New York, NY–Top New York personal injury lawyer, Jonathan C. Reiter, with a long standing success record in representing victims of airplane crashes, attends the U.S. National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) www.ntsb.gov hearings in Washington D.C., on Tuesday, May 12, 2009. The NTSB convened to review the fatal Continental Airlines plane crash that occurred in Buffalo, New York, on February 12, which killed all 49 crew and passengers onboard and one homeowner on the ground.
The NTSB released transcripts, of the cockpit voice recorder of the Dash 8-Q400 Bombardier, a twin-engine, turboprop that Colgan Air operated for Continental Airlines. These show that the plane had an aerodynamic stall while on approach to Buffalo Niagara International Airport in New York in icy conditions. Strong aviation accident litigator in America’s courts, Reiter, concurs with NTSB regulators conclusion that the Buffalo plane crash is the deadliest transportation disaster in the United States in seven years.
Cockpit voice recordings between pilots, Captain Marvin Renslow and First Officer Rebecca Shaw, reveal violations of the sterile air environment of the cockpit with both pilots conducting non-flight related discussions during landing. The start of the 3 day, NTSB hearings, with the release of the cockpit transcripts, have left many airplane crash experts stunned and shocked with the pilots openly discussing their lack of training and flying during icy conditions. The First Officer specifically reveals she never saw, de-iced, or flew a plane in icy conditions. Furthermore, on Monday, Colgan Air acknowledged Capt. Renslow did not receive hands on training of the Dash 8-Q400 Bombardier stick pusher, one of the airplane’s most critical safety features.
Colgan Air pilots’ conversation is a specific violation of federal aviation laws that only allow cockpit conversations to revolve around specific, current flight operational matters during take-offs and landings. Colgan pilots announced to passengers and flight crew to prepare for landing. The Captain and First Officer then began to have another conversation about lack of training and credentials and crashed five minutes later when they lost control of the plane. The NTSB hearings are underway to determine the cause of the fatal flight disaster that originated out of Newark, New Jersey, and crashed on approach in Buffalo. Icy weather conditions, pilots training, and knowledge of the plane’s emergency features and their uses are lead topics in the hearings and investigation.
During the first day of testimony, Colgan’s representatives were at a loss to explain the Captain’s pulling back on the yoke after the stall warning system activated,-precisely the opposite response that should have occurred. Colgan’s representatives also admitted that the Captain and First Officer lacked situational awareness and failed to properly monitor critical flight instruments and speed indicators, leading to a stall that could have been avoided, and which could have been corrected if proper procedures had been followed. Regardijng the gross violations of the sterile cockpit rules, Colgan’s representatives questioned the integrity of their own crew, defining “integrity” as what they do “when nobody’s watching”. Colgan’s witnesses said that the crew’s inattentiveness to standard operating procedures led them to be “caught by surprise”, and that they were not ready to respond when the stall warning sytem activated and the “stick pusher’ attempted to correct the stall.
New York personal injury attorney Jonathan C. Reiter an aviation accident lawyer. Empire State Building, 350 Fifth Avenue, Suite 2811, New York, NY 10118. Telephone (212) 736-0979. www.jcreiterlaw.com