Joe and Jan … it’s time to come home

By Robert Mark on November 11th, 2006

It’s been six weeks since the midair collision over the Brazilian rain forests between a Boeing 737 operated by Gol Airline and a U.S. registered Embraer Legacy 600. Somehow, all aboard the Legacy survived while the 737 spun into the ground killing all 154 people on board.

To date, the investigation has focused on why both aircraft were flying at 37,000 feet, why the transponder on the Legacy was apparently not working and why radio contact between the Legacy crew and Brazilian ATC was lost not long before the collision. What is not being talked about is that pilots Joe Lepore and Jan Paladino are still in Brazil, under house arrest of sorts, wondering when they’ll be allowed to leave the country. The passports of both men were confiscated shortly after the crash as Brazilian officials claimed possible indictments against the pair for involuntary manslaughter might follow.

Their employer, Ronkonkoma, NY-based Excelair, has been unable to win their freedom on bail, or any through any other legal efforts, pending charges against the two.

What really makes this a travesty, is that if these two pilots were Part 121 airline folks, their union would have been beating down the doors of Congress or the State Department until those men were out of Brazil. Part 91 and 135 carriers don’t have nearly as much leverage apparently. Let’s hope that with mid-term elections out of the way, the local politicians can focus on the fact that these two have not been charged with anything and also cannot leave Brazil.

Since Senator Clinton won such a resounding victory on Tuesday, perhaps Excelair has been on the phone to her office. If not, they should be, don’t you think?


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One Response to “Joe and Jan … it’s time to come home”

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