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Steps toward flight safety

   The lead editorial on today's Buffalo News Opinion page is coincidentally supported by a front-page article that includes more details about the woeful state of the people who fly for the smaller regional airlines, particularly the state of the crew that was struggling through Colgan Air's Continental Connection Flight 3407 when it crashed in Clarence Center back in February.
- The editorial:
Steps toward flight safety 
   The admirable human desire to build something useful out of something tragic has taken form in briskDealerairline action by one committee of the U. S. Senate—action that could improve air safety significantly in this country. ...
   It is now up to the rest of Congress, prompted by New York’s delegation, to maintain this sense of directed outrage and see it through to the meaningful reform of an industry that has received far too little oversight in recent years
- The article:
Preflight transcript reveals ailing co-pilot 
   The co-pilot of Continental Connection Flight 3407 said she was so sick that she didn’t want to fly — and groused about her pay and employer — in the moments before her doomed plane left Newark, N. J., for Buffalo.
- The newest transcript is here.
- The whole National Transportation Safety Board docket on the crash is here.
- Previous article:
Senate panel approves air safety measures
   The bill, which reauthorizes Federal Aviation Administration operations for the next two years, calls for an independent study of scientific research on pilot fatigue—and requires that the findings be included in the FAA’s upcoming new flight-time and duty-time rules for pilots.

  The Cleveland Plain Dealer, meanwhile, has been conducting its own probe, with more frightening results, into how pilots for regional airlines are being rid hard and put away wet.
Regional air pilots talk of long schedules and fatigue
   Michael Zaite learned a lot when he flew as a co-pilot for Cleveland-based CommutAir, but it wasn't the education he was expecting.
   Zaite, 30, saw how grueling schedules at the regional airline left crew members sleep-deprived, with bags under their eyes, "not thinking straight." He attended in-house training sessions where instructors skimmed over safety procedures. He sat in the cockpit next to rabid BlackBerry fans who text-messaged friends while the plane was taking off.

-- George Pyle/The Buffalo News


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