Revisting the Buffalo Plane Crash, One Year Later

Wednesday, February 03, 2010

The National Transportation Safety Board released its report on what it believed was the cause for Continental Flight 3407's crash in Buffalo nearly one year ago. After a year long investigation, the NTSB concluded the crash was caused by pilot error, and "complacency and confusion that resulted in catastrophe."

Miles O'Brien correspondent for the new Frontline documentary, "Flying Cheap" talks to former pilots for the regional carrier, Colgan Air, who say they worked extremely long hours for very little pay.

Guests:

Miles O'Brien

Produced by:

David J Fazekas

Comments [4]

Craig Beaty from Iowa

As a regional airline pilot for ten years now, I'm very familiar with how the industry operates. The Frontline documentary sensationalized the story too much, especially for a PBS program. I thought I was watching 'CNN Nancy Grace' at one point.

Some of the same 'pilot pushing' problems the pilots complained about are present at our domestic major and low cost airlines as well.

Inexperienced regional airline pilots aren't the only ones who've made simple but crucial mistakes in airmanship. Major airline pilots with much experience have made simple errors which have led to tragic accidents in the past as well.

Not shown in the program: minimum airline hiring standards are being increased by the FAA (a good thing) and there is now a good effort by regional airlines and the FAA to increase the level of "Flight Discipline" of the pilots.

Feb. 10 2010 01:43 PM
Craig Beaty

As a regional airline pilot for ten years now, I'm very experience with how the industry operates. The Frontline documentary sensationalized the story too much, especially for a PBS program. I thought I was watching 'CNN Nancy Grace' at one point.

Some of the same 'pilot pushing' problems the pilots complained about are present at our domestic major and low cost airlines as well. Inexperienced regional airline pilots aren't the only ones who've made simple but crucial mistakes in airmanship. Major airline pilots with much experience have made simple errors which have led to tragic accidents in the past as well. However, minimum airline hiring standards are being increased by the FAA (a good thing) and there is a good effort by airlines and the FAA to increase the level of "Flight Discipline" at all of the airlines.

Feb. 10 2010 01:40 PM
Mark Weber from Buffalo

"3407" is a song I wrote after the crash, which was very, very close to my own house. It's at http://www.meetmarkweber.com if you want to check it out.

Feb. 09 2010 07:34 PM
LM

Oh please. I have heard this before; Certain airplane pilots having a tough low-paying job. Of course they might not get as well paid as people in other professions, but the average person whom gets up in the morning wishes he or she could make $22,000.00 a year and also have such a unique job such as flying an airplane. Sure, the safety issue is important. No overworked and sleepy pilots should be allowed, and there should not be pressures on pilots to fly fast to a certain destination for the sake of being cheap but which would compramise the safety of all passengers, but it is still an overstatement to use the term "sweatshop" to define the way pilots have it.

Feb. 03 2010 04:39 PM

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