Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Plane Crash Details 'Opening Up a Wound' for Victim's Friend

Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Plane Crash Details 'Opening Up a Wound' for Victim's Friend

Article excerpt

Byline: DREW DIXON

Lynsey Stewart was just coming to grips with the loss of her friend Ellyce Kausner, who died in a commuter plane crash outside Buffalo, N.Y. in February.

Now Stewart, of Jacksonville Beach, said she's more disturbed than ever that evidence disclosed in federal hearings on the crash shows the pilots may not have been properly trained.

"Obviously, it's shocking," said Stewart, who was Kausner's roommate in a condominium off Second Street South. "It was just all very disturbing and brought everything to a head. I have a hard time explaining how it is I'm feeling about this.

"It's something the pilots could have prevented. I do view this as something that was completely preventable and that's what's hard to swallow," Stewart said.

The National Transportation Safety Board's preliminary investigation determined that some ice accumulated on the Bombardier Dash 8-Q400 aircraft, but that the "icing had a minimal impact on the stall speed of the airplane." The investigation also said both pilots were fatigued and that one pilot only had one year of substantial air time before the Continental Connection Flight 3407 plunged into a neighborhood Feb. 12, killing Kausner and 49 other people.

Transcripts of cockpit conversations show flight crew members were talking casually amongst themselves, joking and pondering career advancement, moments before the crash when the plane was under 10,000 feet, a violation of flight policy. The pilots also failed to notice a dramatic decrease in the aircraft's speed, which dipped from 207 to 150 mph, NTSB officials said.

One of the pilots was also apparently not trained in dealing with a "stick pusher," an automatic response built into the plane's controls to indicate possible trouble as an alert that moves the joy stick, the NTSB stated.

Stewart said she feels bad for the families of the pilots, but that the result of human error could have cost her friend's life along with all the other passengers on the ill-fated plane. …

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