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Most recent fatal crash of commercial jet in U.S. had been in 2009

Updated: July 6, 2013 6:41PM



Saturday’s crash of an Asiana Airlines jet in San Francisco was the first involving a major commercial airliner in the United States since a November 2001 crash in New York.

The last fatal crash involving a commercial airline flight in the United States was that of Colgan Air Flight 3407. It crashed near Buffalo, N.Y., in a snowstorm, killing 50 people, on Feb. 12, 2009.

There hasn’t been an accident involving a major domestic carrier since an American Airlines flight bound from New York to the Dominican Republic crashed after takeoff in Queens, N.Y., in November 2001, killing all 260 people on board.

In another crash of a Boeing 777-200ER, British Airways flight 38 crashed just short of the runway at London’s Heathrow Airort on Jan. 17, 2008. No one died in that crash, but dozens were injured. The crash was blamed on ice crystals clogging the fuel line on a long flight from Beijing.

The federal Transportation Department is still developing rules in response to the Colgan Air crash in 2009.

One rule, which is scheduled to be fully implemented by Aug. 1, would require co-pilots to have the same 1,500 hours of flight training as pilots, rather than the current 250 hours, although military pilots and graduates of four-year colleges could have fewer hours.

Another rule, scheduled to be completed in October, would require greater simulator training for pilots to avoid aerodynamic stalls that cause a plane to lose power and fall to the ground.

The proposed rules came in response to the 2009,crash of Colgan Air flight, which the National Transportation Safety Board blamed the pilot for an aerodynamic stall, with the nose pointed up too far to keep the plane aloft. Contributing factors included a lack of pilot training and pilot fatigue.

Relatives of the Colgan victims urged Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx, who was sworn in Tuesday, to complete the rules despite anticipated industry resistance because of the increase in the expense of training pilots.

Michael Huerta, head of the Federal Aviation Administration, recently confirmed for a congressional hearing that he expected to meet both deadlines for the rules.



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