According to the NTSB, the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) mistakenly released investigative information during an ongoing investigation of a March 13, 2014, airplane accident in Philadelphia.
The accident, involving a US Airways Airbus A320 is currently under investigation by the NTSB. Recently, the FAA, which is a party to the investigation, released preliminary information about the accident under the Freedom of Information Act.
Initially Flightglobal reported on December 12, 2014 that it had obtained “internal Federal Aviation Administration documents”, detailing the crew’s actions during takeoff. NBC10 Investigative Reporter Harry Hairston then obtained these FAA documents through a Freedom of Information request.
The NTSB stated that it “depends upon full participation and technical assistance by the parties in our accident investigations – in this case, the FAA, the airline, and the pilots’ association — in order to ensure that our investigations are objective, rigorous, and complete. Allowing any party to release investigative information without approval may enable that party to influence the public perception of the investigation, and undercut the fairness of the process.”
Upon completion of an investigation, the restrictions no longer apply.
The NTSB has shared its strong concern about this matter with the FAA. As a result, the FAA is reviewing this case to see how the disclosure of information occurred and will review its policies and procedures to ensure that information from accident investigations is properly protected.
- ASN Accident Description US Airways Flight 1702
- Pilots played role in US Airways 1702 crash: FAA (Flightglobal, 12 December 2014)
- FAA Internal Report Finds Pilots in Philly US Airways Crash Didn’t Properly Set Flight Computer (NBC, 1 January 2015)
- NTSB Statement (January 6, 2015)