Reckless American 777 Pilots Refuse NTSB Interviews

The Nationwide Transportation Security Board (NTSB) does an ideal job making our skies as protected as attainable, by investigating each accident and close to accident, in order that related incidents may be prevented sooner or later. Effectively, as famous by @RossFeinstein, two American Airways pilots who lately practically induced an accident are refusing to cooperate, and the union is defending them.

American pilots don’t need recorded interviews

In mid-January, an American Boeing 777 and Delta 737 practically collided on a runway at JFK. An American 777 was crossing the runway on which a Delta 737 was taking off. Thankfully the air visitors controller realized what was happening, and the Delta pilots responded shortly, so potential catastrophe was prevented.

The NTSB has been investigating this incident, and has now launched its preliminary report. Along with receiving written statements from the flight crew, the NTSB requested to conduct recorded interviews with the American pilots who induced this incident. Nevertheless, the pilots are refusing recorded interviews. Per the report:

Along with the crew statements, NTSB tried to interview the American Airways flight crew three completely different occasions. American Airways cleared the flight crew’s schedule to make sure their availability; nonetheless, the flight crew refused to be interviewed on the idea that their statements can be audio recorded for transcription. On behalf of the crew, the APA get together consultant knowledgeable the NTSB that the crew wouldn’t consent to take part in audio recorded interviews in any method. NTSB has decided that this investigation requires that the flight crew interviews be audio recorded and transcribed by a courtroom reporter to make sure the best diploma of accuracy, completeness, and effectivity. On account of the flight crew’s repeated unwillingness to proceed with a recorded interview, subpoenas for his or her testimony have been issued.

I imply, I acknowledge that this incident seems actually dangerous for the American 777 pilots to start with, they usually may very well be shedding their jobs due to this. So I get why they’re not terribly excited concerning the prospect of a recorded interview. Nevertheless, in addition they must be held accountable and share their model of what occurred, within the identify of constructing aviation safer.

American pilots are refusing to cooperate with the NTSB

How the pilots union is defending this determination

The Allied Pilots Affiliation (APA), which represents pilots at American, has issued a press release relating to the NTSB’s preliminary report. The APA’s protection is basically that it’s a reasonably new apply for the NTSB to request interviews to be recorded, quite than simply having investigators take notes.

The APA believes that taking notes has “lengthy been ample in producing correct data.” Right here’s the union’s protection:

We be a part of within the aim of making an correct report of all interviews performed in the midst of an investigation. Nevertheless, we firmly consider the introduction of digital recording gadgets into witness interviews is extra prone to hinder the investigation course of than it’s to enhance it. Not solely could the recording of interviews result in much less candid responses from these witnesses who could select to proceed beneath such necessities, however the existence and potential availability of interview recordings upon conclusion of an investigation will have a tendency to guide many in any other case prepared crew members to elect to not take part in interviews in any respect. Both consequence wouldn’t serve to advance the aim of conducting efficient investigations with a view to promote aviation security.

NTSB investigations are supposed to be fact-finding proceedings with no opposed events. We don’t consider that this needs to be an adversarial concern. In truth, the Board’s personal revealed investigation manuals mirror its long-held place that the non-consensual recording of witness interviews is just not permitted. Implementing modifications to established practices, particularly these with a demonstrated historical past of success, in a manner that daunts in any other case cooperative witnesses from taking part within the fact-finding course of is antithetical to the aim and aim of the NTSB.

It appears to me like having recorded interviews can be helpful in the long term, each if this precise case is being investigated, and if future instances are being investigated sooner or later, to have the ability to set up any traits. It’s odd that the union is okay with a stenographic report being produced, however recorded audio is an enormous no-no. Is the union simply objecting on precept right here, or what’s the actual distinction?

The union constantly talks about how security is paramount, and all the things needs to be completed within the identify of security. However relating to recorded pilot interviews, we’re not going for greatest practices, however quite for what’s ok.

A lot for security being the highest precedence…

Backside line

The NTSB is making an attempt to analyze a close to accident that occurred at JFK a couple of weeks again, as an American 777 by accident crossed a runway whereas a Delta 737 was taking off. Primarily based on all the things we all know to date, the fault for this lies squarely with the American pilots, who taxied onto a runway they weren’t cleared to cross.

Now the pilots are refusing to take part in recorded NTSB interviews, because the NTSB lately began recording these sorts of interviews. The union is defending this determination by claiming that recording interviews is pointless. The pilots will now be subpoenaed.

What do you make of those American pilots refusing to be interviewed?

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