Group to Attend Wednesday Meeting with OMB on Rule That Is Two Years Past Congressional Deadline
Buffalo, New York – September 17, 2013 – With the five year anniversary of the tragic crash looming on the horizon, the ‘Families of Continental Flight 3407’ will continue their push for a true ‘One Level of Safety’ between the nation’s major and regional air carriers with a Wednesday trip to Washington. At stake is a congressional mandate calling on the Federal Aviation Administration to revamp airline pilot training protocols in the wake of numerous training deficiencies at regional carrier Colgan Air that contributed to the February 2009 crash. The FAA’s October 2011 deadline established by Congress in the landmark 2010 Aviation Safety Act has come and gone, and both Secretary of Transportation Anthony Foxx and FAA Administrator Michael Huerta have stated their commitment to complete the final rule by October 21st of this year.
“We are talking about a provision that had the unanimous support of both Houses of Congress, something that is nearly impossible to achieve these days, and certainly there is going to be a lot of noise made by a lot of different people if Secretary Foxx and Administrator Huerta do not deliver come October 21st,” stated Scott Maurer, of Moore, South Carolina, who lost his thirty year-old daughter Lorin in the crash. “We are talking common-sense reforms here in critical areas such as stall recovery training, which was woefully inadequate when it came to our crash. The NTSB has been calling for many of these improvements for many years, and it would be an absolute shame if another completely avoidable tragedy was to occur in the meantime because DOT and FAA were not able to get their acts together and follow through on this legal requirement.”
Members of the family group will meet Wednesday with representatives of the White House Office of Management and Budget, where the rule is currently awaiting final approval. In addition to requiring more robust stall and upset recovery training, the rule will also establish a Continuous Analysis Program (CAP) for all airlines, which will include the creation of remedial training programs to identify and remediate pilots who demonstrate repeated training deficiencies, another glaring oversight by Colgan Air. And collectively, the rule will revamp the entire pilot training curriculum for all commercial passenger carriers, something that FAA has been unsuccessfully attempting to do in fits and starts since 1999.
“Once again, you have the airlines and their lobbyists flexing their collective muscle over at OMB in attempt to delay and water down this critical rule,” declared Susan Bourque of East Aurora, New York, who lost her sister and prominent 9/11 widow and activist Beverly Eckert. “They have been successful for nearly 15 years now, but hopefully their efforts at obstruction will finally be overcome. Last week’s anniversary of 9/11 serves as a proud reminder for us of how our sister Beverly and other 9/11 family members were able to triumph over powerful lobbying and government forces to achieve critical reforms, and we hope that our persistence and determination over the last four years will be enough to sway FAA, DOT, and yes, even the White House, to do what is right for passenger safety.”