NTSB Report On Colgan Air Crash Highlights CAPA’s Safety Concerns <


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NTSB Report On Colgan Air Crash Highlights CAPA’s Safety Concerns

By Mike Mitchell

February 4, 2010 - The Coalition of Airline Pilots Associations (CAPA) representing 28,000 professional airline pilots has reviewed the findings of the NTSB report on the Continental Express Flight 3407 crash in Buffalo last February 2009. CAPA calls for immediate action to address serious safety concerns including pilot fatigue, pilot training, and inadequate pilot experience; all of which were all cited as contributing factors to the crash in Buffalo that killed 50 innocent people.  

On February 12, 2009, a Colgan Air, Inc., Bombardier DHC-8- 400, N200WQ, operating as Continental Connection flight 3407, was on an instrument approach to Buffalo-Niagara International Airport, Buffalo, New York, when it crashed into a residence in Clarence Center, New York, about 5 nautical miles northeast of the airport. The 2 pilots, 2 flight attendants, and 45 passengers aboard the airplane were killed, one person on the ground was killed, and the airplane was destroyed by impact forces and a postcrash fire.

CAPA has been advocating for these necessary changes in regulations long before this tragedy occurred. The FAA has been woefully unresponsive with needed regulatory change. 30 years after the Air Florida crash in Washington, DC, nothing has been done to address aircraft anti-ice and de-icing training.


20 years after the NTSB placed “pilot fatigue” it on its’ “Most Wanted List”, nothing has been done. And recently, FAA Administrator Babbitt postponed, yet again, the release of its NPRM on fatigue, originally promised prior to the end of 2009. This lack of response is due to the FAA’s inability to separate special interests from the need to reform flight safety issues. 

The serious deterioration of pilot hiring qualifications in jet transport aircraft has been apparent within the airline industry for many years. Yet, it took the tragic crash of Continental 3407 to awaken the FAA to this glaring issue. The professional airline pilots of CAPA feel that the FAA’s proposed solutions as outlined in last weeks’ “Call to Action Report” are seriously deficient. CAPA believes that this latest NTSB report will also go unheeded, and yet again nothing of substance will be done to address the safety issues that were identified days after the fatal crash of flight 3407. 


“The FAA Administrator’s clearly stated intent to accept this current degradation in pilot experience and turn our airline’s cockpits into an “on the job training” environment is in clear opposition to 20 years of industry progress in Crew Resource and Cockpit Safety Management Programs”, said CAPA President Paul Onorato. Absent a constructive response from the FAA, it falls upon Congress to immediately legislate the necessary changes needed to ensure the safety of the traveling public. CAPA supports efforts in both the House and the Senate to promote critically needed legislation to restore confidence in our nation’s air transportation system. 

The Coalition of Airline Pilots Associations is a trade association which represents over 28,000 professional pilots at carriers including American Airlines, Southwest Airlines, UPS, ABX Air, US Airways, Atlas Air Cargo, Kalitta Air, Polar Air Cargo, and NetJets.

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