By Joe Singleton in Washington, DC

US National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) acting chairman Mark Rosenker says he is planning public hearings this summer on two high-profile airline accidents that occurred in December and February.

Rosenker, who has been nominated by US president George Bush to be NTSB chairman, says the 8 December runway overrun at Chicago Midway airport by a Southwest Airlines Boeing 737-700 will be the subject of a June hearing. Rosenker also plans for a NTSB hearing "sometime in July" on the 8 February  fire aboard a UPS McDonnell Douglas DC-8 freighter during approach to Philadelphia from Atlanta.

Safety issues to be addressed by the board during the Southwest 737 inquiry will include the calculation of runway stopping distances and the lack of adequate runway safety zones at Midway and other US airports, says Rosenker.

In January, the NTSB issued its first recommendation on the Southwest overrun to the US Federal Aviation Administration, which requested the agency prohibit carriers from using thrust reversers when calculating runway stopping distances.

Almost three months after the incident, the NTSB is still trying to determine the cause of the fire. “We’re still scratching our heads as to where this began,” he says.

Rosenker did not discuss any particular recommendations regarding the UPS fire.

Source: Flight International