NTSB Transcript Rekindles Midair Angst

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Speculation is reborn from the release of published excerpts from the cockpit voice recorder of the Embraer Legacy 600 jet that last September survived airborne contact with a Gol Airlines 737-800; all 154 aboard the Boeing died. But the renewed controversy might center on the exact translation of the scripts from English to Portuguese and their context. The 290-page transcript includes colorful language and apparent language problems between the Legacy pilots and Brazilian controllers, and suggests the pilots might have been unfamiliar with some procedures and equipment. However, the transcript also seems to confirm the Legacy jet was cleared to fly its entire route at 37,000 feet (the collision altitude) and that they were "exactly where they were supposed to be," according to an ExcelAire spokeswoman who spoke with Newsday. That the pilots may have been somewhat foul-mouthed is irrelevant to their expertise, said the spokeswoman, and ExcelAire contends that translation errors have been compounded by efforts to interpret aviation-specific verbiage. While not helping quench any cinders of blame still burning in Brazil for the American Legacy pilots, Brazilian reports continue to cast blame on the Brazilian controllers as well.