THIS STORY HAS BEEN FORMATTED FOR EASY PRINTING

Pilots in Brazil crash won’t lose licenses

Associated Press / May 7, 2010

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NEW YORK — The Federal Aviation Administration has rejected a request by two Brazilian congressmen to revoke the licenses of two American pilots involved in a 2006 plane crash in Brazil.

In a letter dated April 27, the FAA said there was insufficient evidence to take action against pilots Joseph Lepore of Bay Shore, N.Y., and Jan Paladino of Westhampton Beach, N.Y.

Their Embraer Legacy jet, operated by ExcelAire Service Inc. of Ronkonkoma, N.Y., collided over the Amazon with a Boeing 737 operated by Gol Linhas Aereas Inteligentes SA on Sept. 29, 2006. The 737 crashed in the Amazon jungle, killing all 154 people aboard.

“I am deeply unhappy and surprised with the negative response given by the Federal Aviation Administration,’’ Congressman Milton Monti said in a statement yesterday. “The information we delivered to the American authorities had irrefutable proof of the negligence and incompetence of the American pilots.’’

And Dante D’Aquino, attorney for the Association of Relatives of Victims of Gol 1907, complained to Brazil’s O Globo newspaper on Wednesday that the FAA gave no explanation for its decision.

“The negative answer, cut and dried, as it was given, is an affront to Brazilians and to the victims’ families,’’ he said, adding that he would take the case to the Interamerican Court of Justice.

A lawyer for the two pilots said the FAA acted appropriately.

“The request to pull the pilots’ licenses was an utterly partisan and inappropriate request,’’ Weiss said.

Weiss added, “The bottom line is this accident was only caused by one thing: Brazilian air traffic controllers put two competent flight crews on a collision course. The trial evidence is going to bear that out.’’