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Old 16th Sep 2008, 20:13
  #1762 (permalink)  
justme69
 
Join Date: Aug 2008
Location: Canary Islands, Spain
Posts: 240
For those looking to expand the number of holes in the cheese or for those looking into human part of the accident's scenarios that are opened by the preliminary findings (i.e. pilot pressure, training, management, etc.), here are parts that COULD be of interest or COULD be totally inconsecuential.

The "simple" scenario COULD be:
1) Crew forgets to set flaps/slats. They don't check the indicators that show they are not set.
2) Crew doesn't check config alarms/circuit breakers for that flight. They were either not working/not set.
3) Config alarms don't sound, so the crew is never aware of their mistake(s).

If any of those three points wouldn't have occurred (specially number 1, the real "cause" in this hypothetical scenario), the accident wouldn't have happened in all likehood.

Background:
-Spanair was wholly owned by Scandinavian Airlines group SAS. A large company, but with financial trouble in the past year or two.

-Salary range for an opening crew possition (i.e. copilot) would be around 3,000/month plus benefits (health, unemployment, housing, transportation, food).

-Pilot was 38 years old, with >9000 hours of flight time. Had spent 10 years as military rescue squad pilot, 9 years with Spanair. First upgraded to commander in 2007.

-Copilot was 32 years old, with >1000 hours of flight time. Incidentaly, he was in charge on that flight to physically command the flaps deployment.

-Both crew were under 40 hours of work for the current month (accident occurred on the 20th). They have been found to never exceed their work schedules according to regulations in the prior months.

-Copilot was in the list of personnel that the airline was going to dissmiss as part of the plan to reduce personnel shortly (affecting some 1,100 workers).

-The copilot knew about this and also knew he would be offered a job inside the company as "assistant" if he wanted.

-It was "rumored", that Spanair pilots were initiating a "japanese strike" on that same day or the next day, as talks between unions and company seem to have "scalated" to pressure. A full out strike was also rumored to start soon.

-Crew had made together a prior aprox. 1.30h long flight that day on the same airplane. They reported to airport in Barcelona at aprox. 8:00am. That flight was uneventful, and actually arrived some 7 minutes early to Madrid.

-Crew had a rest period of aprox. 2h between flights.

The flight itself:

Was going to depart at 13:05 and be aprox. 2h 35m long in good weather. A bit hot in Madrid though, at around 29-30c (86F) outside.

13:06:29 - Authorized to taxii out

13:26:41 - They inform of a small technical problem to ground control (RAT probe)

13:33:26 - They request to ground control to go back to parking due to the problem (Probe measured excessive temperature. Heater was noted active on the ground). They were instructed to go to R11 parking at airport's T2.

-The pilot called the Spanair coordinator: "Tell maintenance that the RAT heater is on while on ground"

-Waiting for them when they arrived to parking 11 were already two airline's tecnicians. The problem appeared in the ATLB. Heater was to be disconnected according to MEL.

-Pilot carries a conversation with the airport ground coordinator assigned to assist him, who arrives minutes after the technicians. It was clear to him that the pilot thought they were going to have to change airplanes.

-The pilot tells the ground coordinator to start getting ready 2 busses to move the PAX to another plane.

-It was hot inside the cabin as PAX complained about no air conditioning (or excessive heat, nonetheless). The engines had been turned off and the door opened.

-Two or three PAX openly complain about the delay, the heat, etc.

-The crew made at least two, probably three, public announces to the PAX about the problem and the repair's proceedings.

-Another plane was requested and available for the change, if necessary. Spanair personnel informed the airport of the probable change of planes for the new flight plan authorization.

-By the time the busses to move the PAX arrived, the pilot told the coordinator to hold on a bit, cause maybe they were going to be able to fly with that plane after all.

-About 15 minutes later the couple of maintenance technicians left the plane. Pilot knew the actions taken by the technician and both signed the plane fit to fly. The busses leave empty as the PAX remains on board.

-The ground coordinator steps up and asks the pilot: "so what are you finally going to do?". He answered to call for re-fuelling some 2.000 pounds of fuel and that they would take-off on the same plane.

-The pilot, in person, stepped down, talked to the fueling worker, and closed the fuel intake in person before going back into the plane. Two flight attendants were on top of the upstairs. Waived good bye and the plane moved backwards from the area.

-The refueling worker declares to have carried on an informal conversation with the copilot through the window while re-fueling. He noticed, for the first time in his 9 years career, that the airplane had the anti-collision lights on while on the ground (distracted crew forgot to turn them off?)

-Having those lights on was against regulations while re-fueling, but since he was already almost done when he noticed, ignored it.

-14:08:15 Almost exactly 1 hour after its scheduled departure time, the flight is once again authorized to taxii out for take off.

-14:23:22 Plane is ready on runaway to take off and authorized to do so. The flaps at that time had not come down.

Last edited by justme69; 17th Sep 2008 at 02:49.
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