With the latest airline crash in mind, the stakes are high for the upcoming National Transportation Safety Board investigation into the circumstances surrounding the Alaska Airlines Flight 261 on January 31, 2020. NTSB Chairman Robert Sumwalt has acknowledged the challenges and pressure of this particular inquiry and has said that “every decision we make, every action we take is going to matter in the future – for this airline, for every airline and for the safety of everyone who travels onboard planes.” Flight 261 fell into the Pacific Ocean after the plane suddenly lost pitch control, plunging at a rate of almost 8,000 feet per minute before crashing. All 88 people aboard the aircraft were killed. In the wake of this tragedy, a number of areas associated with the accident are under scrutiny. The focus of the NTSB’s investigation lies primarily on the operation of the plane and the maintenance of the aircraft and its components. While Alaska Airlines has cooperated with the NTSB’s investigation, Chairman Sumwalt noted that the NTSB is interested in all possible explanations for the crash of Flight 261, including conducting its own independent review of pre-accident maintenance records and other factors that may have caused the plane to enter its spiral descent. Sumwalt commented, “Ultimately we’re going to trace all the way around this airplane to make sure we understand what happened in this accident.” The NTSB has made it clear that no stone will be left unturned as it works to determine the cause of the crash. It has employed a vast range of methods to determine the sequence of events and potential factors that contributed to the crash, some of which include analyzing the contents of the aircraft’s flight data recorder and cockpit voice recorder, conducting witness interviews, creating a 3D scan of the wreckage, and collaboratively interviewing airline maintenance personnel. Although the investigation into Flight 261 is ongoing, the NTSB is striving to make sure all necessary steps are taken to ensure a thorough investigation. Sumwalt has expressed his commitment to a full and transparent investigation, and the NTSB has made it clear that the safety of airline passengers is of paramount importance.