Associated Retired Aviation Professionals

Saturday January 5, 4:59 pm Eastern TimePress Release

SOURCE: The Allied Pilots Association

Allied Pilots Association Responds to Comments Contained in New York Times Article Concerning American Airlines Flight #587 Accident Investigation: 'Unconscionable and Inappropriate'

FORT WORTH, Texas, Jan. 5 /PRNewswire/ --The Allied Pilots Association (APA), which serves as collective bargaining agent for the 11,000 pilots of American Airlines, has expressed serious concerns over comments contained in a New York Times article today regarding the investigation into the November 11, 2001 accident involving AA Flight #587.In that accident, the Airbus A300 aircraft encountered turbulence shortly after takeoff. Almost immediately, the aircraft's vertical stabilizer separated from the fuselage, causing the plane to crash. According to the article, ``after extensive testing of the tail, investigators have found no pre-existing problem.'' The article goes on to say that investigators ``are intensely exploring whether the pilots, in trying to correct and control the plane after the turbulence, might have put more stress on the tail than it was designed to handle,'' which suggests that the pilots made improper, excessive rudder inputs.In response, APA pointed out that the information contained in the Digital Flight Data Recorder (DFDR) has not yet been validated. The DFDR includes such information as rudder inputs and other control surface positions that could yield clues to the accident's cause.``Public discussion of theories and speculation regarding the cause of this accident is wrong. It places everyone on the defensive and distracts from what needs to be an objective, factual investigation,'' said Captain John Darrah, APA President. ``We must be patient and permit this investigation to run its proper course so that the true cause can be established.''Darrah emphasized that the investigation into the cause of the Flight #587 accident is still in the early fact-finding stages. Moreover, all parties to the investigation, including APA, American Airlines, the National Transportation Safety Board and Airbus, have all been directed to refrain from public discussion of any elements of the accident investigation.``It is unconscionable and highly inappropriate for a so-called 'investigator' to speculate in the news media concerning the accident's cause,'' said Darrah. ``This particular line of speculation is particularly objectionable to us, as it calls into question the professional reputation of two fine aviators who are not here to defend themselves.``It is APA's intention to vigorously defend these pilots and to insist that the accident investigation proceed free of speculation and finger pointing. That said, we urge all concerned with this accident investigation to refrain from further public comment until the investigation has been concluded.''Headquartered in Fort Worth, Texas, APA was founded in 1963. SOURCE: The Allied Pilots Association

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