After the deaths of Kobe Bryant and eight others in a helicopter crash on a Calabasas hillside last week, a National Transportation Safety Board member said federal aviation regulators had previously rejected an NTSB recommendation to require a terrain warning system, a safety feature that might have saved their lives.
It was hardly the first time the NTSB had publicly questioned the Federal Aviation Administration’s decisions.
For decades, the two federal agencies have clashed on a range of issues, including smoke detectors in airline cargo holds and crashworthy fuel tanks on light helicopters. Although both agencies tout their close working relationship, neither disputes that it can be contentious.
The NTSB, which investigates aviation accidents, has made thousands of safety recommendations over the years but has no power to enforce them. The FAA, which has sole authority to set the rules, has accepted about 75% of them, according to the FAA’s most recent tally of closed cases in late 2018.
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