FlightAware Discussions

BREAKING NEWS - Dash 8 Crash in Buffalo


From the Buffalo News:
"Renslow, 47, failed three Federal Aviation Administration proficiency checks before joining Colgan in 2005, sources confirmed this morning.

While pilots often fail those tests once or twice, “it is fairly uncommon to fail three,” said a source with knowledge of the safety board investigation of the crash. “That’s a little high. But then, why did they hire him?”

Colgan’s spokesman told The Wall Street Journal, which first reported that Renslow failed those tests, that the company believes Renslow, a former small business owner who changed careers to become a pilot, did not disclose those failed tests when he applied for a job.

This leads me to ask:

Do HR managers just trust new hires to reveal problems with their test results? Isn’t there an aviation equivalent of a Driver’s License Abstract that employers can use to screen people?

According to this http://www.riskadvisory.net/uploads/CV%20lies%20Press%20Release%202009.pdf
64 percent of job applicants bend the truth.

Not encouraging, to say the least.

Would this situation have been avoided with more careful hiring practices? Is it that hard to find qualified pilots for regional carriers?


The CBS news story I saw said he had failed 5 checkrides and Colgan said he had passed his last 6 comp checks. This is completely speculative on my part, but with what needlenose said it seems that he may have failed some initial checkrides on his way through his commercial-multi, but then did better later on.

Also, someone asked why would Colgan hire him if they knew he had failed some checkrides. Personally, it is well known Colgan’s hiring standards are one of the lowest in the industry. However, the training department should be able to make up for that.

For Colgan to say they did not know he failed so many checkrides is BS. The carriers check your history, in the pre-employment screening. To find out if you passed all of your checkrides is probably the easiest thing to do out of all the background work they do. He may have not disclosed them, but they should have found out. I am betting they knew and hired him anyway.

WOW! I just read the CVR transcript. Talk about non-essential conversation. I know it is common place, but with the icing conditions it seems a little freaky especially when Shaw said something about crashing because of ice.



The angle of attack is simply the angle between the relative wind and the chord of the airfoil. It has nothing whatsoever to do with its attachment to or angle with the rest of the airplane.



Yes, I understand the definition of angle of attack but, if I read your question correctly you were asking why they could not add a stall warning to the the tail. The stall warning system works off an angle of attack meter that is calibrated to the main wing.

Since the horizontal stab on the Q400 can change it’s angle of attack by trimming it up or down, the AOA meter that you are setting in the cockpit is for the main wing only . It can not tell your AOA for a H-Stab that is trimmed at a different angle of attack than the main wing.


A couple of years ago, before the meltdown of the economy, regional carriers like Colgan were hiring very low-time pilots for first officer positions. My instructor was hired by PSA with only 700 hours total time for a CRJ-700 FO position back in 2007.


I think the lowest I saw for Colgan was 250 TT and 50 ME a few years back. FYI GoJet is hiring at 500/50 right now!


“lieberma”: Excellent Point however, I urge you to note, I merely asked we “take care” in citing articles not avoid citing articles. An excellent example of this sort of care comes in “gr8pilot1’s” comment:

The part that gets me is that CBS news reported he had failed 5 checkrides in his career. Were those from private pilot on up…PIC check with colgan? Somewhere along the line…everyone fails a checkride. They also heavily implied he wasn’t qualified to fly the [acft] “because he only had 100 hours in type, which is below industry standards”. Yes…but if he passed all his rides in the type then he is qualified.

I submit “gr8pilot1” nailed the intent of my comment and it was nice to “see” his cranium working on separating the wheat from the chaff. Good on ya dude…

As I said previous, I’ve done the accident briefing gig and it was tough explaining to loved ones and family of those lost, why the news “got it wrong” and why they should wait for the results of the investigation. Or pouring through pages and pages of records to “get it right” and then watching the “news” later in the morning to see some news reader spin leaked information to smear the crew…I will never forget those experiences and I only ask that we take care in our discussions…

Again, “deef1999,” “lieberma” and “gr8pilot1” – thanks for the comments…good to see the craniums smokin’!




I simply suggested that it would be fairly trivial to ADD a stall warning system to the h-stab. It would be independent of whatever senses impending separation on the “main” wing. The horizontal stab can have different angles with respect to the airplane’s longitudinal axis, obviously, but that has NOTHING to do with the main wing’s AOA which is completely independent of where the trim is set. You are making the common error of assuming that the AOA of an airfoil has something to do with its spatial orientation or its relation to some other part of the aircraft. It does not.


As a non-pilot, and someone who just likes airliners, I can’t offer anything technical. But it seems todays news centers around the pilots kid of flirting with eachother. The news seems to say that any banter not having to do with the fligt at hand is forbidden under FL 100. Is this correct?



Oh contrare mon frere

I am making no error here. I am simply trying to explain how the AOA indicator works and that IT IS directly related to the main wing of the aircraft. I am not saying nor have I said that the angle of attack has something to do with the spatial orientation of the aircraft.
I am stating that the main wing has a AOA indicator that is relative to the main wing and the main wing only. The horizontal stabilizer can be trimmed up and down. In other words the entire horizontal stabilizer can change it’s angle of attack with the use of the pitch trim. You can not have the one angle of attack indicator work both the wing and the H-stab and this is why I submit they have never designed an H-stab stall warning/AOA indicator.
If it were trivial to add a indicator for the H-Stab it would have been done.


Correct, it’s called “sterile cockpit rules”.


Yes, below 10,000 feet. That’s when you’re taking off or approaching for landing - very critical and busy time of the flight where concentration must be focused on flying the airplane, turning dials, pushing buttons, listening for clearances, watching out for other traffic, etc.

Above 10,000 is when you’re near cruising - not so busy - just focused on maintaining your course to your destination…



I see that you have not become intelligent in the last few weeks, cheeto-muncher. A stall ‘detector’ (a device that detects incipient flow separation) can be installed on any airfoil (EVEN THE VERTICAL STABILIZER if somebody wanted it bad enough.)

You appear to not know that the horizontal stabilizer depends on a net “down” (meaning from the perspective of the aircraft’s axes) force to be…stable -hence its name.- I clearly stated not once but twice that a stall detecting device for the HS would be a separate device…you obviously lack the technical expertise to even incorporate that simple concept into your laughable version of 'discussion.

Now I am done with you…back to your Microsoft Flight Simulator, idiot child.

(by the way, if you think using a French phrase in an abortive attempt to be cosmopolitan is a good idea, you’d be way ahead by spelling “au contraire” correctly.)


For those interested in the factual information…




GOD bless you Karl


Link is not working dear! (well, at least from where I am trying to access it from work). :confused:

CNN just posted this: http://www.cnn.com/2009/US/05/12/buffalo.crash.hearing/index.html

With the by-line of “Screams, ‘We’re down,’ recorded in cockpit of crashing plane”. My heart goes out the families who have to relive it all over again on tonight’s news. Especially the pilots familes, they will hear the transcript of their loved ones last moments.

That Don Henley song comes to mind… about the media…


Transcript of the CVR… (not sure if you posted azav8r but your link provides a zero byte file)




Hmmm… It’s working okay for me. http://www.websmileys.com/sm/sad/533.gif

It might be security settings on your work system. :question:


Strange as I am home, it downloads but 0 byte. Something weird going on as www.ntsb.gov brings up a blank page in both my browsers.

Even flushed my DNS resolver to ensure I wasn’t cached.


HERE is the NTSB’s 3-D animation of the final two minutes of the flight.

As the NTSB’s site is being heavily accessed today because of the hearings and released information, it may take several attempts and/or refreshing to get into both of the links provided.

It took me several attempts to view the animation.