Interview With Robert Sumwalt, Chairman NTSB, Retired

Behind the Prop


Robber. Why don't you just give us a little brief I don't know three five minute Synopsis of your career. How how do you go from from a high school kid to becoming chairman of the national transportation safety while that's a great question. I've been wondering the same thing for a number of years so I i've i've been extremely fortunate You're right. I did start flying in high school By the time. I had graduated from high school. I i had my private and then of course went to college a few months later and i marched into the dean of students office after i've been at the university for just about three weeks in explain to him why we needed a flying club and then he sat down and proceeded to tell me all the reasons why that was not going to happen and on the way out and by the way this was the university of south carolina and on the way out. I said gosh. I just thought since clemson had flying club since one thousand nine hundred ninety eight i thought south carolina needed one and He said Sit back down young man and within about five months we had our first airplane For those who are not That aware is you can imagine having to state supported schools in a tiny state. There's quite a rivalry between those two between those colleges unfortunately clemson as the one with the with the football team the question is did clemson really have a flying club. Well you know as a seventeen year old. I was probably known to exaggerate things a little bit. But but to the best of knowledge. I think they they did so high school. What what what's next were you. You became a pilot of course next career that led you to the ntsb. Yeah i did. Of course fly all through college and i was hired by the university To be their pilot when they bought a brand new piper navajo chieftain in nineteen. Seventy nine had not finished school yet. But i was doing school and flying full time for the university. I flew there for two years. And then in february of eighty one got hired by p modern lines which of course got bought by by us air us

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