US Pilots Association Says Brazil Air Authorities Made Terrible Mistake

The damaged Legacy that collided with Boeing 737 The Allied Pilots Association (APA), which representing the 12,000 pilots of American Airlines, has issued a statement concerning the recent decision by a Brazilian federal judge to indict two pilots from the United States who were involved in a mid-air collision over  the Brazilian Amazon last year.

On September 29, 2006, Gol Airlines Flight 1907, a Boeing 737, went down with the loss of all 154 aboard following a mid-air collision with an Embraer Legacy 600 operated by ExcelAire Service of Ronkonkoma, New York.

The ExcelAire jet piloted by American pilots Joe Lepore and Jan Paladino landed safely at a remote military airfield.

"Criminalizing the accident investigation process," reads the APA statement, "establishes an extremely unfortunate precedent and is a terrible mistake. Accident investigations should be conducted based on widely accepted International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) Annex 13 guidelines, rather than as a criminal proceeding.

"The goal of any accident investigation should be to determine the accident’s cause to prevent a recurrence. Criminalizing an investigation will almost certainly have a chilling effect on the willingness of involved parties to be forthcoming with critical information.

"Accordingly, we urge the Brazilian authorities to rethink their approach to determining the cause of this tragic accident."

Founded in 1963, the Allied Pilots Association – the largest independent pilot union in the U.S. – is headquartered in Fort Worth, Texas.

The association represents the 12,000 pilots of American Airlines, including 2,688 pilots on furlough. The furloughs began shortly after the September 11, 2001 attacks.

Also, several hundred American Airlines pilots are on full-time military leave of absence serving in the armed forces. American Airlines is the nation’s largest passenger carrier.

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