The preliminary report on the worst Brazilian air accident ever will not blame just one person or factor for the collision between the Gol’s Boeing 737 and the Legacy executive jet that caused the fall of the Boeing and the death of 154 people.
While the report will only be released on Thursday, November 16, the day after the Republic Proclamation national holiday, Brazil’s most watched news broadcast, the Globo TV’s Jornal Nacional anticipated some of the conclusions tonight.
One of the revelations of the partial report is that the Legacy while flying over Brazilian capital Brasília didn’t communicate with that city’s control tower (Cindacta 1) for half an hour.
During that time, the document says, the flight controllers tried seven times to establish contact with the American pilots Joe Lepore and Jan Paladino without success. Investigators have also concluded that nobody witnessed any risky maneuver or acrobatics by the Yankee pilots.
The probe will show that the Legacy flew at an altitude of 37,000 feet (the same as the Boeing 737, which was coming from Manaus in the opposite direction) from São José dos Campos, where the plane was bought from Brazilian manufacturer Embraer, to Mato Grosso where the crash occurred.
The report will emphasize that Lepore and Paladino did not follow the flight plan which called for the Legacy to lower its altitude to 36,000 feet when reaching Brasília and then rise up to 38,000 before getting to Amazonas’ capital, Manaus.
Another information from the official dossier prepared by the Brazilian Air Force (FAB) is that air traffic on the day of the accident (September 29) was very light.
While air traffic controllers may securely handle as many as 14 flight simultaneously at the time of the crash each controller had only between 3 and 5 planes to take care of.
The report also concludes that communications were perfect on the occasion and that there was no blind spot that would hinder contact between the tower and the Legacy jet.
In the report’s leaked information, however, there is no mention about a possible malfunction of the transponder and other equipment aboard the plane piloted by the Americans.
Speculations since the start of the investigations have also suggested that Lepore and Paladino might have disconnected the transponder to avoid radar detection so that they might play with the new plane over the Amazon.
Another question that hasn’t been answered is: have the Brazilian flight controllers authorized or instructed the American pilots to fly at 37,000 feet all the way to Manaus?