ABC Evening News for Wednesday, Mar 20, 1985
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(Studio) Circumstances surrounding Galaxy Airline crash in Reno, NV, on January 21, 1985, reviewed; death toll recalled.
REPORTER: Peter Jennings
(DC) Questions surrounding CAB's granting of flight certificate to Galaxy Airlines president Phillip Sheridan, former airline mechanic, in light of airline's poor safety record examined; problems encountered on Galaxy flight 203 by Jesse Jackson's 1984 campaign, same plane's crash in Reno and another Galaxy emergency landing in Georgia on January 29, 1985, reviewed. Films shown. [SHERIDAN - recalls his aviation ambitions.] Before starting Galaxy, Sheridan noted operating Consolidated Caribbean Incorporated, Consolidated Components Incorporated and CCI Technical Services Incorporated, all variously called CCI. [SHERIDAN - denies CCI has any relationship with Galaxy.] Lawsuits all three CCI companies were involved in review. [SHERIDAN - denies economy viability is related to ability to operate safe airlines.] [Representative James OBERSTAR - disagrees; feels airline's financial capability is directly related to its performance and safety.] Aviation experts' analysis of connection between fins. and safe operations of Lockheed Electras noted; Electras crashes and resulting death tolls since 1959 recalled. Electras, while considered reliable craft, said requiring special, and expensive, maintenance for safe operation, details given. [Camair vice president Michael LANDERS - ests. cost of necessary propeller overhauls on Electras.] [Aviation Safety Institution spokesperson John GALIPAULT - recalls incident in which Galaxy had to rent propeller from another airline to complete its flight schedule.] Govt. noted allowing Galaxy to reinstall defective propeller after rental propeller was returned and granting Galaxy second maintenance extension; Reno crash recalled occurring day before extension expired. [SHERIDAN - claims investigations detected no faults in propellers.] [GALIPAULT - explains his perception of corollary between safety and financial capability illustrated by Galaxy's lack of back-up propeller system.] CAB, responsible for determining airlines' financial ability to operate safely, said acknowledging CCI's precarious financial condition in July 1983 internal memo; portions quoted on screen. CAB, regardless of its July findings, reported granting Galaxy charter 3 weeks from memo date. [SHERIDAN - uses analogy to defense co.] Civil Aeronautics Board official who approved Galaxy charter quoted on screen as basing charter approval on Sheridan's alleged lack of involvement in CCI at the time; court documents indicating otherwise shown, discussed. [OBERSTAR - feels Civil Aeronautics Board certificate should not have been issued and that Galaxy's financial condition should have been reviewed.] House aviation subcommittee mentioned currently investigating.
REPORTER: Peter Lance