The Orlando Sentinel on Tuesday reported that James Watkins Sr. filed false records about the amount of time he had spent training pilot Michael Kling and co-pilot Stephanie Bellagarrigue. It was the first time the government has publicly accused
anyone of wrongdoing in the Stewart crash on Oct. 25, 1999.
Aviation experts say fully trained pilots should be able to handle an emergency cabin depressurization if they follow detailed preflight instruction, including making certain backup oxygen was open and the system was working.
Kling had thousands of hours of flying experience, but had received his government certification to fly the Learjet only about a month before the crash. Bellegarrigue had been cleared to fly Learjets about six months before the crash.
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