CLARENCE, NY (WKBW) — “We did this for the loved ones we lost right here at this place 12 years ago,” declared Karen Eckert.
Eckert lost her sister Beverly Eckert in the crash of Flight 3407.
“We’re just grateful this is done this is behind us and we have a record of safety really be proud of,” noted John Kausner.
Kausner lost his daughter Ellyce Kausner.
A major victory was announced Friday for the families of Flight 3407 who have been fighting for flight safety for more than a decade.
12-years after the crash of a Continental Colgan Air Flight 3407 into a home on Long Street in Clarence Center.
Friday Congressman Brian Higgins and several family members of the victims, who died in the crash, gathered at the former crash site to discussion implementation of the Pilot Record Database.
The families of the victims have successfully fought for reforms, including a law that requires all commercial pilots to have at least 1,500 hours of in-flight experience before being hired.
The Pilots Records Database is what Flight 3407 families have been calling the final "piece of unfinished business" in their their crusade for flight safety.
The Pilot Records Database Rule is now being finalized.
Friday afternoon the families gathered at on Long Street, where a memorial to loved ones now stands. It was once the the home of Karen and Doug Wielinski, where Flight 3407 came crashing into their home, killing Doug inside and all 49 on board in February of 2009.
The National Transportation Safety Board determined pilot error was to blame and that the pilot failed several prior test and may not have been adequately trained.
“The CEO of Colgan air when we went to the first hearings in D.C. said ‘had I know that, I wouldn’t have hired him’, so that hit all of us in the hearts,” Kausner recalled
That is why the they say their crusade for the Pilot Database is so important and it has finally received federal approval.
The database was part of the FAA Reauthorization Bill of 2010 that the families fought for, but the process for implementation is extremely show.
“The airlines have been put on notice that they have to be submitting their training records — the failure of pilots, there's driving records, alcohol and drug tests records — they're all going in there,” Eckert explained
In May, local leaders announced the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) had finalized the rule to establish a pilot record database.
In a news advisory, Higgins's office says along with this Pilot Records Database, the law required enhanced pilot qualifications, increased training hours, new pilot flight and duty time rules -- all to prevent pilot fatigue.
I asked the families if their journey for flight safety is finally over.
“I think so,” responded Eckert. “If somebody every tried to roll this back — we'd be there — if there is some glitch.”
Airlines must follow the law to make sure pilots have the aptitude to pilot a plane to keep the flying public safe.
Flight 3407 families gathering at memorial of crash site in Clarence as they announce a milestone for flight safety. Pilot Record Database to be implemented. https://t.co/c35mBEh64h @WKBW #flightsafety pic.twitter.com/7FKlYf4qwJ— eileen buckley (@eileenwkbw) June 11, 2021
Among those set to join Congressman Higgins Friday include:
- Karen Eckert & Susan Bourque - lost their sister Beverly Eckert
- John Kausner - lost his daughter Ellyce Kausner
- Kathy Johnston - lost her husband Kevin Johnston
- Justine Krasuski - lost her husband Jerry Krasuski
- Tina Siniscalco - lost her sister Mary Abraham