Shuster Amendment Could Derail Similar Safety Initiatives

Buffalo, New York- May 11, 2011 – Prior to reviewing the 800 page proposal in its entirety, The ‘Families of Continental Flight 3407’ praised the Federal Aviation Administration and Administrator Randy Babbitt for their release today of a proposed rulemaking to revise crewmember training programs for all air carriers. The action represents another milestone in the implementation of PL 111-216, the landmark aviation safety legislation that was passed and signed into law last August.


“While we are not in a position to give our whole-hearted endorsement as of yet, at first glance we are very pleased to see many of the deficiencies that contributed to Flight 3407 addressed,” stated Scott Maurer of Moore, South Carolina, who lost his thirty year old daughter Lorin. “The NTSB investigation raised many red flags in terms of how the carrier trained its pilots on speed selection procedures, stall recognition and recovery, and ultimately, upset recovery. When it came to the understanding and utilizing V-Ref switch and the stick pusher, the case can be made that more robust training could have prevented this tragedy, so we are pleased to see that the FAA is moving forward to address these issues, particularly in terms of the model of training as a crew. However, the true measure of success will be the issuance of a final rule, and we are counting on Administrator Babbitt to push past any industry and congressional roadblocks to guide this to completion.”

The group also used the release of this NPRM to highlight their strong opposition to the Shuster Amendment to the FAA Reauthorization Bill, which narrowly passed the House last month. The provision, which seeks to slow down the FAA’s rulemaking process by imposing additional and redundant requirements, would adversely affect other safety initiatives that the FAA is undertaking as a result of the Flight 3407 investigation and subsequent legislation.

“It is important to note that this rulemaking has been in progress for nearly a decade, which shows what a strong grip that the airlines and the industry already have on this process,” added Susan Bourque of East Aurora, New York, who lost her sister and prominent 9/11 activist Beverly Eckert. “On the front end, they dominate the rulemaking advisory committees, and then they are very good at inundating the FAA during the comment process as well. And whenever they still don’t get what they want, they are quick to complain about the ‘burdens’ that the government is placing on them; we would be glad to show them what true burdens are. The Shuster Amendment would serve to only stack the deck in their favor even more, and make it more difficult for the ‘little people’ like us to achieve critical safety reforms in a timely fashion. Hopefully, the key players in Congress in both houses and on both sides of the aisle will recognize this and do the right thing by the American people, which is to drop the Shuster Amendment and keep it out of the final FAA Bill.”