American Morning

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February 3rd, 2010
11:00 AM ET

Just how safe are we when we fly?

The NTSB ruled Tuesday that the pilot of Continental Flight 3407 pulled on the plane's control column when he should have pushed – leading to the deadly plane crash near Buffalo that killed 49 people on board and one on the ground.

A year later, federal officials have also ruled that mistakes made by the Continental flight's first officer and inadequate training by its regional carrier contributed to the crash.

To discuss airline safety we were joined on Wednesday's American Morning by Jim Hall, former chairman of the National Transportation Safety Board; and Michael Goldfarb, former chief of staff for the Federal Aviation Administration.

Read more: Pilot error caused 2009 crash near Buffalo, NTSB rules

Filed under: Airline safety
soundoff (3 Responses)
  1. Mark Emaus

    I am a captain at a major airline and I also was an ATC controller back in the late 70s up until August 3 1981. After listening to the news this morning and hearing the child relaying instructions to aircraft at JFK, I must say that you are blowing this out of proportion.
    When a controller is working at a position in the facility, he is plugged into a transmitter with his headset. There are 2 places to plug into the console, and one side that can be plugged into, can be overridden by the other side, (as in when controllers are training other controllers).
    I am sure it was not a busy time at JFK when the child was talking. All he was doing was relaying what his dad was telling him to say. Sure, you would not want kids up there doing that all the time, but this is a way to motivate kids, to do jobs that we need bright people to do. I only wish I could have had my kids see how we operate our Airliners on a, “take a son or daughter to work day”. I am sure you get to do that with your kids.

    We should be more concerned on the lack of experience on the Regional Airlines and the Fatigue of Pilots and Controllers

    Mark Emaus

    March 3, 2010 at 8:31 am |
  2. kelly

    I travel a bit, and am torn between driving and flying. I was in a car probably 10,000 miles last year, and flew probably 7000. AND took a train.

    Flying scares me for so many reasons: pilot error, weather, mechanical failure, its terror focus. Getting through an airport is not pleasant. I was flagged and searched over a cooking spice and came 1 minute away from missing my flight.

    Driving scares me too: fatigue, inattentive drivers, reckless drivers, drunks, weather and road conditions. Semi drivers are the worst.

    When I was on the train, we hit a pedestrian.

    I guess there's no guarantees anywhere. It's always a risk-benefit analysis.

    February 3, 2010 at 3:55 pm |
  3. Linda Blankensop

    I don't fly much but right now I feel that we are overworking our pilots and they are tired. They say that there are more deaths on highways than flying. But, I least have some control over my driving.

    February 3, 2010 at 11:36 am |