BUFFALO, N.Y. — We are remembering the lives lost in the Flight 3407 crash 11 years ago.
Everyone on board the Colgan air flight died, along with one person on the ground, when the prop plane crashed into a home in Clarence Center.
More than a decade later, the victims' families continue their fight for air safety.
"Hardest thing I've ever experienced in my entire life, and I've had some pretty tough knocks in my life," said John Kausner, who lost his daughter, Elly, in the Flight 3407 crash.
He's convinced she would've been not just a good attorney.
"She would've been a kick ass lawyer today. She was beautiful, and she was brilliant," Kausner said.
Since the crash, improving pilot safety has been the mission for Flight 3407 families.
In 2010, they helped get a federal law passed with new reforms: night-time and bad-weather training for pilots and proper rest time.
These changes were included in the FAA re-authorization bill of 2018, which expires in 2023.
"Since we had our legislation passed almost 10 years ago, now not a single plane crash has occurred in America. I'm hoping it's just so embedded in the airlines practices that we don't have to worry about changing it," Kausner said.
A big part of their focus remains full implementation of the FAA's Pilot Records Database.
Currently, the database is designed to comply with portions of the law, providing names and addresses of pilots, certificate and accident information.
But some lawmakers such as Congressman Brian Higgins want actual records, such as driving records made available as well.
"More than a decade later we still anxiously await implementation of the pilot records database to allow airlines to access records of pilots applying for jobs," Higgins said on the House floor Tuesday.
Added Kausner: "Certainly frustrated, amazed, stunned, it's now 11 years and they haven't put it through it is not that complicated."
We have received a statement from the FAA about its Pilot Records Database. It is still being tested, and that's been the case for the past three years.
The FAA says it is seeking participation from air carriers to help improve the database.
We do not know how long that process could go.
At 10 p.m. Thursday, 3407 families will once again gather at the crash site to remember the lives lost.
Congressman Tom Reed issued a statement:
"Today – and everyday – we remember the unimaginable tragedy that took the lives of so many in the crash of Flight 3407. We honor their memory and continue to stand with the families in their push for flight safety reform. It is only through those unwavering efforts from the Flight 3407 families that we have passed serious aviation safety legislation. We were pleased to hear that Transportation Secretary Elaine Chao recently gave her word to the 3407 families that standards would not decrease and that the DOT would continue to fully implement the Pilot Record Database."
Added Senator Kirsten Gillibrand: "My heart goes out to the families of all those who lost loved ones on Flight 3407, 11 years ago today. Through their tireless advocacy, we’ve secured stronger air safety standards to ensure a tragedy like this doesn’t happen again."