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Brazil’s Boeing Tragedy: Transcript Shows US Pilot Lost and Then Taking a Nap

Brazilian congress inquiry on the air blackout Brazilian congress inquiry on the air blackout

Brazilian congress inquiry on the air blackout Brazil's House Representative, Vic Pires Franco, believes he has evidence that places most of the blame for Brazil's worst air accident ever squarely on the shoulders of the two American pilots of the Legacy executive jet, which collided with a Boeing 737. sending the 154 people aboard the big jet to their death in the Amazon jungle.

Franco, talking to the House Air Blackout committee in charge of a congressional inquiry probing air traffic in Brazil, presented what he said was a 112-page document containing a transcript from the Legacy's black box.

The transcript, says the representative, shows that the Americans didn't know how to use the Legacy and even confessed they were lost during a stretch of their trip from São José dos Campos in São Paulo to Manaus, the capital of Amazonas state. At 4:36 pm the copilot asks the plane commander where are they to which the pilot responds: "I don't know."

For Franco, who belongs to the DEM party, the documents he obtained change the course of the investigations: "They prove that officials from Embraer (Brazilian Aircraft Manufacturer) helped the pilots to use the plane, they meddled into the cockpit, gave some hints. The pilots didn't know well what they were doing."

According to the new transcript, Joe Lepore, the pilot, after confessing that he is lost decides to snooze. The document shows that at 4:39 pm, 17 minutes before the collision, Lepore tells his copilot Jan Paladino: "I'm gonna take a nap." The catnap lasts until 4:55 pm, just one minute before the accident.

The new information once again raises the possibility that the Legacy had its transponder turned off before the collision occurred.

From the document:  "At 4:12 pm the copilot (Paladino) asked whether the commander (Lepore) wanted to turn off a certain device. The commander said yes. At 4:59 pm, three minutes after the crash, the copilot finds out that the TCAS (Traffic alert and Collision Avoidance System) is turned off and he orders that it be turned on."

Franco says that the reading of the transcript  made him aware that the US pilots went astray from their course. He told the House committee: "At 4:16 pm, the pilot says, "Let's go a little in that direction." And then a little later he tells to go back to the previous route. Now, if he needed to come back then it means that he wasn't in the right one."

Still according to the congressman, Paladino, the copilot, noticed that there was something wrong with the radio frequency while the pilot took a nap and he tried, unsuccessfully, several times, to contact the Brasí­lia control tower.

"They are crucifying the controllers when the pilots were the ones acting with total imprudence and piloting a plane without having the smallest familiarity with the equipment," said the House representative. And here he added: "Unfortunately, however, these pilots will never again step their feet in Brazil."

Franco says that no air controller can be indicted from culpable homicide (with intention to kill): "Nobody left home that day with the intent to kill 154 people."

Franco also questioned Frederico Curado, the Embraer (the Legacy manufacturer) president over the presence of Embraer officials in the Legacy's cockpit.

According to the transcript, says the legislator, the American pilots, asked at least one Embraer official to give them information on how the airplane worked, evidence that they didn't know how to operate the Legacy.

Curado answered that the company's officials inside the Legacy were from the commercial area. And he continued, "Whether there was any participation by them, I officially ignore."

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  • Show Comments (21)

  • Its simple economics

    Really
    Why are people even debating this dumb article? Its really a joke. Oh they did tricks, oh they slept, oh they didn’t follow their flight plan… Oh they didn’t know how to fly the plane. Common. I doubt Embrare or ExcelAire would allow these pilots to fly this extremely expensive plane if they didn’t know how to fly it…

  • Its simple economics

    Are you kidding me?
    First they were doing “tricks in the air” Now they were “sleeping”. Give me a break. If your going to embelish the truth, at least try to make it believeable. Geez! Why was this article even written? It makes Brazil politics look even more like an insane assylum.

  • AES

    Franco lost in a sea of self promoting merde.
    Franco believes he understands Quantum Physics and that Santa Claus and the Tooth Fairy are alive and well. He believes that he is himself capable of flying the plane, and has any understanding of the event at all. He is a Red Herring salesman.

  • AES

    FRANCO qualifies with NTSB as expert analyst.
    It didn’t show that they were lost the words said they didn’t know where they were, they obviously had the heading and instumentation, they were flying over pure blackness, ‘Idont know where we are’ means I dont know the name of the tree they were flying over. They obviously had GPS so by definition they knew where they were, latitude and longitude and they had an altimiter so they knew height, and they had a compass heading so they knew the direction they were going. That is the antithesis of LOST. The article is pure propaganda. “The pilot took a nap.” The plane is on auto pilot the co pilot is flying the plane. To say the pilot was asleep is to imply the plane was out of control, it is pure propagandistic tripe. As to ‘they didn’t know how to fly the plane’ if that were true the persons recklessly turning over the airplane to pilots that did not know how to fly the plane would be at fault. You dont turn a care over to a child to drive in the Indy 500. What a bunch of ignorant (of English and its subtlety of meannings, its colloquialisms).

    Franco is posturing. The transcript of the black box was read from the begining. This is purely politically serving. ‘He believes he has evidence’, not that he HAS evidence.

  • Norman Kemble

    IT is simple economics and….
    Thatˢ۪s why charter operators spend as little money as they can on aircraft training, recurrent training in international procedures, etc. They do this because it costs them money that they either donˢ۪t have or donˢ۪t want to spend out of their pockets. And the fly by night ones pencil in the training saving not only time but keeping the pilots flying trips on days when they would have been in training. The FAA is overworked and understaffed and canˢ۪t possibly keep track of everyone. The underhanded charter operators establish a good relationship with their POI so that they are not closely inspected and can get away with this until an accident or incident occurs. Of course having penciled in the training and getting the pilots (who need the jobs) to go along with this they can continue to operate outside the legal limits.

    And Embraer just wants to sell planes as any plane manufacturer would.

    THATÀ¢€™S THE SIMPLE ECONOMICS.

  • Simpleton

    Come’ Come’
    “Cariocas are just a bunch of corruption lovers, thieves”

    From what I’ve seen it is a strange balance in views, actions, re-actions and public image control that is exercised in Estado do Rio but I wouldn’t call them out like this. Eu carioca do coracao so. I have a deep and abiding passion for a few carioca’s I know and would not classify their positions as lovers of corruption. Most certainly there are thieves as is the case anywhere. Guess expressing these things as “brasileiro” might be more appropriate, something is there / you desire it or it is good for you personnally so you just take it, you don’t ask / you don’t wait for permission, there’s no thought nor time of contemplation. After, there’s never a discussion of the past and what might or might not have been done correctly or in a different or better way. Gosh I miss the spontenaeity already.

  • Magnus Brasil

    [quote]Yessssssss….you LOVE crooks, cheaters and liars.
    This, the WHOLE WORLD KNOWS !
    Is that not why you have elected Lula, and even re-elected him ![/quote]

    Sorry, but the south and southeast didn’t elected him, I didn’t elected him.
    The problem lies in the fact that the northeast, with his volume of uneducated, controlled by oligarchies people decides who will be the majority of our congress man (and president). Rio creates that kind of problem too, despite being in the southeast, but for different reasons. Cariocas are just a bunch of corruption lovers, thieves, with the “malandro” mentality.

    I don’t care if I’m not politically correct. That’s the true, despite the generalization.

    [quote]It’s not a matter of whether there are compentent prepared people to handle a proper and fair investigation from within Brazil, it’s that such people are not in power and will not be heard by the Brazilian populace in general. Those that are competent, well trained, educated at or above the equivalent level found elsewhere in the world (and, I might add, incredibly intelligent), won’t be heard and won’t have any influence whatsoever on the goings on in the CPI. Heck, they wouldn’t even listen to the top end of the FAB who operates worldwide and runs the infrastructure there.[/quote]

    That’s true. I don’t agree with no CPI. they just put up a show for people to see and vote for them. it all should be run by the PF, or the MP, or, in this case, by the Air force. You should see the questions they did to Constantino Junior, owner and CEO of Gol. They were asking about the “goiabinhas” served on the flights, for Christ sake!

    Just to add my 2 cents: The whole thing was all going in the direction to put the blame on the ATC’s when the investigation “got hot”, until they opened the black box…

  • Simpleton

    Sort a sad Sorte Brazil
    Maggie Braun – you do understand that denying the guilt of the ATC and the government’s care for the equipment, facilities, procedural control, training, oversight, funding, etc., etc., is exactly what the world see’s your government and sensational press spokesmen doing? They don’t have to openly and explicitly state that as their intention for everyone to know that that is what it is they are doing (although some actually have gone beligerantly explicit and wrong on occasion which ch.c will repeatedly point out.)

    It’s not a matter of whether there are compentent prepared people to handle a proper and fair investigation from within Brazil, it’s that such people are not in power and will not be heard by the Brazilian populace in general. Those that are competent, well trained, educated at or above the equivalent level found elsewhere in the world (and, I might add, incredibly intelligent), won’t be heard and won’t have any influence whatsoever on the goings on in the CPI. Heck, they wouldn’t even listen to the top end of the FAB who operates worldwide and runs the infrastructure there.

  • João da Silva

    [quote]Except that he has absolutely NO experience in army or defense !
    [/quote]

    Sure, he has experience in DEFENCE. Defending his job.

  • ch.c.

    Pires is our beloved “El Comandante”. As solid as the Rock of Gibraltor !!!!!!
    Except that he has absolutely NO experience in army or defense !
    He was named Defense Minister not so long ago. Strange rock of Gibraltar.
    You better re-read his past jobs !

    Yessssssss….you LOVE crooks, cheaters and liars.
    This, the WHOLE WORLD KNOWS !
    Is that not why you have elected Lula, and even re-elected him !

    Is that not why you have elected and re-elected many politicians, found guilty of many corruptions practices, but of course pardoned
    by the other senators….in a secret vote ?

    Yesssssss…..lying, cheating and corrupted people are the ones beloved by Brazilians !

    It is in your education and your genes.

    Therefore it will be an heresy to believe that Brazil will change for the better.
    Aand you demonstrate it on a daily basis !

    Enjoy Your Rotten Tropical Mud !

  • George Rock

    Bad translator too
    [quote]First they were doing “tricks in the air” Now they were “sleeping”. [/quote]

    Because of Captain Joe Leopore’ phrase:

    “I’m going to easy”, that phase was translated to portuguese as “I’m going to take a nap”.

    Next, He stand up and went to aircraft toilet and He stood there for 16 minutes.

    All congressmen have thought Joe Lepore was taking a brief sleep and He had left his colleague,Co-pilot Jan Paladino alone in cockpit.

  • Magnus Brasil

    [quote]All I wish is that that the truth comes out finally so that the souls of those 154 people on board the Gol 1907 come to rest in peace. I don’t think that I am asking too much.[/quote]

    It’s a nice thing to wish, JoÀƒ£o, as long as the pilots could assume their share of guilty.
    Of course that CPI it’s a political thing, and personally I would like that some more prepared people could take care of the investigations. These politics are being oriented, the problem is that they want to be on the “vitrine”. They were not denying the guilty of the ATC’s, but for the pilots were no angels too.

    Sorry if it may sounds strange, but by these comments you’re kind of offending people here, assuming that in Brasil would be no prepared people to handle a proper, fair investigation and they are all politically compromised, since they put part of the blame on the pilots.

    The sad thing is to know that in North American media they’re depicting the pilots as the good guys the saved half a dozen people, and are the victims of the lawless land of Brasil.

    why is so difficult for North Americans accept that they re pilots MAY BE, and just may be, guilty?

  • Simpleton

    silver spoon type mae fodje abound ne?
    Maybe I’ll take a trip down to AZ this fall while friends of our’s are there visiting relatives. Couple ol’ timer’s around here who might wangle me an invite to stop in / tour the labs where they did the fac testing. I still wouldn’t mind having a crack at testing / fault response surveying a 600 of the same configuration involved.

    Que e sua cidade ProF?

  • João da Silva

    To:Simpleton
    [quote]Pirues remains, upright and (so far) unscathed.[/quote]

    Simpleton, my friend, this guy will always remain unscathed,because as far as I remember, he was always on top of the wall. A real politico.Brig.Bueno is indeed a decent guy and that was the reason why he was sent to wear the Long Johns. I dont know if you read in the newspapers that Col.Rufino who is the President of the investigative commission is another decent guy and he also told the truth in the senate. I hope he is not the next one to wear the Long Johns. It would be a pity if he does.

    I dont really see what qualifications Dr.Pires has to be the Minister of Defence. There again, what qualifications did Rumsfeld had to be of SecDef of U.S.?

    All I wish is that that the truth comes out finally so that the souls of those 154 people on board the Gol 1907 come to rest in peace. I dont think that I am asking too much.

  • Simpleton

    but wait a new york minute?
    Pirues remains, upright and (so far) unscathed. The decent man I would have like to have seen become his eventual replacement, Brig Bueno, was sent to pajamas over this. Why? Because he was being too hard on, too mean to, too abrasive towards, too demanding of the troops manning the towers, scopes and mic sets (and their superior officers) who are / were so dedicated to supporting him and failed.

  • João da Silva

    To:ch.c
    [quote]Pires is still the Brazilian Defense Minister !!!!!
    [/quote]

    Pires is our beloved “El Comandante”. As solid as the Rock of Gibraltor. The finest Defense Minister that we have ever had.Thanks to him, our borders are secure from the marauding Venezuens.

  • ch.c.

    In my view……
    it could be only Brazilians who believe that a lost pilot in the air….will decide to have a nap !!!!!!!

    Quite laughable…..from a supposed serious and educated Brazilian House Representative !

    Quite the same for your pampers wearing Minister Pires, still saying today that there is no blindspots in Brazil, when ALL pilots, brazilian ATCs, and all the Brazilian airforce pilots, sergeants, captains, majors, colonels, brigadiers and just name it……KNOW AND ACKNOLEDGED THAT YOUR COUNTRY HAS MANY BLINDPSPOTS AREAS !!!!!

    Ohhhhh….but dont worry……Pires is still the Brazilian Defense Minister !!!!!

    What a shame…..what a shame !

  • George Rock

    correction word typed
    You should read “Controller” where is written ‘controler’

    So sorry,

    George Rock

  • George Rock

    Air Traffic Controler testimony about Legacy N600XL
    Air Force Sergeant Wellington, Air Traffic Controler testimony about Legacy N600XL and Boeing 737-800 GOL Flight 1907 midair collision.

    The Legacy N600XL Flight Plan ‘PRESENTED’ to Air Information Service in Sao Jose dos Campos, in which it was ‘PROPOSED’ Route as written and point out:
    DCT PCL UW2 BRS/N0456F360 UZ6 TERES/N0449F380 UZ6 MAN DCT

    Flight Plan ‘PRESENTED’, It HAD NO APPROVAL to step down to 36.000 feet after Brasilia VOR and to climb up to 38.000 feet after TERES position along airway UZ 6, said Sergeant Wellington, Air Traffic Controller and Brasilia Air Control Center Controllers supervisor on SEP 29, 2006.

    In other words, the N600XL Flight Plan was ‘AUTHORIZED’ only on Flight Level 37.000 feet after Brasilia VOR.

    Air Force Sergeant Wellington, Air Traffic Controller bore testimony to congressman Senator Demostenes Torres for the Parliamentary Committee of Inquiry.

    Air Force Sergeant Wellington, Air Traffic Controller in his testimony on May 25th, 2007, Friday at National Congress said:

    ***Bold and highlight and [] by George Rock

    Portuguese
    SR. WELLINGTON ANDRADE RODRIGUES: O que nÀƒ³s temos que saber diferenciar existe o plano de vÀƒ´o proposto, plano de vÀƒ´o solicitado e plano de vÀƒ´o autorizado. NÀƒ³s temos diferenÀƒ§as nisso.

    English
    Mr. Wellington Andrade Rodrigues: What we have to understand distinguishing that there is the ‘PROPOSED’ Flight Plan, the ‘REQUESTED’ Flight Plan and, the ‘AUTHORIZED’ Flight Plan. We have difference in that.

    SR. RELATOR SENADOR DEMOSTENES TORRES (DEM-GO): Correto. E nesse caso, o proposto foi o autorizado?

    Mr. Senator Demostenes Torres, Relator (=referee), Democrats Party, Goias State: Correct. In this case, the ‘PROPOSED’ [Flight Plan ] was it the ‘AUTHORIZED’ [Flight Plan ] ?

    SR. WELLINGTON ANDRADE RODRIGUES: NÀƒ£o.

    Mr. Wellington Andrade Rodrigues: No.

    SR. RELATOR SENADOR DEMOSTENES TORRES (DEM-GO): Qual a diferenÀƒ§a? Esse foi o plano de vÀƒ´o proposto. O que foi autorizado? O senhor pode nos dizer?

    Mr. Senator Demostenes Torres, Relator, Democrats Party, Goias State: What’s the difference? That it was the ‘PROPOSED’ Flight Plan . Which was the ‘AUTHORIZED’ [Flight Plan ]? Do you can tell us, sir?

    SR. WELLINGTON ANDRADE RODRIGUES: Eu digo assim com base no que eu ouvi, porque como nÀƒ£o fui eu que fiz a autorizaÀƒ§Àƒ£o, eu posso explicar por base do que eu fiquei sabendo.

    Mr. Wellington Andrade Rodrigues: I say thus based on what I have heard, because as it was’t me who made the CLEARANCE, I can explain grounded on what I learned.

    SR. RELATOR SENADOR DEMOSTENES TORRES (DEM-GO): EntÀƒ£o o senhor tambÀƒ©m nÀƒ£o tem certeza se foi realmente, o senhor nÀƒ£o teve acesso a essa documentaÀƒ§Àƒ£o.

    Mr. Senator Demostenes Torres, Democrats Party, Goias State: Then sir, you do not make sure also whether it actually had been [AUTORIZED], sir, you had no access to that documentation.

    SR. WELLINGTON ANDRADE RODRIGUES: NÀƒ£o. Eu tive acesso ÀƒÂ s gravaÀƒ§Àƒµes… Que nÀƒ£o fui eu que fiz a autorizaÀƒ§Àƒ£o.

    Mr. Wellington Andrade Rodrigues: No. I had access to tape-recordings…that it was’t me who made the CLEARANCE.

    SR. PRESIDENTE SENADOR TIÀƒƒO VIANA (PT-AC): Permita, Relator, vocÀƒª afirmou aqui que nÀƒ£o foi o autorizado.

    Mr. Senator Tiao Viana, President of Parliamentary Commettee of Inquiry, Labors Party, Acre State: Permission, Relator, you [Sergeant Wellington ] affirmed right here that [Flight Plan ] it had not been AUTHORIZED.

    SR. WELLINGTON ANDRADE RODRIGUES: Isso eu afirmo.

    Mr. Wellington Andrade Rodrigues: That I affirm.

    SR. PRESIDENTE SENADOR TIÀƒƒO VIANA (PT-AC): Foi proposto, mas nÀƒ£o foi autorizado.

    Therefore, the Legacy N600XL’s Flight Plan as PRESENTED wasn’t AUTHORIZED to descend to Flight Level 36.000 feet after BrasÀƒ­lia neither to climb up to Flight Level 38.000 feet after TERES compulsory Fix along Airway UZ 6 centrleine.

    George Rock
    Airline Transport Pilot
    Flight Instructor ( jets )

  • Jay Glenn

    SAME PLACE SAME TIME
    YES, the best point is, Both Aircraft were on the Airway. ATC PUT BOTH OF THEM AT THAT LOCATION. Let’s see the Black box transcript from the Canada LAB. Not some unqualified persons interpretation.

  • Piloto Júnior

    If these guys were lost, how could they have been on a collision course with the GOL? The problem is that they were exactly where they were supposed to be, centered on the airway, at the altitude assigned to them by Air Traffic Control. The GOL flight was exactly where they were supposed to be, centered on the airway, at the altitude assigned to them by Air Traffic Control. And the navigation systems on the aircraft today are so accurate, they hit each other because they both were exactly on course. Sad thing was I had been flying in SÀƒ£o Felix do Xingu in June, and I saw that the brand new SIVAM radar site in that area was turned off. This would have been the radar that caused the black hole in the Air Traffic System. If it had been on, Air Traffic would not have lost secondary radar telling them the altitude of both aircraft.

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