Operator of plane that crashed in Buffalo killing 50 defends pilot training

The Associated Press ~ staff The News
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CLARENCE, N.Y. - The operator of Continental Connection Flight 3407 that crashed in Buffalo last week is defending both its training programs and the pilot of the doomed plane.
Colgan Air, the Pinnacle Airlines subsidiary that was operating the flight, says its ''crew training programs meet or exceed the regulatory requirements for all major airlines.''
Colgan issued its defence after U.S. investigators said they would examine whether the crew overreacted when an automatic safety system sensed the plane was slowing dangerously.
Investigators say the pilot pulled back on the plane's controls after the safety system tried to push the nose downward to gain speed and increase lift.
Lorenda Ward, the U.S. National Transportation Safety Board's chief investigator, says one of many possibilities is the pilot pulled back too hard, bringing the plane's nose too high up in an attempt to prevent the stall and thus dooming the aircraft.
Flight 3407 was about 500 metres above the ground at the time and aviation safety experts say that it might have been too low to recover from a stall.

Organizations: Colgan Air, Pinnacle Airlines, U.S. National Transportation Safety Board

Geographic location: Buffalo, CLARENCE, N.Y., U.S.

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