The National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) yesterday renewed its call for routing aircraft making instrument approaches to National Airport farther away from high-rise buildings in Rosslyn and criticized another federal agency for refusing to do so.

Board chairman James Burnett, addressing the House Transportation, Aviation and Materials Subcommittee, said the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) was wrong when it rejected recommendations to make changes in approach paths and radar that the board maintained would provide an extra margin of safety in Rosslyn.

"The safety board strongly disagrees with the FAA's position," Burnett said. " . . . I assure you this matter is not closed."

The board's proposals, which the FAA turned down two weeks ago, were made after the board concluded a Piedmont Airlines 737 jet had probably passed too close to the USA Today building on Wilson Boulevard during an instrument landing last December.

The FAA has no obligation to adopt any board recommendation, although it is required to consider and respond to them. The board can continue to try to persuade the FAA to change its position.

The board's stance was supported by the Air Line Pilots Association, which five years ago requested changes in procedures pilots use when landing at National from the north past Rosslyn. "We found it difficult to understand why FAA rejected the NTSB recommendations . . . ," John O'Brien, the association's safety director said in a statement submitted to the panel, which was hearing testimony on airport technology.

FAA flight operations director Ken Hunt told subcommittee members that National's current approach paths and procedures have been thoroughly tested and are safe if correctly followed. The FAA has maintained the board's proposed steps would cause unwanted operational problems for pilots.

The FAA also rejected a board finding that National's radar is at times unreliable and that radar antennae on the airport's grounds should be moved to a site where signals would suffer less interference from buildings and other obstacles.

Burnett's statement said the board had found that "no one in the tower or in approach control was aware of how low and how close the plane in question was to the USA Today building." The FAA responded that the radar functions well.

Citizen groups seeking to reduce traffic at National have charged for years that the Rosslyn buildings are an aviation hazard. Arlington County requires that developers obtain a certificate from the FAA that proposed buildings will not pose a threat to airplanes.

In his testimony, Burnett also disclosed preliminary findings of a detailed study that the board is conducting into safety at 14 U.S. airports, including National and Dulles International. Among those findings:

Investigators found "substantial variations" around the country in officials' interpretation of what constitutes compliance with FAA safety standards. Differences were also noted in crash-fire preparations, fuel storage tanks, runway maintenance and safety areas, the workloads of FAA inspectors and "overall airport management philosophy."

Use of land adjacent to airports for such purposes as waste disposal "can result in obstructions or other potential hazards which are beyond the control of the FAA and airport management."

Animals were seen inside some airports' perimeters, indicating present methods of controlling them may be deficient.

Burnett declined to name airports at which these observations were made. The full report is due in October.

He also cited "encouraging signs" in research the FAA and the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) are conducting into ways to give pilots better information on braking conditions on snow and ice-covered runways.

Poor information was cited as a factor in the crash of a World Airways Change Urged In Landings At National Approach Over Rosslyn Concerns Safety Board By John Burgess Washington Post Staff Writer

The National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) yesterday renewed its call for routing aircraft making instrument approaches to National Airport farther away from high-rise buildings in Rosslyn and criticized another federal agency for refusing to do so.

Board chairman James Burnett, addressing the House Transportation, Aviation and Materials Subcommittee, said the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) was wrong when it rejected recommendations to make changes in approach paths and radar that the board maintained would provide an extra margin of safety in Rosslyn.

"The safety board strongly disagrees with the FAA's position," Burnett said. " . . . I assure you this matter is not closed."

The board's proposals, which the FAA turned down two weeks ago, were made after the board concluded a Piedmont Airlines 737 jet had probably passed too close to the USA Today building on Wilson Boulevard during an instrument landing last December.

The FAA has no obligation to adopt any board recommendation, although it is required to consider and respond to them. The board can continue to try to persuade the FAA to change its position.

The board's stance was supported by the Air Line Pilots Association, which five years ago requested changes in procedures pilots use when landing at National from the north past Rosslyn. "We found it difficult to understand why FAA rejected the NTSB recommendations . . . ," John O'Brien, the association's safety director said in a statement submitted to the panel, which was hearing testimony on airport technology.

FAA flight operations director Ken Hunt told subcommittee members that National's current approach paths and procedures have been thoroughly tested and are safe if correctly followed. The FAA has maintained the board's proposed steps would cause unwanted operational problems for pilots.

The FAA also rejected a board finding that National's radar is at times unreliable and that radar antennae on the airport's grounds should be moved to a site where signals would suffer less interference from buildings and other obstacles.

Burnett's statement said the board had found that "no one in the tower or in approach control was aware of how low and how close the plane in question was to the USA Today building." The FAA responded that the radar functions well.

Citizen groups seeking to reduce traffic at National have charged for years that the Rosslyn buildings are an aviation hazard. Arlington County requires that developers obtain a certificate from the FAA that proposed buildings will not pose a threat to airplanes.

In his testimony, Burnett also disclosed preliminary findings of a detailed study that the board is conducting into safety at 14 U.S. airports, including National and Dulles International. Among those findings:

Investigators found "substantial variations" around the country in officials' interpretation of what constitutes compliance with FAA safety standards. Differences were also noted in crash-fire preparations, fuel storage tanks, runway maintenance and safety areas, the workloads of FAA inspectors and "overall airport management philosophy."

Use of land adjacent to airports for such purposes as waste disposal "can result in obstructions or other potential hazards which are beyond the control of the FAA and airport management."

Animals were seen inside some airports' perimeters, indicating present methods of controlling them may be deficient.

Burnett declined to name airports at which these observations were made. The full report is due in October.

He also cited "encouraging signs" in research the FAA and the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) are conducting into ways to give pilots better information on braking conditions on snow and ice-covered runways.

Poor information was cited as a factor in the crash of a World Airways DC-10 at Boston's Logan International Airport last year. The jumbo jet skidded off a snowy runway and into Boston Harbor. Two people were missing and presumed dead in the accident. DC-10 at Boston's Logan International Airport last year. The jumbo jet skidded off a snowy runway and into Boston Harbor. Two people were missing and presumed dead in the accident.