February 12, 2010

On Anniversary Of Buffalo Plane Crash, Gillibrand Stands With Families Of Victims To Introduce “Flight 3407 Memorial Act” To Enact Safety Recommendations

Legislation Mandates FAA To Implement NTSB’s Enhanced Safety And Training Requirements

Buffalo, NY – Standing with family members of the victims of Buffalo Flight 3407 that crashed one year ago today killing all 49 passengers on board, U.S. Senator Kirsten Gillibrand today introduced the Flight 3407 Memorial Act -- new legislation that would require the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) to implement all standards established in the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) investigative report.

“Time and time again the FAA has failed to heed the calls by the NTSB to enhance safety measures and training requirements,” Senator Gillibrand said. “My legislation will end that culture of resistance to change and force the FAA to put new standards in place to protect both passengers and pilots. I will continue to stand with the Families of Flight 3407 to see that the FAA implements the recommendations and make sure the safety of our airlines meets the highest standards.”

The Flight 3407 Memorial Act would require the FAA to implement the 25 recommendations from the February 2, 2010 NTSB Aircraft Incident Report.  The report also reiterates three previous recommendations from other incidents.  The recommendations are wide-ranging, including the following:

  • Enhances safety training, record keeping and information sharing
  • Upgrades technical system requirements for low-airspeed indicators
  • Establishes new training requirements and better oversight over smaller carriers that the major carriers are outsourcing regional flights to.

The legislation also sets a framework for how the FAA considers pending and future recommendations, requiring that the Administrator of the FAA provide Congress with an explanation on how the FAA has implemented a recommendation, and if not, a detailed explanation as to why. A summary of the Report can be found here.

In May 2009, after meeting with the families of the Flight 3407 crash near Buffalo, Senator Gillibrand asked that the NTSB ensure that needed changes in the airline system are not ignored. During the NTSB investigative hearings, families heard of the system wide failures – from training to crewmember fatigue – that led to the Flight 3407 crash. Senator Gillibrand wants to ensure that needed reforms and changes in the system are implemented by the Federal Aviation Administration.

In June 2009, Senator Gillibrand submitted questions from the family members of victims in the Flight 3407 crash near Buffalo about fundamental failures in our aviation system at the Senate Commerce Committee hearing on Aviation Safety & FAA Oversight. Senator Gillibrand wanted to ensure that their questions about a variety of safety issues were answered by Agency leadership. To that end, Senator Gillibrand asked family members to submit questions to her office, and in turn, Subcommittee Chairman Byron Dorgan agreed to submit them for the record, and were answered in writing.

In addition, Senator Gillibrand has worked with her colleagues and the Families of Flight 3407 on a number of bills to address safety concerns in the airline industry. She is an original cosponsor of S. 1744; legislation that would increase the minimum flight time requirements that a pilot must have in order to be hired by a commercial airline. She is also a cosponsor of S. 1284, which would implement a number of outstanding recommendations from the FAA as well as requiring the FAA to address issues such as pilot fatigue, safety of regional aircraft, information relating to test failures.