Sumwalt Takes Reins of NTSB as Vice Chair, Acting Chair

Robert Sumwalt has stepped back into the role of vice chairman and at the same time, became acting chairman of the National Transportation Safety Board. On Friday, President Donald Trump reappointed Sumwalt to a two-year term as vice chairman in conjunction with an announced intention to renominate Sumwalt to another five-year term on the board.

Sumwalt took over his new duties as vice chairman and acting chairman on Friday. He succeeded Bella Dinh-Zarr, whose two-year term as vice chairman ended on March 29. She had also become acting chairman on March 16, when Christopher Hart’s term as chairman expired. However, that role transferred to Sumwalt, since NTSB’s structure assigns the acting chairman position to the vice chairman. Dinh-Zarr remains on the Board as a member.

I want to thank Christopher Hart for his leadership during his tenure as the NTSB chairman, and Bella Dinh-Zarr for her outstanding work as vice chairman and most recently as acting chairman,” Sumwalt said. “Together they have helped advance transportation safety, making us all safer, while also making NTSB one of the best places to work in government.”

A pilot for 32 years who has amassed more than 14,000 flight hours, Sumwalt became the 37th member of the NTSB in August 2006, and was designated by President George W. Bush to his first two-year term as vice chairman. Sumwalt was appointed to an additional five-year term on the Board in November 2011.

He brought significant safety experience to the Board, spending eight years as a consultant to NASA’s Aviation Safety Reporting System, chairing the Air Line Pilots Association’s Human Factors and Training Group, and while with US Airways, working on special assignment to the flight safety department and on the airline’s Flight Operational Quality Assurance monitoring team.