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Pilots Cite Issues with Quest Diagnostics Fleet Management With Crash Investigation

Posted Jan 02 2011 10:52pm

Several pilots are stating that Quest Labs, who operates a fleet of 20 to 30 jets and airplanes were not following FAA rules in relating to time and other areas with their employed pilots.  image

Among other issues brought to the table was the fact that more dry ice was sometimes loaded on flights which can cause confusion and dizziness.  The issue with dry ice that it creates carbon dioxide and the accusations stated the pilots had become overwhelmed.  The national transportation board has not released their assessment of cause of the accident yet, but the article states that allegations from current and former Quest are contained within.  BD

NEWARK, N.J. — The federal investigation into a fatal 2009 plane crash in New Jersey has uncovered allegations that the country’s largest medical lab operator put commerce ahead of safety and threatened pilots who complained about inadequate training, dangerous flying practices and crushing workloads.

The investigation also highlights how Quest Diagnostics and companies like it operate fleets of planes with little scrutiny from the Federal Aviation Administration under rules similar to those governing weekend fliers and hobbyists.

Pilot George Maddox and co-pilot Sanil Gopinath were seriously injured in the Aug. 21, 2009, crash of the twin-engine Beech 58 at Teterboro Airport. Maddox died two weeks later.

The National Transportation Safety Board hasn’t determined an official cause, but its preliminary report issued in November contains allegations from current and former employees of Madison, N.J.-based Quest.

“We’re often told, ’You’re flying an irreplaceable specimen!”’ one pilot told the NTSB. “How do you compete with that? Do you know how many hurricanes I’ve flown through?”

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