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October 26, 2004
PILOT ERROR: The FAA says that the November 2001 airliner crash, which caused natural fears that it was another terrorist attack, was the result of pilot error.
Update A reader emails to say that since the story says the co-pilot did what his airline had trained him to do, it wasn't pilot error. Let's say that the pilot seems to have done the wrong thing, but where the culpability for his action lies is unclear.
Update IIAnother reader, a pilot, emails to say everything's pilot error:
Nearly every thing is pilot error, at least anything the pilot could have prevented. It's a broad category, but that's what you get for being in charge! As my instructor told me once, if the steering doesn't work when you take off it's not the guy who switched cable's fault, it's the pilots for not making sure the ailerons moved in the right direction before he started going fast.