Challenge FAA to Deliver on Rulemakings That Will Enhance Training Requirements

Buffalo, New York- April 24, 2012 – With the House Aviation Subcommittee scheduled to hold an aviation safety oversight hearing on Wednesday, the ‘Families of Continental Flight 3407’ kept up the pressure on the government and industry to work towards higher safety standards, with a spotlight on raising the safety standards for the nation’s regional airlines. The group highlighted the recent statement by Pinnacle Airlines in its bankruptcy filing, where it blamed the airline industry’s ‘Race to the Bottom’, as regional carriers compete to shave operating expenses in a desire to provide the lowest bids to mainline carriers for their regional routes.


“Every day that passes without a fatal commercial airline crash is a testament to the hard work and dedication of so many,” stated Scott Maurer of Moore, South Carolina, who lost his thirty-year old daughter Lorin. “But rather than give each other a pat on the back and re-create the conditions for the complacency that allowed Flight 3407 to occur in the first place, we are counting on the FAA, Congress, and all industry stakeholders to remain fully focused on ensuring that today, tomorrow, and the next day are accident-free as well. As we consider the recent mention by Pinnacle Airlines of the ‘race to the bottom’ associated with the regional airline industry and the competition to win contracts with the lowest bid, we must ensure that shortcuts are not allowed to be taken. I never want another father to receive a call in the middle of the night like I did, and we challenge all involved to remain fully committed to completing the implementation of the all-important safety provisions contained in P.L. 111-216, ‘The Airline Safety Act of 2010’.”

With the multiple initiatives called for by the law in various stages of completion, the group hopes that the hearing will zero in on two key rulemaking projects that are both focused on the all-important area of pilot training. Many of the difficulties experienced by the crew of Flight 3407 were able to be traced back to training deficiencies, some related to initial and recurrent training administered by Colgan, and others resulting from the crew’s entry-level flight training and basic airmanship.

“Obviously we have a host of issues on our radar, including pilot commuting, safety management systems, the pilot records database, and the implementation of the NTSB’s safety recommendations from our crash,” declared Karen Eckert of Williamsville, New York, who lost her sister and noted 9/11 widow and activist Beverly Eckert. “But we can’t emphasize enough the importance of issuing the final rules on airlines’ crewmember training programs as well as on pilot certification and qualification. Taken together, these two initiatives will allow us to take a giant step towards our goal of achieving a true ‘One Level of Safety’ between our nation’s mainline and regional airlines, in particular setting up our entry level pilots for success in the cockpit. The FAA is facing key deadlines and strong industry resistance on both, and we are counting on the Obama administration, particularly Secretary LaHood and Acting Administrator Huerta, to come through for the safety of the flying public.”

Wednesday’s hearing, entitled ‘A Review of Aviation Safety in the United States’, will be held at 9:00 a.m. in Room 2167 of the Rayburn House Office Building, and family members will be available for comment before and after the hearing.