NBAA, FSF, IFALPA Blast Brazilian Police

 - May 15, 2007, 12:08 PM

NBAA, the Flight Safety Foundation (FSF) and the International Federation of Air Line Pilots’ Associations (IFALPA) heavily criticized a decision by Brazilian police investigators to recommend criminal prosecutions of ExcelAire pilots Joseph Lepore and Jan Paladino in connection with last September’s midair between a Gol Airlines Boeing 737 and Embraer Legacy over the Amazon jungle. “We are disappointed that Brazilian police officials continue down the road of emphasizing criminalization in the wake of last year’s tragic accident,” said NBAA president and CEO Ed Bolen in a statement issued on Friday. The groups blasted Brazil’s Federal Police for launching a criminal investigation before the accident investigation was completed. IFALPA regards as a “staggering oversight” the decision by the Policia Federal to exclude the military from its investigation despite the Policia Federal’s acknowledgement in its own report that air traffic controller performance was flawed. In their report, police investigators said controllers should share the blame for the collision, in which all 154 people aboard the 737 died, but added that they would have to be charged by Brazil’s military. Meanwhile, Joel Weiss, the lawyer for Lepore and Paladino, said, “From the press reports it would appear the police have prematurely accused the pilots in response to public pressure and have not conducted a complete, thorough investigation of the facts. The pilots are not at fault.”