Friday, December 19, 2008

Brazil Crash: Ignoring the NTSB Report

I'm amazed (why???) at how some in the media, including some in the aviation trade press, who really ought to know better, have followed the official Brazilian Air Force line on the crash investigation.

It's as if key findings of the 266-page Brazilian investigation -- the product of the very organization that was in charge of the air-traffic control system that created the collision -- have not been flatly contradicted by the U.S. National Transportation Safety Board. The NTSB, which does not have an ax to grind in this matter, is a professional, internationally respected investigative agency whose report on the Brazil crash said that the probable causes were specific mistakes and systemic faults in Brazilian air traffic control, which is maintained and operated by the Brazilian Air Force.

But lookit Aviation Week's report on the matter, which doesn't even allude to (let alone link to) the NTSB report but rather gives credence to the report by Brazilian military authorities who have been determined since day one to scapegoat the Americans. (Brazilian judges, on the other hand, have largely maintained perspective, and may yet redeem Brazil's honor in this terrible matter.)

And just in case Aviation Week hasn't seen it, here is the NTSB report. One should read it before writing anything about this case.

The NTSB report, by the way, does not whitewash possible, emphasize possible, mistakes by the American pilots that might have contributed to the chain of awful events that led to this hideous accident. It puts them in perspective.

And by the way, the American pilots are already on trial in Brazil and have been for months. The proceedings move very slowly and -- I would hope -- deliberately.


No comments: