US Governmente denies request to pull licenses of pilots involved in Gol accident
Published on 05/05/2010 at 13h59m
SÃO PAULO - The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) of the United States government informed the Association of Relatives of Victims of Gol 1907 that it does not see sufficient evidence to begin an administrative process to pull the flying licenses of North American pilots Joseph Lepore and Jan Paladino. They were piloting the Legacy jet that collided with the Gol Boeing 737, on September 29, 2006, in Brazil. The 154 people aboard the Boeing died. The wingtip of the Legacy business jet, which had just left São José dos Campos, in São Paulo, heading for Manaus, struck the Gol plane over northern Mato Grosso.
The request was made to the FAA, the body which controls aviation in the United States, on April 13.
"The negative answer, cut and dried, as it was given, is an affront to Brazilians and to the victims' families. It does not address the technical questions raised and presented by us. These questions that, in Brazil, even led to a second criminal case against the pilots. The response was laconic, without an explanation," said Dante D'Aquino, lawyer for the association and assistant to the prosecution in the criminal trials in Brazil.
According to the lawyer, there have already been cases of American pilots who lost their licenses for committing lesser errors.
"We see in this case that there is no policy of equality. For less, American pilots have lost their licenses in the United States, in cases last year, but since the accident was in Brazil, the American government and the bodies responsible don't want to reexamine their position," the lawyer said.
The request was based on a precedent form the FAA itself, which canceled the licenses of two American pilots, one of them for having had communications equipment turned off for 90 minutes and another for suspicion of being drunk.
Now, the Association of Relatives of Victims of Gol 1907 intends to take the case to the Interamerican Court of Justice, asking for a revision of the FAA decision, as they understand there was disrespect for the principle of equality of treatment and reciprocity, in relation to Brazil. The association also wants the Court to accompany the two criminal trials that pilots Joseph Lepore and Jan Paladino are answering to in the Brazilian courts.
One of the trial is underway in the Federal Court subsection in Sinop since may of 2007. After the Regional Federal Tribunal for the 1st Region overturned a decision by the subsection's judge, Murilo Mendes, who absolved the two pilots of the accusation of negligence in the adoption of procedures for emergency and for failure of communications with Cindacta (Integrated Center for Air Defense and Air Traffic Control) the case was sent pack to Judge Mendes.
As to the second criminal trial of the Americans, it began after an aviation accident expert showed that other errors were committed by the pilots, such as not activating the place's anti-collision safety equipment.