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Flight 3407 Families' Work Pays Off

Graeme
post Aug 3 2010, 11:41 AM
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1) From the BuffaloNews.com

Flight 3407 families' work pays off
- Law will increase pilot training, manage fatigue

- July 31, 2010, 0:02 AM

WASHINGTON --
The skies will soon be safer thanks to Senate action Friday that culminated a 15-month effort by the Families of Continental Flight 3407 to force airlines to hire more qualified pilots and then train them better.

The Senate passed a bill that increases the minimum number of flight hours for beginning passenger airline pilots from 250 to 1,500, and a White House spokeswoman said President Obama will sign the bill this weekend.

In addition, the bill mandates simulator stall-recovery training that the crew of Flight 3407 did not have in the aircraft they were flying from Newark to Buffalo on Feb. 12, 2009 -- when they botched the landing and sent the commuter plane crashing into the ground in Clarence, killing 50.

As soon as investigators found pilot error to be the central reason for the crash, the families started lobbying for safety improvements -- and in the bill finalized Friday, they got almost everything they wanted.

"This has truly been a historic day," said Scott Maurer, who lost his daughter, Lorin, in the crash. "Future generations will someday point back to this day as the day aviation safety took a giant leap forward."

Through a spokeswoman, Obama -- who met with the families in Buffalo in May -- lauded the legislation as well as the families' efforts.


Story Continues →
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http://www.buffalonews.com/city/capital-co...rticle86013.ece




2) From the Washington Times

Congress ready to pass aviation safety measures
- Thursday, July 29, 2010

WASHINGTON (AP) Congress is getting ready to pass tough new aviation safety measures that were developed in response to a deadly commuter plane crash in western New York in early 2009, a key lawmaker said Wednesday.

Rep. James Oberstar, D-Minn., the chairman of the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee, said in an interview that he was introducing a bill with the safety improvements. He said he expects House passage on Thursday and Senate passage soon afterward.

Besides the safety measures, the bill extends authority for Federal Aviation Administration programs through Sept. 30, the end of the current budget year. Without that extension, the FAA would have to shutdown on Sunday when current program authority expires.

There is strong support in Congress for the safety measures, which were added to a broader aviation bill that lawmakers have been struggling for nearly four years to pass. With that bill stalled over disagreements involving other issues, House and Senate lawmakers have reached a consensus that the safety provisions should be passed separately from the broader measure, Oberstar said.

The impetus for the safety measures was the crash of Continental Connection Flight 3407 near Buffalo-Niagara International Airport. All 49 people aboard and one man in a house were killed. A National Transportation Safety Board investigation faulted errors by the flight's two pilots and deficiencies in pilot hiring and training by Colgan Air Inc., the regional carrier that operated the flight for Continental Airlines.

The bill "takes a big step forward in improving the safety of our skies," Sen. Jay Rockefeller, D-W.Va., chairman of the Commerce, Science and Transportation Committee, said in a statement.

The investigation also revealed the accident was the byproduct of a financially strapped industry seeking to cut costs by farming out short-haul flights to regional carriers. Those carriers often hire inexperienced pilots at low wages, assign them exhausting schedules and look the other way when they commute long distances to work because they can't afford to live in the cities where they are based.

The last six airline accidents in the United States all involved regional air carriers.

Friends and family members of the victims of the Colgan crash have been lobbying Congress relentlessly for passage of the safety provisions. As a group, they have made more than 30 lobbying trips to Washington at their own expense over the past 17 months. They've met with dozens of senators and House members or their staffs, and attended every congressional hearing with any connection to aviation safety. They've also pressed their case in private meetinregional carriers. Those carriers often hire inexperienced pilots at low wages, assign them exhausting schedules and look the other way when they commute long distances to work because they can't afford to live in the cities where they are based.

The last six airline accidents in the United States all involved regional air carriers.

Friends and family members of the victims of the Colgan crash have been lobbying Congress relentlessly for passage of the safety provisions. As a group, they have made more than 30 lobbying trips to Washington at their own expense over the past 17 months. They've met with dozens of senators and House members or their staffs, and attended every congressional hearing with any connection to aviation safety. They've also pressed their case in private meetings with President Barack Obama, Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood and FAA Administrator Randy Babbitt.[/gs with President Barack Obama, Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood and FAA Administrator Randy Babbitt
.[/color]

Story Continues →
Read full article

http://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2010/j...on-legislation/

This post has been edited by Graeme: Aug 3 2010, 11:47 AM
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