Report Cites Lack of Training in ‘Surprise Situations’; Hauntingly Similar to Flight 3407 Findings
Buffalo, New York- July 10, 2012 – Responding to last week’s release of a final report on the causes of the fatal 2009 Air France crash that claimed 228 lives, the ‘Families of Continental Flight 3407’ continued to press officials in the Federal Aviation Administration, Department of Transportation, and the White House Office of Management and Budget to pick up the pace in finalizing critical pilot training improvements that would address a recurring problem of pilots improperly responding to emergency situations. The timeline for these safety reforms, which were unanimously approved by both houses of Congress in 2010 and directed to be completed by October 2011, has recently been pushed back to October 2013 by the FAA and the Obama Administration. Citing a process which already dates back to 1999, and which includes heavy industry pressure to delay the FAA’s efforts, the family group called on acting FAA Administrator Michael Huerta to come through for the flying public and put safety ahead of the industry’s bottom line.
“Just like with what the NTSB found with Flight 3407, the Air France final report underscores the dramatic need to better train our pilots to react to emergency situations, and in particular to not be so heavily reliant on the automation in the cockpit,” stated Scott Maurer of Moore, South Carolina, who lost his thirty-year old daughter Lorin. “And it is not just one crash investigation calling for this; it is multiple crash investigations, and it is expert pilots like Sully Sullenberger and Jeff Skiles from the ‘Miracle on the Hudson’. Everyone keeps saying that we need to re-emphasize pilots’ manual flying skills, and train their responses to emergency situations in a more realistic and robust way, and yet we continue to see the FAA spinning its wheels. Shame on us if we continue to let months and years pass because we can’t cut through the bureaucratic red tape and achieve a common-sense solution that has been staring us in the face for the past three years. And don’t get me started on the airlines doing this voluntarily; voluntary compliance, or the lack thereof, is exactly why the crash of Flight 3407 happened in the first place.”
The group called on FAA and the Administration to live up to Huerta’s pledge to Senate Commerce Committee Chairman John D. ‘Jay’ Rockefeller (D-WV) to ‘provide the resources to get this done as quickly as possible’, in reference to a process which has already included industry input from a rule making advisory committee and two rounds of proposed rules with comment periods. Of even greater concern, the FAA’s latest proposal carries a five year compliance window, which would potentially not require the changes until 2019, over 10 years after the Flight 3407 crash.