Release #08.028
June 10, 2008

NTSB Findings Show Urgent Need to Address Pilot Fatigue, Improve Winter Operations

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Capt. Rory Kay, Executive Air Safety Chairman of the Air Line Pilots Association, Int’l (ALPA), issued the following statement at the conclusion of the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) sunshine meeting on Pinnacle Airlines Flight 4712, which overran the runway on landing at Cherry Capital Airport in Traverse City, Mich., on April 12, 2007.

“ALPA applauds the National Transportation Safety Board’s (NTSB) meticulous investigation into the many factors that contributed to the Pinnacle 4712 accident. We need to learn every lesson from every accident. Exploring each link in the chain of events that led to the accident allows us the best opportunity to prevent a similar occurrence in the future, which must be the goal of every accident investigation.

“The NTSB highlighted pilot fatigue as an issue in still another airline accident, yet many in our industry have not begun to address this serious safety concern. ALPA commends the Board’s perseverance in drawing the public’s attention to pilot fatigue and for pressing the FAA to develop modern, science-based flight- and duty-time regulations that enable pilots to maintain safety as their highest priority.

“The Board also underscored pilots’ urgent need for accurate and timely information about how well they can stop an airliner on a runway that is covered with snow, ice, or slush. ALPA continues to call on the FAA to develop a standard way of providing runway condition information. Moreover, pilots need runway performance data that is based on actual aircraft testing, not modeling, for each condition expected to be encountered while a pilot is operating on a given runway.

“The FAA must also require all airports with winter weather conditions to comply with federal guidelines for clearing runways, taxiways, and turn-offs of winter precipitation in a timely manner.

“At many airports, snow, sleet, and slush conditions can occur at almost any time during the year. Pilots need to be prepared with timely and accurate information about how well their airliner will perform in winter weather and need science-based flight and duty-time regulations that leave them rested and ready to do their jobs safely.”

Founded in 1931, ALPA is the world’s largest pilots union, representing 55,000 pilots at 40 airlines in the United States and Canada.

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Contacts: Linda Shotwell, Molly Martin, 703/481-4440 or