NTSB backs away from flight time recommendations in Colgan probe

Washington DC
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A report scheduled for release today citing the probable cause of the February 2009 fatal crash of a Colgan Air Bombardier Q400 will not include any recommendations to change required flight time for pilot certification.

Investigators at the US National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) have concluded the total time each pilot had accumulated at the time of the crash "was not something tied to this accident".

Director of NTSB's office of aviation safety Tom Haueter said today it is not the quantity of time a pilot has, but more importantly both the quality of the time and the instruction. Haueter gave that assessment during the final hearing held as part of NTSB's investigation into the accident.

Board members pointed to the fatal November 2004 crash of a Bombardier Challenger 601 during takeoff from Montrose, Colorado, arguing the aircraft's crew were both high-time pilots, but had little experience operating in icing conditions.

US FAA Administrator Randy Babbitt has made similar statements recently, emphasising key to efficiency is ensuring pilots are familiar with every possible scenario they are likely to encounter in commercial operations, including high altitude operations, multi-crew procedures and icing events.