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Obama names Hart to head U.S. transportation safety board

By Mark Felsenthal

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - President Barack Obama on Thursday named lawyer and longtime transportation civil servant Christopher Hart to be chairman of the National Transportation Safety Board.

Hart is currently a board member of the NTSB and is serving as acting chairman. He has held senior positions at the Federal Aviation Administration, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, and the Department of Transportation. He was a member of the NTSB from 1990-1993.

Hart is a licensed pilot. His great uncle, James Herman Banning, was the first African-American to receive a pilot's license issued by the U.S. Government in 1926, according to Hart's NTSB biography.

The five-member NTSB is an independent federal agency that investigates civil aviation and other transportation accidents. It ruled on Tuesday that the crash of Asiana flight 214 in San Francisco last year that killed three people was the result of pilot error but recommended modifications to the Boeing 777's flight controls.

Hart's five-year term as a member of the NTSB expires at the end of 2017. If confirmed by the Senate, he would serve a two-year term as chairman.

(Reporting By Mark Felsenthal; Editing by Jonathan Oatis)

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