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Fri, May 07, 2010

FAA Won't Revoke Licenses Of 2 U.S. Pilots Involved In Brazilian Accident

"Insufficient Evidence" To Take Revocation Action In Mid-Air Collision

The FAA has denied a request from two Brazilian congressmen to revoke the pilots licenses of two U.S. pilots who were involved in an accident in Brazil in 2006.

Joseph Lepore of Bay Shore, NY, and Jan Paladino of Westhampton Beach, NY, were flying an Embraer Legacy jet over the Amazon when it collided with a 737. The larger airplane went down in the jungle, killing all 154 people on board.

The FAA sent a letter April 27th saying there was "insufficient evidence" to take a revocation action against the two pilots.

The Associated Press reports that Brazilian Congressman Milton Monti released a statement Wednesday saying he was "deeply unhappy and surprised with the negative response given by the (FAA)." Monti said Brazilian Authorities had given the FAA "irrefutable proof" that the Legacy pilots were negligent and incompetent. Monti said the decision was an "affront to Brazilians and to the victims' families," and that he would appeal to the Intermerican Court of Justice.

However, the pilot's attorney, Joel Weiss, said the FAA acted appropriately. He said that the request was "utterly partisan," and that the pilots "violated no rules whatsoever."

Weiss contends that Brazilian air traffic controllers put "two competent flight crews on a collision course." However, a Brazilian Air Force report from 2008 indicates that the Legacy pilots may have inadvertently disengaged the airplanes collision avoidance system and transponder.

FMI: www.faa.gov

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