AF447 Documentary on More4 TV



 The More4 TV documentary was good as far as it went but did not include contributory factors such as the captain only having had an hour’s sleep the night before, the poor relationship between the two copilots, and the fact that the captain was probably not in his bunk.

These and others are detailed in our account.

Click HERE for Table of Contents

Why hardly any hosepipe bans in UK?

Why hardly any hosepipe bans?

A ban would reduce the UK water companies income. They seem to prefer to hold off imposing a ban at the risk of having to impose a much stricter one later, or even having to ration supplies.

It was a good call in 2018 for just when an increasing number looked inevitable, the rain came.

Apart from the risk of having impose stricter bans, or even ration supplies, later, this seems fair in that really poor people would not use much more water while the very rich with big gardens and lawns (and water meters?) would pay more, and be able to do so.

Of course this depends on people having meters.

XL Airways-Air New Zealand Acceptance Flight

In updating Air Crashes and Miracle Landings we added this disastrous test flight because it had so many lessons for pilots and programmers of fly-by-wire systems. The lessons learned most likely saved lives on revenue flights. Extract:

Not All Pilots Can Conduct Air Tests (Off French Med. Coast, 2008)

What was expected to be a mere formality turned to disaster

 

This highlights the danger of pilots who are not test pilots carrying out tests without defining what constitutes a pass or fail, and the problems a pilot can face on taking over manual control from the computer.

XL Airways Flight 888T, November 27, 2008

 

Faced with a refusal by the air traffic controller at Bordeaux on the French Atlantic coast to allow them to  engage in test flights in general air traffic, the pilots of the Airbus A320 had cut short their “acceptance flight” and turned back to Perpignan Airport on the Mediterranean. In just under an hour—half the time intended—they had surreptitiously managed to fit all but one of the tests into their flight plan without air traffic control objecting.

 

Extract continued:

….
The elevators (operated via the sidestick) could not overcome the combined effect of the pitch trim set at its maximum nose-up and the go‑around thrust of engines set low down under the wings also levering the nose up.

At 15:45:42, after rising enough for the stall warning to stop momentarily, the airspeed had fallen to 40 knots. Two seconds later the maximum values recorded were a pitch of +57 degrees (i.e. exceedingly nose up), and an altitude of 3,788 feet, at which point the aircraft lurched over and careered down into the sea. All on board, including three Air New Zealand engineers and a New Zealand Civil Aviation Authority official in the passenger cabin, were killed.

Only sixty-two seconds had elapsed between the time the stall warning first triggered and the moment the recordings stopped!

The Investigation

This crash was very troubling because a month earlier another Airbus, a Qantas A330, had behaved very bizarrely (see Chapter 17) off the coast of Australia, albeit with the pilot managing to recover. After first suspecting the Air Data Inertial Reference Units as the Qantas A330 investigators had done, the French investigators were able to show the cause was the freezing of the water in the mechanisms of the two angle of attack sensors on the left of the fuselage. A third sensor still working was ignored by the system on the “odd man out” principle.

END OF EXTRACT

Click link to —> Table of Contents

BA 2276 777 Uncontained Engine Failure and fire at Las Vegas


<— Click image to see contents of book.

 

The things that come to mind concerning the British Airways 777 that caught fire as it was about to take off from Las Vegas for London on September 8, 2015 are the passengers standing nearby, with many carrying large items of luggage,   and the fact that the UK newspapers referred to the captain, who was possibly making his last flight before duly retiring, as a hero. In fact, the just published final NTSB report shows that it was not that simple.

Firstly, it again seems unbelievable that a report into an accident with the aircraft available for study and any debris retrieved from the runway should take so long–until one remembers the same was true for the one into the precursor to the Southwest

A key point was that the aircraft was only half full and therefore passengers passengers bring their luggage did much affect the fortunate outcome.

 

 

 

 

The NTSB report can be found by clicking HERE
Passengers with their luggage.

 

According to the NTSB report, the captain, who was the pilot flying PF, quickly rejected the takeoff  at about 77 knots, well before V1, the takeoff decision speed was 149 knots for the flight. The start of the rejected takeoff maneuver occurred 2 seconds after the “bang” sound, and the airplane came to a stop 13 seconds after the rejected takeoff maneuver began. Thus, the captain made a timely decision to reject the takeoff and performed the maneuver in accordance with company training and procedures.

 

“While the airplane was decelerating to a stop, the fire warning bell sounded. When the airplane came to stop, the captain called for the engine fire checklist. The third item on the checklist was to move the fuel control switch on the affected side (in this case, the left side) to the cutoff position, which shuts down the respective engine. The spar valve terminates fuel flow to an engine after it is shut down. Flight data recorder (FDR) data showed that about 28 seconds elapsed between the start of the engine failure and the time of the spar valve closure, and Boeing estimated that about 97 gallons of fuel had spilled onto the runway during this time. FDR data also showed that 22 seconds elapsed between the time that the captain initially called for the engine fire checklist and the time of the spar valve closure. (Thirteen seconds had elapsed between the time that the captain repeated his call for the engine fire checklist and the time of the spar valve closure.) If the left engine had been shut down sooner, there would have been less fuel on the runway to feed the fire.

The flight crew informed the passengers and flight attendants to remain seated and await further instruction, which was consistent with the flight crew’s training and procedures if an evacuation was not going to immediately occur. The cabin crew reinforced the flight crew’s expectation by instructing passengers to remain seated. As part of the flight crew’s evaluation of the situation, the relief pilot left the cockpit and entered the forward cabin so that he could look outside a window. Before the relief pilot returned, the CVR recorded the captain’s statements indicating that the airplane should be evacuated. The relief pilot returned to the cockpit shortly afterward and informed the captain of the need to evacuate on the right side of the airplane because of the fire. The captain then commanded the evacuation, and a flight crewmember activated the evacuation alarm.

When the relief pilot went into the cabin to assess the situation outside of the airplane, a flight attendant told him that she had been trying to call the flight crew. The CVR recorded a sound similar to an interphone call from the cabin to the flight deck, but the flight crewmembers most likely did not answer the call because they were focused on securing the left engine and deciding whether to evacuate.

After the captain’s evacuation command, the flight attendants assessed their areas and opened the doors that they deemed usable. Five of the eight door exits were initially blocked by flight attendants, which was appropriate given the hazards associated with the smoke, fire, and unusual attitude of two slides. A sixth door, which was initially opened, was blocked once a flight attendant saw flames on the runway, which was also appropriate. Although only two of the eight door exits were used throughout the evacuation, the passengers and crewmembers were able to evacuate before smoke and fire encroached the fuselage.

The captain commanded the evacuation (step three in the evacuation checklist) before calling for the evacuation checklist and performing the first two steps in the checklist. Step two of the evacuation checklist instructs the captain to shut down both engines. The left engine was shut down as part of the engine fire checklist, but the right engine continued operating for about 43 seconds after the captain’s evacuation command. The unusual attitude of two slides (the 3R and 4R slides) resulted from the jet blast coming from the right engine while it was operating.

The captain did not use the QRH to read and do his evacuation checklist items. The right engine was shut down after the relief pilot noticed EICAS indications showing that the engine was still running. Also, the captain’s call for the evacuation checklist occurred after the relief pilot stated that the checklist needed to be performed. (The first officer had stated, just before the relief pilot, “we haven’t done the engine checklist,” but he most likely meant the evacuation checklist.) Because the captain did not follow standard procedures, his call for the evacuation checklist and the shutdown of the right engine were delayed.

British Airways’ engine fire checklist, which was based on the Boeing 777 engine fire checklist, did not differentiate between an engine fire occurring on the ground or during flight. The third step of the checklist instructed the flight crew to cut off the fuel control switch on the affected side to shut down that engine. However, for an engine fire on the ground, the checklist did not include a step to shut down the unaffected engine or indicate that some steps did not apply. If the engine fire checklist had specifically addressed fires during ground operations, the flight crew could have secured the right engine in a timelier manner and decided to evacuate sooner. In February 2018, as part of its final report on the American Airlines flight 383 investigation, the NTSB issued two related safety recommendations, A-18-6 and A-18-10, to address this issue.

The relief pilot relayed pertinent information to the captain and first officer as the emergency unfolded. The relief pilot pointed out the smoke to the flight crew and volunteered to assess the situation outside the airplane from a window in the cabin. After returning to the cabin and reporting his assessment, the relief pilot indicated that the airplane was still on fire on the left side, and the captain commanded the evacuation. The relief pilot also noticed that the right engine was still running and indicated that it needed to be shut down. Thus, the relief pilot played an important role in ensuring the safety of the airplane occupants.

During a group debriefing by the Air Accidents Investigation Branch, the flight attendants stated that some passengers evacuated with carry-on baggage; however, the flight attendants thought that carry-on baggage retrieval did not slow the evacuation. They thought that most passengers who retrieved baggage did so after the airplane came to a stop and before the evacuation was commanded and that the flight attendants’ assertive commands limited further retrieval. The flight attendants at the two most-used exits (doors 1R and 4L) recalled seeing very little baggage at their exits, and neither cited carry-on baggage as a problem. However, the NTSB notes that the accident airplane was only 55% full.

Although not a factor in this evacuation, the NTSB remains concerned about the safety issues resulting from passengers evacuating with carry-on baggage, which could potentially slow the egress of passengers and block an exit during an emergency. The NTSB previously addressed carry-on baggage in a June 2000 safety study on evacuations of commercial airplanes and issued Safety Recommendation A-18-9 in February 2018 as part of its final report on the American Airlines flight 383 investigation.

 

Probable Cause and Findings

The National Transportation Safety Board determines the probable cause(s) of this accident to be:
The failure of the left engine high-pressure compressor (HPC) stage 8-10 spool, which caused the main fuel supply line to become detached from the engine main fuel pump and release fuel, resulting in a fire on the left side of the airplane. The HPC stage 8-10 spool failed due to a sustained-peak low-cycle fatigue crack that initiated in the web of the stage 8 disk; the cause of the crack initiation could not be identified by physical inspection and stress and lifing analysis. Contributing to this accident was the lack of inspection procedures for the stage 8 disk web.

The press saw this as an example of great airmanship. However with one engine left running, thus delaying the evacuation and with its blast contorting one or more slides, the outcome could well have been less favorable had the aircraft been full with luggage impeding evacuation.

 

Heathrow Airport Expansion Security Risk?

 

Even with the best security checks at airports with flights to London’s Heathrow, it would be impossible for not one in hundreds of thousands to miss an explosive device.

Again, aircraft could crash on the city for other reasons.

We are talking about flights continuing for years and years, so the risk though small would be greatly multiplied and significant.

An airport in the Thames Estuary area as suggested by Boris Johnson may one day seem to be a chance regrettably missed. 

The inquiry dismissed the idea out of hand. Admittedly it was not popular with the airlines.

There were other options.

Seeing MH17 in Perspective

The outpouring of criticism of Russia almost invariably includes mention of the mention of the “dastardly” shooting down over the Ukraine of Malaysian Airlines Flight MH17 in 2014.

Russia was presumably ultimately responsible, whether or not it was their own people who were handling the BUK missile launcher, since they supplied the equipment. Nevertheless, it was obviously a mistake.

The late, and much missed Australian aviation journalist, Ben Sandilands, made the point that though the Ukrainians–keen to get revenue from overflights–said airliners could fly there so long as they kept above 32,000 feet, they should not have been doing so as failure of an engine would mean they would not be able to maintain that height.

To be fair, we should not forget that when the USS Vincennes, a multi-billion-dollar US warship chasing rag-tag gunboats, mistakenly shot down an Iranian Airliner in the Persian Gulf in 1992, the US government obfuscated and muddied the waters to deny responsibility (just like the Russians are doing).

They finally paid out $61.8 million in compensation to discontinue a case brought by Iran against the US in the International Court of Justice in 1989, all the while not admitting responsibility.

 

 

Siberian Flight Corridor

 

I still remember flying the very long southern route from London to Japan and then the quicker route via Anchorage taking eighteen hours or so.

Now there is the non-stop route via Siberia taking about twelve hours–11.40 Eastwards; 12.30 Westwards.

However, until seeing the fascinating little video below there were things about the route I did not realise.

The Russians, aware of the valuable card they hold, charge as much as $100 per passenger per return trip, though details are confidential. 

Apart from the UK, where Virgin and BA were given permission, only one carrier per European country was allowed.

This means legacy carriers such as BA, Air France, Lufthansa, KLM, and SAS monopolize the route.

Though the high charge coupled with high air passenger duty, say from London, would make life difficult for low cost carriers, Norwegian has applied but been refused.

See video:

USS VINCENNES Accidently Shoots Down Iranian Airliner

The account is typical of so many air crashes in that it resulted from a whole series of misjudgements, errors and unfortunate circumstances.

The inquiries faced the dilemma that if they faulted the crew, captains might in future hesitate to defend their ships.  

_____________________________________________________

Many readers are using Kindle Unlimited which may not allow them to post reviews–though we do cleverly get paid according to the number of pages read!

For your information an (unfair?) US 2-star review was as follows:

29 April 2018 – Published on Amazon.com
Format: Kindle Edition
Interesting compilation of famous airline accidents, spoiled by the middle of the book by a shrill polemic attacking the U.S. Navy and the crew of the USS Vincennes, and deteriorating to claims of governmental coverups and the incompetence of police and investigators. There are also startling neologisms and amazing vacuoles of ignorance. One example of an unintentionally funny confabulated “fact” is about a pilot named Gibson with a nickname of “Hoot”, attributed by the author to a role as an owl in a school play. I should have stopped reading while it was still credible.

1. Things complained about are at the end of the book not the middle.

2. Vincennes material as stated largely based on research by Newsweek.

3. “Hoot” not a funny confabulated fact, but taken from a great book on the affair, though tired of being asked about his nickname, Gibson suggested in the occasional interview it was derived from that of a famous actor.

Any well-considered review on Amazon.com to compensate would be greatly appreciated.

On the other hand, the 5-star review in the UK was:

Andy–5.0 out of 5 stars

“The new MacArthur Job has arrived.”
Mr Bartlett has taken over the mantle of the late, great MacArthur Job, as an aviation writer of undoubted excellence.
His book covers many, many accidents, both well known and obscure, in just the right amount of detail to remain fascinating.

The only negative thing I can say is that he seems to have a great disrespect for Captain Sullenburger. Often deriding Sully’s piloting skills whenever the opportunity arises.

And TWA 841 was a 727, not a 737, an accidental typo no doubt, as was a quote on the same page dated 1971 instead of 1979.

[We corrected the typos, removed some gratuitous references and rewrote the end of the account of Sully’s ditching to better explain we meant the MIRACLE  lay both in the ditching and in the rescue from the water.]

Sixty Minutes MH370 Misrepresented MH370?

Articles have appeared in papers such as the Daily Mail quoting experts criticizing the Australian Sixty Minutes MH370 experts.

One criticism was that Sixty Minutes had (ridiculously) alledged the aircraft had “dipped” its wing to Penang in some kind of symbolic gesture. In fact, the expert had simply said he thought about it for several hours, until it dawned on him that the pilot turned left and then right so that he could dip his wing to SEE Penang (where he had been when young).

Another of the criticisms, was was that at the end the pilot would not have had any oxygen left and could not have been controlling the aircraft. What would have stopped him re-pressurising the aircraft once everyone else on board was dead?

Victor Lannello (mentioned in a previous post) provides interesting detail on his blog with regard to the civilian radar data for MH370’s track across land to Penang and onwards. Then, when one looks at the numerous comments on that blog, one relializes everything (even the precise tracks followed before MH370 was out of radar range) is problematic with various possible interpretations. Obfuscation on the Malaysian side has added to the mystery.

ANOTHER SEARCH?

It seems the new Malaysian administration is going to insist the search by Ocean Infinity terminate on May 29.

It was from the outset a rather awkward arrangement in that the Malaysian government would only pay if the debris field/recorders were found and the longer it took the more they would pay.

However, drawing a line under the present search might open the way for, say Ocean Infinity with a new contract (and a chance to recover part of their investment), to have later quick look if more certain of the precise location of the wreckage on the ocean floor, as happened in the case of AF447 lost in the South Atlantic.

“60 Minutes” and MH370 No Female Experts!

In a piece called “Why no Woman’s Voice in MH370 Discussion?”, Christine Negroni, author of  The Crash Detectives, objected to the absence of women (notably herself or another who had written on MH370) from the panel of experts appearing on the Australian TV program called 60 Minutes

The UK’s BBC is trying to have more female experts appearing on it news programs, but this does raise the question whether they are the most “informed”. In the case of Australia–a long way from anywhere–the cost of flying in experts would be considerable, and the idea of having just one for each area of expertise seems reasonable. Also, with less than 5% of commercial pilots being women the odds of having one would be slight.

FEMALES IN AVIATION SAFETY ROLES

However, this would be a good opportunity to point out that in the US at least, women have featured prominently in the area of aviation safety, though not necessarily at the nuts and bolts level.

The following immediately come to mind:

Carol Carmody, an NTSB Board Member at the time of the American Airlines Flight 587, November 12, 2001 crash (the copilot swished the rudder violently back and forth when caught up in wake turbulence on taking off from New York’s JFK causing it to break off );

Mary Schiavo, a former U.S. DOT Inspector General, who rustled a lot of feathers in the aviation industry, criticizing the FAA, and writing a book called Flying Blind, Flying Safe.

and Deborah Hersman, NTSB chair, at the time of  the Asiana Airlines crash at San Francisco, in 2013.

It is said that women are often better than men in intelligence work (e.g. UK’s MI5) involving the picking out leads from massive amounts of data. It would be interesting to know if the NTSB, for example has found this to be the case.

In a follow-up piece, “Bombshell  TV Program on Malaysia 370 Fueled by Alternative Facts”, Negroni not only lambastes the program but takes to task the Washington Post and CBS News for repeating  its claims.

WHAT REALLY HAPPENED

In our book, Air Crashes and Miracle Landingswe describe the disappearance of MH370 and conclude (as did 60 Minutes) that the coincidences are so many that the diversion to the South Indian Ocean must have been intentional with the captain the most likely perpetrator.

We mentioned Victor Iannello as the best source of information on MH370 and true to form he has produced a must-read critique of the 60-Minutes arguments. He even says why some investigators believe the flaps and flaperons were not deployed when the aircraft hit the water. The pair found washed up off Africa had marks showing they were touching at the time of impact which would only be the case if they were stowed.

Ianello’s critique is called “Sixty Minutes Australia Story on MH370 is a Sensation“.

DANGERS OF ASSUMING THE “MOST LIKELY” TO BE WHAT HAPPENED

In 1989 the Cargo Hold Door of a Boeing 747 opened midflight ejecting some business class passengers near Honolulu.

Believing the door opening mechanism could not operate inflight because there was no electric current, the NTSB concluded the locking mechanism must have been damaged by poor ground handling. Later through a great feat the US Navy recovered the door from the bottom of the ocean. It showed the door had been opened electrically due to a short-circuit with other wiring.

Without definitive proof, speculation can never be definitive. To the present author there seem to be far too many coincidences consistent with an intentional act, but that does not mean Christine Negroni’s theory as to the cause is certainly wrong.