Pilot of Legacy that collided with Gol plane affirms he is innocent
In summary, Jan Paul Paladino says that the 2006 accident was provoked by a series of errors, but reaffirms that he is not to blame for any of them
Almost five years after the accident involving a Gol airplane and a Legacy jet in 2006, in which 154 people died, the courts start to question the Americans who piloted the business jet.
Judge in Brazil, defendant in the United States - it was the first time that this has happened: an international interrogation by videoconference with the defendant in freedom. From Long Island, in the state of New York, was Jan Paul Paladino, one of the pilots of the Legacy, which in 2006 collided with a Gol plane. The Boeing was flying from Manaus to Brasilia and collided with the Legacy business jet, which was going the other way. The Gol plane crashed in the north of Mato Grosso. In all, 154 people died.
In the interrogation, the American pilot said that he had never piloted a Legacy, but had been trained in an professional center and had already piloted an identical model, the Embraer 145. “I was trained for a month in Houston, Texas, in the Legacy training program. The training consists of 75 hours of ground classes and 25 hours in the simulator", he said.
According to the Air Force, the collision was caused by errors by the controllers and inexperience by the pilots. The inquiry says that the transponder, equipment which helps identify the aircraft to ground control and to other planes in flight, was turned off during the trip.
Jan Paul Paladino said that he had no information that the equipment was turned off, neither from the control tower nor from the aircraft's control panel, which showed no warning. The prosecution also alleges that the transponder was turned back on after the collision, but Paladino denies that he or the other pilot had turned the equipment back on.
It was eight hours of interrogation. Jan Paul Paladino responded to questions from the judge, the prosecution, and the defense. In summary, the pilot says that the accident was caused by a series of errors, but reaffirmed that he was not to blame for any of them. On leaving, he declared that he was innocent as that he was satisfied to have the opportunity to provide new clarifications about the accident.
Today is the day that Joseph Lepore, the other pilot of the Legacy, will be interrogated. The judge said that he will give a verdict in the case before June.