22 December 2011

A victory for Flight 3407 families: New rules to fight pilot fatigue

Flight 3407 families and friends light candles in memory of those they lost. 
Thanks in large part to the hard work and persistence of the family members of the victims of Flight 3407, new rules will go into effect to ensure that cockpit crews on regional airlines will be better rested to promote a safer flying environment. Beverly Eckert's sisters Karen Eckert and Susan Bourque were among these citizen-advocates, who made frequent trips to Washington in order to push for airline safety.

The crash of Continental Flight 3407 and its aftermath is a significant local story in Buffalo and has received extensive coverage in the Buffalo News. In the paper's account of the latest episode, Bourque is quoted as saying that the new rules "are much more rigorous than the current rules." She added that the rules would contribute to the efforts on the part of family members to ensure that regional airlines are held to the same safety standards as are the national carriers.

Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood praised the work of the family members, saying they turned their "unimaginable heartbreak... into a powerful commitment to save the lives of others." He added: "They pushed us to make progress, the progress we're making today. This rule really should be named in honor of the families" and the Flight 3407 victims.

While this measure is very significant, safety advocates note there is more to be done. Here's a quote from the coverage on the "Frontline" program's portion of the Public Broadcasting Service web site, which has done in-depth reporting on the crash of Flight 3407 and the struggle for safer regional airlines.

“Today marks a very important day in pilot safety,” said Congresswoman Louise Slaughter (D-N.Y.), whose district includes Buffalo and who has been pushing the FAA to implement the new rules. “Finally, guidance has been provided by the FAA that will help assure the American public that when they step into a plane, their pilot is well-rested. … While I’m pleased we have a final rule on pilot fatigue, we know from the findings of the National Transportation Safety Board, that it was not the only factor contributing to the tragic crash in Clarence two years ago. There must be more done to address pilot training, especially on techniques as basic as how to fly in ice when landing in Buffalo.”

Here is some more the press coverage:












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