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Oneida County's aviation commission responds to Buffalo crash

By By PAT BAILEY

ROME, N.Y. (WKTV) - Oneida County Aviation Commissioner Vernon Gray says it came as no surprise that ice build-up played a major role in Flight 3407's crash.

Gray was an aviation meteorologist in the Navy for 22 years. He says ice build up is common on airplanes but in this case it was probably just too much to handle or was on a spot of the plane where the pilot could have missed it.

"Icing is something that can sneak up on a pilot," said Gray.

According to Gray, the area of southwestern New York State is one part of two places in the whole country where aircraft icing is most prevalent and almost guaranteed to occur.

Gray says the particular plane that crashed outside of Buffalo was purchased by Continental in the past year. However because "non productive routes." Gray says most major airlines are shying away from the smaller jets that fly regionally.

"In Oneida County you had U.S. Air, and Mohawk Aviation that left the old airport in 2004. That's a perfect example that there wasn't enough passengers to make it worthwhile," Gray said.

The Buffalo area crash comes a few weeks after a larger airplane crashed into the Hudson River. Gray says despite what happened in both cases, flying is still a safe way to travel.

"Absolutely, absolutely. Considering on any given day there are tens of of thousands of planes and flights in the air, and the frequency of which there are crashes is relatively small, very small. Certainly its safer than being in your car on the freeway," said Gray.

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