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Old 20th Sep 2008, 07:28
  #1910 (permalink)  
Join Date: Aug 2008
Location: Canary Islands, Spain
Posts: 240
There seems to be plenty of "unofficial" and quite a few "official" reports of initiating TO w/o flaps/slats. ASRS is full of them.

Some on the MD80's, like 629134, or 327158, including this one where TO alarms had not been checked: 722714, some in other models of airplanes like 402337, or 91277, or like the one informally reported here at - Thankfully the config alarm did sound and the pilots took the appropiate actions.

Or even some instances where the aircrafts did take off clean (and luckily, didn't crash), like the recently mentioned 658970, or the MD-83 in Lanzarote ( ), or this one commented here informally: , and with TOWS also not-tested and inoperative (at that time). And, of course, the Northwest case that ended in the Detroit accident.

I guess the TO config alarms are there for a reason. Pilots do forget to deploy the flaps/slats for take-off often enough to warrant the trouble to put them in in the first place. We won't go into lowering gear for landing ...

I don't think you can blame all these occurrences (the tip of the iceberg?) on "poor training" or "poor procedures" or "rushed crew" or whatever.

Some of them are just, plain pure and simple, human error. As long as there are humans and errors to be made ... they eventually will.

Nobody wants to die in a car/truck/bus/train/boat accident, yet, everyday, hundreds of people, even very skilled professional drivers with extensive experience, make all sorts of mistakes and "shortcuts" in basic security (checking your wheels, safety belt, lights at night, not talking on your cell phone when driving, not drinking, etc) leading to hundreds of accidents and related victims.

Pilots are humans. Therefore, no matter how much training, time, or experience, they are fallible.

And about the flap actuators, let's not forget, that the crew could've also tried to deploy them late in the course of the accident in an attempt to exit the stall or whatever reason. Totally speculative, but the flaps could even have been "stuck" when the handle was pushed, and the "jerk" of the first fall actually jerked the handle/unstuck the flaps and slowly started to come out only to crash some 1km later. Not saying that it happened or anything, just that it is not out of the question (although highly unlikely).

What matters is that enough evidence is found that conclusively points at the flaps(/slats) not being deployed in the critical moments of the take-off. And that hopefully it will also be established whether the crew tried to deploy them at all or the command was actually never called for.

Last edited by justme69; 20th Sep 2008 at 16:56.
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