Sunday, October 16, 2022


 Word count: 341 


Located in Washington, DC, National Transportation Safety Board is an independent agency directly under the federal executive branch. It was split from the Department of Transportation in 1975 with the federal Independent Safety Board Act (Congress, 1994). The current chairwoman is Jennifer Homendy, appointed by former president Donald Trump. Independent agencies outside cabinet departments and directly under the president include the CIA and FCC. Understandably, most federal independent agencies established themselves close to Washington, DC. The Potomac River runs along the west side of Capital Hill, so the agencies generally cluster on the river shore neighborhoods. L'Enfant Plaza houses NTSB’s headquarters on the east shore. On the west shore, the Langley headquarters of the CIA is about 6 miles west of NTSB. Lincoln Memorial is within walking distance from L'Enfant Plaza. However, for more recreation, the nearby National Harbor is an area with waterfront dining, a shopping mall, and a Ferris wheel, about 5 miles south of NTSB. 

The general feature of the 6 miles west of NTSB is a dense highway system with substantial maintenance. Amazon has a large data center built in the area as part of the communication artery (Sverdlik, 2015). The buildings for the vital data center facilities are tall and imposing. The federal workers in Washington, DC, may have long careers in the area. The former NTSB aviation safety director Thomas Haueter has a career spanning 28 years with NTSB, gaining expertise and experience (Adair, 2004).

The laboratory of NTSB headquarters has voice tape players, flight instrument decoding software, and other black box testing tools (Adair, 2004, p38). However, specialized testing tools are only available in manufacturers’ labs, which include engine and heavy machine testing tools. The airworthiness investigator has broad authority and legislated power to acquire manufacturers' necessary assistance and equipment. The “goto” team’s workplace is often the hotel rooms with extra phone lines (Adair, 2004, p28). In investigating USAir flight 427’s crash, Thomas Haueter boarded over a dozen flights with the Boeing 737-3 series to acquaint himself with the 737 models (Adair, 2004)

Works Cited

"H.R.2440 - 103rd Congress (1993-1994): Independent Safety Board Act Amendments of 1994.", Library of Congress, 25 October 1994,

Sverdlik, Yevgeniy. “Fire at Amazon Data Center Construction Site in Ashburn Contained.” DataCenter Knowledge, 9 Jan. 2015,

Adair, Bill. The Mystery of Flight 427: Inside a Crash Investigation. Illustrated, Smithsonian Books, 2004.

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