ICING  Lawsuit filed February 24, 2009
and Press Conferences held February 23 and 24, 2009 at New Jersey, Washington DC, and Buffalo NY to demand an end to “dèjá vù disasters.” 

Gail Dunham, Executive Director of the National Air Disaster Alliance/Foundation,
in per personal capacity, PLAINTIFF
Ray H LaHood, U.S. Secretary of Transportation, and
Lynne A Osmus, Acting Administrator, Federal Aviation Administration, DEFENDANTS

Lawsuit was filed to compel government officials to move forward Icing Regulations to prevent aviation disasters such as the following, and more:

Continental Connection February 12, 2009 Buffalo NY
American Eagle 4184 Halloween, October 31, 1994 Roselawn IN
Comair 3272 January 9, 1997 Monroe MI
Canadair, Global Air 73 (Ebersol crash) November 28, 2004 Montrose CO
Platinum Jet Management February 2, 2005 Teterboro NJ
(Indictments and convictions followed the Teterboro investigation)
Martin Air, Cessna (the Circuit City crash) February 16, 2005 Pueblo CO

The NTSB and the public blamed the pilots of prior Colgan Air and Pinnacle crashes, Colgan flight 9446 and Pinnacle flight 3701, but subsequent litigation showed the aircraft in each case was to blame.

Rushing to “blame the pilots and close the case instead of a complete examination of the aircraft will cause more loss of life in the future.

In addition to the inaction on icing, airport safety issues have been pending for 19 years without DOT/FAA action.  NADA/F was founded by air crash survivors and family members in 1996, and our work is in memory of those who died, and to prevent these devastating disasters in the future.

Thank you to the family members from CO3407, and other icing disasters, for their diligence to push the FAA and government officials to mandate safety improvements to end the fatal flaws that caused too many aviation icing and commuter plane disasters. Thank you to Mary Schiavo and Don McCune with http://www.MotleyRice.com for the excellent legal work.

Documents show that the FAA was not going to release Icing Rulemaking documents until 2010, or later, and continue the 15+ years of delay. 

August 3, 2009 the FAA did publish a Final Rule  “To amend the airworthiness standards applicable to transport category airplanes certificated for flight in icing conditions. The rule requires a means to ensure timely activation of the airframe ice protection system. This rule is the result of information gathered from a review of icing accidents and incidents, and will improve the level of safety for new airplane designs for operations in icing conditions.” 

The Rulemaking is important, but there is still much work to do, and the FAA should be ashamed of the lengthy timeline allowed for compliance, lack of oversight of certification and no additional rulemaking.

August 2009 NADA/F withdrew the lawsuit as the FAA had published rulemaking, and Lynne Osmus had left the FAA, and we did not want to Amend the lawsuit to sue the new FAA Administrator Randy Babbitt.  Babbitt is working very hard to improve the safety culture at the FAA, and we want to work with him as we share similar goals. 

NADA/F can re-instate the lawsuit at anytime. 

One in every four  U.S. passengers flies a commuter airline, yet 7 or the last 8 fatal disasters in the U.S. involved smaller carriers.

Certification.  The CO3407 was a Q-400, Dash-8, and major design changes were just grand‑fathered in from the original 100 series.  The Dash-8 did not have the thorough Certification process by the FAA that should be mandated for all aircraft.

A long pilot commute was also blamed for CO3407 because the cockpit crew members flew to work the flight, however, they could have worked the flight they took to New Jersey and still have been “legal” to work CO3407.  Safety is compromised when pilot pay is so low that pilots are eligible for food stamps in some areas of the country.  We need action on work/rest rules, pilot pay, and not just another “study.”

The following documents also tell the story: 

Filed Complaint:  Gail Dunham vs. Ray H LaHood, Secretary of Transportation and Lynne A. Osmus, Acting Administrator, Federal Aviation Administration. 

Demanding an End to Déjà vu Disasters  Important overview of icing and other disasters, and 15 years of documented NTSB recommendations and FAA responses.  

Press Conference, Press Release, “International Safety Experts and Advocates call for an end to Déjà vu disasters:  Declaratory Action and Mandamus Filed Against D.O.T. to Compel Action on 15-year-old NTSB Safety Recommendations.

Overview of commuter aircraft disasters in the U.S. for January 8, 2003 to February 12, 2009 

February 24-25 2009
Press conferences to call an end to deja vu disasters and announced the lawsuit filed agains the DOT and FAA to compel action on 15 year or NTSB safety recommendations

Federal Government slapped with lawsuit Buffalo News story. 

“Federal Government slapped with lawsuit” Video

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Photos from Press Conferences: