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Family Members of Brazil’s Air Tragedy Insist US Pilots Turned Off Transponder

Brazil Embraer's Legacy after accident The American pilots who operated the Brazilian-made executive jet that collided with a Boeing 737 over the Amazon jungle last year, killing all passengers and crew aboard are once again being blamed for what at the time was Brazil's worst air tragedy ever. Since then, another plane crash caused additional 199 deaths.

Family members of Gol's flight 1907 victims believe that the transponder of the Legacy jet was voluntarily disconnected by US pilots, Joseph Lepore and Jan Paladino, causing the accident of September 29, 2006 in Brazil with a death toll of 154 people.

"We already knew that they could not have disconnected the transponder inadvertently with their feet, their laptop or any other way; however, the civil aviation authority's statement, that there is no indication of intentional disconnection, is unacceptable as they were cognizant of their entire dialogue during the trip," says Angelita De Marchi, president of the Association of Relatives and Friends of Gol's Flight 1907 Victims.

De Marchi says a transcript of Gol's flight 1907 black box conversations support the families' beliefs.

Rosane Gujthar, Rolf Gujthar's widow, agrees that the civil aviation authority cannot exclude the possibility of intentional disconnection of the transponder given the pilots' own remarks, recorded in the black box, which she says illustrates their lack of good judgment, negligence and lack of expertise with the equipment.

FMS (Flight Management System) is responsible for the management of several of the plane's functions, like flight planner, navigation, performance calculation, fuel consumption, etc. "It cannot be said that they did not disconnect the transponder intentionally, since they assumed the risk of piloting an unfamiliar airplane, even its FMS," states Gujthar.

"So, with all this, we want to know which other devices from the Legacy were turned off, besides the transponder and the TCAS, which we know of from the investigations. After all this, how can the civil aviation authorities claim that there is no indication of intentional disconnection? Their decision to pilot an unfamiliar aircraft, not knowing their equipment and international manuals, is an indication that they knew they could endanger the lives of the crew and other people."

After the accident, at 19h56min54s UTC (Coordinated Universal Time), a conversation between the crew took place, while they tried to establish contact with Brasí­lia's control tower. The American pilots began to look for the closest airport, and the pilot, Joseph Lepore, assumes he has the TCAS (Traffic Collision Avoidance System) turned off.

"The most ironic thing is that minutes after the collision at 19h57min50s, the Legacy's transponder reappeared in the secondary radar of the Amazon ACC, fully identified, with speed, altitude and aircraft information," says Rosane.

Captain George William Araripe Sucupira, president of the Pilots and Airplane Owners Association (APPA), states that "it would be practically impossible" to have an involuntary disconnection of the transponder/TCAS system.

"It is impossible to disconnect a transponder without the pilot's intervention. How can I turn off the transponder if I did not mess with the button? I can only turn it off if I change its position. Therefore, the transponder can only be deactivated voluntarily by the pilot, either by pressing or turning the button. The transponder of modern airplanes is coupled with a TCAS. The TCAS is a very basic instrument. That hypothesis does not exist. There is no way to turn off the transponder by accident."

Angelita De Marchi states that the families are stressed due to the lack of answers. "We are surprised every time with a new analysis or a new statement about the accident. We are tired of not getting straight answers about what happened the day of the accident and who is responsible. We cannot go on with our lives until this is over," she says.

The victims' families are awaiting the official report from the civil aviation authority, as well as the decision on the Positive Conflict Competence, which is under revision by Justice Paulo Gallotti of the Supreme Court.

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  • Show Comments (5)

  • ch.c.

    But crooks…..
    ……always cheat, hide and lie. That in their genes and further stimulated in their street education….
    Otherwise they would not be crooks and corrupted to the roots.

    And what else is Brazil ? A society where nothing works properly. Except corruption that truly shines. Of course, as usual, it is not their fault but others faults !

    They barely have 10 % of paved roads and 50 % of those have millions of potholes.
    Many much poorer African countries have better infrastructure.

    Ohhhh and the Brazilians engineers are so smart, that they put reserves fuel tanks……….. right at the end of an air landing strip !!!!!!!
    Wellll….they got what they deserved : The Guiness Book of record for the World Largest BBQ !!!!!!
    No one can say that Brazilians engineers never deserved a gold medal !

    And a second gold medal, for the biggest crater made by the collapse in their SP metro. It was not an explosion….but an implosion.
    A hole 100 meters wide and 30 meters deep…..in just a few seconds.

    Viva Brazil !

  • Simpleton

    So Says Insane Rosane a danaanna
    “The most ironic thing is that minutes after the collision at 19h57min50s, the Legacy’s transponder reappeared in the secondary radar of the Amazon ACC, fully identified, with speed, altitude and aircraft information,” says Rosane.

    Why does this crap continue to regurgitate? At present, all the transponder can supply to the controllers is the aircraft’s altitude, ID code and a couple of discrete bits indicating the capability of the equipment onboard. The controller’s own ground based system has to determine the speed, position, direction of movement. The controller’s own ground based system shows the aircraft information as well as showing when the supporting signal is not being provided by the aircraft. The controller is just that, IN CONTROL. There is no way for the pilots to know the controller cannot see them. It is the controller’s responsibility to take all necessary action (including re-directing other traffic) when an aircraft under their jursidiction is not reporting the necessary data, the aircraft is not where they are supposed to be, the aircraft is not at the altitude they are supposed to be at, etc..

    Is it possible to prove the pilots turned off the TCAS (intentionally or unintentionally) – absolutely not. Is it possible to prove the controllers were not doing their jobs (as evidenced by the aircraft information reappearing on their monitors after the collision) – absolutely. It is an absolute shame for Marchi or someone else to have so deliberately misinformed Rosane to think that the after the fact return to functioning / observation should be labeled “ironic”.

  • forrest allen brown

    what about the other planes equipment ???????
    blame to bucks
    like the courts in brasil go for the gringo money
    as you cant get money out of a brasilian

    yes by all means the brasilian controllers are free and clear
    if the trail goes to court in the US and the controllers are called will they be to sick to
    show up for 6 weeks
    money will not bring back the dead and only helps the ones out for the money .
    for the ones that loved the lost ones there is no replacement for them
    shoping is no cure

  • James in Philly

    All About the Benjamins
    Sad but true…easier to blame the American Pilots than the air traffic system in Brasil. The families will attempt to Extort money from the Americans.

  • ch.c.

    Welll..welll……
    These families KNOW where the money is.
    Therefore they dont care of who is responsible, what count is WHO should pay.
    They lnow there is Nooooo way Brazil will pay for their errors.
    Especially with such a filthy Brazilian Justice system.

    Sadly these families are as filthy as their own INjustice Supreme Court.

    Nothing changed in the Brazilian mentality.
    Others should always pays. ALWAYS even if others are not responsible.

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