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Fact Sheet – FAA & NTSB’s “Most Wanted” Recommendations

For Immediate Release

February 18, 2010
Contact: Les Dorr or Alison Duquette
Phone: (202) 267-3883

The Federal Aviation Administration and the National Transportation Safety Board share a common goal: promoting safety in aviation and preventing aircraft accidents. The record shows the NTSB and FAA agree on a course of action about 88 percent of the time. Of literally thousands of safety recommendations made to the FAA, the Board has classified about 82 percent “Closed — Acceptable Response,” and approximately 6 percent remain open in “Acceptable” status.

We have made substantial progress in meeting the safety intent of the NTSB’s “Most Wanted” recommendations.


Recommendations A-94-194/A-95-113/A-97-071/A-06-010/A-07-030: Set working hour limits for flight crews, aviation mechanics, and air traffic controllers based on fatigue research, circadian rhythms, and sleep and rest requirements.

FAA Actions:
Flight Crews — In June 2009, Administrator Babbitt chartered an aviation rulemaking committee of representatives from FAA, industry, and labor organizations to make recommendations for a science-based approach to fatigue management. We expect to issue a new proposed rule this spring.

Maintenance Personnel — We support research and development efforts on fatigue in aviation maintenance, headed by the FAA’s Civil Aerospace Medical Institute (CAMI). These R&D efforts also are supported by industry subject matter experts participating in workgroups. The FAA expects a report from the workgroups by the third quarter of 2011 on fatigue risk management systems and regulatory recommendations.  

Controllers — We are pursuing a collaborative approach with the National Air Traffic Controllers Association (NATCA) to address fatigue mitigation, including establishing a dedicated Fatigue Risk Management office within the Air Traffic Organization. This approach is designed to establish an effective fatigue risk management system.

RecommendationA-07-031: Develop a fatigue awareness and countermeasures program for air traffic controllers. (NOTE: NTSB closed this recommendation on January 27, 2010.)

FAA Action: We developed a fatigue awareness training program that is currently in place. It consists of a one-hour fatigue awareness lesson taught in terminal and en route initial qualification courses, a 30-minute computer based instruction lesson for refresher training and a brochure. The material was updated in March 2009 to include the condition referred to as "Sleep Inertia."

Emergency Medical Services Flights

RecommendationA-06-012: Conduct all flights with medical personnel on board in accordance with commuter aircraft regulations
RecommendationA-06-013: Develop and implement flight risk evaluation programs.
RecommendationA-06-014: Require formalized dispatch and flight-following procedures including up-to-date weather information.
RecommendationA-06-015: Install terrain awareness and warning systems on aircraft.

FAA Action: We expect to issue a proposed rule in mid-2010 that will address these recommendations. The proposed rule will consider issues such as:

  • Terrain Awareness and Warning Systems for air ambulance helicopters
  • Radar altimeters for all part 135 helicopters
  • Operational control center for helicopter air ambulance operators with 10+ aircraft
  • Part 135 weather minima for all legs of a helicopter air ambulance flight
  • Implementation of a risk management program
  • Flight data monitoring devices that perform the function of a cockpit voice recorder/digital flight data recorder on helicopter air ambulance aircraft
  • Requiring pilots in commercial operations to demonstrate, annually, recovery from inadvertent flight into Instrument Meteorological Conditions.
  • Change terminology to “helicopter air ambulance” in lieu of “helicopter EMS” to remove reference to “emergency” regarding the air transportation flight.
  • Facilitating more IFR operations by permitting helicopter air ambulance operators to continue IFR approaches into hospitals or airports using weather reports from nearby stations rather than requiring weather reports specifically from the destination location.


Recommendation A-96-054: Use current research on freezing rain and large water droplets to revise the way aircraft are designed and approved for flight in icing conditions.
Recommendation A-96-56: Apply revised icing requirements to currently certificated aircraft.

FAA Action: We expect to publish a proposed rule in mid-2010 that willtake into account supercooled large-drop icing conditions for transport category airplanes most affected by these conditions.

RecommendationA-07-014: Require that airplanes with pneumatic deice boots activate boots as soon as the airplane enters icing conditions.

FAA Action: We published a proposed rule on November 23, 2009 to require either installation of ice detection equipment or changes to procedures for activating the ice-protection system to ensure timely activation. The comment period closes on February 22, 2010.

RecommendationA-07-016: Review the icing certification of pneumatic deice boot-equipped airplanes that are currently certificated for operation in icing conditions

FAA Action: We have issued dozens of airworthiness directives to address the safety of flight in icing conditions for aircraft equipped with pneumatic deicing boots. We also mandated changes to improve tailplane stall margins for airplanes found to be susceptible. Thanks to these actions, we believe a formal evaluation of all airplanes equipped with pneumatic deicing boots is not warranted.

Runway Safety

RecommendationA-00-66: Give immediate warnings of probable collisions/incursions directly to flight crews in the cockpit.

FAA Action: We are deploying technologies that address this recommendation. Airport Surface Detection Equipment, Model X (ASDE-X) is being installed at 35 of the busiest airports in the United States. Runway Status Lights (RWSL) is going into 22 major U.S. airports starting this October.

RecommendationA-00-67: Require specific air traffic control clearance for each runway crossing.

FAA Action: We currently are drafting a proposed rule to address this recommendation.

RecommendationA-00-68: Require air traffic controllers to issue an explicit crossing instruction for each runway after the previous runway has been crossed.

FAA Action: We are revising air traffic procedures to require that air traffic controllers issue an explicit clearance to all runway crossings. Multiple runway crossings will be prohibited with an exception for closely spaced runways of less than 1,000 feet. We anticipate implementing both procedures in June 2010.

RecommendationA-07-45: Install cockpit moving map displays or automatic systems to alert pilots of attempted takeoffs from taxiways or wrong runways.

FAA Action: Installation of Class 3 Electronic Flight Bags with moving map displays began in September 2009 on select air carriers serving 21 testbed airports.

RecommendationA-07-57: Require landing distance assessment with an adequate safety margin for every landing.

FAA Action: We are now evaluating recommendations from the Take Off and Landing Performance Assessment Aviation Rulemaking Committee and we intend to start rulemaking in 2010. Meanwhile, we are working with ten airports and two air carriers to validate the accuracy and usability of a reporting system that forms the cornerstone for many of the recommendations from the committee.

Recording Devices

RecommendationsA-00-30/A-00-31: Install crash-protected image recorders in cockpits to give investigators more information to solve complex accidents.

FAA Action: We published a final rule on March 7, 2008, that increases the duration of certain cockpit voice recorder recordings and increases data recording rates for certain digital flight data recorder parameters. The rule also requires physical separation of the CVR and DFDR and improves the reliability of CVR and DFDR power supplies. We believe these improvements meet the safety intent of this recommendation, and plan no further action at this time to mandate installation of cockpit image recording systems.

RecommendationA-09-010: Require certain aircraft not equipped with a cockpit voice recorder to be retrofitted with a crash-resistant flight recorder system.

FAA Action:We have met with two rotorcraft manufacturers and three airplane manufacturers to promote installation of flight data monitoring systems. The FAA has decided to develop and publish a technical standard order for a lightweight recording system to standardize design and production certification requirements.

Crew Resource Management

RecommendationA-03-052: Require commuter and on-demand air taxi flight crews to receive crew resource management training.

FAA Action: On May 1, 2009, we issued a proposed rule to require all part 135 certificate holders, both single pilot and dual-pilot operations, to implement FAA-approved crew resource management training for crewmembers. We expect the final rule to be published in 2010.

You can find NTSB Recommendations and FAA responses at:

recommended comparison by calendar year

89 percent of all recommendations issued from 1967 to present have been closed

82 percent of all closed recommendations have been closed acceptable

Status of Open Recommendations as of February 18, 2010
NTSB ClassificationNumber of Recommendations
Total Open Recommendations: 506

Open Acceptable/Open Acceptable Alternate

  • Actions completed and awaiting closure (74)
  • Actions in regulatory process (37)
  • Actions other than regulatory (191)

Open Unacceptable Response

  • Actions completed and awaiting closure (14)
  • Actions in regulatory process (17)
  • Actions other than regulatory (31)
  • Actions considered closed but Board asked for more information (21)
  • Initial 90-Day (2)
    The Initial 90-Day is the result of two previous recommendations being superseded and classified as OUA. This number is captured twice in this table and is therefore subtracted to give an accurate total of recommendations.

Open Awaiting Response*

Has not been classified by the Board yet


Open Awaiting Response

Initial 90-day cycle (FAA working on initial response)



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