I think losing someone gradually over the course of an illness is terrible and difficult, but losing someone unexpectedly is tragic. In some ways, I think it's harder to get over; there's so much you didn't have time to say or do - there was no warning.
One year ago today my cousin Johnathan was killed in the plane crash of Continental Flight 3407 in Buffalo. On its way from Newark, approximately five miles from the Buffalo airport, the plane began experiencing problems and crashed into a residential neighborhood, killing all 50 people on board and 1 person on the ground. To honor their memory, and to try to prevent this tragedy from happening to anyone else, we are trying to raise awareness of aviation safety.
This weekend, Friday, Feb. 12-Sunday, Feb. 14, we're asking you to send an email to the five key Democratic leaders (4 Senators and the President) who will control if the legislation we are trying to pass will go on to the Senate for a vote. Information on what the families of lost loved ones are fighting for (including improvements in pilot training and qualifications), along with more information and testimonials, can be found by clicking here. If you sign up for their email list, they'll be able to track how many people are planning to send an email (so they'll know if it will make an impact) and they won't send you spam. More info on that here.
This is something no one should have to go through. For your safety and for your family's while flying, please help us make air travel safer. If you have any questions or concerns, please leave a comment for me and I'll answer it as best I can.
Below are links to the contact page for each leader. In the subject line, please put "transportation" or "aviation safety" if it asks you to be more specific. Below that are two sample paragraphs. The first is for those who wish to show their full support for the legislation, and the second for those who may be uncomfortable doing this, perhaps because they don't fully understand the issues, but who still want to show their support; it simply asks the leadership to recognize our determined efforts and in honor of our loved ones, to at least do the democratic thing and allow this to come to a vote.
1) Senator Harry Reid (NV) - majority leader - http://reid.senate.gov/contact/index.cfm
2) http://durbin.senate.gov/contact.cfm (IL) - majority whip -
3) http://baucus.senate.gov/?p=contact (MT) - chairman, Finance Committee -
4) http://rockefeller.senate.gov/contact/email.cfm (WV) - chairman, Commerce Committee -
5) President Obama - http://www.whitehouse.gov/contact
PARAGRAPH OF FULL SUPPORT FOR THE PROPOSED AVIATION SAFETY LAWS
"Dear Senator/President __________,
I am sending you this note in support of the 'Families of Continental Flight 3407', who lost loved ones last February 12th in the tragic plane crash outside Buffalo. This issue has special meaning to me because ___________________________. I just wanted you to know of my full support for everything the group has been advocating for, in particular that there truly be one level of safety between the major and regional carriers, and that the minimum qualification requirements for commercial pilots be significantly raised. The thought that a regional airline could hire someone as a pilot with as little as 250 hours of flight time and little or no experience flying in bad weather conditions is of great concern to me. The FAA Reauthorization Bill contains many key measures that would make air travel safer, particularly at the regional airlines. Because of health care, this bill has gone nowhere in the Senate since last July. Please do everything in your power to honor the victims' memory by having this Bill voted on and passed in the Senate as quickly as possible; let's not have a repeat of this horrible, and completely avoidable, tragedy.
PARAGRAPH OF SUPPORT ASKING THE SENATE TO VOTE ON THE BILL ASAP
"Dear Senator/President __________,
I am sending you this note in support of the 'Families of Continental Flight 3407', who lost loved ones last February 12th in the tragic plane crash outside Buffalo. This issue has special meaning to me because ___________________________. Since last summer, the group has diligently pushed for the passage of the FAA Reauthorization Bill, and the many aviation safety measures it contains. Because of health care, this bill has gone nowhere in the Senate since last July. In honor of the victims and the admirable efforts of their families and friends, I ask that you do everything in your power to bring this Bill to a vote in the Senate as quickly as possible.