Brazilian Federal Police Earn the Cranky Jackass Award

Accidents/Incidents, Cranky Jackass, Excelaire, Gol

jackassOh man. The Brazilian Federal Police have really earned the Cranky Jackass award this time. In fact, I think you could make the argument for renaming the award in their honor at this point.

Remember, the accident where the Embraer Legacy corporate jet collided with the Gol 737 causing the Gol aircraft to crash? Well, the Brazilians have now decided to charge the pilots of the Legacy with “endangering air safety” according to this Reuters article. This could result in up to 12 years in prison.

Now, had the pilots rammed the Legacy into a skyscraper in downtown Sao Paulo, then I would support a criminal investigation (though they’d probably be dead anyway). But this was an accident and should be handled just as all accidents are handled, through an accident investigation process.

Let’s not forgot that the latest information in this case (see my last post) points away from the pilots being at fault. Unless the Brazilians know something that they aren’t telling anyone, it would amaze me if the pilots could be proven to be criminally negligent right now. This just seems like a good excuse for the Brazilian authorities to place the blame away from their crumbling air traffic control infrastructure (or lack thereof).

It is despicable that before any investigation is complete and any cause has been determined, these pilots have been charged. I truly hope that the US gets more involved in this incident, because the American citizen pilots deserve far better treatment. The Brazilians deserve a lot worse than the Cranky Jackass award here.

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2 comments on “Brazilian Federal Police Earn the Cranky Jackass Award

  1. I have been following your post on crash in Brazil.
    There are some strange things which only unbiased mind can note.
    An aircraft being flown on first flight and transponder is not working. This is strange.Was it ever involved as is mandatory. Did the pilots check in pre-flight if it was in order.Or was it deliberately switched off?All this has to be checked on log book and other documents. This has to be investigated.
    Then, in my country even when VHF coverage is not there aircraft are in touch with controllers thru HF(High Frequency). Did the pilots of the smaller jet ever attempted to call on HF. Or the aircraft might be on auto-pilot and the pilots may be discussing vegetable price in Long Island. Very important!!!
    Just ponder and reply. I will read ur post and respond.And please do not again give a biased opinion. Thanks.

  2. Thank you for your comments.

    The point here is that this was a terrible accident, and all aviation accidents involve a series of smaller problems or mistakes that lead up to the major accident. I’m certainly not arguing that the pilots did everything right, but I am arguing that this should not be treated as a criminal act.

    The pilots of the legacy jet were in straight and level flights at 37,000 ft despite earlier false reports that they were making dangerous maneuvers. (For the most recent facts, here is the Brazilian report from Nov 22 as released through the US NTSB.) The pilots also made many attempts to contact air traffic control.

    There is nothing pointing to malicious intent on behalf of the pilots here. There certainly were missteps, but placing blame does absolutely nothing here. It was a horrible accident, and it should be treated as such.

    Why was the transponder not returning consistently throughout the flight? I sure hope they figure it out so that any fixes to existing equipment (onboard or at air traffic control) can be made to prevent this from occurring again.

    And should they have tried using HF frequency (if they didn’t, I’m not sure)? Sure, that would have been a good alternative that may have helped prevent the accident, but again this is one of the small things that didn’t happen but could have helped avoid the accident. Filing criminal charges against the pilots is not the right way to approach this.

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