Thu, Oct 12, 2006
Calls Statement They Were Following Flight Plan
The finger pointing continues in Brazil. Brazilian defense
minister Waldir Pires says the US pilots involved in last week's
crash of a Gol Airlines 737 are irresponsible. The airliner went
down in the amazon jungle killing all 154 aboard.
Dismissing suggestions of errors by Brazilian air traffic
controllers, Pires says pilots Lepore and Paladino should not have
been flying their northwest-bound Embraer Legacy 600 at 37,000
feet. International air traffic rules reserve odd numbered
altitudes for traffic flying east.
Brazilian authorities maintain the Embraer collided with the 737
causing the crash.
Lepore and Paladino say they were following their flight plan
when the two aircraft collided.
In response, Pires said, "It was a frivolous statement ... It
was irresponsible. The flight plan says that the (planes) should
fly on even-number levels."
Lepore's and Paladino's statement is disputed by Brazilian
police who say they obtained a copy of the flight plan from
Edimara Fagundes, spokeswoman for the Mato Grosso Civil Police
told the Associated Press the Legacy was to fly at 37,000 ft until
a course change to the northwest. At that point, she claims, the
pilots should have descended to 36,000 ft.
Lepore and Paladino say they lost contact with controllers and
stuck to their last-assigned altitude.
Earlier this week, Brazilian authorities suggested that Lepore
and Paladino might have turned off their altitude reporting
equipment, a claim the two have repeatedly denied.
Those same authorities admit they have no proof to back the
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