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Pascrell Joins House Aviation Panel In Introducing Legislation To Establish Faa Task Force Aimed At Ensuring Airline Safety And Improving Pilot Training

Press Release

Location: Washington, DC

Pascrell Joins House Aviation Panel In Introducing Legislation To Establish Faa Task Force Aimed At Ensuring Airline Safety And Improving Pilot Training

U.S. Rep. Bill Pascrell, Jr. (D-NJ-8) cosponsored legislation today the "Airline Safety and Pilot Training Improvement Act of 2009" that would establish a Federal Aviation Administration task force to identify aviation industry best practices in areas including pilot training and inter-carrier information sharing.

"Clearly, what went wrong on that February night in Buffalo demonstrated a need for greater accountability and reform as major airlines outsource commuter routes to smaller carriers," said Pascrell, a former longtime member of the House Aviation Subcommittee. "This task force will help ensure the safety of passengers on future flights while making sure those who perished on Flight 3407 did not die in vain."

The legislation, introduced by U.S. Rep. Jerry Costello (D-IL-12) today, would provide greater federal oversight of commuter flights outsourced by major airlines. The FAA task force established by the legislation would be required to report to Congress every 180 days on progress in implementing best practices regarding pilot training, pilot professional standards inter-carrier information sharing, mentoring and other safety-related practices.

The legislation would also require the FAA to ensure that pilots are trained in stall recovery, and require all pilots to have the 1,500 flight hours required for an Airline Transport License.

More comprehensive pre-employment screening for pilots would also be required through the legislation including assessments of skills, aptitude, and suitability for functioning in the airline operational environment.

The FAA would also be required to update its pilot flight and duty time rules to fight pilot fatigue.

All 49 people aboard Continental Airlines Flight 3407 died on a wintry night on Feb. 12 as the plane made its approach to Buffalo Niagara International Airport. The National Transportation Safety Board released records in May indicating that the twin-engine turboprop Dash 8-Q400 Bombardier stalled and plunged into a house. A person on the ground also perished.

Fourteen of the people onboard Flight 3407 had connections to New Jersey, including five who lived in the eighth congressional district.

Donald and Dawn Mossop of Bloomfield were travelling with their 13-year-old son, Shawn. Dawn Mossop's sister, Ferris Reid, also from Bloomfield, was also on the flight.

Jazz saxophonist and flutist Gerry Niewood, 65, of Glen Ridge, was another passenger on board. Niewood was best-known for playing with jazz-great Chuck Mangione's band.

The NTSB indicated that Capt. Marvin Renslow "was slow learning" how to operate the plane, but his abilities "picked up at the end." Transcripts of the plane's cockpit voice recorder released by the NTSB showed that Renslow and First Officer Rebecca Shaw talked about their fears of flying in icy conditions.

Colgan Air Inc. officials testified during a federal hearing in May that Renslow and Shaw failed to follow the airline's procedures for responding to a stall.

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