Remembering Colgan Air Flight 3407

For airline pilots, February 12 serves as a constant reminder of the importance of aviation safety. Although it’s been nine years since the Colgan Air Flight 3407 tragedy, the gravity of the crash has not diminished—our collective grieving continues and our passion for the safety of our skies has only grown.

Flight 3407 had a profound impact on our industry and, in its aftermath, positive changes in aviation safety emerged. ALPA was an early leader in calling for the strengthening of pilot training and qualification requirements. Through collective efforts with other aviation safety advocates, Congress enacted the Airline Safety and Federal Aviation Administration Extension Act of 2010.

And since that comprehensive safety legislation was passed, there has not been a single airline passenger fatality due to an accident.  Not one. Zero.

The robust first officer qualifications set forth in the law have helped raise the training and experience standards for all U.S. pilots. A new-hire first officer at a regional carrier today has experience and knowledge comparable to that of regional captains from a decade ago—allowing for better decision-making and airmanship skills. These rules have contributed to the safest period ever for U.S. aviation, and, better still, 2017 was the safest year on record for global aviation.

Yet, despite this incredible record, some are trying to weaken these vital safety rules. However, pilots, the flying public, and the Colgan families are standing up and fighting back. Unwavering from our commitment to improving aviation safety, nearly 100,000 commercial pilots are actively opposing legislation to weaken aviation safety rules, and some 40,000 letters were sent to Congress last year to stop any attempts to diminish these critical safety regulations.

Pilots are Trained for Life to ensure that the safest place on Earth will always be in the air. The proof is in 9 million flights per year, 2.5 million passengers a day, and zero U.S. airline passenger fatalities. Clearly, the rules are working.

The safety regulations that have contributed to this extraordinary 9-year safety record were written in blood—and should not be undone, period. Today, in honor of those who lost their lives on Colgan Air Flight 3407, and the over 1,100 passengers who lost their lives in airline accidents over the nearly two decades prior, let us all renew our pledge to keep flying safe. 

Categories: Advocacy, Safety