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Pilot mistake caused deadly US plane crash

Last Updated: Wednesday, February 3, 2010 - 12:22

Washington: A pilot who pulled instead of pushing a control column and an inattentive crew led a US commuter flight to crash last year, killing 49 people on board and one on the ground, a probe showed.

The National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) said in a report Tuesday that the pilot`s "inappropriate response" to a warning mechanism on a Continental commuter flight from Newark, New Jersey to Buffalo International Airport in New York state on February 12 caused the plane to plummet to the ground.

"When the stick shaker activated to warn the flight crew of an impending aerodynamic stall, the captain should have responded correctly to the situation by pushing forward on the control column," the NTSB said in its report on the accident.

"However, the captain inappropriately pulled aft on the control column and placed the airplane into an accelerated aerodynamic stall from which the airplane did not recover."

The report also faulted the plane`s crew for not recognizing information on their flight displays that indicated they were nearing an emergency situation.

The two pilots, two flight attendants and 45 passengers on the plane were killed in the crash, along with a man on the ground. The plane itself burst into a ball of flame when it hit the ground.
The NTSB said the accident investigation had prompted it to hold two forums: one about pilot and air traffic control standards and the other about code-sharing -- when airlines market their services to the public while using other companies to actually perform the transportation.
The Newark-Buffalo flight was operating as a Continental flight but was, in fact, an aircraft and crew of the much smaller regional airline Colgan Air.


First Published: Wednesday, February 3, 2010 - 12:22

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