UPDATE: Sen. Byron Dorgan (D., N.D.) plans to announce today that his Commerce subcommitee on aviation will hold a series of pubic hearings next month on airline safety. Dorgan's attention to the topic is drawn from the ongoing National Transportation Safety Board investigation of a commuter flight crash near Buffalo in February.
The NTSB doesn't hold too many three-day public hearings to gather facts about an airline crash, largely because there have been few accidents in recent years like the one near Buffalo in February. Such proceedings provide an excellent window on how the NTSB works, methodically going through what is known about the airplane, weather, crew actions and airline operations, and calling witnesses, to assemble a complete picture, find the cause and offer recommendations to avoid a repeat.
Inquirer airline reporter Linda Loyd has been following the NTSB proceedings in Washington, which yesterday looked at what effect long commutes to work, irregular working hours and fatigue may have had on the pilots of the Colgan Air-Continental Connection flight that crashed. Her story is at this link.