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Guidance glitch not a focus of crash probe

Feb. 20, 2009 at 10:00 AM

BUFFALO, N.Y., Feb. 20 (UPI) -- A guidance glitch probably wasn't a factor in the Feb. 12 crash of a commuter plane in Buffalo, N.Y., that killed 50 people, a government spokeswoman says.

Just weeks before the Continental Connections plane hit a house, Southwest Airlines issued a reminder that an earthen dam at the end of runway 23 at the Buffalo airport interferes with the instrument landing signal being sent to inbound flights, CNN reported Friday.

The dam affected altitude readings, making it look like an aircraft was higher than it actually was.

But Federal Aviation Administration spokeswoman Laura Brown said it is extremely unlikely that the crash and the signal problem were related.

"As far as we can tell, there is no way this had any role in the accident," Brown said. "It's not a navigation aid that would have applied to the approach.

Flight data recorders show the twin turbo prop plane pitched up 31 degrees before going into a stall due to lack of airspeed.

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