Buffalo Flight's De-Icing 'Antiquated:' Suit

By Harry Kimball,  Newser Staff
Posted Feb 27, 2009 2:11 PM CST
A Bombardier Dash-8 Q400.   (AP Photo)
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(Newser) – The first lawsuit involving the crash of Continental Flight 3407 contends that the turboprop airplane should not have been flying at all in icy conditions, the Buffalo News reports. The “antiquated de-icing boots,” said a lawyer filing suit on behalf of Cantor Susan A. Wehle, “are 1920s, 1930s technology, which has not been brought up to date in any revolutionary way.”

The lawyer says inadequate de-icing measures resulted in a disastrous chain of events that led to a fatal stall, and the deaths of 50 people Feb. 12. Inexperienced pilots kept the autopilot engaged even as ice built up, depriving them “of the information of the degradation of the airplane’s performance,” he said. “So they don’t know they are flying too close to the edge of a stall.”