FAA: Human Life Worth $6 Million

The FAA has issued a new rule requiring that charter airlines and helicopter operators train their employees in “crew resource management,” or cockpit teamwork, just as the major airlines do.

The FAA estimates that complying with the rule over the next 10 years will cost the charter industry $12 million. But it also expects that the new rule will result in fewer accidents, saving 20 lives over the same period. 

Is it worth it? According to the FAA, yes. Government bean counters figure that the value of a human life is $6 million. So the “savings” to society over the 10 year period is $120 million – ten times the rule’s expected costs.

The government analysis is here.

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Comments (2) Read through and enter the discussion with the form at the end
Cloudesley Shovell - January 24, 2011 1:48 PM


The link to the rule at the end of the post is dead. The rule is now published in the Federal Register at http://edocket.access.gpo.gov/2011/2011-1211.htm.

I suspect most operators are already doing this, in one way or another. Perhaps the cost will be less than estimated.

One thing that jumped out at me from the rule discussion was this nugget: "Of the 24 accidents that the FAA identified as directly related to ineffective CRM, one-third of the accidents occurred in Alaska. Therefore, the FAA has retained the language proposed in the NPRM. There is no exception for certificate holders conducting intrastate operations in Alaska."

There is a lot going unsaid about the approach to aviation in Alaska, I think.


Mike Danko - January 24, 2011 7:40 PM

Thanks Cloudesley.

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