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Flight 3407 Crash Probe Looks at Pilot Training and Cockpit Behavior

By David Goguen on May 12, 2009 | Last updated on March 21, 2019

The pilots at the controls of a doomed February flight over upstate New York talked about their lack of experience with aircraft icing just before the plane crashed, and were carrying on unnecessary informal conversation that likely violated "sterile" cockpit rules, according to transcripts released today by the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB).

The safety agency's three-day probe of the accident is focusing on the crew's training, in-flight protocol, and experience related to aircraft icing, a potential cause of the February 12 Colgan Air crash that killed all 49 passengers and crew members, and one person on the ground.

The public can view a live webcast of the three days of NTSB hearings at

On February 12, 2009, Colgan Air (operated by Continental Airlines) Flight 3407 crashed while preparing to land at Buffalo Niagara International Airport in upstate New York. The twin-engine turboprop craft experienced an "aerodynamic stall" on approach to the airport in the "deadliest U.S. transportation disaster in seven years," according to the Washington Post.

According to the NTSB, the three-day hearings on the crash of Flight 3407 are focusing on a number of safety issues, including the effect of icing on the aircraft's performance, cold weather operations, rules on maintaining a professional "sterile" cockpit, crew experience, fatigue management, and training in aircraft stall recovery techniques.

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