TribLIVE

| USWorld


 
Larger text Larger text Smaller text Smaller text | Order Photo Reprints

Industry foes delay aviation safety law, government watchdog reports

AP
The Feb. 12, 2009, crash of Continental flight 3407 that killed 49 people outside Buffalo, N.Y., spurred the writing of legislation mandating enhanced training of pilots.

Email Newsletters

Click here to sign up for one of our email newsletters.

Daily Photo Galleries

By The Associated Press
Saturday, Feb. 2, 2013, 5:50 p.m.
 

WASHINGTON — Faced with substantial industry opposition, federal regulators are struggling to implement a sweeping aviation safety law enacted after the last fatal U.S. airline crash nearly four years ago, according to a report by a government watchdog.

The Federal Aviation Administration is experiencing lengthy delays in putting in place rules required by the law to increase the amount of experience necessary to be an airline pilot, provide more realistic pilot training and create a program in which experienced captains mentor less experienced first officers, according to the report by the Department of Transportation's Inspector General. The report was obtained by The Associated Press.

The FAA is also running into problems in creating a centralized electronic database that airlines can check prior to hiring pilots, the report stated. The database is supposed to include pilots' performance on past tests of flying skills.

In each case, the agency has run into significant opposition from the airline industry, the report said.

“To effectively implement these initiatives in a timely manner, (the) FAA must balance industry concerns with a sustained commitment to oversight,” the report stated.

Congress passed the law a year and a half after the Feb. 12, 2009, crash of a regional airliner near Buffalo that killed all 49 people aboard and a man on the ground. A National Transportation Safety Board investigation of the accident highlighted weaknesses in pilot training, tiring work schedules, lengthy commutes and relatively low experience levels for pilots at some regional carriers.

The accident was due to an incorrect response by the flight's captain to two key safety systems, causing an aerodynamic stall that sent the plane plummeting into a house below, the NTSB investigation concluded.

“The law is only as strong as the regulations that come from it, so this (implementation) process is the true measuring stick of how this law will ultimately be viewed,” said Kevin Kuwik, spokesman for a group of family members of victims killed in the crash.

The family members lobbied relentlessly for passage of the safety law. Kuwik lost his girlfriend, 30-year-old Lorin Maurer, in the accident.

Driven by the accident and the new safety law, the FAA substantially revised its rules governing pilot work schedules to better ensure pilots are rested when they fly. It was the first modification of the rules since 1985 and “a significant achievement” for the FAA, the report stated.

Subscribe today! Click here for our subscription offers.

 

 


Show commenting policy

Most-Read Nation

  1. Magma chamber spied under Yellowstone volcano
  2. House demands details of Taliban detainees swap for Bergdahl
  3. Study a surprise: Commercial bees unfazed by pesticides
  4. Unhappiness over plan to unfreeze billions in oil revenue for Iran threatens nuclear bill in Senate
  5. Administration turns up heat on Medicaid expansion
  6. HIV cases tied to drug use multiply daily in Indiana
  7. ‘Organic’ tag on water-raised produce raises ire
  8. Footage of protesters walking on flag sparks strife at Georgia university
  9. Holder delivers farewell address
  10. Florida fraternity members spit on disabled veterans at retreat
  11. 15 buffalo that escaped from farm killed in upstate N.Y.