June 8, 2004
ALPA Reaction to NTSB Findings in FedEx Accident
WASHINGTON, D.C.---The following statement was issued today by the Air Line Pilots Association in response to the findings of the National Transportation Safety Board regarding the July 26, 2002 crash of FedEx Flight 1478 in Tallahassee, Florida:
ALPA welcomes the NTSB's findings regarding the role that fatigue played in this accident. The Board correctly noted that performance for at least two members of the crew was degraded by inadequate sleep or unexpected schedule changes. In their discussions at the Sunshine Meeting, Board members commented that fatigue played a role in several portions of the chain of events that resulted in the accident.
The Board members recognized the significance of fatigue in this accident, and the existing body of knowledge recognizes the hazards associated with fatigue, so ALPA believes that the Board should have followed through with either new recommendations regarding pilot rest, or reiteration of its previous recommendations on fatigue.
ALPA is disappointed that the Board did not fully explore the possibility that moisture condensation on the visual approach aid (Precision Approach Path Indicator, or PAPI) gave the crew a false indication. The FAA was aware of this problem as far back as 1983. The FAA issued an advisory notice to airport operators after the accident to keep PAPI units running to prevent contamination. ALPA believes that PAPI contamination could have been more of a factor in the accident, so NTSB recommendations to require continuous PAPI operation and to advise pilots of the hazard would have been appropriate.
ALPA represents 64,000 airline pilots at 42 airlines in the U.S. and Canada. Its Web site is www.alpa.org.
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ALPA CONTACT: John Mazor (703) 481-4440