Aviation Safety Legislation

The Airline Safety and Federal Aviation Administration Extension Act of 2010 (PL 111-216) was signed into law on August 1, 2010.  For a summary of the provisions included in this new law, please click here.

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Flight 3407 Families to Attend Tuesday's Senate Aviation Hearing; Challenge FAA to Withstand Industry Pressure on Key Safety Initiatives PDF Print E-mail

Rulemakings on Training and Pilot Qualifications; Pilot Record Database; Commuting Loom as Key Issues

Buffalo, New York- March 20, 2012 – With group members set to attend Tuesday's Senate Aviation Subcommittee hearing on Commercial Airline Safety Oversight, the 'Families of Continental Flight 3407' renewed their push for the Federal Aviation Administration to follow through on the key remaining safety initiatives from the landmark aviation safety legislation passed in August 2010. This plea comes on the heels of continued industry pressure, from both major and regional carriers, to obstruct efforts related to raising standards in the areas of pilot training and entry level hiring qualifications, the creation of an electronic training records database, as well as gathering further information regarding the potentially dangerous practice of pilot commuting.

Flight 3407 Families Encouraged by Pilot Certification Proposal; Challenge DOT, FAA, OMB to Stand Up to Regional Airlines' Pressures PDF Print E-mail

Airline Industry's Efforts Were Successful in Watering Down Final Rule on Flight and Duty Times

Buffalo, New York- February 28, 2012 – With the third anniversary of the tragic crash of Continental Flight 3407 operated by Colgan Air just weeks past, the 'Families of Continental Flight 3407' reacted positively to Monday's release by the Federal Aviation Administration of a proposal to significantly upgrade the initial certification requirements for commercial airline pilots. However, in anticipation of a powerful behind-the-scenes campaign by regional airlines to weaken the resulting final rule, the group pressed the Obama administration to stand firm in the interests of achieving an elusive 'One Level of Safety' and forcing regional airlines to bring their commitment and investment in safety and training up to the level of the major airlines.

Flight 3407 Families to Airline Industry on 3rd Anniversary of Crash: "You Can Change Your Name, But You Can't Hide" PDF Print E-mail

Group Pledges to Make Sure Public Never Forgets Responsible Parties

Buffalo, New York- February 10, 2012 – Just two days prior to the third anniversary of the tragic crash of Continental Flight 3407, operated by Colgan Air, the "Families of Continental Flight 3407" denounced various industry members associated with the crash for changing their names in the aftermath, ostensibly to disassociate themselves from the negative publicity associated with this very avoidable disater. Already, the operator, Colgan Air, the parent carrier, Continental Airlines, the joint regional airline/flight school responsible for training the captain, Gulstream, and even the industry's lobbying arm, the Air Transport Association, have attempted to re-brand themselves.

"We saw it many years ago with ValuJet, and here we go again," stated Scott Maurer of Moore, South Carolina, who lost his thirty-year-old daughter Lorin. "Colgan, Continental, and Gulfstream all take a hefty dose of criticism, rightfully so I might add, for their contributions to this needless tragedy, and rather than have that affect their marketing efforts, they wheel out the paint cans and try to hide behind a new name. They can try all they want, but it's still the same leadership and the same shortcut-taking philosophy to make a few bucks that created the conditions that allowed Flight 3407 to happen. Obviously they are hoping the uproar they created will die down with time, but in the memory of Lorin and all the other victims, we are going to make sure that people never forget who Pinnacle, United, and Silver Airlines used to be."

The group is referencing recent moves announced in the industry, as Pinnacle Air, the parent carrier of Colgan, bought Mesaba, and Continental merged with United. Not surprisingly, Pinnacle announced plans to phase out the Colgan name and go with Mesaba, and Continental, despite over seventy-five years of tradition, agreed to go with the United name after the merger. The regional airline Gulfstream Airlines, attempting to distance itself from its corporate brother Gulfstream Academy, which has come under heavy fire for its approach to pilot training, recently announced the change to Silver Airlines. Finally, the Air Transport Association, the powerful lobbying arm for the industry's biggest carriers, has attempted to re-package itself as Airlines for America (A4A).

"When you really examine this closely, the Flight 3407 disaster has its roots in the major airlines' strategic decision to outsource over 50 percent of their routes to these regional airlines who could operate these flights on the cheap when it comes to pilot compensation, training, and investment in best practice safety programs," stated John Kausner of Clarence Center, New York, who lost his twenty-four-year-old daughter Elly in the crash less than one mile from their family home. "Obviously the major airlines are quick to hide behind their iron-clad code share agreements and put this all on their regional partners and the FAA, but make no mistake about it, their fingerprints are all over my daughter's casket. And when it comes to doing the industry's dirty work in Washington, there has not been a better lead blocker over the past few decades than the ATA. Airlines for America may have a kinder, gentler ring to it, but we are not going to let the public be fooled - this is still the epitome of high-powered corporate lobbying that has certainly had its way with our goverment and the FAA from time to time."

Flight 3407 Families to Meet with FAA Chief Huerta, Will Commemorate Anniversary with Press Conference in Washington Next Tuesday PDF Print E-mail

Group Continues to Press for Timely Implementation of Aviation Safety Bill

Buffalo, New York- February 1, 2012 – With the three year anniversary of the tragic crash of Continental Flight 3407 less than two weeks away, the "Families of Continental Flight 3407" announced that they would be heading to Washington next week to commemorate their loved ones' memory and to continue to show their resolve in pushing for critical regional airline safety initiatives to be put in place by the Federal Aviation Administration. Planned events for their Tuesday, February 7th visit include a press conference with the Western New York congressional delegation as well as a meeting with acting FAA Administrator Michael Huerta.

"First and foremost, we cannot allow Congress and the Administration to ever forget Beverly and all of our loved ones lost in this avoidable tragedy," stated Karen Eckert of Williamsville, New York, who lost her sister and prominent 9/11 widow and activist Beverly Eckert. "Last spring, we saw a disturbing example of what can happen when the industry, lobbyists, and sympathetic lawmakers intersect, and we spent three months fighting to ensure that the safety legislation that we fought so hard for would not be watered down. Beverly's efforts in the wake of losing Sean on 9/11 serve as a strong reminder that we must continue to come here to Washington and make sure that the powers-that-be do not lose their resolve for these safety advances over time. We remain united in our cause of achieving a true 'One Level of Safety' for all of our nation's flying public, whether they fly on major carriers or their regional partners."

The group also is looking forward to their first meeting with acting FAA Administrator, Michael Huerta, who is replacing Randy Babbitt, a former pilot who worked closely with the group in the wake of the crash. The FAA has made significant progress by issuing a decades-overdue new regulation on pilot scheduling limits this past December, but numerous requirements to remain to be met in the areas of pilot qualification, training, safety management systems, and addressing numerous other safety recommendations made by the National Transportation Safety Board in its final report on Flight 3407.

"Although we have a great law on paper to show the results of our efforts, the tough reality is that we still have at least two more years' worth of milestones and deadlines to be met for it to truly to mean something," stated Scott Maurer of Moore, South Carolina, who lost his thirty year old daughter Lorin in the crash. "This is exactly how the airlines have succeeded in the past in delaying and obstructing critical safety reforms that impact their bottom line; they have the time and resources to outlast a group like ours. That is why it is so important that Administrator Huerta feels the depth of our pain and sense of loss, and understands our determination to see this all the way through. We are counting on his leadership, and that of Secretary LaHood and President Obama to guide this effort to completion."

The landmark aviation safety legislation passed by Congress in 2010 contained numerous safety reforms intended to address the deficiencies that led to the tragedy of Continental Flight 3407, operated by Colgan Air. Congress called on the FAA to issue stronger regulations regarding pilot training, scheduling, and qualifications, and mandated additional measures to ensure that all regional airlines invest in safety and training programs in a manner comparable to the major carriers. The FAA was also required to release a yearly report on the status of all outstanding NTSB safety recommendations, which it recently did. The family group has now made over forty trips to Washington to advocate for their safety cause.

On the Twelfth Day of Christmas, Flight 3407 Victim Mary Abraham's Family Wishes for FAA to Meet Key Deadlines in 2012 PDF Print E-mail

ATP Requirement, Training, Safety Management Systems, and NTSB Recommendations on Group's Radar

Buffalo, New York- January 6, 2012 – As the Christmas season officially comes to an end on the proverbial twelfth day, the sisters of Flight 3407 victim Mary Abraham recognized the progress made by the Department of Transportation and Federal Aviation Administration in 2011, and challenged Secretary of Transportation Ray LaHood and acting FAA Administrator Michael Huerta to continue to step up and meet key deadlines on Congressionally-mandated aviation safety reforms in 2012. Many key milestones revolve around August 1, 2012, the two year anniversary of the date that President Obama signed the 'Airline Safety and Federal Aviation Administration Extension Act of 2010' into law.

On the Eleventh Day of Christmas, Flight 3407 Victim Lorin Maurer's Family Wishes for FAA to Strengthen ATP License Requirements PDF Print E-mail

Call for 1,500 Flight Hours and Stronger Qualitative Elements

Buffalo, New York- January 3, 2012 – After missing their thirty-year old daughter for yet another holiday season, the parents of Flight 3407 victim Lorin Maurer challenged Secretary of Transportation Ray LaHood and acting FAA Administrator Michael Huerta to issue strong new requirements for the Airline Transport Pilot rating, in accordance with a powerful Congressional mandate in landmark aviation safety legislation passed last year. With regional airlines stooping to lower and lower levels to hire their entry-level first officers, often right out of flight school, the 'Families of Continental Flight 3407' have made this FAA rulemaking effort their highest priority.

On the Tenth Day of Christmas, Flight 3407 Victim Darren Tolsma's Family Wishes for FAA to Complete Rulemaking on Pilot Mentoring and Leadership Training PDF Print E-mail

Wants FAA to Set New Generation of Regional Airline Pilots Up For Success

Buffalo, New York- December 28, 2011 – Three holiday seasons after they lost their father and husband in the crash of Continental Flight 3407, the family of Darren Tolsma called on Secretary of Transportation Ray LaHood and acting FAA Administrator Michael Huerta to continue forward with a rulemaking covering the critical areas of pilot mentoring, professional development and leadership training. This rulemaking project also includes a key component of sterile cockpit training, one of the glaring issues revealed by the NTSB's post-crash analysis of the cockpit voice recorder.

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