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Buffalo accident not expensive enough

densoo

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WASHINGTON — At least 44 airline industry lobbyists have met with Obama administration officials in recent months in an effort to weaken or kill proposed new rules aimed at preventing pilot fatigue.

And the Families of Continental Flight 3407 fought back Tuesday, making their case for tougher rules on fatigue in a meeting with officials of a White House department—the Cabinet-level Office of Management and Budget — and in a letter to the president.

“The industry has once again mounted heavy pressure on the Office of Management and Budget in an attempt to stall this crucial safety initiative,” they said in their letter to President Obama. “We call on you to use your influence to push your executive agencies to get this done for the safety of the entire American flying public, as well as in honor of the memory of our loved ones.”

Fifty people died when Continental Connection Flight 3407 plummeted to the ground in Clarence Center in February 2009 in a crash that federal investigators blamed on pilot error.

The families believe that one factor in the crash was pilot fatigue. On the cockpit voice recorder, both pilots could be heard yawning. And the night before the crash, the co-pilot commuted to Newark, N. J., where the Buffalo-bound flight originated, on a connecting red-eye flight from her Seattle home.

In response to the Clarence crash, Congress last summer passed wide-ranging aviation safety legislation that required the government, by this Aug. 1, to finalize new rules aimed at controlling pilot fatigue.

The Federal Aviation Administration proposed a set of new rules last September, but they remain under review at OMB — which, along with the FAA, has been deluged with airline industry lobbyists fighting the proposal.

Records on the OMB web-site show that Obama administration officials had at least six meetings with airline industry representatives between early July and mid-August. Lobbyists for the Air Transport Association, major airlines such as Jet- Blue and Southwest, and cargo carriers such as UPS and FedEx all took part.

While the FAA says the new rules will cost the industry $1.25 billion to implement over 10 years, the industry cited a consultant’s study putting the costs at $19.64 billion.

And at a time when the Obama administration is under heavy pressure to cut back on federal regulations that could limit job growth, the airlines contend that the new rules would force them to cut back on flight schedules and therefore put tens of thousands of jobs at risk, said Steve Lott, a spokesman for the Air Transport Association.

“In these trying economic times, this kind of rule is not what this country needs,” Lott said.

The Flight 3407 families don’t have any patience with such arguments.

Each time the FAA proposes new safety rules in the wake of the Flight 3407 crash, “the industry is going to say they cost too much and that the sky is falling,” said Kevin Kuwik, one of the leaders of the families group, who lost his girlfriend, Lorin Maurer, in the crash. “Well, our sky has already fallen.”

The families have plenty of help in trying to push those tougher pilot fatigue rules into place.

Sen. Charles E. Schumer, D-N. Y., appeared with them at a news conference Tuesday, and he and Sen. Kirsten E. Gillibrand, D-N. Y., led a group of 10 senators who also wrote to Obama to call for the regulations to be finalized. In addition, the four members of the House delegation from Western New York are circulating a similar letter among their colleagues; they expect to send that letter to Obama shortly.

“We know there’s pressure still from the airline industry,” Schumer said. “They’ve been wrong. We’ve prevailed over them step after step after step. We just want to make sure the integrity of what the families fought for is preserved and enshrined in law and regulation permanently.”

The proposed rules would:

• Ensure that pilots have nine hours of rest prior to duty, up from eight hours.

• Establish a new way of measuring the rest period that would make sure pilots have the opportunity to sleep for eight hours before a flight.

• Guarantee pilots 30 consecutive hours off every week— a 25 percent increase.

• Set weekly and monthly limits on flight duty time.

• Establish different rest requirements based on factors such as the time of flights and the number of flights a pilot is making in a given day.

Lott said the airline industry is willing to modernize the pilot flight and duty time rules, which have been in place for 30 years. But the industry contends that the FAA’s proposal is too strict and that different rules should apply to different segments of the airline industry.

But the Flight 3407 families said the industry seems to be willing to put dollars ahead of safety yet again.

“They just want to delay and delay and delay, maybe until there’s a more industry-friendly administration,” Kuwik said. “They’re just trying to outlast everybody.”

jzremski@buffnews.com

Comments

It is terrible that the corporate elite of airlines that claim safety is their number one priority, refuse these safety initiatives. It is clear as day to me that high dollar management groups are trying to lower the safety standards and risk lives so they can make more money. The shame of it is, they have been great at stalling for such a long time. I for one FULLY support the familier of 3407 and the great job Senator Schuster is doing to fight for the general public. My hat goes off to these warriors.

Maybe the families could ask the president to tell congress "to pass the bill now" and see if that works. This is a good lesson for people to learn that companies will do anything to block,stall or hinder passage of anything that drives up their bottom line. You would think that the least the airline industry could do is to have pilots know what to do in case of an emergency or is that to much to ask for them to do during their 3 minutes of work per flight.

The Airline Industry Lobbyi$t$ just want Flight 3407 to disappear off the litigation radar forever. They will do anything to get our representatives to forget with kickbacks. They are rolling the dice on SAFETY and cross their fingers that another plane won't fall from the sky.
They want to raise air fares and baggage fees, but none of that billion(s) of dollars is trickling down into safety. It would rather spend money on lobbyists to hoodwink the FAA and the NTSB and use hush money to buy off Congress to impede change in the Airline Industry. Ticket prices will increase this fall, more routes will be cut and planes will fly full or overbooked. This may force people to take another look at High Speed Trains, Dedicated Lanes for Buses and Trucks on Super Highways and just drive 4 to 8 hours in their private fuel efficient cars then put up with the high cost and less safety of air travel.
 

densoo

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“In these trying economic times, this kind of rule is not what this country needs,” Lott said.
Geez. Is there anything that can't be nixed by "these trying economic times"?

How about, "this will create much needed jobs in these trying economic times."
 

densoo

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“They just want to delay and delay and delay, maybe until there’s a more industry-friendly administration,” Kuwik said. “They’re just trying to outlast everybody.”
Wiser words were never spoken. Modus Operandi of the airline industry.
 

james1

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All Airlines are the safest one on the planet...ONLY if it doesn't cost too much. Is anyone surprised this is now a financial matter? If it costs too much they won't do it, including and especially this! If it helps PILOT SAFETY THEY WILL FIGHT IT! This just means we ALL need to call in fatigued MORE often. Fill out the ASAP's an NASA's and flood all the FED's you can. Don't stand down until the rules are changed. WE do have control on this fatigue issue. Check the FAR's. We are REQUIRED by the REG's to NOT fly fatigued! Use the tools you have and remove yourself immediately! Good luck, WE can get the rules changed with OUR actions! "Scheduling, this is CA/FO ______ I'm FU FU FU F-a-tigued"
 

LearLove

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Geez. Is there anything that can't be nixed by "these trying economic times"?

How about, "this will create much needed jobs in these trying economic times."

Better yet - just go for the big guns. Tell them that more pilots will help the fight on terror. So if your not on board with more pilots then you must be an Al Quaeda terrorist.


"nine-eleven"


http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jUTIPQxo21c


Toss in a couple of "support the troops" and we may be able to get a pay increase and pensions back.
 
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JoeMerchant

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What does Buffalo have to do with this? Anyone know how much rest those two pilots had before reporting for duty? Would the new rest rules have changed this accident?
 

densoo

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What does Buffalo have to do with this? Anyone know how much rest those two pilots had before reporting for duty? Would the new rest rules have changed this accident?
No. But the accident opened a Congessional investigation after which, astounded with how little rest is required in normal ops, they told the FAA to rewrite the rules.
 

JoeMerchant

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No. But the accident opened a Congessional investigation after which, astounded with how little rest is required in normal ops, they told the FAA to rewrite the rules.

So can we acknowledge that the new rules wouldn't have changed the outcome in this crash? This was pilot error pure and simple.

These new rules will result in tired pilots who are at work even more than now....I'm tired everytime I have a 5 AM show...Regardless of how much "rest" I was given. With these rules, I will probably have even more of these 5 AM shows.

Funny how many regional pilots who complain about rest have apps. in with FedEx and UPS...Apparantly staying up all night long is safe....
 

Dornier 335

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At least 44 airline industry lobbyists have met with Obama administration officials in recent months in an effort to weaken or kill proposed new rules aimed at preventing pilot fatigue.

It would be really interesting to identify those 44 airline lobbyists ...
 

General Lee

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So can we acknowledge that the new rules wouldn't have changed the outcome in this crash? This was pilot error pure and simple.

These new rules will result in tired pilots who are at work even more than now....I'm tired everytime I have a 5 AM show...Regardless of how much "rest" I was given. With these rules, I will probably have even more of these 5 AM shows.

Funny how many regional pilots who complain about rest have apps. in with FedEx and UPS...Apparantly staying up all night long is safe....

Joe, just admit it. You are afraid that the new rules could affect your regional job (like getting rid of Continuous Duty Overnights), and since you have never gotten an offer, ever, from any other airline, your livelihood is threatened. The new rules could make Regional Airlines less efficient, and that could cause Legacy airlines to think twice about using them as much. You know you couldn't pass any interview at another airline, so you choose to pick your battles to stay on top of your heap, regardless of who might get hurt in the future. The rules were made in the 50's Joe, just like you. And I don't think Fedex and UPS want these proposed rules either, and probably have plenty of lobbyists working the Hill as we type.

You don't care about safety in the industry, you only care about which chicken dinner you will get tonight at KFC. Sad.


Bye Bye---General Lee
 
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densoo

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So can we acknowledge that the new rules wouldn't have changed the outcome in this crash? This was pilot error pure and simple.
Yes, we can agree to that. However, 8 hours block to block needs to changed, along with other current practices. Hire more pilots. This isn't a sweatshop.
 

Pervis

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Funny how a major story of the day was new rest rules for truck drivers. After all, we got to protect those color TVs.
 

waveflyer

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Funny how a major story of the day was new rest rules for truck drivers. After all, we got to protect those color TVs.

The race to the bottom is one thing for airline pilots. They hypocrisy of being both militant union members AND militantly anti-union politically. Truckers don't have that self created problem. Democrats don't move legislation ahead because we don't vote for them AND loudly vote against them. Republicans don't work for us bc they don't believe we're worth what were paid and don't believe in our union.

We need to solve that problem before any issue, whether contractual or regulatory will be addressed in our favor.

You may want Colgan families to do our work for us, but that's wrong and naive. It's our bodies, our sleep, and our problem.

Joe Merchant- you're an idiot.
 

Raoul Duke

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instead of chasing the fatigue ghost, the families of this crash should be focusing on training people not to pull up when they should be pushing down. they could then go to france and lobby for the same training
 

waveflyer

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Fatigue ghost??

Who do you work for? Ever work at a regional?
 

dicko

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Fatigue ghost??

Who do you work for? Ever work at a regional?



Perhaps he meant "fatigue ghost", as something that you can't see, can't definitively prove and is difficult to explain to Joe Public and Legislators.
 
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