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In February 2009, a horrific crash in upstate New York took the lives of all 49 on board and one person on the ground when a twin-engine turboprop plane stalled and nosedived into a home only five miles from the Buffalo-Niagra International Airport.
Family members of those victims have made 30 trips to Washington lobbying for Federal Aviation Administration legislation that would enforce tougher safety regulations, including better pilot training and more government oversight of the regional airline industry.
A National Transportation Safety Board hearing said that both pilots were likely suffering from fatigue, but it was not the direct cause of the crash. The victim’s relatives believe the crash was preventable and a result of unequipped pilots flying in icy conditions.
Thirteen family members addressed U.S. Sen. Jay Rockefeller, D-W.Va., chairman of the Senate Commerce, Science, and Transportation Committee, on Wednesday, July 7, 2010. According to Bloomberg Businessweek, Rockefeller said that “when we pass this bill it will be the most significant aviation legislation in a generation and that is great news.”
Members of the victims group have met privately with President Barak Obama and plan to visit Minnesota Democratic Rep. James Oberstar, chairman of the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee. They hope to increase required pilot flight time to at least 1,500 hours, instead of the current 250 hours.
“Plane crash victims group pushes for FAA bill.” Wolfe, Billy. Charleston Daily Mail. July 2010. Accessedon 07/09/2010.
“Plane crash victims push W. Va. Senator for bill.” Raby, John. Bloomberg Businessweek. July 2019.Accessed on 07/09/2010.
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