NTSB closes crash hearings with focus on safety devices

05/15/2009 | NYTimes.com · Chicago Tribune (tiered subscription model)

In a final day of NTSB hearings into the crash of Continental Connection flight 3407, several experts on Thursday said additional safety equipment might have prevented the tragedy. "I think this crew went from complacency to catastrophe in 20 seconds," said board member Debbie Hersman, who advocated an audio warning system to alert pilots when their airspeed drops to unsafe levels. If the NTSB adopts such a recommendation in its final report, it would not be the first time. Investigators called for audible cockpit warnings following the crash of a twin-engine turboprop that claimed the life of Minnesota Sen. Paul Wellstone in 2002.

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