On Monday, a Brazilian court will hear the appeal of U.S. pilots Joe Lepore and Jan Paladino, who survived the midair of their Embraer Legacy 600 with a Gol Airlines Boeing 737 over the Amazon in September 2006. After being detained in Brazil for more than two months after the accident, they returned home and, in May 2011, were acquitted in absentia on all but one of six charges.
While Brazilian law allows the prosecution to appeal, the prosecutor is asking only for an increase in the sentence of 40 months of community service and an equivalent suspension of the pilots’ flying certificates. However, a lawyer for the widow of an accident victim will ask for reversal of the five innocent verdicts.
The U.S. pilots’ lawyer, Theodomiro Dias, told AIN, “Our strategy is to defend the trial court verdict, except for the sole conviction,” which was for failure to observe cockpit warnings that the transponder and TCAS were off for nearly an hour. The defense contends no warnings appeared in the cockpit. The aeronautic accident investigation report recommended that the Honeywell avionics’ non-blinking, white “TCAS OFF” crew-alert text warnings be made more prominent.