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NTSB Reopens Some Cases but Likely Won't for TWA Flight 800 Conspiracy Theorists

Stocks in this article: AAMRQ.PK BA LCC

The French did not like the ruling. In 1996, the DGAC petitioned for reconsideration. The petition was backed by the FAA and ATR and opposed by the Air Line Pilots Association and American Eagle, an affiliate of American Airlines (AAMRQ.PK). The conflict typifies the robust NTSB process, in which stakeholders can offer conflicting views and the board seeks an accurate consensus.

On the basis of this review, in 2002, the Safety Board made changes in the wording of its findings. The effect was to slightly diminish the level of fault of ATR and the DGCA. For instance, the board changed wording in a discussion of how ATR had known previously how icing would impact behavior of the ailerons, hinged flight control surfaces on the wing. Rather than saying that ATR "recognized the reason for the aileron behavior" the board said ATR ought to have recognized the reason. Additionally, rather than saying that a previously-issued ATR weather bulletin was "misleading," it said the brochure "did not adequately communicate the known catastrophic potential of ATR operations in freezing rain." Goglia was one of five board members to sign off on the changes.

Additionally, when it concluded in 1999 that the 1994 crash of US Airways (LCC) Flight 427 near Pittsburgh, which killed 132 people, was due to a rudder malfunction, the board amended its findings to include rudder malfunctions as the cause of two earlier Boeing (BA) 737 incidents - the 1991 crash of United (UAL) Flight 585 in Colorado Springs and a1996 incident involving Eastwind Airlines Flight 517.

In 2000, the NTSB revised its findings in the case of the 1996 collision of a United Express Beechcraft 1900 with a Beechcraft King Air A90 at the Quincy, Ill. Airport. Fourteen people were killed, some because they could not get off the 1900 before a fire erupted. "The finding was that the main entrance door had the propensity to jam," Goglia said. "That was wrong. I brought it back and said 'we are wrong," and that forced them to change." Raytheon, the owner of Beech, also wanted the case reopened.

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