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ALPA REACTION TO NTSB FINDING ON USAIR ACCIDENT

 WASHINGTON, Feb. 17 /PRNewswire/ -- The following statement was issued today by the Air Line Pilots Association in response to the National Transportation Safety Board's findings in USAir Flight 405 accident, March 22, 1992, at LaGuardia:
 We applaud and completely agree with the board's finding that the probable cause of this accident was "the failure of the airline industry and the Federal Aviation Administration to provide flightcrews with procedures, requirements, and criteria compatible with departure delays in conditions conducive to airframe icing."
 The FAA recognized this problem when, as a result of the USAir accident, it held its deicing conference and issued interim regulations last year to require additional precautions against wing icing. Safety observers therefore expected that the NTSB would attribute this accident to the same kinds of systemic deficiencies that the new FAA rules are designed to correct.
 ALPA had welcomed the FAA's deicing rule, although it noted two deficiencies: flightcrews would need outside assistance with wing inspections, and the rule did not apply to Part 135 (regional airline) operations. When the FAA issues its final rule, ALPA wants provision for "ice inspection stations" at the takeoff end of active runways to assist the crews in their inspections. ALPA also wants the rule extended to Part 135 operations. In the same vein, the General Accounting Office's assessment of the FAA deicing rule called for two changes: Expand the rule to cover Part 135, and add the requirement that if the deicing holdover time has expired, the aircraft must be closely inspected from the outside or sent back for another deicing.
 Regarding the board's other findings of probable cause and contributing cause, ALPA has long held the position that in many situations it is impossible for the flightcrew to obtain "positive assurance" that their aircraft's wings are free of ice accumulation. All the evidence from this accident supports ALPA's contention that the crew took every reasonable precaution and searched diligently for ice accumulation by all the means available to them at the time. Evidence from the investigation also made it clear that the crew was convinced that there was no ice contamination when they made the decision to take off, and would not have continued with the takeoff if they suspected any ice accumulation.
 The reduction in takeoff decision speed was not a factor in the accident. Furthermore, there is no proof that the early rotation of the aircraft caused the accident. This is at best conjectural, whereas it can be stated conclusively that the presence of ice contamination was a definite causal factor. If the crew had be able to determine that ice was present -- and the whole purpose of the FAA rule is to address the fact that crews cannot always do so -- then the accident would not have happened.
 -0- 2/17/93
 /CONTACT: John Mazor of the Air Line Pilots Association, 202-797-4060/
 (U)


CO: Air Line Pilots Association; USAir; National Transportation
 Safety Board ST: District of Columbia IN: AIR SU:


DC -- DC039 -- 7578 02/17/93 18:02 EST
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Publication:PR Newswire
Date:Feb 17, 1993
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