View Full Version : When are Gulf Air going to front up?

23rd Jul 2001, 11:34
I suppose they have to get the settlements out of the way first, but I found quite an interesting article on the investigation that hasn't made its way to the local press yet, viz:

Reality Checks.
Issue: May 7, 2001

The wealth of documentation recently released on the August 2000 crash of Gulf Air Flight 072 provides added grist to the whole discussion of pilot error. The crash of the A320 clearly is being approached as a "handling" accident by investigators. They have run a number of trials to test their working thesis:

Simulated flights (these were conducted with the support of the Airbus chief test pilot and an Airbus flight test engineer). The simulator sessions were "flown" to replicate the overspeed and GPWS warnings that occurred when the airplane was about 1,000 feet above ground level:

* The 360? turn and go-around was conducted to approximate the flight path of the accident aircraft. Instructed to recover with full aft stick at the onset of the GPWS (ground proximity warning system) "whoop, whoop, pull up" alert, the pilot recovered in the simulator with about a 300 ft. loss of altitude.

* With a 4-second delay after GPWS warning, and half-back sidestick, the pilot in the simulator was able to recover with about a 650-ft. loss of altitude.

* In another scenario, the co-pilot performed a recovery after he verified that the captain (who was the pilot flying during the accident sequence) took no action to recover from the GPWS alert. The co-pilot depressed the priority button on his sidestick, announced his control override, and applied full aft stick. The simulator recovered with an altitude loss of about 400 ft.

* In another trial run, TOGA (take off go around) power was applied, and the pilots were instructed to make no control inputs. The pitch remained positive and the aircraft climbed slowly.

* In the final scenario demonstrated, the 360? turn was initiated to match the flight sequence and the timing of events on the FDR (flight data recorder). However, instead of rolling to wings level, the turn was continued at a moderate bank angle at the pilot's discretion to align with Runway 12. In these demonstrations, the pilots were able to land successfully on Runway 12, however the approach was not stabilized and only a short amount of time was available to successfully complete the landing. (ASW note: These tests indicate that had the pilot flying not pushed the nose to -15? nose-down, the airplane probably could have been recovered from the overspeed and GPWS warnings.)

Actual flight test. An A320 was taken aloft to see (1) if the airplane could have been landed after the 360 orbit, and (2) to assay any perception of pitch up" illusion when TOGA power was applied. With respect to the first, using flaps selected by the pilot during the accident, the test pilots were able to align with the runway and perform low approaches down to 50 ft., where a go- around was performed.

With respect to pitch-up illusion, non-flying occupants aboard the test aircraft were instructed to close their eyes during a go-around at TOGA power with a constant 5 nose-up pitch to simulate the absence of visual references. None perceived a significant pitch increase. This "eyes shut" test seems fairly crude; to their credit, the investigators have sought the services of the U.S. Naval Aerospace Medical Research Laboratory in Pensacola, Florida, to conduct a spatial disorientation study. >TK

Do you think Pilot Error is a dead cert here?


23rd Jul 2001, 21:06
Quite possibly, however, what is more important is - what was allowed to happen to put this crew on this aircraft and in this situation. I think the underlying matters such as these are far more important than 'Who is to blame?'. It is the only way forward and the only way to stop (minimise) any repetition(s) in GF or any other company that will get to finally share that information if/when it is available.

23rd Jul 2001, 23:30
IMHO..The GF072 accident investigation team should investigate, if the GF laid down flying hours and experience rules were broken by a local pilot manager, to accelerate his friends command of GF072.

If proven that the manager concerned exceeded his brief in fixing an accelerated back door local command for his friend and broke the laid down rules, then the report should state this, and the GF PCE take action to ensure that this manager does not do it again.
This may have been been quite an expensive
local manager, learning curve, rules break, if proven true.

24th Jul 2001, 16:49
I don't disagree with the fact that the underlying causes of putting someone with insufficient experience in the drivers seat must be addressed. My point is that there doesn't seem to be anything here - apart from keeping payouts to a minimum - to stop GF from publishing their findings.
They should be FORCED to reveal the conclusions if they have them!
Never happen of course. Mafee Mushkulla!

24th Jul 2001, 17:34
I think I would be correct in saying that the payouts are an issue with the insurers and no-one else.
Finally, (and this applies to almost everything in (work)life these days);
"Politics is the distance between what makes sense and what gets done" [Julian Date]