Worldwide Graduate Robert Sumwalt to Serve as NTSB Chairman

Embry-Riddle Worldwide graduate, the Honorable Robert L. Sumwalt, was confirmed Aug. 3 by the U.S. Senate as Chairman of the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB).

Sumwalt, who will serve a two-year term as chairman, has been on the NTSB Board since August 2006 in various roles including Vice Chairman and most recently as Acting Chairman of the Board. In his role as Chairman, he will oversee the independent federal agency charged by Congress with investigating every civil aviation accident in the United States and significant accidents in other modes of transportation – railroad, highway, marine and pipeline.

In 2014, Sumwalt earned a Master of Aeronautical Science (with Distinction) from Embry-Riddle Worldwide, with concentrations in aviation/aerospace safety systems and human factors aviation systems. He received his undergraduate degree in Business Administration from the University of South Carolina. He also was the keynote speaker for Embry-Riddle Worldwide’s 2015 Spring Commencement ceremony and was honored with Embry-Riddle’s Distinguished Speaker Award.

“I am honored to have been named to lead this great agency. The men and women of the NTSB are extremely dedicated, and we have a critically important mission – preventing accidents, reducing injuries and saving lives,” Sumwalt said. “I am truly humbled that President Trump nominated me, and the Senate confirmed the nomination. I look forward to continuing to work with my colleagues as we carry out our mission.”  

Since joining the Board, he has been a strong advocate for improving safety in all modes of transportation, including teen driver safety, impaired driving, distractions in transportation and several aviation and rail safety initiatives.

Before joining the NTSB, Sumwalt was a pilot for 32 years, including 24 years with Piedmont Airlines and US Airways, accumulated more than 14,000 flight hours. Following his airline career, Sumwalt managed the corporate aviation department for a Fortune 500 energy company, chaired the Air Line Pilots Association’s Human Factors and Training Group and co-founded the association’s critical incident response program. He also spent eight years as a consultant to NASA’s Aviation Safety Reporting System and has written extensively on aviation safety matters.

The NTSB, which has approximately 400 employees and is headquartered in Washington, D.C., not only determines the probable cause of accidents and issues safety recommendations aimed at preventing future accidents but also carries out special studies concerning transportation safety and coordinates the resources of the federal government and other organizations to provide assistance to victims and their family members impacted by major transportation disasters. 



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