Honeywell: Legacy Transponders Did Not Malfunction

 - May 8, 2007, 11:42 AM

Honeywell has gone on the record as saying that the transponders aboard the Embraer Legacy involved in September’s fatal midair with a Gol Airlines Boeing 737 were working properly at the time of the accident. In a statement, the avionics maker said the Legacy’s “transponders and radio management units were functioning properly during the accident flight and did not malfunction in any way.” The NTSB last Wednesday issued a safety recommendation calling for improved TCAS failure warnings. “Regardless of whether the transponder has failed or the TCAS has become inoperative, a flight crew’s ability to mitigate the risk of collision is significantly degraded if the collision avoidance system becomes inoperative and the failure is not quickly and reliably brought to the crew’s attention, as this accident demonstrates,” the NTSB wrote. Honeywell, which makes the Legacy’s transponders, is facing numerous lawsuits filed by victims’ families. In its recommendation, the Safety Board also noted that about two minutes after the Legacy and 737 collided, the first officer asked whether the TCAS was on. The captain answered that it was not. Thirty seconds after this exchange the Legacy’s transponder signal reappeared. Brazilian investigators, meanwhile, have faulted controllers for not notifying the Legacy crew that its transponder returns were not being received as long as 55 minutes before the accident.