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As WNY marks 14th anniversary of Flight 3407 tragedy, Higgins 'determined to protect flight safety'


Fri, Feb 10th 2023 12:20 pm

Congress set to debate FAA reauthorization this year 

As the Western New York community remembers the lives lost 14 years ago in the tragic crash of Flight 3407, Congressman Brian Higgins “remains vigilant in the fight to protect flight safety as Congress debates measures included in Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) reauthorization this year,” his team said.

Higgins explained, “The flight safety standards in place today were borne out of the painful lessons learned when loved ones never made it home. Change didn’t come easy, but the relentless fight of the Flight 3407 families saved countless other families from facing the same unthinkable fate. As Congress debates FAA reauthorization, we can’t go back. The flying public deserves the highest level of safety, and we remain prepared to defend it.”

The crash of Flight 3407 in Clarence on Feb. 12, 2009, killed all on board and one on the ground. The National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) accident report concluded the incident was avoidable and attributable to pilot error. Following the tragedy, the victims’ families helped to deliver major safety reforms in the Federal Aviation Administration Act of 2010. These included measures addressing pilot fatigue, consumer transparency, the pilot records database, and pilot training requirements – including the 1,500-hour rule.

The last FAA reauthorization in 2018 extended FAA’s funding and authorities through fiscal year 2023. Congress will work this year on FAA reauthorization. On Feb. 7, the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee held its first hearing on the issue. Rep. Sam Graves, chair of the Transportation and Infrastructure Committee, expressed opposition to the 1,500-hour rule training requirement for pilots.

Again this week, Flight 3407 families were on Capitol Hill meeting with members of Congress and attending the committee hearing to remind members of the lives at stake.

In testimony before the House Aviation Subcommittee, Airline Pilot Association President Capt. Jason Ambrosi noted how changes made after the Flight 3407 tragedy improved flight safety: “Prior to the passage of the Aviation Safety and FAA Reauthorization Act of 2010, the passenger airline industry lost approximately 1,100 passengers in airline accidents over a 20-year period. Since the unanimous passage of that landmark safety legislation, the airline passenger fatality rate has reduced by 99.8%. The numerous congressional mandates in the bill created comprehensive changes to how airlines do business and significantly raised the safety bar.”

For information about the lives lost on Feb. 12, 2009, and the work of the families that followed, visit http://3407memorial.com/.

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