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NTSB to hear from regulators on N.Y. state air crash

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[May 14, 2009]  WASHINGTON (AP) -- Fatigue. Cockpit distractions. Commuting long distances. Pilot training and hiring.

The National Transportation Safety Board will be hearing from federal regulators about how they plan to address these safety issues and others to prevent accidents like the February crash of a commuter airliner in upstate New York that killed 50.

DonutsThursday is the last day of an unusual three-day hearing on safety issues that have arisen in the investigation into the crash of Continental Connection Flight 3407 on Feb. 12.

The twin-engine turboprop was nearing Buffalo Niagara International Airport at night in wintry conditions when it suffered an aerodynamic stall, rocked back and forth, then plunged into a house below, killing all 49 aboard and a man on the ground.

Issues the board was expected to raise with Federal Aviation Administration officials included whether better regulation is needed to prevent pilot fatigue, including possible restrictions on long-distance commuting by pilots who are based at airports hundreds or even thousands of miles from their home.

The Flight 3407 co-pilot, Rebecca Shaw, lived near Seattle with her parents, but worked out of Newark, N.J., where the flight originated. The captain, Marvin Renslow, was commuting to Newark from his home near Tampa, Fla.

The flight was operated for Continental by Colgan Air of Manassas, Va., a regional carrier.

Pilot training and hiring are also at issue. Renslow failed several training check rides before being hired by Colgan but didn't disclose that information to the company.

The accident was the worst U.S. air crash in more than seven years.

[Associated Press; By JOAN LOWY]

Copyright 2009 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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