• Categories
  • Archives

Brazil Tragedy: US Pilots Ask Passport Back, Controllers Say They’re Innocent

José Carlos Dias, the lawyer hired by the New York air-taxi company ExcelAire to represent its pilots Joseph Lepore and Jan Paladin before the Brazilian authorities after the collision of the executive jet Legacy with the Boeing 737 over the Amazon jungle, has requested in court today, November 9, that the American pilots get their passports back so that they can go back home.

Lepore and Paladino’s passports were confiscated by the Brazilian Federal Police on October 3 in Rio de Janeiro while the two American pilots were undergoing medical tests following the accident that caused the September 29 crash of the Boeing and the death of all 154 people aboard the plane. 

Brazilian authorities say that they seized the documents to guarantee that the pilots would testify after the Brazilian Air Force concluded its probe on the tragedy. The investigations, however, have been dragging for weeks without any end in sight. They are being conducted in secrecy in Brazil and in Canada where the black boxes of both planes were sent for analysis.

Dias in his request to the court states that the Brazilian authorities seem to have reached an impasse in the investigations while their client are retained in a Rio hotel without any forecast for when they will be released. He contends that this situation is untenable.

"Now we have to wait for the judge to decide," said Dias, "but I still don’t know how long he is going to take to study the request."

On Wednesday, November 8, a Mato Grosso do Sul Justice preliminary order forbade the Legacy from leaving the country or being sold. The judge also ordered the seizure of ExcelAire’s and the two pilots property.

In São José dos Campos, home of Embraer, the manufacturer of the Legacy, air controllers who up to now had kept silent are now talking.

A group who decided to talk to reporters stressed that the Legacy collision with the Boeing is not their fault and denied that the accident occurred due to a mistake by one the controllers at the air traffic control tower in São José dos Campos.

Transcripts from the Legacy’s voice recorders have shown that one operator in São José had instructed the American pilots in a way that might be interpreted as direction for them to fly at 37,000 feet – the same altitude in which the Boeing was travelling – all the way to Manaus, the capital of Amazons state.

"Everybody here has a clear conscience regarding this. If there was a mistake, it wasn’t here," said one of the interviewees, who asked that his name be not disclosed. "The São José dos Campos tower just authorized the take off. We were not monitoring the plane when the accident occurred."

There are military and civilian personnel in the town’s control tower. The group of controllers there has remained the same for years. They say they are friends and very united. Even though some of them had to move recently to Brazilian capital Brasí­lia due to lack of staff at Cindacta 1, the Brasí­lia air control center, they remain a cohesive group. .

Like their colleagues nationwide they also are demanding better job conditions, which include professionalization of their career, higher salaries and updated equipment. They are particularly critical about the way their category seems to have been abandoned by the government:

"The problems have been occurring for quite some time.  Even before the accident there have been alerts that the sector is in crisis. It was necessary that a tragedy happened for the subject to be brought out on the open," said one of the operators to Globo online. "São José’s tower is quiet, there isn’t as much movement as in other towers, but we are worried anyway."

"Before the accident, nobody knew we even existed," commented another controller.

After a work-to-rule campaign last week, which brought chaos to all main Brazilian airports, with flight delays of up to 20 hours, authorities are trying to find a solution for the controllers working situation.

Tags:

  • Show Comments (10)

  • JC

    ch. c. We Finally agree!!!
    YESSSS…all your questions are stupid. “BY DEFINITION”

  • Guest

    “With respect to the ground installations, there are (in my mind anyway) undoubtedly gaps / poor reception / inadequate equipage / intermittent quality in the transit zone in question for this disaster”

    I’m sorry but what does this have to do with the pilots not keeping track of the flight plan? Im just reasoning about the accident like anybody else. Lots of flights cross that region but no accident is known to have taken place there until now. Too a intrincated opinions of yours.

    “However if the ATC quotes are true, how can one say that À¢€œit was necessary that a tragedy happened for the subject to be brought out on the openÀ¢€Â with ATCs in the country and then go on to plead À¢€œculpa nÀƒ£o Àƒ© nossaÀ¢€Â? “

    I think people should stick to the flight records when analysing.

    “If in fact it is an accumulation of events, miscommunications, technological failures et.al that led to this accident, WHY are we creating more victims and suffering than already exists? And shouldnÀ¢€™t it be more prudent to correct the problems?”

    I don’t know what to think of this type of comment is it simply coming from a simpleton or the guy is defending some elses interests?

    I wish justice can be made the commom people must wise up and fight for a better world.

  • me

    translation:
    In English, one says “I’m sorry” or “excuse me”. In Portuguese the equivalent is to say “desculpa” (literal translation: “don’t blame me”).

  • M. Lucco

    Can’t Buy Me Love
    Ok, sounds normal. A written flight plan filed,. Ok sounds normal, departure control / 1st ATC handoff confirms altitude / requests report in at arrival at altitude and indicates destination. No I’m not a pilot, no I’m not an ATC controller. But tell me (someone who is), when your filed flight plan / the known rules of the road call for an altitude change at a specific point on your route and you are not able to make the radio contact when transitioning between one ATC center and the next, what the H are you supposed to do? I recall a commercial transit on an EUA based airline where the flight crew left the Comm channel on on one of the cabin entertainment channels. Disturbing to say the least. Crew kept requesting an altitude change (probably for a smoother ride or fuel efficiency) and either was told to maintain or wasn’t answered at all for extended periods / repeated attempts even though other airborne traffic could clearly be heard and seemed to be being responded to. F the Gringos who only speak English? I think not. With respect to the ground installations, there are (in my mind anyway) undoubtedly gaps / poor reception / inadequate equipage / intermittent quality in the transit zone in question for this disaster. Where’s the Manaus ATC radio link located, Manaus extention ATC link (clearly seemed like this was a much better contact / quality of reception or at least more responsive), Brasilia, Sao Jose? Are any of these Cindacta-1? Assuming these are all proper geographically to the pathways of both aircraft and both sets of flight crew had either onboard equipment with up to date databases or the applicable paper charts, I can’t imagine how proper (and probably required) radio check-in’s / confirmation of intentions did not occur. Earliest statements I thought I saw were that the crew was either given an incorrect contact frequency or couldn’t establish contact on same. What did the databases / paper charts say? Seems like lots of screwups, happenstances and notorious discrepancies / deficiancies across the board so far. Why try to hang anybody? (Xept S. H. but that’s up to the Iraqi’s themselves right?)

    Back to the backup. So, from what I’ve gleaned, both aircraft had a Honeywell TCAS (or variant there of). Does anybody know the specific make, model, hardware / firmware versions, have an aircraft wiring diagram showing how these were integrated with the respective air vehicle systems? I’d love to get my hands on all of the above along with a set of the specific hardware in question along with the associated control panels. Finding ways to make this crap F up without it being something the vanity mirror side piloto side view folks, the factory trained maintenance tech or even the OEM applications engineers would ever expect / anticipate / force into repeating is something I fancy myself just darn lucky in doing. Someplace secret in Canada? Montreal? Middle of nowhere in Brasil where the Legacy is parked? Get me an invitation.

  • Rick

    The criminalization of air disasters is going to be a Brazilian invention (itÀ‚´s a new concept) that Brazil will later regret. Already the guys are advising one another to avoid ferrying planes from SÀƒ£o Jose dos Campos to the States. For example, Continental. The longer Lapore and Paladino are detained in Rio, the more copies will be sold of their book(s) which will almost certainly be written. IÀ‚´m only predicting the obvious, not encouraging it, but wait and see……

  • Macaco


    Keep the Americans….However, they did set out to kill somebody,drive drunk,carelessly and stupid.

  • Macaca

    Free the Americans….Whatever, they didn’t set out to kill anybody,drive drunk,carelessly or stupid.

  • ex pat

    Yes, there are many contradictions written in the article. Welcome to gonzo-on-the-fly journalism in this new digital À¢€œwhatever is fit to print/uploadÀ¢€Â era.

    However if the ATC quotes are true, how can one say that À¢€œit was necessary that a tragedy happened for the subject to be brought out on the openÀ¢€Â with ATCs in the country and then go on to plead À¢€œculpa nÀƒ£o Àƒ© nossaÀ¢€Â? I reckon the inference isnÀ¢€™t to passing the blame to the pilots but the system, or more saliently, the countryÀ¢€™s neglect of said system. But really, does it matter what some anonymous ATC from who-knows-where has to say on the case? They talk anonymously to 4th estate scribes, but feign illness for investigators?

    Now obviously no one here is in a position to assail blame in one direction or the other. The investigation needs to be concluded. However, I am suspicious, but not surprised, in how the investigation is being conducted. In secrecy is not comforting.

    The pilots had their passports withheld to insure their testimony. However, as of today none of the ATCs working on the fatal and tragic day have been formally interviewed. This should send up red flags.

    In another article written on Terra earlier today they wrote that Pires will announce the investigationˢ۪s findings next week, but will wait until those findings are released before interviewing those ATC staffers. What? I truly hope this is just another bullshit hack writing anything to fill bandwidth.

    You do need to balance what is being written with what in fact is the truth. From the À¢€œgit-goÀ¢€Â there has been a series or errors and faux paus (to but it simply) in this case and how the media has here in Brazil has handled it. From the raging nationalists (the majority) looking to lynch the pilots solely because they are “Mericannnns”, to your more objective ob-ed pieces calling for calm (a minority); if anything the discourse highlights this is anything but an open and shut investigation. Or, we would have already been invited to see a live À¢€œpilots in handcuffs photo-opÀ¢€Â exclusive on Globo.

    The fact that the investigation has gone underground; that the work-to-rule throughout the country is directly linked to the case; and that lawyers in Brazil AND the US are already sharpening their talons circling to rip into WHOEVER has flesh to shed regardless of country, leads me to believe that the pilots should be allowed to leave. They have been more cooperative than anyone else involved and IF found guilty, although that is looking more and more unlikely as each day passes, theyˢ۪ll NOT be able to circumvent their fate regardless of where they are. Contrary to what the screaming masses of anti-mmerrikan conspiratorial theorists bellow.

    If in fact it is an accumulation of events, miscommunications, technological failures et.al that led to this accident, WHY are we creating more victims and suffering than already exists? And shouldnˢ۪t it be more prudent to correct the problems?

  • Guest

    “Transcripts from the Legacy’s voice recorders have shown that one operator in SÀƒ£o JosÀƒ© had instructed the American pilots to fly at 37,000 feet – the same altitude in which the Boeing was travelling – all the way to Manaus, the capital of Amazons state.”

    I think this is the fallacious part of the article. It was showed in the record that the controllers from SÀƒ£o JosÀƒ© dos Campos did not give full instructions to the jet pilots by only saying: 37 feet Legacy. That doesn’t mean the pilots must fly all the rote at the same altitude. Especialists here said that the pilots should understand that instruction and not completely ignore the flight plan.

  • ch.c.

    stupid question…..
    if “Transcripts from the Legacy’s voice recorders have shown that one operator in SÀƒ£o JosÀƒ© had instructed the American pilots to fly at 37,000 feet – the same altitude in which the Boeing was travelling – all the way to Manaus, the capital of Amazons state. “……..how can the Sao JosÀƒ© people say “it is not their fault” ?????

    There is some contradiction there ! and if you read well it says ” instructed” and not suggested or whatever.
    Therefore how can the US pilots be responsible when they followed ….instructions ??????

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

comment *

  • name *

  • email *

  • website *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Ads

You May Also Like

Austria President Signs Technical Cooperation Accords in Brazil

The President of Austria, Heinz Fischer, was received Monday, September 19, by Brazil’s President ...

Brazil and Arabs Can’t Bridge the Petrochemical Trade Gulf

Free trade agreement negotiations between the Mercosur and the Gulf Cooperation Council were the ...

Japan Offers Over Half a Billion Dollars to Have Their Digital TV in Brazil

Representatives of the Japanese system of Digital TV (DTV) said, this Thursday, February 2, ...

Study Led by Brazilian Probes Behavior of Pathological Gamblers and Alcoholics

There are two types of addiction-related craving: one is physical, which is related to ...

Brazilians Protest US Nun’s Murder

Brazilian representatives of non-governmental organizations, the landless, performers, lawmakers, and intellectuals met in the ...

Winner at Sundance, Brazilian Documentary Starts Promising US Career

Manda Bala (Send a Bullet), the Brazilian movie that won at this year's Sundance ...

Brazil Reserves a France + Germany for Indians

The goal of Brazil’s National Indian Foundation (Funai) is to homologate 25 indigenous territories ...

Workers' protest in Brazil

Brazil Needs a General Strike to Demand Good Education for All

May Day is no longer commemorated as it once was. The crisis in socialist ...

No-Win Game

No American has ever cried over millions of people who die every day in ...

The Art of Stealing

A poll by Berlin-based Transparency International with international businessmen from around the world has ...