Sullenberger to Appear This Week at Senate, House Safety Hearings

Flight 3407 Families Trumpet Credentials of ‘Miracle on the Hudson’ Pilot

Buffalo, New York – April 27th, 2015

With the expiration of the most recent FAA Reauthorization fast approaching, the ‘Families of Continental Flight 3407’ applauded the inclusion of Captain Chesley ‘Sully’ Sullenberger at safety hearings to be held by the Senate and House Aviation Subcommittees this week.  The family group also announced that it will be in attendance at both hearings, the Senate’s to be held on Tuesday at 2:30 pm, and the House’s to be held Thursday at 2:00 pm.

“As Senator Thune, Congressman Shuster, and the rest of their committee and subcommittee leadership consider this FAA Reauthorization Bill, it is absolutely critical that safety be put first above all else, especially in regards to industry pressure regarding our country’s increased qualification requirements for regional airline first officers” declared Scott Maurer of Brandon, Florida, who lost his thirty year old daughter Lorin.  “We are very pleased that Captain Sullenberger has been included in these very important safety discussions, as his decades of experience and perspective on the airline industry uniquely qualify him to shine a light on the importance of not rolling back or watering down any of the significant progress that has been made in regional airline safety since the very preventable tragedy of Flight 3407.  There is no substitute for experience, and the teamwork of Captain Sullenberger and First Officer Skiles in accomplishing the ‘Miracle on the Hudson’ speak to that in the strongest way possible.”

Tuesday’s Senate hearing, which is entitled “FAA Reauthorization: Aviation Safety and General Aviation” and will be held in Room 253 of the Russell Senate Office Building, is part of a recent series of hearings focused on the FAA Reauthorization.  In addition to Sullenberger, it will feature witnesses from the National Transportation Safety Board, Federal Aviation Administration, and Regional Airline Association.  On Thursday, the House’s Aviation Subcommittee will include Sullenberger on a safety roundtable, which will be held at 2:00 pm in Room 2167 of the Rayburn House Office Building.

“In the aftermath of Flight 3407, we are now going on six-plus years with no fatal crashes of U.S. domestic carriers, by far and away the safest such period in our nation’s aviation history.” stated Karen Eckert of Williamsville, New York, who lost her sister Beverly Eckert, a prominent 9/11 widow and activist. “This has been made possible by the unanimous Congressional passage and implementation of the Airline Safety Act of 2010, and the collective increased scrutiny and efforts of Congress, government agencies like FAA, DOT, and the NTSB, the airlines, pilots, and safety groups like ourselves.  To totally reverse course in this FAA Reauthorization and bend to lobbying pressure with concessions to the airlines would be completely irresponsible and send the wrong message to the industry that the old status quo of code share contracts and the ‘race to the bottom’ are once again acceptable.  And there can be no more well-qualified person to make this case than Captain Sullenberger; we look forward to being there with him as he stands up for ‘One Level of Safety'”

Contact:      Takla Boujaoude                      716-907-2425

Flight 3407 Families Head to Senate for Tuesday’s Commerce Hearing Featuring Huerta

In Light of Germanwings Tragedy, Group Calls for Expedited Efforts on Pilot Record Database, Screening

Buffalo, New York – April 13th, 2015

In conjunction with Tuesday morning’s full committee hearing of the Senate’s Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation featuring FAA Administrator Michael Huerta and the topic of the upcoming FAA Reauthorization, the ‘Families of Continental Flight 3407’ issued a call for committee leadership and members to probe the agency’s slow pace of implementation of the crucial pilot record database, as well to examine the overall process of screening pilots here in the United States.  The group also applauded the committee leadership for positioning regional airline safety as a key component of the upcoming hearings that will instruct the committee’s efforts to draft an FAA Reauthorization Bill.

“First and foremost, our thoughts and prayers go out to the families and friends of those lost in the Germanwings tragedy” declared Scott Maurer of Brandon, Florida, who lost his thirty year old daughter Lorin.  “They are experiencing a pain that is beyond words, and one that sadly we know all too well.  With that being said, this should serve as a clarion call for the FAA to do all that it can to ensure that we have the most comprehensive pilot screening process in the world.  A key component of this would be putting the electronic pilot records database into operation.  In today’s modern day and age, it is unacceptable that we are going on nearly five years and there is no end in sight for this project to be completed.  No other family should ever have to go through the pain of hearing an airline CEO testify before Congress that a pilot would not have been hired had the airline had access to his complete training record.  We call on Senators Thune, Nelson, Ayotte, and Cantwell to shine a bright light on this glaring shortcoming with Administrator Huerta.

Since FAA and DOT released a projected timeline for the pilot record database back in May 2013, the target date for a Notice of Proposed Rule Making to be published has slid from January 2015, to April 2015, to October 2015, and now most recently in a February 2015 tracking report, all the way to April 2016.  After issuing the proposal, a public comment period and further revision to the proposal by FAA and DOT would also be required, and then the industry would be allowed an implementation period before the database would be fully operational.  All together, it likely would take over ten years after the crash of Flight 3407 for the common-sense reform to go into effect.

“We appreciate Senator Thune’s leadership in calling this hearing and in keeping safety at the forefront of the FAA Reauthorization discussion,” stated Susan Bourque of East Aurora, New York, who lost her sister Beverly Eckert, a prominent 9/11 widow and activist.  “Complacency is the number one enemy that must be overcome in keeping our commercial aviation system as safe as possible, and we must continue to send a strong message to the industry that nothing but adherence to the strongest standards of commitment to and investment in safety is acceptable.  In an industry model where there are significant economic pressures on regional airlines to operate at the lowest cost possible, we must remain vigilant that this does not lead to any shortcuts or anything less than a true ‘One Level of Safety’ comparable to what is provided by the mainline carriers.  And when it comes to this reauthorization process, there can be no caving in by Congress to the demands of the powerful airline lobby as they relate to safety rollbacks.”

Tuesday’s hearing, entitled ‘Federal Aviation Administration Reauthorization’, will be held at 10:00 a.m. in Room 253 Russell Senate Office Building.

Contact:      Takla Boujaoude                      716-907-2425

We need the TRUTH about April 10, 2010

April 8, 2015

April 10, 2015 is the Fifth Memorial for Smolensk, PLF101, a fatal crash that killed the President of Poland, Lech Kaczyňski, nine NATO Generals, and dozens of Polish Dignitaries, their wives, and friends.

It is outrageous that Smolensk is one of three fatal passenger flights that were apparently the result of the Russians:

  • Korean 007, September 1, 1983
  • Smolensk, PLF 101, April 10, 2015 and
  • Malaysia 17, July 17, 2014

We support the family members from these horrific disasters and their demands for independent investigations, full disclosure, and the TRUTH.  For Smolensk, we urge the global aviation organizations to demand a long overdue release of the black boxes.

Maria Szonert Binienda, representing the Smolensk Family Members said, “What should we do about putting blatant lies into the Russian transcript, and brutally dishonoring in front of the whole world our Polish members of the Armed Forces?”  These lies get repeated and we challenge the Russians to release the cockpit recorder and allow an international independent investigation to go forward.

We urge you to visit Smolensk Air Crash News to learn more or click the following links:

March 25, 2015 – “What Do We know? Five Years After the Smolensk Plane Crash.” Testimony at the European Parliament from YouTube

Go to YouTube for “Polish President Plane Crash, 10 April 2010, Smolensk Russia” for video from a dashboard recorder arriving on the crash scene. Note there are two videos and one includes digital enhancement with English subtitles. 

Timeline: “March to Death – Countdown to the Crash of Flight PLF101

Editorial from The Washington Times, “Different Airline Crash, Same Results

Our members know how important it is to know the TRUTH.  We urge the global aviation organizations to do the right thing, and create a true independent forum for the facts, release the material aircraft wreckage, and research regarding the Smolensk disaster. Rather than rely on changing transcripts — demand a long overdue release of the black boxes.

On behalf of our members worldwide,

Thank you! Matt