Brazilian pilots indicted

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The decision to indict the pilots of the Embraer Legacy that collided with a Gol Airlines Boeing 737-800 in September last year, has "astounded" the International Federation of Air Line Pilots' Associations (IFALPA).

IFALPA is "astounded" by the decision of J udge Murilo Mendes of the Brazilian Federal Court in Sinop, Brazil, to indict the pilots because, it says, the decision is based on "incomplete investigations".

Pilots Joseph Lepore and Jan Paladino were this week indicted, under section 261 of the Brazilian Penal Code, "for placing a vessel or aircraft in jeopardy".

But IFALPA says: "The indictment flies in the face of international best practice as the charges against the two pilots, and four air traffic controllers also indicted, are solely based on an incomplete and non-technical investigation by the Policia Federal."

The association says that since there has not been any factual support submitted to find that there was any intent by the Legacy crew to place their aircraft in danger, there should be no basis for prosecution under Brazilian law.

Therefore, Judge Mendes' ruling is flawed and counter productive to the improvement of air safety."The association "strongly insists" that "the principles of just culture hold that there should be no criminal liability without intent to do harm". Brazilian law must respect this fundamental principle in all cases, it says.

Three controllers are being charged with "involuntary manslaughter" and one "voluntary manslaughter".

If the accused were convicted, according to Brazilian law, involuntary manslaughter carries a six-year maximum prison sentence, while voluntary manslaughter can be as much as 26 years.


The trial of air traffic management executives from Switzerland's air navigation service provider Skyguide is in progress to determine if they are liable under criminal law for any part in the mid-air collision between a Bashkirian Airlines Tupolev Tu-154M and a DHL Boeing 757 freighter in July 2002.

The report determined that systemic mismanagement at Skyguide was a factor in the collision cause.

The sole air traffic controller on duty at the time was murdered on 24 February 2004 at his home by a man whose family died in the Tu-154


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