Brazil Boeing Tragedy: US Pilots Blamed by Colleagues for Series of Blunders

Brazil's executive Legacy jet with damaged wing The day after Brazilian most-read daily Folha de S. Paulo published a transcript of the conversations of the American pilots who flew the executive Legacy jet that collided against a Boeing 737, killing all 154 people aboard, in which the proficiency of the pilots is put in doubt, Theo Dias, the Brazilian lawyer for the US duo was in damage control mode.

For Dias, the analysis of Joseph Lepore and Jan Paladino's dialogues published by Folha cannot be considered an indication that they were unprepared or had little experience in piloting the Legacy.

"When you read the conversations, which were transcribed in a truncated way and very badly translated, everything gets the wrong dimension. The pilots were never lost and they had enough familiarity with an airplane like that one. The rest are just assumptions."

The pilots' lawyer blames the São José dos Campos control tower, the place from where the Legacy took off on its maiden voyage. He says that the São José tower should have given the pilots all the procedures they should follow until they reached Manaus, in the Amazonas state, before authorizing their take off.

Brazilian pilots heard by O Estado de S. Paulo told that paper, based on what they read in the transcripts, that Lepore and Paladino showed that they were unprepared to fly the Legacy and didn't know how to operate the equipment of the small jet.

According to them, the American pilots didn't plot correctly the flight plan in their FMS (Flight Management System), an equipment that helps pilots plan their flights. "They couldn't even configure the flight plan," said a commercial plane commander.

The pilots are criticized for not knowing the plane's manual especially the trouble shooting (TX) section of the book. One of the US pilots is heard saying in the transcript: "I don't know what TX 35 means."

For another Brazilian pilot, the Americans didn't seem to have any familiarity with the navigation instruments. "This is something basic," he told O Estado, "but it seems as if they had trouble even using the radio. If they had plotted the flight plan data correctly, they would know that they were flying in the wrong altitude. The flight controllers, however, are in part responsible since they should have alerted about this."

The black box recording shows Lepore and Paladino angry at the São José dos Campos flight controllers for letting they take off without giving them more details. "We were trying to get an altitude before leaving and this happened. This way is tough," one of them says.

To what a retired commander commented: "At each stage of the flight there is a check-list to assist pilots. Apparently they didn't use it. This is aviation's ABC. It wasn't only one blooper but several of them."


  • Show Comments (19)

  • Ric

    So whatÀ‚´s your point? And who cares except people who actually have to live in Baghdad or Rio?

  • Gerry

    “Rio de Janeiro is, in fact, LESS violent than New Orleans.”

    You appear to have your facts confused, it’s the other way round.

    “And taking the peak actually in Bagdad and making it an average doesnt make sense.
    And if it does make sense to you, then using the same trick, I may as well say that in SP alone, there is 100 crimes….per day !!!! This number was during the May 2006 SP chaos….a peak too !!!!”

    That’s Thaddeus for you. I am someone who’s interested in facts and valid comparisons. Now this Thaddeus guy, for some reason, has an emotional problem acknowledging Rio is more violent than New Orleans. Look through his comments and you’ll see a litany of cherry-picking and bizarre statements.

  • Ric

    Thank yew

  • blade

    yall are idiots

  • ch.c.

    To A Brazilian and Bo !!!!!!
    On your crime rate stats !

    If you scroll this site news for a while, you will find an article on that subject that said:

    assuming UK is given a base of 1, the USA would get 4 and Brazil 28
    Meaning that per 100’000 capita, the USA has 4 times more crimes than UK.
    And that Brazil has therefore 6,5 times more crimes than the USA and 28 times more than UK…per 100’000 capita.

    Curiously that correlates with BO remarks and numbers !

    And taking the peak actually in Bagdad and making it an average doesnt make sense.
    And if it does make sense to you, then using the same trick, I may as well say that in SP alone, there is 100 crimes….per day !!!! This number was during the May 2006 SP chaos….a peak too !!!!

    Astounding how Brazilians can manipulate….numbers and stats !!!!!
    Looks like it is your only way to appear better than you really are…and not only on that subject of crimes…but in ALL comparative stats !!!!!

    Just look at your ranking in:
    – doing business
    – crimes
    – wealth inequality
    – economic growth rate
    – interests rates on your Government borrowings….after inflation (still the world highest…despite 12 or so reductions in SELIC rates)
    – interest rates charged to individuals (by far, by far, the world highest)

    And this just mentionned a few examples…within many more !

  • Simpleton

    The SIDS and STARS which exist are undoubtedly just fine.

    Problem is with en-route control. In what communications en-route between the Legacy and ATC that did work, apparently didn’t include the direction to change altitude at point X / confirmation by the crew nor a request for clearance to a new altitude / concluded with a grant. If either of those happened and had not failed, the chain would have been broken.

  • Ric

    Speaking of blame, the copilot in a 1989 Varig crash blamed the Legacy pilots. His name is Nilson Zille, his captain, Cezar Garcez, read the flight plan on that leg, Maraba-Belem, as 270 degrees instead of 27 degrees, Varig had just added a decimal to their compass systems mainly for long legs like LAX (Mines Field to old timers) to Japan. He set the HSI to 270, passengers said the sun was setting on the wrong side of the 737-200, but no action was taken, finally ran out of fuel and put it down at night in a clearing in the jungle. Some survived, even 10 with no serious injuries. Zille and Garcez lost their licenses and were sentenced to 4 years, they are still out on appeal, real cute even speaking to this latest crash.

  • Ric

    Sounds like filing “no SIDS, no STARS” wouldnÀ‚´t work here, would it? Gotta take what you get.

  • Ric

    66H Chart
    Shows 561nm from Brasilia to Cachimbo. Other than that, dunno.

  • Simpleton

    You cannot directly blame the SJC departure control. They are not required automatically state the information the crew was attempting to request. They are obligated to provided it when it is requested (as the crew attempted to do multiple times) but as they obviously didn’t understand the request they heard they commited no crime. WHY DID THE CREW KEEP ASKING THE POOR DEPARTURE CONTROL OFFICIER WHERE HOUSEWARES WERE? Hell, he didn’t know he only new Oren was the way for them to leave.

    If the Fohla diagrams are drawn to scale, please check where the contacts initiated from the Legacy occurred and where the Brasilia Center contacts were attempted up until the crash. If any are more than about 160 nautical miles from Brasilia, they would be likely to be poorly inteligible if not not heard at all on one end or the other of the communication.

  • bo

    and once again…who started making these comparisons of murder rates to the U.S.??? If you go back through the threads, you’ll see it was e harmony and numerous of his/her alter ego’s that started posting nightly “stories” of murders that occurred throughout the day in the U.S., as to say, “hey, murder occurs in the U.S. too.”

    Once again, justifying the horrors that occur routinely throughout Rio as if it is “NORMAL” throughout the world.

    And if you’re wanting to compare the murder rate of BRAZIL with the U.S., then do it!!

    2005 Homicides

    Brazil – population = 185 million = 55,300 murders

    U.S. – population = 300 million = 14,000 murders

    -anyone got a calculator?

  • A real Brazilian

    hey Jabolota!

    If that’s not asking you too much, put your brilliant wazor wit to work and see what’s your opinion on this. Aren’t you the one who says on and on, as if a lie would turn true just by repeating it as a hysterical robot?, that Rio has a crime level worst than Bagdad??? KKKKK

    “I don’t know what’s sadder: the fact that certain gringos are writing about a country (Brazil) which they don’t seem to know anything about, or the fact that these same people don’t seem to have the slightest clue about what’s going on in their own country. Only a completely uninformed fool or a political demagogue would claim that the murder rates for Rio and Bagdhad are even slightly comparable.

    The State of Rio de Janeiro averages 18 murders a day with a population of some 14 million people.

    Bagdad has over 50 murders a day with a (current) population of less than 4 million.

    Do the math.

    Rio (STATE) averages 45 deaths per 100,000 people, per year.

    Bagdad average 456 deaths per 100,000 ppy.

    Chicago = 21 murders per 100,000 ppy
    Philadelphia = 23 murders per 100,000 ppy
    Detroit = 40 murders per 100,000 ppy
    Baltimore = 41 murders per 100,000 ppy
    Washington D.C. = 44 murders per 100,000 ppy
    New Orleans = 57 murders per 100,000 ppy

    Rio de Janeiro is, in fact, LESS violent than New Orleans.

    (These stats come from and are direct from the FBI and Census Bureau. And before anyone whines about Katrina, these numbers are from 2003. The stat re: Rio’s murders comes from the Secretario de SeguranÀƒ§a Publica do Estado do Rio de Janeiro and is widely confirmed by NGOs like ISER, Viva Rio and the University of Sao Paulo’s Nucleus for Violence Studies. Bagdad’s stats come from Patrick Cockburn’s new book “Occupation” – he got them from the occupation authroities and the Bagdad police, such as it is). “

  • bo

    A brazilian, e harmony, are you jerkoffs hyperventilating?

    Too tough for ya to take that there seems to be more than one person that isn’t seeing things through green and yellow ass-filled glasses?

  • A real Brazilian

    Hey Rics!
    KKKKK! This was the best day of my life reading this site…. You know when things are so obviously wrong, you know this day will come, sooner or later!

    Ric, I hope your days in the hotel room were really the nightmare you are stilll so afraid of!

    And he is mine!!


  • Ric

    No, it couldnÀ‚´t be Norm with those mistakes. Pardon me, gotta get back in the Samba. Ole, ole, olÀƒ¡.

  • Ric

    Is that you, Norman Kemble? Having a nice day?

  • Love, Bo

    Leave Ric alon!!!
    HeÀ¢€™s my, heÀ¢€™s my, heÀ¢€™s my !!! You third world creeps. Denial is nothing for meÀ¢€¦I can take much moreÀ¢€¦literally!!!

  • Unfeithfull your

    Ricky !?!?!? Bad boy!!
    HEY RICKY RICARDO IS YOUR LITTLE WORLD CRAMBLING??? HUhh Why are you so À¢€œnervosaÀ¢€Â lately? Don’t worry, you know that Bo will be by your side doesnÀ¢€™t matter what!!! So what if the plan didn’t work out the way you wanted to…you can always start on the delivery room of Excelair again. After all isnÀ¢€™t it where it all startedÀ¢€¦when your eyes first met? Tchauzinho!

  • Ric

    You do understand, donÀ‚´t you, that none of these pilots are identified, therefore the above article is no more and no less apropos to the case than the comments of people posting on a blog? Anonymous people whose non-English comments are poorly translated. Who have been given a priceless opportunity to dump on an American flight crew, and be quoted while remaining nameless.

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