdown Blues at the USDOT, FAA, and NTSB

Now in its third week, the impact of the current partial federal government shutdown has been widely felt and reported. In addition to the impacts on federal employees subject to furlough (defined in Office of Personnel Management (OPM) regulations as “the placing of an employee in a temporary status without duties and pay because of lack of work or funds or other nondisciplinary reasons”), contractors, and their respective families, significant attention is also focused on federal employees, such as FAA air traffic controllers and TSA security screeners, who are not furloughed but continue to perform their duties in the absence …

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A Full House at the NTSB…

For the first time since April 2014, the National Transportation Safety Board will soon have a full complement of Board members. On July 24, 2018, the U.S. Senate confirmed the President’s nominations of Bruce Landsberg and Jennifer Homendy to serve as Board members. This is particularly welcome news because since January 31 of this year when former chairman and Board member Christopher Hart departed the agency, the NTSB has been operating with only three Board Members — the minimum number of members needed to meet the statutory requirement for a quorum to conduct official agency business. Under the statute that …

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Funding the NTSB … A Continuing Government Saga

In previous Plane-ly Spoken blogs (NTSB Reauthorization–Part I, and NTSB Reauthorization–Part II), we discussed and summarized the key provisions of S.2202, the National Transportation Reauthorization Act.  Senator Thune introduced this bill in the U.S. Senate on December 6, 2017, with co-sponsors Senators Blunt, Booker, Cantwell, Fischer, and Nelson.  The Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation considered the bill and, on December13, 2017, approved it by voice vote and ordered it to be reported favorably with an amendment by Senator (and Commerce Committee Chairman) Thune. The Committee’s issued its report accompanying S. 2202 on July 10, 2018. Senate Report 115-293 …

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Pipeline Accidents and NTSB Investigations Webinar

We want to thank you for joining in for the Webinar on we hosted on June 13th. While this webinar was not specifically aviation related, we wanted to share it with our readers here at Plane-ly Spoken because it involves the NTSB, which is a frequently covered topic on this blog, and the protocols some of our readers will benefit from when dealing with pipeline accident investigations. During this webinar we also explained how to navigate NTSB investigations to minimize the impact on your company. If you happened to miss it and would like to learn more, please follow this link …

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We Have a Problem on Line 7: NTSB Investigations of Pipeline Accidents

The NTSB increasingly focuses its attention on pipeline accidents and pipeline operators as no major domestic air crash has occurred in nearly a decade. Since January 1, 2008, the NTSB has launched 20 major investigations of pipeline accidents and issued numerous pipeline accident reports. These investigations fuel civil lawsuits, significant public attention, regulatory scrutiny, criminal prosecutions, and political pressure. Join us on June 13 for a complimentary 90-minute webinar where we will explain how to navigate NTSB investigations to minimize the impact on your company. During the webinar, you will gain unique insights from the most recent addition to our …

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Planes, Drones and $…The 2018 Appropriation and Aviation

After four governmentwide short-term stopgap funding provisions since last September, Congress has enacted, and the President has signed, a full fiscal year Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2018 (Public Law 115-141, March 23, 2018), a 2,149-page behemoth that provides a total of $1.3 trillion in funding. According to a summary of the Transportation, Housing and Urban Development, and Related Agencies Appropriations Act, 2018, (Division L of the Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2018, commonly referred to as “THUD”) prepared by the Committee on Appropriations, U.S. House of Representatives, the Department of Transportation (DOT) appropriations include $18 billion in total budgetary resources for the Federal …

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