Embassy Cables Show Tepid Support for Legacy Pilots

Aviation International News » February 2011
January 31, 2011, 8:45 AM

Diplomatic cables made public through Wikileaks show that official U.S. support for the American pilots of the ExcelAire Legacy 600 involved in the 2006 Amazon midair was limited and ineffective. At the time, American Ambassador Clifford Sobel warned that a Brazilian congressional inquiry might become “a whitewash that blames American pilots for last September’s midair collision.” Initial media coverage vilified the Legacy pilots as cowboys whose dangerous flying led to the accident; this opinion, said Sobel, later underwent a “sea change” that shifted blame to long-standing and uncorrected shortcomings of the military-controlled ATC system. The cables contained warnings from diplomats that excessive pressure might produce a backlash, which limited efforts to a “courtesy call” on the Brazilian Embassy in Washington, and the enlistment of a Brazilian diplomat to orally convey “our concern” to federal appeals judges to release the pilots, which a higher court did after they had been detained for more than two months.

FILED UNDER: 
Share this...

Please Register

In order to leave comments you will now need to be a registered user. This change in policy is to protect our site from an increased number of spam comments. Additionally, in the near future you will be able to better manage your AIN subscriptions via this registration system. If you already have an account, click here to log in. Otherwise, click here to register.

 
X