Similar Recommendation Made After Crash That Claimed Life of Senator Paul Wellstone; NTSB Rates FAA Response ‘Unacceptable’
Buffalo, New York- December 28, 2011 – In the midst of their third holiday season without their father and husband after Continental Flight 3407 crashed into their house on Long Street in Clarence Center, New York, the family of Doug Wielinski called on Secretary of Transportation Ray LaHood and acting FAA Administrator Michael Huerta, to finally take action on a long-standing NTSB safety recommendation to require the installation of low airspeed alerters in all commercial airplanes. This recommendation, which dates back to 1982 and was reiterated in the 2005 crash which took the life of Senator Paul Wellstone of Minnesota, seeks to address the issue of pilots being surprised by aerodynamic stalls and not being able to execute a recovery from that condition.
“The pain of losing Doug intensifies during the holidays. Our tradition on Christmas eve, after we would help ‘Santa’ distribute the girls’ presents under the tree, would be to sit together under the tree and open our stocking gifts, while raising a glass to cheer the arrival of Christmas. It was some special time alone before the activity of the morning,” shared his wife Karen. “Now my ‘alone’ time consists only of memories. We are doing everything possible so that another family doesn’t feel the pain we do every day, and especially here during the holidays. The NTSB has clearly pointed to what improvements need to be made in aviation safety to keep Flight 3407 from being repeated, and for a critical NTSB recommendation like this to be seemingly ignored by the FAA is absolutely unacceptable. It is not hard to see that the airlines are probably against this because it would cost money to install these in all cockpits, but there is no getting around the fact that safety does cost money, and we are counting on the FAA to do the right thing when it comes to this recommendation.”
The NTSB made twenty-eight safety recommendations in the aftermath of Flight 3407, and the low airspeed alerter recommendation is one of three that the FAA’s response is currently rated as ‘Unacceptable’ by the NTSB. The family group’s push for action on this recommendation is part of their ‘Twelve Days of Christmas’ campaign, aimed at highlighting key elements of their ‘One Level of Safety’ campaign for all passengers traveling on the nation’s regional airlines, which account for over half of all flights flown in the United States.