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Friday, October 17, 2014 - 11:31am

UNFIT TO FLY?

POSTED: Tuesday, May 12, 2009 - 10:08am

UPDATED: Wednesday, February 17, 2010 - 3:23pm

Report: Captain of doomed Buffalo commuter flight flunked flight tests.

The National Transportation Safety Board will begin a hearing today into the crash of a commuter plane in Buffalo, New York three months ago. 50 people died in the crash. Now there are allegations the captain may not have been properly trained.

This Continental commuter plane crashed a few miles short of the Buffalo airport in February.

All 49 people aboard and one person in a house below were killed.

A transportation safety board hearing later this morning will focus on the record of the plane's captain, Marvin Renslow. The Wall Street Journal first reported yesterday that Renslow flunked several flight tests during his career.

The report also said Renslow had never received hands-on training with how to respond to a mid-air stall in a Dash-8 aircraft. When stall warning systems went off that night, the captain pulled the control stick back rather than pushing it forward, which led to the crash.

NTSB acting chairman Mark Rosenker said "we are going to be looking at the number of hours this particular captain had, both in this aircraft and in other aircraft."

Witnesses will testify about hiring and training practices of Colgan Air, which was operating the doomed flight.

Colgan claims Renslow had passed six consecutive flight tests, and that the company's training programs exceed FAA requirements.

Another issue: Whether the flight's first officer, 24-year-old Rebecca Shaw was too fatigued to fly. Shaw had been a passenger on a red eye flight from Seattle the previous night in order to get to Newark for the flight to Buffalo. She also had a cold, and is heard on the cockpit voice recorder saying she should have called in sick.

Mr. Rosenker said "training is clearly a very important aspect of this investigation also the issues of fatigue management."

An investigation officials hope will lead to answers about the deadliest US commercial crash in more than seven years.

Colgan operates nearly 50 planes. It serves as a commuter airline that feeds larger carriers including Continental, United and US Airways.

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