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ROTARY MEETING: Robert Sumwalt, Overview of the National Transportation Board
December 6, 2021 @ 7:30 am - 8:30 am
Robert L. Sumwalt retired from NTSB on June 30, 2021. He was sworn in as the 14th chairman of the NTSB on August 10, 2017, after being nominated by President Donald J. Trump and confirmed by the U.S. Senate. He served as acting chairman for 5 months prior to his appointment as Chairman. Mr. Sumwalt began his tenure at the NTSB in August 2006 when President George W. Bush appointed him to the Board and designated him as Vice Chairman of the Board. In November 2011, President Barack Obama reappointed him to an additional 5 year term as Board Member.
While at the Board, Member Sumwalt was a fierce 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. He remains active in advocating transportation safety matters.
Sumwalt was a pilot for 32 years, including 24 years with Piedmont Airlines and US Airways. He accumulated over 14,000 flight hours. He worked on special assignment to the US Airways flight safety department and also served on the airline’s Flight Operational Quality Assurance (FOQA) monitoring team.
Following his airline career, Sumwalt managed the corporate aviation department for a Fortune 500 energy company.
He 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 (ASRS) and has written extensively on aviation safety matters.
Chairman Sumwalt earned an undergraduate degree from the University of South Carolina and a Master of Aeronautical Science (with Distinction) from Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University, with concentrations in aviation/aerospace safety systems and human factors aviation systems. He was awarded an honorary Doctor of Science degree from the University of South Carolina and an Honorary Doctorate from Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University. He is an inductee into the South Carolina Aviation Hall of Fame.