ALEXANDRIA, Va. — Former U.S. National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) Chairman Robert L. Sumwalt was recognized Wednesday for his career-long contributions to aviation safety with the 2021 Flight Safety Foundation-Boeing Aviation Safety Lifetime Achievement Award. Sumwalt, who retired from government service at the end of June after nearly 15 years at NTSB, was presented with the award on Day 2 of the Foundation’s virtual 74th annual International Air Safety Summit (IASS).
“Robert has made significant and sustained contributions to advancing aviation safety over the course of a career spanning more than four decades,” said Dr. Hassan Shahidi, president and CEO of the Foundation. “Whether flying airliners, managing a corporate flight department or leading accident investigations across a variety of transportation modes, the safety of crews and the traveling public is always Robert’s primary concern.”
Todd Sigler, Boeing’s senior director, global safety and regulatory affairs, said, “Robert’s passion for and leadership in aviation safety is remarkable; his material contribution to improving this industry is something we should all strive for.”
Sumwalt joined the NTSB in August 2006 and was sworn in as its 14th chairman 11 years later. He was reappointed chairman in August 2019. Before joining the NTSB, Sumwalt spent 24 years as a pilot with Piedmont Airlines and US Airways and later managed a corporate flight department for a Fortune 500 energy company. He has served on numerous boards and committees, including the Air Line Pilots Association, International’s Human Factors Working Group and US Airways’ flight operational quality assurance monitoring team; co-authored a book; and written numerous articles on aircraft accident investigation and transportation safety.
The FSF-Boeing Aviation Safety Lifetime Achievement Award was established in 2002 to recognize an individual for his or her lifetime commitment and contribution to enhancing safety. The award is presented every other year at IASS.
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Flight Safety Foundation is an independent, nonprofit, international organization engaged in research, education and communications to improve aviation safety. The Foundation’s mission is to connect, influence and lead global aviation safety.
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