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FAA promises new flight crew training to Flight 3407 families

Victims of Flight 3407
WBFO News file photo
Victims of Flight 3407

Flight 3407 families received some encouraging news for the Federal Aviation Administration Wednesday, one day after lobbying in Washington on the four year anniversary of the crash of Continental Connection Flight 3407.

Families who have fought hard for new flight regulations to prevent another air disaster.  A Colgan Air plane fell out of the sky in February of 2009 crashing in Clarence Center and killing 50 people.

The families of the victims  have been demanding greater airline safety and greater regulation of flights, especially those small airlines like Colgan, known in the air as Continental Express.

After President Obama signed legislation calling for tighter rules, they seemingly vanished into the lobbying maze in Washington. But Wednesday, four dozen members of the Flight 3407 families were told the FAA had reversed itself and will have long-delayed flight crew member training rules out in October.

Karen Eckert of Amherst lost her sister Beverly in the crash. She has pushed for these rules.

"We've had disappointments with this and that's why we keep going back and going back and holding their feet to the fire. So, our hearts sank when we saw June 2014 another leap into the future. But, I think with this public statement and Senator Schumer on our side, we're holding them to that date," said Eckert.

The National Transportation Safety Board's probe of the crash said the flight crew was inexperienced, under trained and exhausted, all issues which the FAA is supposed to deal with.

Mike Desmond is one of Western New York’s most experienced reporters, having spent nearly a half-century covering the region for newspapers, television stations and public radio. He has been with WBFO and its predecessor, WNED-AM, since 1988. As a reporter for WBFO, he has covered literally thousands of stories involving education, science, business, the environment and many other issues. Mike has been a long-time theater reviewer for a variety of publications and was formerly a part-time reporter for The New York Times.