Rules ‘written in blood’ said pilot after house-smashing flight killed 50 people

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    Pre-flight rules "are written in blood" as proven by a "panic" plane crash that killed 50 when it smashed into a house, says a commercial airline pilot.

    This month in 2009, Colgan Air Flight 3407 was approaching Buffalo-Niagara International Airport from Newark, New Jersey, when the plane experienced an aerodynamic stall (sudden loss of lift) and dove into a house.

    All 49 people aboard the flight (also called Continental Connection Flight 3407) and one man in the house, in Buffalo, who was in bed at the time, were killed.

    READ MORE: Woman 'thought she was dead' when plane hit her house and killed her sleeping husband

    After the plane stalled in mid-air and began rapidly losing altitude, Captain Marvin Renslow did the opposite of what he should have.

    He pulled back on the stick shaker – a tool to warn of an upcoming stall – when he should have pushed forward to increase speed.

    And commercial pilot Niall Davis, speaking to the Daily Star, said many pilots do this in a "panic".

    "Everything that is written on the pre-flight checklist is written in blood. I was told this from I first started, everything is on that checklist because it’s caused a crash. It’s on there for a reason.

    "Pulling instead of pushing is a very serious thing but I think a lot of people do it in anger, in a panic," he explained.

    Renslow pulled three times as the plane hurtled towards the ground, and first officer, Rebecca Shaw, 24, should have stepped in to push the plane's nose down herself when Renslow responded wrongly, investigators later said.

    70% of pilots who had experienced the stick-pusher activation in training responded by pulling back instead of pushing forward even though they knew ahead of time to expect a stall, investigators said.

    "If you pull you go up, if everything’s good, and they probably just wanted to get away from the ground. But sometimes the only way you can re-energise the lift on the wings is by pushing," Davis said.

    "But they probably just didn’t want to do that. There’s been so many crashes like that."

    Davis mentioned Air France Flight 447, an accident during a flight from Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, to Paris, France, also in 2009, where a stall killed all 228 passengers and crew on board.

    • Flight just 'five seconds from disaster' after 1,400ft horror plunge towards ocean

    "It was the plane I fly, an A330…it killed everyone on board by doing that. It’s how you deal with a startling situation," he said.

    "The training, generally, in Europe is very good. We’re told that if you get a stall warning – sit on your hands for two seconds and just look at the instruments and assess what’s going on.

    "Don’t be pushing or pulling, just look at what’s going on and then make your decision."


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