Brazil ATC, Gol and ExcelAire in Battle Again.

Derg

New Arizona, Il Duce/Warlord
Staff member
Brazil blames Gol crash on US pilots, controllers
Wed Dec 10, 2008 7:14pm EST

By Raymond Colitt and Fernando Exman

BRASILIA, Dec 10 (Reuters) - A Brazilian air force report on Wednesday blamed two U.S. pilots, traffic controllers and faulty communications for a mid-air collision that downed a commercial airliner in 2006 killing all 154 passengers.

The Boeing 737 operated by Gol Linhas Aereas (GOLL4.SA: Quote, Profile, Research, Stock Buzz) (GOL.N: Quote, Profile, Research, Stock Buzz) plummeted from 37,000 feet (11,300 metres) after a Legacy corporate jet operated by Long Island-based ExcelAire clipped its wings in mid-air.

The Legacy, manufactured by Brazilian maker Embraer (EMBR3.SA: Quote, Profile, Research, Stock Buzz)(ERJ.N: Quote, Profile, Research, Stock Buzz), landed safely with minor damage.

The report by the air force accident investigation unit Cenipa, said multiple failures caused the disaster.

Air traffic controllers gave the Legacy pilots vague instructions on when to change their altitude and failed to alert them when they continued at the wrong height.

They also did not alert the pilots of a change in radio frequency. Only one of five radio frequencies used in the region was working.

The Legacy's pilots were poorly prepared, had no experience flying in Brazil and had never previously flown together. They inadvertently turned off the Legacy's transponder, a security device that warns of an approaching aircraft, and did not turn it back on until after the accident.

"No accident happens because of a single cause," said Brigadier Jorge Kersul Filho, head of Cenipa.

The collision snapped off 7 meters (yards) of the 737's left wing, causing it to spiral out of control and break up before crashing into the Amazon jungle.

A representative of victims' relatives said they would request the public prosecutor to press charges against the U.S. pilots for homicide with intent.

A federal judge in Mato Grosso state, where the accident happened, absolved the pilots on Tuesday of negligence in trying to communicate with the control tower. They still face charges of putting aviation safety at risk by presenting a faulty flight plan and deactivating the transponder.

Joel Weiss, a lawyer for the pilots, said individual air traffic controllers and flaws built in Brazil's air traffic control system caused the accident.

ExcelAire Vice President David Rimmer, told Reuters the report "is designed to blame the pilots. It's full of bias."

ExcelAire also denied that the pilots were poorly prepared or had never flown together and said a separate report published on Wednesday by the U.S. National Transportation Safety Board reached a different conclusion.

Local investigators last month blamed government agencies, pilot error and company policy for a TAM airliner crash that killed 199 in 2007.

The two major accidents within a year have triggered efforts to reform Brazil's air traffic control system, which is overseen by the military. (Additional reporting by Fernando Exman, editing by Alan Elsner)
 

skydog

New Member
I just saw a National Geographic (I think) special on this. The only "error" on the part of the Excel pilots that I could see was that they failed to cross reference their flight plan with their clearance. According to the show, their flight plan called for a descent from 370 to 360 after a certain point. Had that happened, the accident would not have happened.

Understand, I do not blame the pilots. The flight plan is only a request. ATC issues a clearance, and it is the pilots' job to determine if they can accept it. In this case, ATC cleared them, the pilots knew that the altitude difference was no issue, so they accepted it.
This was entirely ATC's fault.

The only real question is the issue with the transponder. But since there is no way to know what happened there, there is no point in pursuing it.
 

BCTAv8r

Well-Known Member
You need a third party to investigate the accident. I don't think you can rely on either side to provide a thruthfull account of what occured. The Brazilians won't want to look at their own problems and will blame it on the Americans. The Americans will side with the American pilots (as evident in this thread) and will place full blame on the the Brazilians.

And to the poster above, the transponder issue is one of the only problems blamed on the American pilots, so I guess the convenient thing to do is just not pursue it since we can't reach a conclusion anyways.:banghead:
 

Derg

New Arizona, Il Duce/Warlord
Staff member
I just saw a National Geographic (I think) special on this. The only "error" on the part of the Excel pilots that I could see was that they failed to cross reference their flight plan with their clearance. According to the show, their flight plan called for a descent from 370 to 360 after a certain point. Had that happened, the accident would not have happened.
Generally, flight level changes on international are about efficiency and not traffic separation.
 
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