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IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Release No: 340-95
June 21, 1995

PANEL TO REVIEW AIR FORCE'S AIRCRAFT MISHAP PREVENTION PROGRAM

Air Force Chief of Staff General Ronald R. Fogleman has convened a four- person "Blue Ribbon Panel" to review the organization, staffing and investigative procedures for the Air Force's Aircraft Mishap Prevention Program.

"Because we've had 18 class A mishaps since January 1, and 10 in the last two months, and in light of recent published allegations concerning the quality and objectivity of the Air Force safety program, I believe it's time to conduct a major, independent review," General Fogleman said.

Class A mishaps are those which result in fatalities, destroy an aircraft or cost $1 million or more to repair.

The group can examine any safety- related area which, in its judgment, may yield recommendations that will improve the Air Force's ability to prevent mishaps, and investigate and follow- up on mishaps in ways that will prevent them from happening, General Fogleman said.

The panel will be headed by retired Navy Vice Adm. Donald D. Engen, a one- time member of the National Transportation Safety Board and former administrator of the Federal Aviation Administration.

Other members are:

- - Former Air Force Secretary Hans Mark, who is currently a professor in the department of aerospace engineering and engineering mechanics at the University of Texas in Austin.

- - Retired Air Force Gen. Robert C. Oaks, who is currently vice president of safety and regulatory compliance for USAir.

- - Retired Air Force Brig. Gen. Joel T. Hall, former Air Force director of aerospace safety.

The panel has "unrestricted access" to all safety investigation reports, safety archives and data automation systems that track the progress of actions aimed at correcting conditions identified through investigations, General Fogleman said.

The group will have access to classified and other sensitive documents; however, such information will be redacted in its finalized report, which will be provided to Congress and other agencies as necessary.

Admiral Engen said the panel is expected to begin its work before the end of June and intends to produce a report within 60 days of its initial meeting.