NTSB Turns Attention to Human Factors in Q400 Crash Probe

 - February 19, 2009, 9:44 AM

NTSB investigators have turned their attention to “human action” and pilot training in their probe of the crash of a Colgan Air Q400 outside Buffalo on February 12, according to a Safety Board spokesman. At issue appears to be the reaction of the captain to a stick-shaker activation, which, if improperly executed, could explain the sudden pitch up that began the upset. An NTSB spokesman told AIN that investors hadn’t determined whether pilot input or some mechanical anomaly resulted in the severe pitch up, however.   
Earlier during the flight, the crew observed “significant” ice accretion on the windows and wings before the eventual upset that resulted in the death of all 49 on board and one person on the ground. The pilots activated the de-icing boots 11 minutes into the flight from Newark Liberty International Airport.
In a prepared statement, Colgan reacted to reports questioning the training its pilots receive for reacting to stick-pusher activations.
“Our crew training programs meet or exceed the regulatory requirements of all major airlines,” it said. “We continuously review our safety policies and training procedures as part of our everyday operations.”
The flight’s captain, Marvin Renslow, had flown more than 3,379 hours in his career, but only 110 hours on the Q400, not counting 172 hours of formal training on the type. First officer Rebecca Shaw had accumulated 2,244 hours, 774 of which she flew on the Q400 for Colgan.