Black box reports no icing problems in deadly Buffalo crash

Feds: Plane in Buffalo crash had stall warning

WASHINGTON – Federal safety investigators said Wednesday the flight data recorder from last month's air crash near Buffalo, N.Y., shows the plane's stall warning system had activated before the accident and there was some ice accumulation, but no mechanical problems were found with the plane.

The National Transportation Safety Board said the data "shows that some ice accumulation was likely present on the airplane prior to the initial upset event, but that the airplane continued to respond as expected to flight control inputs throughout the accident flight."

Continental Connection Flight 3407 was about five miles short of the Buffalo Niagara International Airport, flying in icing conditions the night of Feb. 12 when the plane tumbled wildly out of control and plummeted onto a house. All 49 people aboard the plane and one man in the house died.

A key question from the beginning of the board's investigation has been whether the twin-engine turboprop plane experienced an aerodynamic stall caused by icing and the pilot's reaction to the stall. Ice accumulation can change the shape of a plane's wings, causing it to lose lift.

Turboprops rely on deicing boots on the leading edge of the wings that inflate and deflate to break up ice. The decades-old technology isn't as effective as the deicing systems on jetliners, which direct engine heat to the wings to melt ice.

Former NTSB accident investigator Greg Phillips said it appears so far that the ice in the Buffalo crash "wasn't anything the plane shouldn't have been able to handle."

Investigators are continuing to examine the Dash 8-Q400 Bombardier's deicing system and to probe the flight crew's training, the statement said.

The information from the data recorder doesn't indicate any problem with "the airplane's systems, but you still have to leave the possibility of the icing system operation open until those examinations are complete," Phillips said in an interview.

The board has scheduled a three day public hearing for May 12-14 on the crash. The hearing will cover a range of safety issues, including the icing effect on the airplane's performance, cold weather operations, sterile cockpit rules, crew experience, fatigue management, and stall recovery training, the statement said.

"The tragedy of flight 3407 is the deadliest transportation accident in the United States in more than seven years," acting NTSB Chairman Mark Rosenker said in the statement. "The circumstances of the crash have raised several issues that go well beyond the widely discussed matter of airframe icing, and we will explore these issues in our investigative fact-finding hearing."

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Comment by truth on March 26, 2009 at 3:17am
Hey Tara, linked to this story today. Lots of folks came to read .
Art said it right, remote control assassination.
Comment by Tara on March 26, 2009 at 1:01am
My Silence Cannot Be Bought
by Beverly Eckert

I've chosen to go to court rather than accept a payoff from the 9/11 victims compensation fund. Instead, I want to know what went so wrong with our intelligence and security systems that a band of religious fanatics was able to turn four U.S passenger jets into an enemy force, attack our cities and kill 3,000 civilians with terrifying ease. I want to know why two 110-story skyscrapers collapsed in less than two hours and why escape and rescue options were so limited.

I am suing because unlike other investigative avenues, including congressional hearings and the 9/11 commission, my lawsuit requires all testimony be given under oath and fully uses powers to compel evidence.

The victims fund was not created in a spirit of compassion. Rather, it was a tacit acknowledgement by Congress that it tampered with our civil justice system in an unprecedented way. Lawmakers capped the liability of the airlines at the behest of lobbyists who descended on Washington while the Sept. 11 fires still smoldered.

And this liability cap protects not just the airlines, but also World Trade Center builders, safety engineers and other defendants.

The caps on liability have consequences for those who want to sue to shed light on the mistakes of 9/11. It means the playing field is tilted steeply in favor of those who need to be held accountable. With the financial consequences other than insurance proceeds removed, there is no incentive for those whose negligence contributed to the death toll to acknowledge their failings or implement reforms. They can afford to deny culpability and play a waiting game.

By suing, I've forfeited the "$1.8 million average award" for a death claim I could have collected under the fund. Nor do I have any illusions about winning money in my suit. What I do know is I owe it to my husband, whose death I believe could have been avoided, to see that all of those responsible are held accountable. If we don't get answers to what went wrong, there will be a next time. And instead of 3,000 dead, it will be 10,000. What will Congress do then?

So I say to Congress, big business and everyone who conspired to divert attention from government and private-sector failures: My husband's life was priceless, and I will not let his death be meaningless. My silence cannot be bought.

Beverly Eckert, whose husband died at the World Trade Center, is the founder of Voices of September 11th, a victims advocacy group.

CD Editors Note: Beverly Eckert was killed on February 12, 2009 in the crash of Continental flight 3407 outside of Buffalo, New York.

© Copyright 2003 USA TODAY, a division of Gannett Co. Inc.
Comment by TheLasersShadow on March 25, 2009 at 9:23pm
Yea i heard but thats what i was referring to shes not important. Might have been a hit though, clean as a whistle from a MSM point of view.
Comment by TheLasersShadow on March 25, 2009 at 4:28pm
maybe a test run for someone important ...
Comment by truth on March 25, 2009 at 4:20pm
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