Flight 3407: Safety measures still lacking 11 years later

Feb 12, 2020

It's been 11 years since Flight 3407 crashed in Clarence Center, killing 50 people. The ensuing investigation uncovered major safety concerns in the aviation industry. While some issues have been addressed, others have not. "More than a decade later, we still anxiously await implementation of the Pilot Records Database to allow airlines to access records of pilots applying for jobs," Congressman Brian Higgins said on the House floor Tuesday.

Clad in red to honor the memories of those who died in the crash of Flight 3407, the victims' families have been a consistent presence in Washington. Their advocacy has been credited with changes in the aviation industry.
Credit WBFO file photo

"The National Transportation Safety Board determined that the crash was due to pilot error and inexperience," Higgins reminded his colleagues.

The investigation and heightened media scrutiny brought attention to the realities of life for regional pilots. Some traveled long distances and had little rest before settling into the cockpit. In some stunning instances, pilots received inadequate training. Despite  bureaucrats dragging their feet and the lobbying efforts of aviation interests, many of the issues have been resolved.

Other inadequacies linger. The Flight 3407 crash has become entangled in investigations of the two international 737 MAX crashes. Questions have been raised regarding pilot training and oversight of those training rules, in the U.S. and internationally.

"I urge my colleagues to continue to strive for one level of safety and remain vigilant about aviation safety standards," Higgins said.

"Western New York will never forget Flight 3407 and neither should Congress."