Controllers' Group Asks Brazil To Release Pilots

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Brazil should immediately release the two U.S. pilots who have been denied permission to leave the country since late September, when the Legacy jet they were flying collided with a Gol Airlines 737 over the Amazon jungle, the International Federation of Air Traffic Controllers' Associations (IFATCA) said in a statement. IFATCA also found fault with some of the methods used by Brazil's ATC system, and was "surprised and disheartened" by remarks by a Brazilian official that implied a controller was in error. IFATCA also raised concerns about the "tone" of an interim report released last week, and said parts of it were ambiguous and incomplete. IFATCA represents more than 50,000 air traffic controllers in more than 130 countries. The National Business Aviation Association also this week posted a "Call to Action," asking everyone involved in business aviation to contact their Congressional representatives on behalf of the pilots. An online form is provided to make it easy to sign on to the letter campaign. Meanwhile, families of the two pilots visited them in Rio de Janeiro over the Thanksgiving holiday, Newsday reported. The pilots have been staying in a hotel there, and authorities have said they will not be allowed to leave Brazil until the investigation is complete, which is expected to take another 10 months.