Computerized Training Records Will Aid Airlines in Hiring the Best-Qualified Pilots

Buffalo, New York- December 19, 2011 – Approaching the third Christmas after the crash of Continental Flight 3407, the family of fifty-four year old Ernie West, one of four victims employed by Northrop Grumman, urged Secretary of Transportation Ray LaHood and acting FAA Administrator Michael Huerta to speed up the implementation of a computerized pilot training records database. With the NTSB investigation revealing that Colgan Air, the regional airline operating Flight 3407, was not aware of prior training deficiencies when the company hired both pilots on the flight, the creation of this electronic database was one of the key reforms mandated by Congress in the wake of the tragedy.


“Ernie and I so looked forward to seeing our now five-year old daughter Summer’s eyes light up at the thought of Santa visiting our home, and that they always did! He would always say that she gave us a reason to act like big kids, and we enjoyed her growing excitement with each successive Christmas. Now all Summer has left is to hang Daddy’s stocking, because she doesn’t want him to feel alone in Heaven,” stated Jennifer West of Clarence, New York. “This was a completely avoidable tragedy; my husband was almost home, he was two minutes away from tucking his daughter in bed. There should never be another crash where the families of the victims hear the CEO of the airline testify that the pilot never would have been hired if the company had access to his complete record. We are nearly three years after the crash, and most of the needed changes have still not been completed by the FAA. I would like to see Administrator Huerta and the FAA pick up the pace, not only with this database, but with every other reform that President Obama signed into law.”

The creation of a computerized records database to ensure complete transparency in the hiring of pilots was a key part of Public Law 111-216, ‘The Airline Safety and Federal Aviation Administration Extension Act of 2010’. Because Congress did not specify a deadline for this database to be operational, the ‘Families of Continental Flight 3407’ remain hopeful that the FAA will bring this on-line as quickly as possible, especially in the face of resistance from various industry stakeholders.

This call to expedite the implementation of this critical system 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.