International safety experts and advocates call for an end to deja vu air disasters


National Air Disaster Alliance/Foundation (NADA/F) president Matt Ziemkiewicz; former inspector general of the US Department of Transportation, Mary Schiavo; and other aviation safety experts and advocates are calling on the NTSB to ensure a full investigation into the latest commercial turboprop crash. Additionally, the group announced the filing of a lawsuit against the DOT to compel them to end the 15-year delays on regulatory changes and put an end to deja vu disasters. The lawsuit is brought on behalf of plaintiff Gail Dunham, executive director of NADA/F, to help safeguard the flying public and compel action on pending safety measures.

Several airline safety experts, activists, and family members who have lost loved ones in air crashes hosted an informational session to announce these actions to put an end to future deja vu aviation disasters – air crashes that happened while safety regulations recommended as a result of prior crashes languished at the FAA.

Ziemkiewicz, Schiavo, and fellow participants believe full investigations are necessary to reveal all the facts and establish and enforce enduring safety changes, and legal action is necessary to force the DOT and FAA to take action and cure the years of bureaucratic paralysis, which have cost hundreds of lives as documented by the NTSB.

On December 18, 2008, the NTSB issued new warnings about turboprop aircraft and icing conditions. NTSB recommendations from previous turboprop icing crashes have been pending as an “open, unacceptable response from the FAA” for over 15 years. In this time period, there have been three plane crashes and hundreds of casualties in crashes due to icing and turboprop planes.

The NTSB and the public blamed the pilots of the prior Colgan Air and Pinnacle crashes, Colgan Flight 9446 and Pinnacle Flight 3701, but subsequent investigations showed the aircraft in each case was to blame. Rushing “to blame the pilots and close the case” instead of a full and complete examination of the aircraft, will cause more loss of life in the future. In addition to the inaction on icing, airport safety issues have been pending for 19 years without DOT/FAA action.