Hearings begin today in the case of Continental flight 3407, the Q400 aircraft which crashed on landing in Buffalo earlier this year. Remember how everyone jumped on the idea that this was caused by icing? That's probably not going to be the focus anymore.
Instead, it appears that the heat will fall on the pilot and on Colgan Air's training program. Colgan is the one that operated the flight for Continental.
It sounds like we'll get a picture of a pilot who had plenty of issues. On this flight, he violated the "sterile cockpit" rule that prohibits unnecessary discussion in the cockpit under 10,000 feet, and he seems to have reacted with the exact opposite motion that he should have used upon hearing the airplane's stall warning.
Looking into the captain's past, there are plenty of cautionary flags, though none that can be linked directly to this accident. Besides, this man is dead, so pointing fingers at him will do absolutely nothing. It's Colgan's training program that may very well feel the pain here.
Was their training adequate? More importantly, is the current state of the airline's training program enough to satisfy investigators that it's sufficient for the future? That's what we'll find out as the hearings go on.
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