Public aircraft safety oversight 'mixed'

Friday - 12/9/2011, 10:57am EST

Tom Haueter, director of the Office of Aviation Safety, NTSB

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The term "public aircraft" refers to flights for government purposes — like law enforcement, firefighting, or search and rescue.

But those flights don't fall under the same Federal Aviation Administration rules as civil aircraft do. The FAA can't regulate them and doesn't conduct any oversight.

The National Transportation Safety Board held a two-day forum on the topic of oversight of public aircraft operations.

Tom Haueter, director of the NTSB's Office of Aviation Safety, joined The Federal Drive with Tom Temin and Amy Morris with updates from that forum.

"We find some agencies are extremely good at oversight and they're equipped for it. Other ones don't have the infrastructure yet," Haueter said. "Some, quite frankly, believe the FAA was providing that oversight and only recently, within the last year, found out that that did not exist."