Associated Retired Aviation Professionals

Copyright © 2000 The Seattle Times Company

Monday, December 18, 2000

NTSB chairman Jim Hall to resign

By Don Phillips
The Washington Post

WASHINGTON - National Transportation Safety Board Chairman Jim Hall, who 
presided over investigations into some of the most mysterious crashes of the 
jet age and whose board took on the responsibility of caring for victims' 
families, says he will resign Jan. 18 after seven years as head of the 

Board sources say President Clinton is set to name board member Carol 
Carmody as vice chairman, elevating her to acting chairman when Hall leaves. 
However, Carmody is a Democrat, and it is considered a certainty that 
President-elect Bush will eventually name a Republican as chairman. Hall 
said last week that his last official act will be to break ground for a new 
safety-training academy at the Loudoun County, Va., campus of George 
Washington University, which will also be home to the rebuilt hulk of the 
Trans World Airlines Boeing 747 that crashed into the Atlantic Ocean in 1996 
as Flight 800. Hall said he considers the training academy one of his 
proudest accomplishments.

TWA Flight 800 was perhaps the most controversial crash investigation in 
safety-board history. To this day, some groups and individuals say the 
board's conclusion that a fuel-tank explosion brought down the 747 is a 
smoke screen to cover up a missile attack. Board investigators insist there 
is not a shred of missile evidence.

Hall's most sweeping change was establishing the Family Affairs Office to 
care for relatives of crash victims. Partly reacting to criticism that 
family care might detract from the board's main duty of investigating 
accidents, he segregated the two functions with separate staffs and duties.

He also established the board's first 24-hour communications center. He 
became a crusader for child-safety seats and publicized the dangers to 
children of air bags. He also promoted the "one level of safety" program for 
commuter airlines and pushed for better flight-data recorders on aircraft.

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