Legacy pilot testifies by videoconference about Flight 1907
Jan Paladino is in New York and is answering Brazilian judge's questions.
Testimony by Joseph Lepore is scheduled for this Thursday, Mar 31.
Victims' relatives demonstrate on Avenida Paulista, in São Paulo
North American pilot Jan Paul Paladino, who is in New York, began to testify to the Brazilian courts at noon this Wednesday (Mar 30), via videoconference. He is answering questions put by Federal judge Murilo Mendes - who is in Brasilia -, responsible for the trial which investigates the aviation accident involving the Legacy jet and the Gol Boeing, in September of 2006, which had 154 victims. This is the first time the pilot speaks ot a representative of the Brazilian courts.
Paladino and Joseph Lepore were the pilots of the Legacy jet, which collided with the Gol plane. They are accused of the crime of an attack on Brazilian aviation safety, which has a of 1 to 5 years of prison. Lepore should be heard, also by videoconference, this Thursday.
According to the association, the first questions asked of the North American pilot dealt with his training, such as courses taken and specialization while an aviation professional. He said that he had never piloted a Legacy before the accident.
Relatives of the victims, who watched the videoconference, in Brasilia, had to leave the hearing room because of emotional manifestations. They watched the rest of the hearing in a room with projections of the videoconference images. At some moments, pilot Paladino said he was not understanding the translation of the Brazilian judge's questions.
After an hour and a half of hearing, a ten-minute recess was called.
American pilot denies having turned off device which could have avoided collision with Gol plane, in 2006
Agência Brasil Reporter
North American pilot Jan Paul Paladino confirmed that he had never piloted a Legacy business jet, made by Embraer, before the accident which resulted in the deaths of 154 people who were aboard a Boeing belonging to Brazilian Gol airline, in 2006. The pilot denied that he only turned on the anticollision equipment moments after the collision, over the Amazon Forest, with the Brazilian airliner.
Paladino, however, guaranteed that he had piloted planes operationally similar to the Legacy, The affirmation were made today, March 30, during his testimony via the videoconferencing system of the Department of Asset Recovery and International Legal Cooperation (DRCI) of the Ministry of Justice.
To the substitute federal judge of the Single Court of Sinop (MT), Murilo Mendes, the pilot reiterated that, at no time, did the airplane's equipment show any kind of error, especially of the transponder, the device which shows the aircraft's position to air traffic control and to other aircraft. The accusation alleges that the pilots had turned off the transponder moments before the accident and turned it back on after the collision.
“There was not, on my part, any voluntary act to turn on the transponder, or to turn it back on", the pilot said on affirming that he did not know the reason that the device was turned on seconds after the collision.
30/03/2011 - 13h22
Legacy pilot is heard by Brazilian judge via videoconference
FROM SÃO PAULO
One of the American pilots of the Legacy jet involved in the accident with the Gol Boeing in 2006, killing 154 people, is being heard since the start of this Wednesday afternoon by a Brazilian federal judge via videoconference.
Jan Paul Paladino's testimony began about 12:20. He is in New York (USA) and is being heard by Federal Judge Murilo Mendes, who is at the Ministry of Justice's Department of Asset Recovery and Legal Cooperation.
According to the Ministry of Justice, this is the first time the Brazilian courts hear testimony by international videoconference. Tomorrow, starting at noon, should be heard the testimony of the other pilot, who was also on the aircraft, Joseph Lepore.
At the end of last year, the trial that investigates the accident was divided in two: one for the pilots -- accused of "an attack against the safety of air transport" -- and the other for the air traffic controllers, accused for errors that contributed to the collision of the aircraft. The goal was to accelerate the judgment of the Americans.
Last week, the Federal Court in Sinop (MT) received the translations of the sworn testimony of the defense of the pilots, who live in the USA. The judge had determined that they too be heard by videoconference, but the lawyers requested that they send their testimony in writing.
The Association of Friends and Relatives of Victims of Flight 1907 held protests in the cities of São Paulo, Porto Alegre and Brasília, simultaneously. The protests began around noon and consisted in distributing pamphlets and showing banners asking that the pilots be found guilty.
The association's press secretary said that there is also a protest underway at the door of the Federal courthouse in Long Island, in New York, where the testimony is taking place.
Tomorrow, the protests should happen again, during the testimony of pilot Joseph Lepore in the same cities where it took place today, and in Manaus as well. .
On the 20th, relatives of the victims protested in front of the Marriot Hotel in Rio, where American president Barack Obama was staying.
Currently, Paladino is working for American Airlines, and Lepore continues at air taxi company ExcelAire, owner of the Legacy.
The accident revealed the fragility of Brazilian air traffic control. The matter also set off the opening of CPIs (Parliamentary Commissions of Inquiry) and investigations by the Federal Police and the Air Force, which concluded that the Legacy's transponder --anticollision equipment - was turned off during the flight.