Inspector Warned FAA a Year Before Buffalo Crash

By Kevin Spak,  Newser Staff
Posted Jun 3, 2009 11:10 AM CDT
Lorenda Ward, National Transportation Safety Board senior investigator-in-charge, speaks during a hearing on the crash of a Colgan Airways Bombardier DHC8-400 near Clarence Center, NY, May 12, 2009.   (AP Photo)
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(Newser) – A former inspector says he warned the Federal Aviation Administration a full year before February’s crash near Buffalo that Colgan Air might have trouble flying the model of plane involved in the disaster, the New York Times writes. Christopher Monteleon reported that Colgan’s pilots flew fatigued, exceeded manufacturer speed recommendations, didn’t report broken equipment, and “botched” landing attempts. For his trouble, Monteleon says he was suspended and given a desk job.

The FAA insists that it took Monteleon seriously, and that he was not punished for his report. Colgan, meanwhile, dismissed his claims. But early safety-board hearings into the crash that killed 50 made it clear that it was investigating the quality of the FAA’s regulation of Colgan. Monteleon believes the agency was too “cozy” with the airline.