Commission Would Investigate Aviation Accidents

NGAUS Washington Report
May 8, 2018

Rep. Adam Smith, D-Wash., the ranking member of the House Armed Services Committee, wants an independent commission to look into recent military-aviation accidents and determine why they are happening.

He introduced Monday an amendment to the 2019 defense authorization bill to create the National Commission on Military Aviation Safety. The commission would include eight members—four appointed by the president and four appointed by the four top members of the armed services committees of the House and Senate.

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The commission, according to the legislation, would “assess the rates of military aviation mishaps between fiscal years 2013 and 2018 compared to historic aviation mishap rates.” It would study the cause of the accidents and make recommendations regarding safety, training, maintenance and other areas.

Military Times, which reported on Smith’s amendment, recently reviewed the 5,500 military-aviation accidents that took place since sequestration, the automatic budget cuts, went into effect in 2013. It found that crashes of manned aircraft, including fixed wing and rotor, jumped 39 percent. The publication said military aviation last week hit a six-year high in the number of pilots and crews killed in accidents.

Last week included the deaths of nine Puerto Rico National Guard members in the crash of a WC-130 aircraft in Georgia.

In a statement, Smith said, “It is essential for our aviators and their families—as well as for our military’s ability to recruit, retain, and perform its mission—that Congress have an authoritative, objective, apolitical look at the causes of this problem so that we can figure out what is wrong and what actions need to be taken.”