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LAM Mozambique flight crashed...

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LAM Mozambique flight crashed...

Old 25th Dec 2013, 04:37
  #161 (permalink)  
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. . Will it strive to protect US interests (especially with "foreign" accidents)?
I personally don't believe it. Of all the organizations, courts, lawyers, victims families NTSB is probably the most honest, competent and impartial body. By the way it's European, Canadian counterparts are equally good but you go outside of North Atlantic or Euro-Asian countries and political, cultural, even religious considerations start playing significant role in aircraft investigations. And my God! specially courts and 'experts' hired by some side are the furthest from any impartiality. Let's not forget you can come up with the most bizarre theory about the accident to deflect the blame and you will find an expert to testify on your behalf as some recent GA accident court cases showed. So called courts of law are the last place to seek truth in crashes but they are definitely a good place to seek millions $$.

Last edited by porterhouse; 25th Dec 2013 at 05:00.
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Old 26th Dec 2013, 03:52
  #162 (permalink)  
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Silk Air

I had forgotten all about that accident. I too agree that actual cause of that accident will never be known. I remember being deeply skeptical at the time that the pilot committed suicide and going back and skimming the record again I remain so. I think that some people latch on to suicide as an explanation because it is better to have some explanation than none at all. But the honest answer is that we simply do not know. But that bugs people who think there is an answer for everything. Oh well.
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Old 26th Dec 2013, 04:54
  #163 (permalink)  
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I think that some people latch on to suicide as an explanation .
Nonsense. NTSB is not 'some people' who latch on to some theory.., they are quite capable of stating 'unknown cause', etc.
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Old 26th Dec 2013, 08:59
  #164 (permalink)  
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surplus1 - it is perhaps worth reminding the readers here of the situation at the time of the Silk Air crash so that they can form their own view.

The two universally agreed fatal rudder hard-over accidents that I am aware of are as follows:

3 Mar 91 United Airlines Flight 585, (737-200) Colorado Springs, 25 killed.
8 Aug 94, USAir Flight 427 (737-300) Pittsburgh, 132 killed.

Other generally-agreed non-fatal incidents are as follows:

11 Apr 94, Continental Airways Flight (737-300) over Gulf of Honduras, aircraft veered violently to the right and Capt Ray Miller had 18 minute fight to try and sort the problem - eventually he and his co-pilot landed the aircraft safely.

9 Jun 96, Eastwind Airlines Flight 517 (737-200) experienced loss of rudder control while on approach to Richmond, VA.

23 Feb 99, MetroJet Flight 2710 (737-200) experienced a slow deflection of the rudder to its blowdown limit while flying at 33,000 feet above Salisbury, Maryland.

There is no doubt that the FAA and NTSB response to these incidents was not their finest hour. Some have accused them of being unwilling to grasp the nettle because of the overwhelming damage that could have been done to Boeing, their own national commercial aircraft producer and also due to the ramifications of an unsafe verdict being attached to the aircraft type given the sheer number of 737s in service at the time. Rightly or wrongly, therefore, the NTSB were not widely seen as 'honest brokers' by everyone. In the midst of all this, however the NTSB conducted significant amounts of research into the problem. It was eventually discovered that given certain circumstances a potentially-catasrophic situation could arise. Specifically, when cold PCUs were injected with hot hydraulic fluid, the resulting thermal shock could cause the PCU's dual servo valve to jam and deflect the rudder in the opposite direction to the pilots' input. As a result the FAA mandated updated full implementation by 12 Nov 02 of a rudder upgrade to prevent further incidents, and there have been no further incidents related to this problem since that time that I am aware of.

It was during this period that the Silk Air 185 crash (19 Dec 1997) took place. Due to the location of the crash site, the Indonesian National Transportation Safety Committee (NTSC) were put in charge of the investigation. The American NTSB were also actively involved in the investigation due to the USA being the aircraft's manufacturer. They concluded that the evidence was consistent with a deliberate manipulation of the flight controls, most likely by the captain (Tsu Way Ming). In a letter to the NTSC dated 11 December 2000, the NTSB wrote,

"The examination of all of the factual evidence is consistent with the conclusions that: 1) no airplane-related mechanical malfunctions or failures caused or contributed to the accident, and 2) the accident can be explained by intentional pilot action. Specifically, a) the accident airplane’s flight profile is consistent with sustained manual nose-down flight control inputs; b) the evidence suggests that the cockpit voice recorder (CVR) was intentionally disconnected; c) recovery of the airplane was possible but not attempted; and d) it is more likely that the nose-down flight control inputs were made by the captain than by the first officer."

Despite this, three days later on 14 Dec 2000, after three years of intensive investigation, the Indonesian NTSC issued its final report, in which it concluded that the evidence was inconclusive and that the cause of the accident could not be determined. Privately, however, they did say that they could not talk of pilot suicide for fear of creating a crisis in civil aviation confidence within their own borders.

In the aftermath of the crash, several potential motives for the captain's alleged suicide/murder were suggested, including recent financial losses (his share trading showed losses of more than $1 million and his securities trading privileges had been suspended 10 days before the accident due to non-payment), his obtaining an insurance policy on his life the previous week (the policy was to have gone into effect on the day of the accident), his receipt of several recent disciplinary actions on the part of the airline (including one that related to improper manipulation of the CVR circuit breaker), and his possible grieving over the loss of three squadron mates during his military flight training, which occurred 18 years earlier on the exact date of the crash. He also reportedly had several conflicts with his co-pilot that day, 23 year-old Duncan Ward (a New Zealander), and other co-pilots who had questioned his command suitability. Investigations later revealed that his total assets were greater than his liabilities, although his liquid assets could not cover his immediate debts; his monthly income was less than his family's monthly expenditure; and he had some outstanding credit card debts.

An official investigation by the Singapore Police Force into evidence of criminal offence leading to the crash found "no evidence that the pilot, co-pilot or any crew member had suicidal tendencies or a motive to deliberately cause the crash of the aircraft."

This is where it all became very complex. In 2001, six families who had sued Silk Air for damages based on the allegation that the crash was caused by the pilot were turned down by a Singapore High Court judge, who ruled that "the onus of proving that Flight 185 was intentionally crashed has not been discharged." In 2004, a Superior Court jury in the United States, which was not allowed to hear or consider the NTSB's conclusions about the accident, decided that the crash was caused by a defective servo valve in the plane's rudder resulting in a rudder hard-over. The rudder manufacturer, Parker Hannifin, was ordered to pay the three families of victims involved in that case US$44 million. After threatening to appeal the verdict, Parker Hannifin later decided to compensate all families involved (although it did not accept liability) for an undisclosed sum.

So what can we conclude from this? Personally, the circumstantial evidence is so overwhelming that suicide/murder is the only credible conclusion. The final nail in the coffin for me is the height at which the aircraft was flying at and therefore the recoverable nature of this accident. For all his other failings, which were numerous, Captain Tsu Way Ming was an experienced 'stick and rudder' man from the military and clearly had a skill set equal to that of Ray Miller (the Continental Airlines captain mentioned previously). It was well within the range of his abilities to make some sort of recovery attempts from a rudder hard-over, had it been experienced - the evidence is that he made no attempt whatsoever to do so.

Short of a tape recording saying, 'I am going to kill you with an axe, you worthless Kiwi fool, and then I will crash vertically into the ground', I am not sure what else you would be looking for. Even had such a recording existed, there would still be the conspiracy theorists arguing it was a fake put in place by the CIA etc. Sadly, in that part of the world, losing face is everything and people have the great ability to throw every sensible thought out the window rather than rationally follow the evidence trail. Given the range of evidence, I would say the balance of sensible opinion would be overwhelmingly in favour of a conclusion that blamed the Captain for murder and suicide.
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Old 26th Dec 2013, 10:04
  #165 (permalink)  
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Originally Posted by AndoniP View Post

you might want to do a bit of reading yourself.

in the helios crash both pilots were in the cockpit but had succumbed to hypoxia. it was the door that prevented the cabin crew member (who was using a portable oxygen tank) from entering the cockpit. had he managed to get in earlier he may have been able to do something about the crash, as he was a CPL himself.
After this admonishment I obviously had to read the Accident Report again.
I only remembered that the left seat was vacant when the F-16 accompanied it. Note to self: Don't write just from Memory.
Therefore I accept being set right.
Now for the minute details:
The captain apparently left his seat to check Circuit Breakers but did indeed not leave the cockpit.
But after having read the report again it seems this example is anyway a bad one for the door lock topic since the mentioned cabin attendant managed to enter the cockpit using the emergency code and took the captain's seat but could not manage to recover the descending aircraft.

Still no one ever suggested this was a suicide. Which was my original point apart from the minute details about which we can still argue.
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Old 26th Dec 2013, 10:13
  #166 (permalink)  
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Originally Posted by Skyglider View Post
I suggest you read up on the Helios Flight 522 crash before posting, preferably by "Read, comprehend, write.In that sequence"
Both pilots & the steward ware in the cockpit before it crashed!
What does the detail (which I obviously got wrong out of my memory - therefore I appreciate being corrected) change to the main point that no one suggested Helios 522 to be a case of suicide?
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Old 28th Dec 2013, 18:05
  #167 (permalink)  
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I personally don't believe it. Of all the organizations, courts, lawyers, victims families NTSB is probably the most honest, competent and impartial body. By the way it's European, Canadian counterparts are equally good but you go outside of North Atlantic or Euro-Asian countries and political, cultural, even religious considerations start playing significant role in aircraft investigations. And my God! specially courts and 'experts' hired by some side are the furthest from any impartiality. Let's not forget you can come up with the most bizarre theory about the accident to deflect the blame and you will find an expert to testify on your behalf as some recent GA accident court cases showed. So called courts of law are the last place to seek truth in crashes but they are definitely a good place to seek millions $$.

What you say about lawyers and courts and the money interests in litigation is of course true; victims and their lawyers seek millions.

What you conveniently chose to overlook, or naively avoid considering, apparently, is that manufacturers of airframes and their components have precisely the same interest; money .... except that the amount is multiplied to the 20th power. It's not millions, it is hundreds of millions. The plethora and quality of lawyers and "experts" they employ to protect their products and avoid any liability dwarfs the capacity of victims groups by a factor of ten. The same is true of airlines, though to a lesser extent.

Keep in mind also that victims and their families are not represented on accident investigation boards. They have no ability for input to the board's decision making process. Therefore, their only recourse is to the courts and always after the probable cause has already been determined.

The pilots are in much the same boat as the passengers. In most serious accidents the pilot(s) usually perish along with the passengers. A dead man is unable to defend himself. The airline will defend its pilots only if that helps it to defend itself. The airline couldn't care less about a dead pilots reputation or good name. No, it defends its selection process, its training program, its procedures, but never its pilots. Unless the pilot is a member of a very strong syndicate (labor union) he is defenseless and has no input before the board. Even when there is a labor union, the defense it will provide for the pilot is directly related to the size of the airline for which he worked and thus the number of members it represents. If you happen to work for a small airline you don't get the same defense that you get if you work for large legacy carrier with a big (numerically) pilot group; not by a long shot. In the United States, the pilots union (if he has one) will have "status" with the board and participate in the investigation. That however is not always the case in other venues. Otherwise the pilot is up the creek without a paddle - dead - and with no one to defend him.

In marked contrast the manufacturer, e.g., Boeing or Airbus, or Bombardier or Embraer, etc, will always have full representation on the board and be an active participant in the investigation ..... with the full ability to influence the board's decision making process.

If you believe they do that in the interest of finding the truth or promoting safety you are indeed naive. They do that to protect their own interest and welfare to the extent possible. They have no interest in truth unless it can be used to exonerate them from liability or adverse publicity. Such interest as they have in safety is for the very same reason .... if a flaw in their product can be proven, correcting it will protect them from adverse publicity and future liability. When that is not the case they do everything in their power to defend their product no matter who they have to throw under the bus. That person(s) is most often the pilot(s).

The members of the Board itself are almost always people of integrity who do have a genuine interest in truth and safety. However, there are only 5 of them (NTSB). But, if you think they cannot be influenced then you don't know much about accident investigation. The Board is small and doesn’t have the resources to do everything independently. It needs the assistance of manufacturers and governments. Remember also that, in the United States, members of the Board are political appointees and very often are not aviation or transportation experts themselves. The scope of the US Board is quite broad and includes non-aviation accidents. Much of its technical expertise comes from the industry rather than itself. When it suspects criminal activity (such as an intentional crash) that occurs in US airspace, it turns the investigation over to the FBI or the Justice Department. It can't do that if the accident/incident occurred outside of US territory (because it is not in charge).

ATTN: Alexander de Meerkat

In this forum I have read countless criticisms and even accusations against accident investigation boards, particularly the French, the Russians and especially Asian and less developed countries. Interestingly the critiques almost all seem to come from British or USA pilots who seem to believe their aeronautical skills and culture are superior to those of pilots elsewhere in the world. Well, whether it makes me unpopular or not, the fact is that British, Canadian, Australian and US boards, are no less subject to influences and cultural prejudices than those in other countries. In the East the motivation may be called “cultural”; in the West it is called money, prejudice and arrogance.

I recommend you read again the report of The Seattle Times --

[url=http://seattletimes.com/news/local/737/part01/. [/url]

It’s in 5 parts, which can be selected in the upper left-hand corner (of each page). Read all five parts, you may gain some insight. It is one of the most objective sequence of articles I’ve ever seen from a newspaper.

I’m retired now, long since, but was an airline pilot for 40 years. I’ve read a lot of accident reports and even had occasion to participate in an investigation or two. While I am not positive of the number, I believe you can count on one hand the confirmed, beyond a reasonable doubt, instances of an airline pilot committing suicide, or attempting it, and deliberately murdering all or some of his passengers in the process. I think of Egypt Air 990, Air Maroc 630, and JAL 350. Can you provide other confirmed accounts? Note: SilkAir may be suspected (by the NTSB) but is by no means confirmed.

We will have to wait for more direct information to be released with respect to the LAM (Mozambique) crash before intelligent opinions can be formed. It’s still a mystery.
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Old 28th Dec 2013, 18:20
  #168 (permalink)  
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Although off topic I have to say I agree with surplus1.

We have to give Tsu the benefit of the doubt here, painful as it obviously is for many (I recall fighting Tsu's corner on PPRuNe here around five or six years ago). And as far as Tsu's debts are concerned (and used as some sort of dodgy 'evidence') I believe the Singaporean authorities demonstrated that his overall situation was not bad at all and indeed he was quite solvent.

And I have read all the reports and was previously on the 737 classic, so I'm not totally clueless one hopes.

Lets say there was a 10% chance an alleged murderer was innocent... would you hang them? Of course not, they'd get the benefit of the doubt.

Tsu gets significantly more than 10% in my book.
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Old 28th Dec 2013, 18:31
  #169 (permalink)  
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surplus1- you obviously have a lot of time on your hand writing us bed time stories with little meat in them. NTSB may only have 5 people at the top but clearly they have hundreds of investigators since they have to have manpower to investigate hundreds of accidents in the general aviation every month, these are the real people that make this body. You completely neglected the general aviation field were thousands of those cases are true testimony to their professionalism and impartiality. You may write another voluminous stories but little it is going to change basic facts that take either Indonesian or Egyptian NTSB counterpats and their first reaction in any investigation is whether a 'Muslim pilot' can do such a thing or whether he can commit such a serious error. That was their direct quote in either Egypt Air 990 or Flash Air 604. If you start with such a mindset your reputation in my books is ZERO. The Boeing 737 rudder case was complicated technical issue and the article you quote prove no "money" bias, just shows long technical paths. I would NTSB to act slowly if changes could be have unintended consequences (for example their approach to inerting the fuel tanks). By the way I am glad that NTSB recommends the changes and it is only the FAA that has power to enforce the changes, this separation is healthy too so you better starting writing us more bed time stories about how corrupt FAA is, since this is where real power lies.

Last edited by olasek; 28th Dec 2013 at 18:41.
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Old 28th Dec 2013, 20:29
  #170 (permalink)  
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NTSB is not 'some people' who latch on to some theory.., they are quite capable of stating 'unknown cause', etc.
I agree. The NTSB is capable of stating 'unknown cause'. But as you and I both know capability does not imply actuality. And that is the question: did they in fact state a known cause when the should have stated an unknown cause. Let's look at the facts.

(1) The case that the pilot was suicidal is weak. There is some evidence that points to the fact that he might have been leaning in that direction and other facts that point towards the fact he might have not. It is simply bizaree to claim that the NTSB "proved" anything in this regard. A suicide note was never found so that means the NTSB was left with circumstantial evidence, evidence that reasonable people can interpret different ways. Indeed, a jury looked at the same facts the NTSB did and came to a different conclusion. That doesn't mean I agree with the jury's verdict but to pretend that this is an "open and shut case" is just wrong.

(2) During this time period there was a lot of heat being directed their way regarding their investigative prowess, especially what some people felt was the NTSB tendency to cover-up for American (Boeing) companies. The NTSB of today is not the same NTSB of that time.

My personal opinion is that the NTSB went too far in its letter to the Indonesian authorities. They overplayed their hand. Why they chose to do that I will not speculate on.
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Old 28th Dec 2013, 20:55
  #171 (permalink)  
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their components have precisely the same interest; money ...
just in case you did not know a bit of shocking news for you ... money is very much part of the recommendations after any such investigation. It is actually the FAA that makes monies calculations. NTSB could for example say we want you to make all wiring made of silver (better conductor) or double the number of emergency exit doors, FAA will take it and study whether it makes sense in terms of finances, by law they have to use around $2 mln (could be higher today) as a value of human life. There is a long history of FAA ignoring NTSB's findings or recommendations. NTSB is supposed to be this "mean" cop and FAA should be more on the aviation industry side, so here is more room for you to spin even more conspiracies.

. The NTSB of today is not the same NTSB of that time.
You are entitled to your opinion but I see little evidence of that. Sure personalities come and go but I see no change in the overall expertise and competence.
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Old 29th Dec 2013, 01:47
  #172 (permalink)  
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Lots of opinions about a fox in the chicken coop but the only basis for the opinions is that you don't believe in those entrusted to investigate, analyze and develop recommendations to prevent accidents.

Since your opinions by themselves are unlikely to effect any changes then live with it or become a trusted credentialed investigator yourself.
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Old 29th Dec 2013, 17:40
  #173 (permalink)  
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Originally Posted by 1stspotter #109
According to sources anonymous pilot or flight commander TM470 had a son who committed suicide in the month of November last year, and that the flight comandateTM470recently attempted suicideand had psychological problems, yet LAM left continue to fly, which was abandoned by his wife 15 days before the accident had a inclusiveeDISCUSSIONher not nightbefore the flight,and the voice data recorder quee (Registration voice box) prove that the commander Aircraft asked the copilotto go perform a task outside of the cockpit and then locked the door and directed the aircraft flight TM470 to crash, leading to death of all passengersand tripulantees!
Nothing silent, impulsive, mysterious,gender,aso. That man knew and said he was not fit to fly. LAM had to listen that legal request and has the total responsibility if these facts are confirmed.
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Old 29th Dec 2013, 20:45
  #174 (permalink)  
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Lets get back to topic.

A video covering the press conference (held at December 21) of the Mozambique Civil Aviation Authority (IACM) can be seen here

According to a post at avherald.com the IACM president João Abreu did not state that the pilot had 'A CLEAR INTENTION TO CRASH THE AIRPLANE'.
He said something like 'A CLEAR INTENTION'.

Maybe someone who understands Portuguese language can spent a few minutes to see what was actually said.

I could well be the press made something different from the statement.
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Old 29th Dec 2013, 21:34
  #175 (permalink)  
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This is what I understood.


There has been a clear intention to crash the plane.

Abreu: (from the readings of FDR )

Minutes before the crash, the co-pilot left the cokpit, only the Captain remained there.

The altitude Selection Control was moved three times from 38000ft to 592ft below ground level.

Thrust Control levers have been reduced to IDLE.

The Speed Selection control was moved to Max and stood on Max Vmo.

The Spoilers have been manually deployed until the end of the recording.

From CVR readings:

During all the previous actions, low and high level alarms have been audible, as well as repeated bumps in the door with request for entering the cockpit.


All of the observed actions require a knodledge of the airplane's systems, since all the descent was performed with Autopilot ON. This denotes a clear intention.

The reasons for all these actions are unknown and the investigation continues.

Hope this helps...
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Old 29th Dec 2013, 21:53
  #176 (permalink)  
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thanks Jorge for the translation.

So the Mozambique CAA did not say that the pilot crashed the plane intentionally as stated in most articles in the press.

The pilot did his actions with 'clear intention'. This could mean he wanted a rapid decend for some reason. Many unanswered questions.
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Old 29th Dec 2013, 22:27
  #177 (permalink)  
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A rapid descent to 592 ft below ground level, with 'low and high level alarms audible, as well as repeated bumps on the door with request to enter the cockpit'. What could the pilot possibly have intended other than the achieved outcome?
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Old 30th Dec 2013, 00:15
  #178 (permalink)  
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Investigation will surely search if he had used medicaments which could modify his "intention" or judgement.
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Old 30th Dec 2013, 08:12
  #179 (permalink)  
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However, both agencies are subject to intense economic pressures whenever a major accident occurs that suggests there may be a serious problem with an American manufactured aircraft.
How much poppycock are you going to feed us more? By the way you are visibly slacking, we want your usual two page dissertations.
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Old 31st Dec 2013, 19:07
  #180 (permalink)  
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Hi Gobona,

The text is not accurate.

Gomes pointed to one serious anomaly in the preliminary report. It said that the altitude selector was manually altered three times, bringing the plane's altitude down from 38,000 feet to 592 feet below ground level. But if an altitude below ground level is fed into the Embraer automatic pilot, it does not accept it.
This part is not true. Zero to 41.000ft is selectable on the ALT SEL window. If he selects zero and local alt is 592ft, here goes this text down the drain...
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