wtorek, 24 lutego 2015

Air Crash Investigation season 14 summary, opinions and other stuff.

As a big fan of these series, I'd like to write down my thoughts, opinions remarks etc. etc. It has been a long awaited (and delayed season) of crashes and investigations. This season covered ten, along with a special.
I'm going to write about the episodes, rating them. The rating system is a numeric way, episodes receive "grades" between 1 ( terrible) and 6 (outstanding, every episode should be so).
I watched most episodes on Youtube, except Episode 8 (on TV).
Episode 1
British Midland 92
M1 plane crash
Grade: 5-
The wreck of an airliner lies between roads roughly 100m to the right of approach lights and several hundred metres in front of a runway. The wreck is broken into three large pieces, a nose section, a central section and a tail section. The tail section is turned around, the horizontal stabilizers resting in front of the wings of the central section. Wikipedia/AAIB picture
Many human beings on the planet Earth interested in aviation and are crashes complained that it's the second time an episode about this crash was made. however that one was made by Second from Disaster. The ACI (air crash investigation abbreviation) is much detailed, interesting, visually better and shows more aviation safety problems solved by BMI 92. Throught the episode you could see higher quality of the episode. The only thing not mentioned, is how the fan blade broke free, causing the engine fire. Fare enough, a very good beginning to the Season.
Episode 2
Lauda 004
Niki Lauda: Tragedy in the Air
Grade: 6
Boeing 767-3Z9-ER Lauda Air ZRH.jpg
from Wikipedia
Why six? At first, the crash is known, but not as much as BMI 92 or other episodes. The story of the crash and investigation is very detailed, explains the crash and safety hazards well. The topic, mid air reverser deployment is something important and how was it thought of before. All episodes should aim for the level of this crash.
Episode 3
Varig 254
Vanishing Act
Grade: 4+
Boeing 737-241-Adv, Varig AN0323729.jpg
Source: Wikipedia
An intriguing crash, with a very interesting story behind. I guess the episode was good, it may have lacked a more in depth investigation or too much focus on a following football match. I'm not saying it was bad or anything, it was a good episode lacking some minor things. A fact that the crew flew a five stopover flight, that may have caused fatigue could have been mentioned too. The title is also hard to understand or have anything to deal with the crash. At least, that's what I think.
Episode 4
Copa 201
Grade: 5
Boeing 737-204-Adv, COPA Panama AN0197475.jpg
A crash from Panama covered by ACI is another really good episode. Not known, mysterious and deadly, this one gets a plus for the crash itself. Along with it comes a nice explanation of the crash, events leading to it, the investigations hazards and difficulties etc. There wasn't just a thing that will let me give it a 6. I don't know why ( some personal criticism, something up with me???).
Episode 5
FedEx 80 and 14
Death at Narita
Grade: 5-/4+

It is a very good idea to make people aware of cargo crashes, pilot sleep time and a situation of being a pilot. Both crashes show that. Eventually the first crash is investigated and discussed only for 3 and a half minute! And another thing, four throttles on a triple engine plane! Sort of a fail, ACI.
That is all or most complaining about " Death at Narita", an episode showing viewers ( or making them aware)  about the difficulties of being a pilot. It also brings us up the figure and characteristics of The Md-11, an underrated and sadly unpopular machine.
Episode 6
JFK jr. plane crash
JFK jr. Plane crash
Grade: 5
Piper PA-32R-301 N957T (4700040475).jpg
A well known crash, however ACI have covered it after 14 seasons. It is rare to do GA crashes, however the victims of the crash were very important personalities.
A very decent episode, good animation, well explained GA flying rules and a good examination of Kennedys Junior life before the crash. Unluckily another sad story. I don't have any remarks about the episode, it doesn't get a six, as it that special something.
Episode 7
Air France 4590
Concorde: Up in Flames
grade: 4-/4
Le Concorde impliqué dans l'accident
Not really that the episode was bad. I personally believe that Cineflix ( ACI creators) have done a very good job, just that plane crash. Again, it had more details than Seconds from Disaster, but that isn't all. Everyone interested in aviation and air crashes has heard of the Concorde disaster. In case of comparing this one to the other (rivals) programmes version, ACI have been more focused on the crash, along with no bomb theories.
The crash itself is well known and that is exactly why it received a lower mark.
Episode 8
2008 Mexico City plane crash.
Inner city carnage
20081105 DF Cops and buildings.jpg
Crash site
An interesting episode with a very political background. I found it decent, however I saw something a little bit weird, unusual. The animations were a little to excessive and aggressive. The planes downward spiral looked to be too violent. There wasn't as many problems with different aspects of the episode. Basically, I just didn't enjoy it as much as other episodes.

Epiosde 9
Manx2 7100
3rd Time unlucky
Grade: 5-

A crash caused by multiple problems. A lot of study into the crash. A noteworthy crash, especially the investigation. One problem I saw (or heard) were the pilots accents. They didn't pass. Just so.
All the other things were as they should have been. Another issue I had was the plane crash survivor who had an accent that I struggled to understand.
Episode 10
First Air 6560
Death in the Arctic
Grade: 5
FAB B732 C-GNWN at Cambridge Bay Airport.JPG
A lucky and unlucky crash in the cold ( to me, exotic) and superbly remote regions of Canada. A very nice initiative to do an episode about an unknown, but very compelling accident. A thing I could note, the narrator said that The 737-200 is a technologically advanced airplane, it would in 1970s and 1980s (maybe 90s), but not God damn me any kind of 2000 and freaking 11 ! So much anger in a sentence.
All pictures rom Wikipedia, Wikicommons etc.

niedziela, 15 lutego 2015

The weirdest plane crashes- Digits, numbers and sides Part 2

Aviation relies on numbers. Distances, altitudes, frequencies, heights and different calibrations. Many crashes are caused by crews, that make mistakes in the aspect of the multiple numbers, sometimes leading to crashes.In aviation you also get to deal with sides, but it's quite difficult to make mistakes in this area. Or isn't it?
Another problem is lateralization a purely psychological term. It isn't much more than an asymmetry of functionality of neither the left or right side of your body, caused by the work of your brain hemispheres ( cerebral hemispheres as Wikipedia suggests, I won't listen to it though). Important for a pilot, specially in critical situations, such as engine failure. Some pilots can't eventually judge it, flying with all engines dead, but still believing they shut down the correct engine. Eventually this has happened a lot of times. British midland 92 is a sad example of this.
Digits, they aren't as deadly, but they are a potential hazard to pilots. They can be qualified as a problem with numbers, in a way they are. Today is time for another post about air crashes, this time maybe not the weirdest ones, but caused by a tiny error. they could have been prevented, but this time there is going to be more crashes with survivors.
Same introduction, well I know. Now it is time for some different crashes. At first let's bring up the story of an Il-18 that crashed in Slovakia, due to a very basic and unprofessional mistake.
CSA 001 A Multiple Error
In 1976, the Ilyushin 18 was a successful turboprop airliner. It was still in production and in use with many countries of the Warsaw Pact. One of them was Czechoslovakia. The national airline CSA operated Il-18 as well. One of these aircraft was OK-NAB. On 28th July 1976 it was taking a routine flight from Prague to Bratislava. The plane took off after 8:52pm carrying 76 people on board. Around 9:29pm the crew  started descending. Six minutes later the ATC cleared CSA 001 to land at runway 22. At the time the Il-18 was well above the desired altitude. The captain decided to descent at a much too fast rate and this caused the plane to increase speed, noting that the plane is very close to the airport.  The pilots pulled the throttles to idle ground and deployed full flaps, hoping that the ilyushin will slow down. Eventually engine no.3 couldn't sustain the heavy braking and low power setting shutting itself down. The pilot shut down eng no.3 and no.4 at an altitude of 40 metres. The airplane had no power on the right wing and the ilyushin began banking right excessively. It flew over the airport area and fell into a dive. Shortly it hit a leisure resort Zlete Pisky.

Out of 76 people on board, only three survived. The Czechoslovakian investigators concluded that the contributing factors were:
improper handling levers inboard engines

  • reduce speed in the final stage of the final approach below the permissible limit
  •  Feathering 4. Engine
  • not inclined  plane on the side of the working engine
  • cause of the plane crash was an attempt to start the engine at low speed at low altitude
  • In general the pilot that shutdown the engine was mislead by a problem with the engine that occurred earlier. The engine 4 alarm would go on, while there was no problem. The flight engineer and the co-pilot were instructed to monitor it. In the critical situation the co-pilot thought that the engine was actually in trouble.
    Not really a crash caused  by choosing sides or numbers, but had a similar concept. I personally think that the co-pilot may have been thinking that he is shutting down a dead engine, as he didn't realize about the faulty warning. He was probably under high stress and didn't visually check the engine. He did that in the last phase of the flight, however his efforts were in vain, as he didn't have sufficient time.
    Sadly another crash caused by a very basic error, in this case not relying on your own senses, a problem with sides and bad decisions.
    Courtsey of Technet.cz
    A farely similar accident occurred in 1979, Los Angeles while a Nord 262 crashed shortly afte takoef killing three out of seven on board. The autofeather system featherd the right engine, with the crew confused and eventually shutting down the left engine. The automatic system failed due to a broken wire providing the system wrong information.  Automats might be helpful, but at times they can trigure a chain of deadly events. As in this case it resulted in the death of three people.
    In memory of all lost in these crashes.

    The weirdest plane crashes- they shouldn't have happened- Digits, numbers and sides

    Aviation relies on numbers. Distances, altitudes, frequencies, heights and different calibrations. Many flight simmers do know, that while flying you have to know all the frequencies, decision heights and calculations.Many crashes are caused by crews, that make mistakes in the aspect of the multiple numbers, sometimes leading to crashes.In aviation you also get to deal with sides, but it's quite difficult to make mistakes in this area. Or isn't it?
    Another problem is lateralization a purely psychological term. It isn't much more than an asymmetry of functionality of neither the left or right side of your body, caused by the work of your brain hemispheres ( cerebral hemispheres as Wikipedia suggests, I won't listen to it though). Important for a pilot, specially in critical situations, such as engine failure. Some pilots can't eventually judge it, flying with all engines dead, but still believing they shut down the correct engine. Eventually this has happened a lot of times. British midland 92 is a sad example of this.

    Digits, they aren't as deadly, but they are a potential hazard to pilots. They can be qualified as a problem with numbers, in a way they are. Today is time for another post about air crashes, this time maybe not the weirdest ones, but caused by a tiny error. they could have been prevented, but this time there is going to be more crashes with survivors.
    Avianca 11 Chaos
    Boeing 747-283BM, Avianca AN1396439.jpg
    On November 26th 1983 a Boeing 747-283B took of Paris-Charles de Gaulle airport. It was a six year old aircraft, leased from SAS by the airline of Avianca, the national carrier of Colombia. The jet was nicknamed Olafo, after a Scandinavian comic hero.
    Courtsey of Plane Spotters and Ger Buskermolen
    The 747 was proudly presented by Avianca. it could have been flown only by the most experienced crew. A the captains seat sat Tulio Hernandez, an experienced pilot who accumulated over twenty thousand flight hours. The First Officer was Eduardo Ramirez and the  Flight Engineer Daniel J. Laverde and Zota. the flight was routine, the plane was bound for Madrid, then continue ahead to Caracas, finishing its journey in Bogota. At total of 192 people was on board including the crew.
    The jumbo-jet took off at 22:25 GMT and ascended to flight level 370. At 0:46 ocal time the crew requested descent, 15 minutes after first contact with ATC. While at 9000 feet the crew contacted the controller that they have passed a VOR and want to proceed to CPL VOR instead of going through CJN VOR. The crew wanted to get directly to the point when they can line up with the runway and intercept the ILS. After continuing ahead to the VOR the airplane seemed to turn directly to an ILS marker (MA) before reaching the VOR. At 1:03 the crew was cleared to land. However at 1:06 am the 747-200 hi the ground already configured for landing. 181 passengers and crew perished with 11 of them surviving.

    The wreckage was found soon after the crash. The Jumbo Jet impacted ground 12km southwest of Barajas airport. The planes undercarrige and wings were upside down, due to the nature of the impact. The plane hit the ground thrice, resulting in an excessive rollover and crash upside down.
    The CVR was badly burnt, but working, with the FDR in good condition.
    The investigators analysing the crash were CIAIAC experts. CIAIAC is a governmental organisation.
    They concluded that:
    "A) The Commander and crew were properly qualified and experienced.

    b) . b) The pilots were qualified, experienced and physically fit properly.

    c)  The airplane had the Airworthiness Certificate, Certificate of Registration and Certificate of valid Maintenance. . Records show that it had been maintained in accordance with the approved maintenance program.

    d) The aids to navigation and approach working properly, according to the findings made.

    e) There is no record of malfunctions in communications equipment and ATC radar.

    f) In the investigation, no evidence of abnormality was found in the operation of engines and aircraft systems.

    g)  The weight and balance of the aircraft was within prescribed limits.

    h)  Between Barahona and the beginning of the shift to MA, the crew did not timely, so he made a wrong navigation.

    i)  The crew flew below the minimum sector, more than a minute before entering the area of ​​protection of CPL.

    j)) The crew took the train out of sequence, in advance, according to ILS approach procedures, and before starting the shift to MA.

    k) The crew made the shift to MA and continued his flight until impact, without verifying the distance CPL, nor have captured some of the ILS signal system; leaving him only the ADF dials.
    l)  The commander accepted without checking for its part, the wrong altitude MA bypass given by the co-pilot.

    m)  The commander did not take adequate corrective action when proximity alarms were activated enters the GPWS)

    n) The ACC controller transferred the aircraft to APP in different time and place as agreed.

    o)  The APP controller, upon the transfer of traffic, gave no precise positional reference, or TWR or aircraft.

    p) The Controller TWR APP transferred to the aircraft without having received confirmation speaking crew intercepted some help for approach or had visual reference.

    q) The APP controller not kept proper surveillance radar, by failing to communicate to the aircraft "radar service terminated".

    r)  The wording and communications procedures used by both pilots as the crew did not meet recommended by ICAO ".
    Intially the Cause was:
    "The cause of the accident was that the Commander, without precise knowledge of its position, went to intercept the ILS with a wrong path, without initiating the maneouver published instrument approach, descending below all the safety margins of the area, to collide with the ground. "
    However contributing factors were:
    "A) inaccurate Navigation crew, which led them to the wrong position to start the landing approach.

    b)  Lack of corrective action, in accordance with the operating instructions of system ground proximity warning (GPWS), by the crew.

    c)  Lack of teamwork in the cockpit.

    d)  inaccurate information given to the aircraft position by APP.

    e) The Controller of APP, by failing to communicate to the aircraft "radar service terminated" not kept proper observation of the radar screen. "
    The "descend(ing) below al the safety margins of the area" was caused by the first officer giving the captain a wrong MDA of 2380 feet, instead of 3280 feet. A tiny mistake, but how crucial. Due to the chaotic behaviour of the crew nobody spotted that error, therefore leading the crew to  make wrong decisions ever after. As the pilots had to deal with a lot of frequencies, barometric pressure setting and calculations may have easily made an error, within very chaotic condition.
    A thing I noticed is that the crew may have been fatigued, stressed or in a rush ( or they were tired, and therefore stressed, it could have been combined). from the technical point of view, even one of the three pilots might have been in not the best conditions and the others ok. That is still 33, (3) precent of the crew not working at his best.
    Sadly a similar accident occured 14 years later when a 747 crashed on Guam due to the captain being tired and causing the plane to descend under the glide slope. The plane hit a hill, killing 228 out of 254 people on board.
    158 BOAC Bristol Britannia Crash
    A Matter of Thousands
    Bristol 175 Britannia 312 G-AOVT BOAC Ringway 04.08.62 edited-3.jpg
    In the 50s the aviation business was growing. In 1958 the very first jets were already in service, this being the Comet, Tu-104 and Sud Aviation Caravelle entering service. Turboprops and props were still the most popular planes in the sky. One of the newest turboprops was Bristol type 175 Britannia, shortened Bristol Britannia, a turboprop as big as the 737 NGX. Introduced a year earlier, it first flew in august 1952.In 1954 and 1957 two prototypes crashed due to an engine problem.
     On Christmas eve 1958 a Britannia was tasted by BOAC to renew its Airworthiness certificate ( in normal language, it needed a certificate, so that it can legally fly). The day was very foggy, making it hard to fly. The aircraft took off  London Heathrow airport at 10:10 am, carrying seven passengers and five crew, bound for Hurn Airfield. After the test was complete, at 11:55am the crew carried out a landing request at Hurn. However after three minutes ATC lost contact with the Bristol. The controller contacted emergency services giving them the last known position of the airplane. Some people in the towns of  Winkton, Sopley and residents of Bransgore contacted them as well, claiming to have heard a low passing aircraft or a sound of an aircraft crashing. The wreckage of the plane was found. Nine people out of twelve on board have died in the accident, with three surviving.
    investigators concluded that this crash was a typical CFIT. The cause of a CFIT was however out of the ordinary. The final report on this crash explained that:

    A similar altimeter was used (three point altimeter).
    "The accident was the result of the aircraft being flown into ground obscured by fog. This was caused by a failure on the part of both the captain and the first officer to establish the altitude of the aircraft before and during the final descent. The responsibility for the accident must rest with the captain. The height presentation afforded by the type of three-pointer altimeter fitted to the subject aircraft was such that a higher degree of attention was required to interpret it accurately than is desirable in so vital an instrument. This, when taken into conjunction with the nature of the flight on which the aircraft was engaged was a contributory factor."
    Yes a three point altimeter can be dangerous. If you don't take into account the position of even one of the indicators or think that the indicator showing thousands shows hundreds.
    The crash of  a BEA Vickers Viscount was quite similar, when the plane on approach to Prestwick crashed, luckily everyone survived.
    Boeing 727-22, United Airlines AN0224285.jpg
    Passengers and crew of United airlines flight 389 weren't so lucky. While flying from New Yorks La Guardia airport to Chicago on August 195, their airplane crashed. The airplane used on this flight was a Boeing 727-200. The crew was cleared for descend to 6000 ft. However at that altitude the pilots didn't level the plane, instead continuing their descend. Shortly after the plane impacted waters of Lake Michigan, killing all on board. The FDR was never recovered, however the investigators suspect that a same altimeter problem could have caused the crash. Officially:
    "The Board is unable to determine the reason for the aircraft not being leveled off at its assigned altitude of 6,000 feet."
    Now that we use different altimeters, pilots can judge the altitude in a better way. In addition the GPWS helps crews to fly stop the dangerous descend. We're quite lucky to have sophisticated warning systems to prevent these crashes.
    In memory of all lost in these crashes.

    sobota, 14 lutego 2015

    The weirdest plane crashes- they shouldn't have happened-Birgenair 301.

    I think everyone would say that plane crashes are horrific. But what adds to them being more horrific is a weird cause, for example plane crash caused by a ..... wasp, sticky tape or changing two numbers.
    Well, I decided to write about some of them. At first a stuning cause.
    Birgenair 301 The killer wasp
    It was February 6th 1996. A Boeing 757-200 was preparing for takeoff in Peurto Plata, Dominicana.
    The 757 was owned by Birgenair, a Turkish airline from Instanbul taking German vacationers to Frankfurt via Gander and Berlin. Along with Germans, 9 Poles were aboard. The crew consisted 11 Turkish and two people from Dominicana. There was a total amount of 189 people on board. The captain was Ahmet Erdem, a 62 year old veteran, the co-pilot was Aykut Gergin, a 34 year old novice to the Boeing 757. There was also a relief pilot, Muhlis Evrenesoğlu (51).
    Birgenair tcgen.jpg
    From Wikipedia
    At 11:42 the plane taxied onto the runway and took off. During the takeoff roll  captain Erdem noted that his Speed indicator isn't working. He told the First officer to give him the speed readings, he didn't decide to abort it. The 757 became airborne at 23:43. The next two minutes of the flight were normal, until the captain noted "there is something wrong there are some problems". He soon reminded "okay there is something crazy do you see it, there is something crazy there at this." pointing at the speed indicator. After telling the first officer about the developing crisis, Gergin suggested to check the circuit breakers. For a minute they were trying to find a cause of the malfunction, while numerous alarms warned the crew. The captains airspeed indicator showed a low speed, while the first officers indicated a speed of around 350 knots. The autopilot wanting to decrease the speed increased the pitch and reduced the power. Moments later the stick shaker alert activated. The autopilot disengaged itself leaving the crew confused. Due to the high pitch the engines stopped, they couldn't get the needed airflow to keep them running. The situation got even worse, with the pilots puzzled about what to do. they were trying to prevent  a crash., however they efforts were all in vain. Everyone on board perished in the accident. An investigation was sent to investigate the crash.

    Crash Animation from Wikicommons.
    The investigators concluded that the cause of this disaster was:
    "The crew's failure to recognize the activation of the stick shaker as a warning of imminent entrance to the stall, and the failure of the crew to execute the procedures for recovery from the onset of loss of control."
    However this isn't all to the story. The cause of the stall was an action of the autopilot. The autopilot having its brain and knowing how to deal with problems decided that the plane is flying too fast and in order to slow it down pitched the airplane up and decreased the power. The cause of the abnormal readings was a pitot tube blockage. Investigators said that the blockage was most probably caused by a wasp nesting inside the component. Birgenair initially explained that: "was not on the ground for 20 days, but only for 12 days prior ill-fated flight. The pitot-tubes were covered prior to an engine test run which took place 2 days prior to the ill-fated flight. It was known by the Birgenair mechanics that the airplane should be returned to Turkey in a ferry flight within the next 3 days. If therefore the pitot-tubes had not been covered after the engine test run for 2 days, according to the Boeing procedures, set forth in the Boeing Maintenance Manual. This might be justified".
    The next thing, pilots. The captain was very confused about the speed, he still didn't exactlly know it, while the Boeing was approaching a stall speed. Iventally the other crewman decided, aware of the situation didn't want to question the captains decisions. He is the most experienced pilot in the airline, he knows what he is doing. Such thinking may have led the crew to keeping quiet. Now, from the technical point the cause was maintance error and pilot error, however the crash wouldn't have happened if the wasp didn't nest in the pitot tube. Quite upsetting, that the airplane with nearly two hundred people was brought down by a tiny insect, but also that we as humans couldn't prevent it. As always the crash had been caused by human error, again human beings have designed planes. That I why they are always to blame even in the tiniest bit.
    This year another 757 crashed due to a similar problem, the pitot tube on Aeroperu 603 was blocked by sticky tape. This gave pilots wrong indication of their sped altitude and heading causing them to crash into the Pacific Ocean killing all 70 people on board.
    The next crash is probably going to be Avianca 11 or some crashed caused by lateralisation problems.

    In memory of all killed in both accidents.

    czwartek, 12 lutego 2015

    The introduction post.

    Hello everyone,
    What can I write first. Why did I create and start writing a blog perhaps? Well, I don't really know why. I 'd think of some case sensitive answer later. What am I going to write about? as you, reader may have noticed the blogs name, I am going to write about aviation. And the answer is yes. I am also a flight simmer (FSX), but I'm not a pro or anything. I'm currently at the level of working out the Quality Wings Avro RJ ( I'm reading the manuals). I might also do something on air accidents and incidents, and air safety in general. I could also write about different topics related to aviation. You might also find some posts about animals, mainly about reptiles, amphibians or marine animals. I'm also a big fan of ski jumping and travelling ( an aviation related topic in a way).
    This is all for now.

    English isn't my native language, I 'm Polish.