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NTSB plans to reveal probable cause of Colgan crash on 2 Feb

The US National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) will hold a public meeting on 2 February to release its probable cause and safety recommendations related to the 12 February 2009 crash of a Colgan Air Bombardier Q400 (N200WQ) on approach to Buffalo, New York.

The accident killed all 49 onboard as well as one person on the ground. The NTSB in May held a public hearing to review evidence of safety issues collected to date, including the effects of icing on the Q400's performance, cold weather operations, sterile cockpit rules, crew experience, fatigue management and stall recovery training.

 © PA Photos

Based on that hearing and action in the US Congress, a wide range of initiatives have been created in advance of the final report, including fresh looks at crew rest rules, pilot training, pilot minimum experience levels and the impact of icing on commuter aircraft.

Colgan Air, in a submission to the NTSB's accident docket, singles out the pilots of the aircraft, saying the pair did not follow company procedures, lost situational awareness and subsequently, control of the aircraft.

The carrier says the captain, "rather than releasing back-pressure as he was trained to do", pulled back on the control yoke when the stickshaker stall warning occurred as the aircraft slowed during approach.

However, the Air Line Pilots Association (ALPA) in its submission noted that Colgan's training was inadequate, and that additional low-speed warning alerts on the Q400 would have helped the crew notice the aircraft's rapid deceleration in advance of the stickshaker activation.

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