Washington, D.C. (WKBW-TV)
U.S. Senator Charles E. Schumer announced that Karen Eckert will be joining him as his guest for the State of the Union address Tuesday night. Karen is the sister of Beverly Eckert, a Buffalonian and key leader of the 9-11 family groups, who tragically died when Flight 3407 crashed near Buffalo on February 12, 2009. Karen will be present for President Obama’s speech as a representative of all the 3407 families who lost loved ones on the flight and fought courageously to make historic improvements to airline safety.
“Karen Eckert and the 3407 families have fought tirelessly since the crash to improve air travel safety. The 3407 families turned tragedy into positive action by coming together to pressure decision makers to make much-needed improvements to pilot training and air passenger awareness and safety,” Schumer said. “I’m honored to invite Karen to the State of the Union tomorrow night to mark this incredible effort. Thanks to the hard work of all of the 3407 families, air travel will be much safer for passengers across the country. No gesture could ever fully honor their effort in the wake of a terrible tragedy.”
Per tradition, each Senator may invite one person to the State of the Union address as their guest. This year Senator Schumer personally invited Karen Eckert to join him as his guest to honor all the 3407 families and their brave work since the crash.
Schumer has worked with Karen Eckert and the families of the victims in the Colgan Flight 3407 crash to significantly improve air travel safety in the wake of a crash investigation which determined that shockingly limited flying experience is required to be a co-pilot for a regional carrier. From the earliest days after the crash, Senator Schumer and the families worked on legislation to close the gaps in airline safety that allowed this tragedy to occur. Their efforts culminated in the passage of the Airline Safety and Federal Aviation Extension Act, which requires co-pilots on regional flights to obtain an Airline Transport Pilot license. This mandates a minimum number of hours of in-flight experience before co-piloting a commercial aircraft. This law also requires that on-line vendors of airline tickets disclose, at first viewing, if the flight is operation by a regional carrier instead of a major carrier.
Tuesday, Eckert will attend the State of the Union Speech as Schumer’s guest and to represent all of the Flight 3407 families and their heroic work since the crash.
EWN will have full coverage of the event.