Report: Pilot In Fatal Crash Failed Tests

The wreckage of Continental flight 3407 lies amid smoke at the scene after crashing into a suburban Buffalo home and erupting into flames late on Feb. 12, 2009, killing all 48 people aboard and at least one person on the ground, according to authorities. AP Photo/Dave Sherman

The captain of a fatal commuter jet crash just outside Buffalo, N.Y., failed several flight tests and was never properly trained in emergency procedures, sources close to the crash investigation tell The Wall Street Journal.

The crash killed all 49 people aboard Continental Flight 3407 as well as one person in the home the plane hit on Feb 12.

The captain, Marvin Renslow, did not know how to properly respond to warning systems that could have prevented the plane from stalling, sources tell the Journal. When the plane's speed slowed to a dangerous level, setting off the alarms, Renslow did the opposite of what the procedure called for, which led to the crash, the sources said.

A separate source told CBS News that Renslow received training on the procedure, saying "what he absorbed is (another matter)."

The source said the plane, a Bombardier Q400, has both a stick shaker, which warns the pilot of an impending stall, and a stick pusher, which pushes the nose of the aircraft down in order to help the aircraft gain airspeed and allow the pilot to avoid the stall.

During the flight, the stick-shaker and the stick-pusher activated, but the pilot pulled back on the stick, overriding the stick-pusher.

The source said "He (Renslow) was trained on the stick shaker/stick pusher. It was part of the training regimen. There is no indication they didn't go over it in training."

Also, Renslow's co-pilot, Rebecca Shaw, complained before takeoff of having a bad cold and said she should have called out sick, sources who listened to cockpit recordings told the Journal.

A National Transportation and Safety Board hearing on the crash is scheduled for Tuesday.

In a statement Monday, the airline responded that, "Captain Reshow had all the training and experience required to safely operate the Q400."

Additionally, "Colgan Air's FAA-approved training program does provide comprehensive training on the stall warning system, including the stick shaker and stick pusher, during initial Q400 ground school as well as annual recurrent ground school.

"A stick pusher demonstration in an aircraft simulator is not required by the FAA and was not part of the training syllabus used in the training provided by the aircraft manufacturer through one of the world's leading aviation training companies, and thus was not included in Colgan's Q400 training program."
  • CBSNews

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