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Old 29th Nov 2016, 21:12   #81 (permalink)
 
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I hazard a prediction that the root cause is PIC is owner of the airline. Commercial / status / prestige imperative. Pushing the range envelope. Not enough fuel. No reserve / contingency. Entirely avoidable accident. RIP.
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Old 29th Nov 2016, 21:20   #82 (permalink)
 
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Plhought, thank You a lot for the technical explanation.
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Old 29th Nov 2016, 21:26   #83 (permalink)
 
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Quote:
I hazard a prediction that the root cause is PIC is owner of the airline.
Yes, the same thought occurred to me, though I hope we're not doing a (probably) deceased colleague an injustice.
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Old 29th Nov 2016, 21:49   #84 (permalink)
 
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comissario - flight attendant
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Old 29th Nov 2016, 21:52   #85 (permalink)
 
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Thanks brak
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Old 29th Nov 2016, 22:00   #86 (permalink)
 
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If a jet engine is starved of fuel, because the fuel tank is nearly empty, then it can flame out and begin to run down. A first symptom of this is the associated electrical generator dropping off line as insufficient rpm is being produced at the accessory drive to keep it producing electrical power.

Thus the electrical problems reported by the crew may not be a cause of the crash but a symptom of the problem of lack of fuel.......
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Old 29th Nov 2016, 22:14   #87 (permalink)
 
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My thoughts exactly ETOPS #89

I'm guessing that a not very proficient pilot was more worried about the electrical failure than flying the airplane and flew (well, gliding due to fuel starvation) into terrain. He should have had enough altitude and avionics to glide the ILS into the airport. It would be difficult (from a human standpoint) to ignore all the failures going on all around you, and fly the airplane on the ILS to the airport.
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Old 29th Nov 2016, 22:22   #88 (permalink)
 
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They will have got a feed tank low annunciation well before the engine flamed out. The book says something like 26 minutes.
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Old 29th Nov 2016, 22:28   #89 (permalink)
 
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FE, valid point, but there have been a number of incidents where one or more engines flame out and the crew starts troubleshooting the electrical system without realizing the engine(s) quit.
We had one incident on a 767 where both engines quit during descent (ice crystal icing), then re-lit a minute or so later. Pilot squawk was 'temporary loss of electrical power' - we didn't know the engines had quit until we looked at the FDR.
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Old 29th Nov 2016, 22:39   #90 (permalink)
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tdracer View Post
FE, valid point, but there have been a number of incidents where one or more engines flame out and the crew starts troubleshooting the electrical system without realizing the engine(s) quit.
We had one incident on a 767 where both engines quit during descent (ice crystal icing), then re-lit a minute or so later. Pilot squawk was 'temporary loss of electrical power' - we didn't know the engines had quit until we looked at the FDR.
Yes but it's not the same as troubleshooting a low fuel warning.
I'm wondering if the VivaColombia Maday is the reason the went in the hold and they tried to squeeze the fuel too much.

Has anyone confirmed the VivaColombia Mayday yet?
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Old 29th Nov 2016, 22:57   #91 (permalink)
 
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Plhought- thanks for the info. From an ATC point of view we had an RJ have a 'substantial electrical failure' (couldn't tell you the specifics of it i.e if they were only on batteries) and they lost the altimeters. Luckily it was daytime with a good cloud base but they had to go out over the sea and descend to pick a hole in the cloud. Not a particularly nice situation to be in I would have thought and it did make me think 'What if that was in less forgiving terrain?'. This incident has certainly made me think about that again, but what would it take to lose the altimeters?
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Old 29th Nov 2016, 22:59   #92 (permalink)
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by FE Hoppy View Post
Yes but it's not the same as troubleshooting a low fuel warning.
I'm wondering if the VivaColombia Maday is the reason the went in the hold and they tried to squeeze the fuel too much.

Has anyone confirmed the VivaColombia Mayday yet?
Just checked the FR24 playback, it seems it was actually a Viva Colombia flight Bogota - San Andres that diverted to Medellin. And on the playback it does appear the crash flight went into a hold to let them in...could be an absolutely tragic coincidence that the Viva flight arrived just as they did.

But of course if they didn't have enough fuel for 2 cicuits in the hold at their destination...
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Old 29th Nov 2016, 23:01   #93 (permalink)
 
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Here's a thought: why were they at 20k' in the holding pattern? I'm sure ATC or CVR will answer this, but the MSA around there is ~13,000'. I've never flown in S. America, but would it be standard to bring them in that high and have them descend in the hold? Especially if they knew they had a fuel situation, they should have been brought in lower to intercept the ILS. Are they far enough away from major ATC (radar area) that they would have been cleared to descend in the hold and then shoot the approach? Or would they have kept them that high to let them troubleshoot prior to shooting the approach? If they were troubleshooting in a hold at 20,000', they would have known they had a major issue prior to being assigned a hold at that altitude.
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Old 29th Nov 2016, 23:05   #94 (permalink)
 
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The distance between the departure point and the destination appears to be on the very edge of, if not outside of the flight envelope and that does not include any fuel for an alternate or reserve. It appears to me they pushed this flight to the absolute extremes of range, with no plan B. Why didn't they report the critical fuel state? Simple, IFR with no alternate and no reserve fuel will get the authorities attention. Nobody wants to deal with that.

I don't know what really happened and I don't want to be critical without cause but this doesn't look good. The same aircraft apparently made the same trip (in the opposite direction) earlier in the month. Recorded flt time was 4:33 hrs/min. This flight appears to have ended at 4:40 hrs/min. Looks like a fuel stop at Bogota would have been more than prudent [There goes the profit margin]. Pressure from the company? Who knows, but pilots just don't do that sort of thing without a reason.

So much for my .02 cents worth of speculation, for which I am sorry. We'll have to wait and see but it should not take too long to determine if those engines were running at impact or not. I grieve for everyone, especially the pilots. Fate is the Hunter.
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Old 29th Nov 2016, 23:33   #95 (permalink)
 
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If full tanks buys you 1600nm with reserves in a nice factory fresh RJ85 how far will you get many years later by the time it has filtered down to a 3rd world bottom feeding charter operation and the engines are more than a tad tired ?
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Old 29th Nov 2016, 23:53   #96 (permalink)
 
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What is known today is that the aircraft appears to have planned to make the flight using up its reserves of fuel.
On descent to Medellin, an A320 from Panama declared a fuel emergency due to a fuel leak and all traffic was vectored or put on holding patterns to give the A320 priority.
The RJ never declared an emergency until its last circuit when it said it had an electric failure, left the hold and tracked direct for the field and crashed shortly after.
The 3rd "crew" person was a private pilot, normally a flight attendant, daughter of a well known journalist in Bolivia and also a part time model, but not rated on the aircraft.
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Old 29th Nov 2016, 23:59   #97 (permalink)
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by surplus1 View Post
The distance between the departure point and the destination appears to be on the very edge of, if not outside of the flight envelope and that does not include any fuel for an alternate or reserve.
You mean it's outside the aircraft's payload-range capability.

Nothing to do with the flight envelope.
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Old 30th Nov 2016, 00:12   #98 (permalink)
 
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Picture of one of the engines. (source: www.flightglobal.com)


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Old 30th Nov 2016, 00:20   #99 (permalink)
 
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I'm no expert but that looks as though it was still running...
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Old 30th Nov 2016, 00:32   #100 (permalink)
 
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Fan damage?

Maybe running, maybe windmilling.
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