Buffalo, New York- December 8, 2009 – Over 35 members of the ‘Families of Continental Flight 3407’ will descend upon Capitol Hill this Thursday to attend a critical Senate Aviation Subcommittee hearing on the ‘Oversight of FAA Initiatives’, where FAA Administrator Randy Babbitt will testify.
“Make no mistake about it, Administrator Babbitt is going to play a crucial role in determining whether the aviation industry will correct the unacceptable mistakes at the regional airline level that were allowed to exist and ultimately cause this tragedy,” stated John Kausner of Clarence Center, New York, who lost his 24 year old daughter Elly. “We know that the regional CEO’s have been working diligently behind the scenes to pressure Senator Dorgan, both Houses of Congress, and Administrator Babbitt and the FAA to go easy on them, particularly in the area of pilot qualifications and requiring all commercial pilots to have an ATP license.”
The hearing is expected to address the FAA’s response to four critical areas identified by the family group in the wake of this accident: heightened pilot training regulations, particularly in the areas of stall recovery and cold weather operations, new federal regulations to address pilot fatigue, especially in the area of commuting, increased emphasis on the commitment to safety programs by regional airlines, and heightened standards of pilot qualifications.
“We are placing a bright light on Adminstrator Babbitt’s comments, particularly in regards to legislation proposed by Senator Schumer and already passed overwhelmingly by the House, that all commercial airline pilots be required to have a Airline Transport Pilot (ATP) license,” stated Susan Bourque of East Aurora, New York, who lost her sister Beverly Eckert in the crash. “His (Babbitt’s) testimony is going to send a strong message on where this adminstration stands in regards to the best interests of passengers versus the best interests of the industry, and we hope and pray that he is going to come out in support of the traveling public, not these corporate executives who clearly have only been concerned with their bottom line.”
The ‘Families of Continental Flight 3407’ will be joined by Captain Jeff Skiles, the first officer who was a part of ‘The Miracle on the Hudson’, who will be speaking in support of the ATP requirement, and will be holding a press conference in conjunction with the hearing; details will be forthcoming.