It Is What It Is, Dude
Date registered: Mar 2006
Vehicle: 1978 107.024 RIP
Mentioned: 2 Post(s)
Quoted: 83 Post(s)
Not Good For Continental...
Continental Flight 3407 victims' kin furious at pilot's lack of preparedness
BY David Saltonstall and Richard Sisk
DAILY NEWS STAFF WRITERS
Tuesday, May 12th 2009, 4:00 AM
WASHINGTON - The son of a passenger killed aboard a Newark-Buffalo flight in February has a question about the pilot that will dominate hearings that start Tuesday: "What the hell was this guy doing flying this airplane?"
Federal sources say that air safety inspectors reviewing the crash of Continental Connection Flight 3407 have concluded Capt. Marvin Renslow:
- Had no hands-on training in a vital anti-stall device.
- Had failed several flight tests.
- Was chatting with the co-pilot in violation of federal rules when the plane went down on approach.
The crash killed all 49 aboard and a man on the ground, making it the deadliest U.S. transportation accident in more than seven years.
Three days of National Transportation Safety Board hearings will also receive testimony Renslow did exactly the wrong thing when an anti-stall alarm went off: He pulled back on the controls instead of pushing forward, the sources said.
Adam Niewood, 32, of Manhattan, a professional saxophonist who lost his father, Gerry Niewood, 65 - a celebrated saxophonist who played with Chuck Mangione - was outraged to learn that lapses in training, experience and cockpit discipline could have caused his father's death.
"It is not the pilot's fault, it's the airline's fault," said Niewood. "If I go to the DMV and I can't drive, they won't give me a license."
"My father was an intelligent, well-spoken man. He had a code of ethics that he instilled in me, and if he were alive to understand the complex nature of this tragedy, it would destroy him, he would be so angry," Niewood added.
Flight 3407 operated by Colgan Air Inc. crashed at 10:47 p.m. Feb. 12 on approach to the Buffalo airport. The plane, flying in an ice storm, pitched up violently as it neared a stall, then rolled over and crashed.
The hearings will involve technical analysis of "stick pushers" and "sterile cockpits," but the jargon should not be allowed to mask a chain of human errors that brought down the Bombardier Dash 8-Q400 turboprop, lawyers for families of the victims said.
After reviewing the cockpit voice recorder and flight data recorder, investigators suspect that Renslow, 47, and co-pilot Rebecca Lynn Shaw, 24, may have violated the Federal Aviation Administration's sterile cockpit rule barring idle chatter when the plane is flying below 10,000 feet.
"The pilots were not properly trained, and they were not adhering to the sterile cockpit rules," said lawyer Dan Rose, representing 12 victims' families. "They were not trained on auto-pilot and de-icing systems."
When a plane descends below 10,000 feet, "That should be the time to get serious, to get focused - no more bantering around," Rose said.
The NTSB will also look into Renslow's failure of at least three flight tests and airline schedules that pilots have charged leave them working grueling hours with little sleep.
Co-pilot Shaw had flown a "red-eye" flight to Newark before Flight 3407 and allegedly could be heard on the cockpit recordings complaining to Renslow about congestion from a cold and saying she should have called in sick.
The NTSB's preliminary investigation has found "no failures or anomalies" in the aircraft or its maintenance, and lawyers for the families have focused on pilot error rather than systems failure in their lawsuits.
In a statement, Colgan Air insisted: "Capt. Renslow had all the training and experience required to safely operate" the aircraft, had received "comprehensive training" in anti-stall devices and recoveries from stalls and was well-rested before taking the controls of Flight 3407.