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NTSB Report on Colgan Crash in Buffalo

by John M. White |

The National Transportation Safety Board issued it's report today on the February 2009 of the Colgan Air Q400 accident in Buffalo, NY. In that crash 50 persons, including the crew, lost their lives. Once again the NTSB has found pilot error as the primary cause of the accident, asserting the captain responded incorrectly to the stick-shaker which activated warning the crew of an impending stall due to the level of icing on the aircraft. Apparently the captain pulled back on the control column rather than pushing it forward, causing an aerodynamic stall of the aircraft.
The safety board stated that the issues encountered in its investigation will be "studied at greater length" later in the year, and at the same time delivered recommendations to the FAA concerning strategies regarding pilot professionalism, pilot fatigue, crew monitoring procedures, pilot records, stall training and airspeed selection procedures. Colgan Air Crash The NTSB cited additional factors noted were the crew's failure to recognize low speed cues on flight displays, the failure of the crew to maintain a "sterile cockpit environment", and Colgan Air's inadequate procedures for airspeed selection and management during approaches in icing conditions. Colgan air, in the meantime, said the pilots had received thorough training in handling a stall situation and that it "cannot speculate on why they did not use their training" on the night of the accident. Colgan went on to state that they have examined every aspect of their operations since the accident and that they will continually work to improve all of their programs. The FAA responded by stating that it would soon propose new rules regarding pilot fatigue and improved training. The ALPA (Airline Pilots Association) remarked that the report highlighted many longstanding aviation safety concerns, including the need to improve pilot screening, training, mentoring and modernizing the flight time and duty time regulations for pilots. It should be noted that Captain Sullenberger has remarked on many of these same issues facing airlines today, and his opinion that the FAA needs to act on duty time and training issues as soon as possible. Until next time keep your wings straight and level Hersch! JetAviator7 All who are practically concerned with aerial navigation agree that the safety of the operator is more important to successful experimentation than any other point. The history of past investigation demonstrates that greater prudence is needed rather than greater skill. Only a madman would propose taking greater risks than the great constructors of earlier times. — Wilbur Wright, 1901.

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