October 1 Deadline Has Come and Gone; Proposal Would Address Stall and Upset Recognition and Recovery Deficiencies That Contributed to Crash
Buffalo, New York- December 8, 2011 – As yet another holiday season approaches without their father and husband, the family of passenger Kevin Johnston, the Director of Safety at Henkel Technologies-Americas, called upon the Obama administration, particularly Secretary of Transportation Ray LaHood and acting FAA Administrator Michael Huerta, to expeditiously complete an in-progress rule making that would significantly strengthen the pilot training curriculum for all commercial airlines. In particular, the rule in its proposed form would address critical NTSB safety recommendations in the wake of Flight 3407 that called for more robust training on stall and upset recognition and recovery, as well as for more aggressive remedial training programs for pilots who have struggled with proficiency checks.
“Dad loved Christmas. He insisted that we go out as a family and buy a real tree, and at this time of year our house would be filled with decorations, lights would be draped everywhere, and Christmas music would be playing. He had us watch his favorite movie, ‘It’s a Wonderful Life’, on VHS as a family every year. Since February 12, 2009, the Christmas decorations sit in a box in the attic untouched. There is no Christmas tree, lights, ornaments, music, or family movies. We cannot bear bringing Christmas back into our house without our father,’ shared Melissa Johnston of East Amherst, New York. “Someone once told me that each year the holidays get a bit easier. I wish that were true. But our Flight 3407 family group has dedicated ourselves to ensuring that every deficiency that caused Flight 3407 is fully addressed, and there is no doubt in our mind that stronger initial and recurrent pilot training programs at regional airlines will help achieve this goal. It is our hope that Secretary LaHood and acting Administrator Huerta will follow through on these training requirements mandated by Congress, so that another family doesn’t have to suffer through an empty Christmas like we do.”
The new training guidelines were an important facet of PL 111-216, ‘The Airline Safety and Federal Aviation Administration Extension Act of 2010′, which mandated an October 1, 2011 release for a final rule. The NTSB final report on Flight 3407 highlighted the pilots’ difficulties in recognizing and recovering from a stall, and cast a bright light on inadequate stall recognition and recovery training at Colgan Air, the regional airline operating the flight. This appeal comes as part of the Flight 3407 Families ‘Twelve Days of Christmas’ campaign, aimed at highlighting key elements of the family group’s push for ‘One Level of Safety’ for all passengers traveling on the nation’s regional airlines, which account for over half of all flights flown in the United States.