View Full Version : MK Airlines B747 crash at Halifax

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14th Oct 2004, 08:49
From the Cbc website


14th Oct 2004, 09:49
always sad to see this kind of news.. commiserations to the families and the staff of airline concerned

i am sure my colleagues in the freight industry who know airline
which it most probably unfortunately is send our sympathy

Biggles Flies Undone
14th Oct 2004, 10:03
MK Airlines. 9G-MKJ. Sounds bad.

14th Oct 2004, 10:07
how many of the 747's do MK have?

14th Oct 2004, 10:10
The Halifax Airport website


14th Oct 2004, 10:21
Can someone confirm it was not a 'crash'

14th Oct 2004, 10:25
Can someone confirm it was not a 'crash' I should watch the above CBC link... it gets updated every few minutes. It doesn't seem good from that, but hopefully is totally wrong...

14th Oct 2004, 10:31

Cargo plane crashes at Halifax Airport

CTV.ca News Staff

A large cargo plane with seven crew members on board has crashed at Halifax International Airport.

The Boeing 747 was taking off around 4 a.m. AT on it s way to Spain when it crashed into a rock quarry at the end of a runway, said Const. Joe Taplin of the RCMP.

The fate of the crew is not known, but a spokesman for MK Airlines, which owns the plane, said the situation looked grim.

"I understand from our people on the ground in Halifax that there may be no survivors,'' Steve Anderson told Canadian Press.

An official at the Queen Elizabeth II Health Science Centre said they were put on Code Orange, meaning they had to prepare for mass casualties. However, the Code Orange was later called off and no casualties were brought to the hospital.

CTV's John Vennavally-Rao is at the airport and says there are reports the plane hit power lines, then broke in to pieces when it hit the ground. He says the weather is clear and does not appear to be a factor in the crash.

The crash resulted in a major fire that has completely closed the ariport, which is in a remote area outside city limits.

Cab drivers taking passengers to the airport reported that they had been turned back.

"RCMP and emergency firefighters are on site,'' said airport spokesman Pat Chapman. "The airport is closed.''

More to come...

14th Oct 2004, 10:32
Cargo Plane Crashes in Eastern Canada


Published: October 14, 2004

Filed at 6:12 a.m. ET

HALIFAX, Nova Scotia (AP) -- A large cargo jet with seven crew members on board crashed into a rock quarry as it took off from Halifax on Thursday. The fate of the crew was not known.

The Boeing 747, owned by MK Airlines, was loaded with tractors and seafood and crashed at the end of the runway at Halifax International Airport on Canada's east coast, said police Const. Joe Taplin.

``The RCMP and emergency firefighters are on site,'' said airport spokesman Pat Chapman.

Witness Peter Lewis was dropping off his wife at the airport and saw two explosions.

``As we were approaching we saw what I thought was heat lighting 'cause I told everyone in the car that we've got heat lightning in the sky,'' he told radio station CJCH.

``That was only a quick one followed by a second one that was bigger. And then we seen a very bright orange light, and I mean bright. It took up the whole sky.''

Chapman and Taplin said seven crew members were on the aircraft but it was not known whether they survived.

Cab drivers taking passengers to the airport reported that they had been turned back.

``All the information that we can get is the airport is closed for the day,'' said cab company owner Angus McGillivary. ``We got a cargo plane down that's taken down the power at the airport.''


Halifax airport slowly reopening after deadly jet crash

Seven crewman feared dead

Canadian Press

Thursday, October 14, 2004

A large cargo jet with seven crew members on board crashed into a rock quarry at the end of a runway at Halifax International Airport Thursday.

The Boeing 747 owned by British-based MK Airlines and loaded with tractors and seafood was taking off when it crashed into the quarry, said Const. Joe Taplin of the RCMP.

Officials with MK Airlines fear none of the seven crew may have survived the crash.

MK spokesman Steve Anderson told CBC Newsworld Thursday morning that there has been no history of trouble with the aircraft.

He says the only other crash the company has had to deal with was in Nigeria three years ago and that was under "completely different circumstances."

The airport which was closed for a few hours is slowly being reopened.

It\'s not clear when it will return to a full flight schedule.

Some reports suggest the jet\'s tail hit the runway during takeoff sending up a shower of sparks.

Witness Peter Lewis was dropping off his wife at the airport and saw two explosions that resembled heat lightning.

"As we were approaching we saw what I thought was heat lighting \'cause I told everyone in the car that we\'ve got heat lightning in the sky," he told radio station CJCH.

"That was only a quick one followed by a second one that was bigger. And then we seen a very bright orange light and I mean bright. It took up the whole sky."

"RCMP and emergency firefighters are on site," said airport spokesman Pat Chapman. "The airport is closed."

An official at the Queen Elizabeth II Health Science Centre said they were put on Code Orange, meaning they had to prepare for mass casualties. However, the Code Orange was later called off and no casualties were brought to the hospital.

The airport is located in a remote area outside city limits.

Cab drivers taking passengers to the airport reported that they had been turned back.

"All the information that we can get is the airport is closed for the day," said cab company owner Angus McGillivary. "We got a cargo plane down that\'s taken down the power at the airport."

He said his drivers could not see anything except for a darkened airport.

"It\'s completely black," said McGillivary. "There\'s no runway lights. There\'s no tower lights."


14th Oct 2004, 11:08
With all respect A-Floor and Airbubba, what are you achieving by cut and pasting news articles? All you are doing is clogging up the thread with nothing new, or of interest, and by definition at this stage, the information you post now is out of date, and the article updated, within minutes.

Smufjet's initial link seems to be all one really needs - it's being updated every few minutes... and doesn't need a login etc.

Maybe if a link you find has a particularly interesting or new slant, then cut and past that bit of it. But whole articles are a bit OTT IMHO at this stage...

14th Oct 2004, 11:09
A rather "wild" rumour suggests the plane did a tail-strike and the aircraft broke off.

What the... ? :confused:

14th Oct 2004, 11:13
Please don't construe this as any kind of speculation - its just curiosity. Cargo such as tractors - do they go in an aircraft lined up nose to tail or side by side? Or are they transported in some kind of container?

14th Oct 2004, 11:20
PP, it depends on the aircraft and the size of the tractor. Could be either on the 74F.

14th Oct 2004, 11:22
Metar reports for those interested

CYHZ 140700Z 26006KT 15SM OVC018 10/09 A2967 RMK SC8 SLP051
CYHZ 140800Z 25005KT 15SM OVC016 10/09 A2968 RMK SC8 SLP054
CYHZ 140900Z 26005KT 15SM OVC016 10/09 A2970 RMK SC8 SLP061

Willie Everlearn
14th Oct 2004, 11:25
Update as of 07:13 AM EST

Crashed aircraft.
Not a RTO.
Aircraft ended up in a quarry off the departure end of the runway.
Aeroplane went airborne.
All 7 crew members feared dead.
Coroner en route to site.
Zimbabwe based B747 en route stop in Halifax. Destination Spain (nothing other than that as a destination).

CYHZ closed.

All remaining reports, so far, full of speculation and second guessing as you would expect.

14th Oct 2004, 12:05
From what I hear, dest was ZAZ, then on to LUX.

Coleman Myers
14th Oct 2004, 12:06



14th Oct 2004, 12:10

how many of the 747's do MK have?
6 now, and 6 DC-8's

Coleman Myers
14th Oct 2004, 12:12

14th Oct 2004, 12:40

Are you demented? Don't have the details to hand, but someone will turn up with their hull-loss rate any minute, I expect. It is appalling.
Property values under the Manston flight-path about to plunge, should think.

14th Oct 2004, 12:40
Me thinks if it struck the tail and then would not climb that somehow she was improperly loaded. :(

NigelOnDraft - Does it say moderator under your name? Only then do you get to comment on what people post here.

14th Oct 2004, 12:52
Just to let you all know that MK are not based in Manston any more....!!!
They are based in OST.
This is the 4th Aircraft MK have lost

14th Oct 2004, 13:04
Did they carry a loadmaster on this sector or was it dispatched?

14th Oct 2004, 13:07
The original link to cbc news at the beginning of this thread has been updated. It doesn't look good.

NoD had it right when it comes to copying and pasting news reports onto PPRuNe. Its much better to post a bit of info followed by the link.

14th Oct 2004, 13:47
Frangible - Hull loss rate available here:


14th Oct 2004, 14:19
Apparently 6 of the crew members were of Zimbabwean origin, the 7th member was from South Africa.

Heartfelt condolences to the families - a terrible tragedy!

14th Oct 2004, 14:30
Having flown with all the Boys in the past - l shed many tears for them and wish them a "fambai zvakanaka".

Such a good bunch of tight guys - my sincere condolences to their families and to the rest of the MK fraternity.


Willie Everlearn
14th Oct 2004, 15:25

Reports of tail strike on take off. Yet to be confirmed.
Tail located some distance from main wreckage adding credibility to tailstrike theory (apparently witnesses saw the takeoff run).
Swath cut through trees prior to impact.
Post crash fire.
No survivors.
7 crew members. Nationalities reported to be 6 Zimbabwe, 1 South Africa.
RCMP following up on report of two explosions in-flight prior to impact to cover 'sabatoge' theories however unlikely they may be.

More to follow,

14th Oct 2004, 15:49
All my condoleance to the familly of our friends.
Rest in peace.

Don't know what to say.


14th Oct 2004, 16:09
Some photos of the aircraft pre this accident show that a good part of the nose section had a paint job which appears much fresher than the rest of the fuselage.

Just out of interest, what was this due to?


14th Oct 2004, 16:35
Re the nose paint

My guess is that when it was bought from SAA, someone thought why bother re-painting that bit?

Not that relevant to the thread tho? RIP

14th Oct 2004, 16:49
Mike Tutton
Canadian Press
Thursday, October 14, 2004

HALIFAX -- The tail section of a loaded cargo jet snapped off before it crashed into woods at the end of a runway at Halifax International Airport early Thursday, killing all seven crew members on board.

"Our thoughts and our prayers go to the families of those killed in this tragedy,'' said Pat Chapman, a spokesman for the airport authority.

The tail of the Boeing 747, owned by MK Airlines Ltd. of Britain, lay in a field at the end of the runway, inside the fence surrounding the airport property.

"The aircraft basically didn't take off,'' said Steve Anderson, an airline spokesman in Sussex, England. "She continued her (takeoff run) and ran off the runway and ran into woods.''

There didn't appear to be casualities on the ground as there are no homes in the area.

The fuselage and wings of the aircraft cut a wide, V-shaped swath through woods and came to rest in pieces about a kilometre away.

"We've recovered some remains at the scene,'' said RCMP Const. Joe Taplin.

He said the RCMP were treating the crash as a potential criminal investigation after reports of an explosion. He didn't elaborate.

The tops of several trees and power poles were sheered off. The jet's severed wings lay in the brush, which was still burning in places several hours later. A mangled engine and a charred portion of fuselage lay nearby.

"It's very devastating,'' said Mike LeRue, a spokesman for Halifax firefighters, as he stood about 300 metres from the smouldering fuselage. "It's surreal, is what it is. It's reality, but it's surreal for sure.''

The Boeing 747-200, which was loaded with fuel for a flight to Spain, crashed shortly before 4 a.m. local time near an industrial park and quarry about 30 kilometres north of Halifax.

Pictures from the scene showed an orange glow in the pre-dawn sky. It took about 60 firefighters and 20 trucks about three hours to control a fire caused by burning jet fuel on the ground.

Meanwhile, the crash forced the airport to close for several hours, delaying or cancelling 17 flights. Power was temporarily knocked out, but flights resumed on one runway later in the morning.

The plane's crew are either from the United Kingdom, South Africa or Zimbabwe, Anderson said.

Aside from the usual three-person crew in the cockpit, the plane was also carrying a loadmaster and a spare crew.

The weather at the time of the crash was good with a partly cloudy sky and light winds.

The huge aircraft, which stopped in Halifax to refuel, was loaded with lawn tractors and 53,000 kilograms of lobster and fish bound for Zaragosa, Spain.

Witness Peter Lewis was dropping off his wife at the airport and saw two explosions.

"As we were approaching we saw what I thought was heat lightning,'' he told radio station CJCH. "That was only a quick one followed by a second one that was bigger. And then we saw a very bright orange light - and I mean bright. It took up the whole sky.''

The MK Airlines spokesman said the company had never had problems with this particular aircraft.

"She's been an absolute gem,'' Anderson said, noting the aircraft had been in service for about six years. He also said the company has been flying out of Halifax for the past 18 months.

The crash was the fourth for the cargo company in 12 years and the second involving fatalities. All three previous crashes were in Nigeria.

In 2001, one crew member was killed when a 747 went down about 700 metres short of the runway.

In 1996, a McDonnell Douglas DC-8F-55 struck trees during approach. There were no fatalities.

In 1992, a McDonnell Douglas DC-8 crashed and caught fire, also during final approach.

The information on the previous crashes is listed on a website for the Aviation Safety Network, an independent aviation safety watchdog.

The Transportation Safety Board of Canada has assembled a team of investigators in Ottawa. The board is an independent agency that investigates transportation accidents and prepares incident reports.

A TSB spokesman said the jet's flight date recorders had yet to be recovered.

The flight originated near Hartford, Conn., and the flight to Halifax was uneventful, Anderson said.

A pilot familiar with large planes said the tails of jets such as the 747 occasionally strike the ground during rotation - the point in the takeoff sequence when the pilot pulls back on the control stick, lifting the nose off the ground.

Large aircraft have so-called strike bars that protect the tail section when the pilot over-rotates and the tail strikes the runway.

"It doesn't happen that often,'' said the pilot, who didn't want his name used. "You can encounter turbulence right at rotation.''

While tail strikes are uncommon, pilots can recover from them, he said.

Anderson, the MK spokesman, confirmed the aircraft was in the process of rotating when it crashed.

In Ottawa, federal Transport Minister Jean Lapierre said "my thoughts are with the families of the people involved in this tragic accident.''

Bill Fowler, a TSB spokesman, said the downed jet was likely equipped with depleted uranium, a radioactive material often used as ballast in the rudders and wings of wide-body aircraft.

Depleted uranium is the dense, heavy waste produced during the making of nuclear fuel and weapons.

A 747 may contain as much as 1,500 kilograms of the material, which is denser than lead and 60 per cent as radioactive as natural uranium.

Fowler said "there is no threat or concern'' about exposure to those working on the wreckage.


14th Oct 2004, 17:08
To all the families and friends. Our deepest sympathy and our thoughts are with you all. Words can not express our feelings.
Love from the Desert

14th Oct 2004, 17:40
Very,very sad day for aviation.

My thoughts at this time are with the families and friends, of the deceased.

I think it may be a little early to start pointing any fingers at MK.

Accidents have always happened and always will, because mankind is falable.

14th Oct 2004, 17:41
What a sad day.

I have spent many hours operating with some of the MK flight engineers on our b727 before they were retrenched by our
airline due to phasing out of the b727. I am dreading to here
the names involved as at this stage it still seems unreleased.
May the crew involved now be flying in a better place where
flight plans are no longer required.

my condolences to all at MK and all the families involved.

14th Oct 2004, 18:40
The BBC are reporting here (http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/world/americas/3742922.stm) that there is a video of the event.

The cause of the crash remains unconfirmed, but a Canadian air safety official told Reuters that a video of the accident appeared to show the plane's tail piece break off while the plane was still within the airport perimeter.

14th Oct 2004, 18:44
Anybody know who owns MK airlines?

Coleman Myers
14th Oct 2004, 19:08
Apparently airline is owned by a consortium of European,Ghanaian and Zimbabwean investors. The airline grew at a remarkable rate in the late 1990's

Joyce Tick
14th Oct 2004, 19:09
Michael Krueger?

Coleman Myers
14th Oct 2004, 19:28
No "e" i.e. : Mike Kruger - listed as M.D. of the company in the A-Z of Freighters and by all accounts a remarkable man who built an substantial airline from nothing so no doubt he has equity

14th Oct 2004, 19:40
To all MK staff and the family members I offer my condolences
Sadly, I knew and flew with a few of the crew. May they rest in peace. The guys I knew were true gentlemen and will be truely missed as I know the rest of the crew will be.
Please hold back on all the chirps about MK at this time as it would be very disrespectful to some good crew and friends.

14th Oct 2004, 20:36
The CBC link footage says that it was carrying depleted unranium.

14th Oct 2004, 20:46
The tail of the wide-body plane, owned by MK Airlines Ltd of Britain and Ghana, lay in a field at the end of the runway, inside the fence surrounding the airport property.

"The aircraft basically didn't take off," said Steve Anderson, an airline spokesperson in Sussex, England.

"She continued her (takeoff run) and ran off the runway and ran into woods."

link (http://www.news24.com/News24/South_Africa/News/0,,2-7-1442_1605465,00.html)

montys ex teaboy
14th Oct 2004, 20:55
Yes, used for control mass balance I believe.

14th Oct 2004, 21:05
Condolences to the families and godspeed the flightcrew.

Sounds like an over-rotation caused by a massive and sudden cargo shift. Tails don't just snap off - even after tail strikes.
montys ex teaboy is right - the depleated uranium is used for W&B.

14th Oct 2004, 21:22
Does anyone have a link to the crew manifest? I have a bad feeling I know someone in the crew.

14th Oct 2004, 21:39
Here is a link to a news article with several photos


14th Oct 2004, 22:23
I worked with MK on the greasy 8s at Lasham. Great bunch of guys. My thoughts go out to the crews families.......

14th Oct 2004, 22:24
Ever thought of getting a job with the AAIB?
They need sound, straight talking people like you. NOT!!!!!

Christsake, let the poor buggers cool off before pointing the finger eh? :mad:

14th Oct 2004, 22:39

I think you need to cool off!

I'm not blaming anyone - It's a tragic accident. Although there has to be a reason for a 747 draging it's tail down the runway. I simply ment an over-rotation due to a weight shift - NOT an aircrew fault.

I re-read my original post and see how it could be mis-interprited. I was thinking 2 different things and when written it came out funny. I have since edited my original post.

Greek God
14th Oct 2004, 23:03
Do not stand at my grave and weep
I am not there. I do not sleep.
I’ m in the memory of the time we shared,
I’ m in the hearts of those who cared,
I’ m in that morning walk,
I’ m there when airman laugh and talk.
My space is free, it’s wide, it’s vast.
Your time is now, mine’s in the past.
It was shared with friends who made my life
On earth a joy, amidst the strife.
This chapter’s over, but there’s more to do,
And many blank pages to be filled by you.
Do not stand at my grave and cry,
I am not there,
I did not die.

God Bless the Crew and their families
Condolences to all at MK - Top people who must all be devastated

14th Oct 2004, 23:22
Condolences to the relatives and all at MK

15th Oct 2004, 00:12
I spent yesterday trying to make contact with a friend who is a F/O with MK.

I was lucky enough to have good news, my heart and thoughts go out to the families that didn't.

RIP guys.

15th Oct 2004, 03:38
My sincere condolences to the families, and all at MK.

RIP boys.

15th Oct 2004, 04:56
Cargo plane crashes in huge ball of fire

By Graeme Hosken

Three South African pilots and four other crew were killed when a transport plane they were piloting ploughed into the ground on take-off from a Canadian airport, bursting into flames.

Civil aviation authorities will leave SA this weekend to help their Canadian counterparts investigate yesterday's crash in Halifax, Nova Scotia.

The cargo plane, a Boeing 747-200, which belonged to the air transport company MK Airlines, was believed to have crashed after its tail hit the ground during take-off from Halifax International Airport, causing the South African and Zimbabwean crew to lose control of the aircraft.

MK Airlines is owned by Mike Kruger, a South African with dual Zimbabwean citizenship.

It was the second air crash to befall the company. The first occurred in 2001 when another Boeing 747-200 crashed in Nigeria. The crew escaped with only minor injuries.

While staff from MK Airlines confirmed that the pilots were South African, they refused to name them until their next of kin had been informed.

It was understood that the three South African crew members are from Centurion and Pretoria North.

It was believed that one of the crew had worked for SAA while the others worked for the now defunct SunAir.

The aircraft, which had stopped in Halifax to refuel, was loaded with tractors, lobsters and fish, and was bound for Zaragosa, the main fishing city in Spain.

Steve Anderson, MK Airlines' risk and legal section manager, who is based in London, refused to comment last night "out of respect for the families".

Civil Aviation Authority spokesperson Moses Seate said they had been notified about the crash and were awaiting more information.

"As in any airline crash involving either South African crew or passengers, we will send a team of investigators to help out those from the country involved," he said.

The Department of Foreign Affairs said last night said it had received word of the crash, but it was awaiting notification on the nationalities of the dead from Canadian authorities.

Halifax regional fire and emergencies spokesperson Mike Lerue, speaking from the crash site, said the aircraft had burst into flames on impact just outside the airport's perimeter fence.

He said the bodies, some charred beyond recognition, had been recovered both inside and outside the aircraft, which had crashed in a remote, wooded area.

"The preliminary investigation by the Royal Canadian Mounted Police and the Transport Safety Department has only just begun. Therefore it is still to early to say what caused the crash," said Lerue.

He said initial information indicated that the South Africans may have come from a "small town called Pretoria".


15th Oct 2004, 05:43
My thoughts go out to all the families involved, my God be with you.

I do know a few guys from MK, alot of them are ex Balmoral and what a fantastic bunch they are.

Aviation is a small world and when things like this happen there is a large portion of people who like to point fingers, this happened that happened, no one knows yet so lets STOP that and let the investigators do their job, maybe one day we can ALL learn from this unfortunate accident.

Someone said "there are those who have and there are those who haven't" lets just thank God those who read this havn't and hope it never does.

A very sad day for the aviation industry :(


Runway 31
15th Oct 2004, 06:46
BBC News this morning are giving crew as 4 Brits, 1 German and 2 from Zimbabwe.

15th Oct 2004, 07:35
Even though BBC claims Brits - most Zimbo's have British passports. News from Zim is that is was 6 Zimbo's and 1 South African. No matter who they were it is a terrible tragedy.

Condolences to all at MK and the families left behind. Knowing one of the pilots who happened to be Godfather to my nephew it is absolutely heartbreaking.

15th Oct 2004, 08:18
my thoughts go out to all those involved.terrible tragedy.MKA is one of the great freight operators and its very sad it happened to them.It is also apalling that it recieved so little coverage in the SA media,since the airline has such strong links to South Africa.Shame on them.:(

15th Oct 2004, 08:26
Just wondering how easy it would be in the dark to mistakenly enter and line-up at Taxiway Charlie on 06 at Halifax (i.e. 700mtrs in on a 2700mtr long runway).

a. Is the runway lighting unidirectional (i.e. pointing up finals - so that you'd not notice it extending away to your right as you entered)?

b. Would it be that the capatain wouldn't notice it (sitting on the left) but the F/O might (were he not doing something head down
inside the office?)

c. Would you notice the absence of runway numbering and piano keys? (I tend NOT to notice anything that's "missing" - and that's easier than NOT noticing things that are present and either obvious/not obvious)

d. Would ATC notice it from where the tower's located?

e. Any lit distance-to-run marker boards on 06?

f. Anybody ever heard of someone doing this in error either at HFX or elsewhere?

g. Drawing a long bow and assuming that this is a possible explanation, what's the solution to avoiding this sort of error?

Having made such a mistake (and not saying that they did, just hypothesizing).......

First realisation would be (I'd imagine) noticing that you're running out of runway lights. V1 would be invalid so you'd be off the end

anyway if you went RTO. Normal human reaction would be to go for the instant rotate (I'd guess that it would be mine).

Seems to be that these puzzle pieces fit under that scenario (vice cargo-shift or bad loading, bad weight-sheet).

No I'm not a journo, just a student of human errors - particularly my own proclivities to make same. I've made most yet survived and I'm

worried about how many lives I have left at this stage (so I am sorta desperate to learn about all the gotchas out there).

15th Oct 2004, 08:29
My heartfelt sympathy goes out to the families of the crew and also to the controller who was handling the flight. I have been in a very similar situation twice and know that it will stay with him for the rest of his days.

TheShadow - do they not have ground radar there? This would absolutely prevent such errors.

Phileas Fogg
15th Oct 2004, 08:42
Whilst very gratifying regarding the emotions shown on this board towards the MK crew members I just find it unfortunate that similar sympathies were not shown towards the far greater numbers that lost their lives in the TU134 & TU154 incidents of only a few weeks past.
Many Russians visit this site and at that time, the postings here became something of a 'circus'.

15th Oct 2004, 09:41
Condolences to the pilots friends and families.
You will be in my prayers.

15th Oct 2004, 09:43
my condolences also go out to all the friends and family of the crew on board the flight.



15th Oct 2004, 10:32
Putco, a sad day.
Hope to join you soon. working a plan. Contact me when you can.

Sympathies to the familys that lost fathers, husbands, sons and friends. Our thoughts are with you. The best bunch of guys you could ever hope to know.

15th Oct 2004, 11:01
condolences to the crew members familly

Sir Cumference
15th Oct 2004, 11:10
My condolences to the crew, their families and friends at MK. They are an awesome bunch of guys and this is a terrible tragedy.


Sir C

15th Oct 2004, 11:47

Well said.

Sympathies to all however this board isn't consistent.

Oh and Greek God, if you want to wallow in your own sorrow (a la Princess Diana) fair enough, but is there any need for the poetry for all?


Greek God
15th Oct 2004, 12:28
Nice one Nigel
It is not my sorrow I am concerned about.
My answer to you is wholly inappropriate here, as are your comments; if there are those who gain some solace all well and good, if not so be it.

15th Oct 2004, 12:34
To answer some of the Shadow's questions ...

My understanding from news reports is that the aircraft was departing runway 24, so your suggestion of mistakenly lining up from taxi C on 06 doesn't make sense.

The normal taxi route in YHZ for 24 is by way of the main apron, G, F, runway 15 short of runway 24. To achieve full length of the 8800' runway, one must do a short backtrack and a 180 on the 200' wide runway, otherwise take-off run from the intersection of 15 is 8500' ... minus whatever is lost from lining up.

There is no ground radar in YHZ, nor are there distance to go boards, but it's a CAT 2 runway with centre-line lighting and 3000' to go alternating red/white lights, and red lights with 1000' remaining.

Our airline has our tech/safety people on site now, and along with all the Governmental agencies that are involved, it likely won't be long before some facts are known. Until then, speculation is just that.

tall and tasty
15th Oct 2004, 12:47
I would like to send my sympathies to the families of all those involved on this sad sad news and those involved directly and indirectly with the airline.

What more can I say?

15th Oct 2004, 13:26

Just a hypothetical.
Thought that I had seen a report of 06 - but it works for either end. Instead of Charlie, read D instead of E for a r/way 24 departure.

Are the runway lights unidirectional? Always hated those as far as ground and airborne orientation go. It's so easy to get lost in the dark, with or without weather - recalling SQ006.

15th Oct 2004, 13:54
BBC Radio report early today said there was allegedly a suggestion that the aircraft had entered the runway at a point part way down it, and that there was insufficient concrete for it to get airborne. Later reports did not include that element.
However it could tie in with the comments posted above.

15th Oct 2004, 13:59
Halifax — The tail of a Boeing 747 struck the runway twice, then broke off before the loaded cargo jet crashed, killing seven people, investigators confirmed Friday.

Bill Fowler, a spokesman for the Transportation Safety Board of Canada, said the tail of the wide-body plane snapped when the aircraft ran off the end of a runway at Halifax International Airport and struck an earthen berm topped by navigational equipment.

“There is an indication the aircraft was barely airborne,” Mr. Fowler said at a news conference. “The scrape trail disappears just before the berm.”

Mr. Fowler said the trail struck for the first time about 250 metres from the end of the 2,700-metre runway, then again with about 170 metres to go.

“The indication is there was prolonged contact of the aft fuselage with the runway and off the end of the runway,” he said.

About 300 metres beyond the end of the runway, the tail then struck the earthen mound topped by an antenna and snapped.

“That is what caused the tail to break away from the rest of the airplane … ,” he said. It came to rest near the berm.

The rest of the plane hurtled into thick brush, carving a wide V-shaped swath before coming to rest in pieces about a kilometre from the tail.

“The main part of the fuselage continued ... ballistically until the final impact point,” he said.

A maintenance worker at the airport suggested Thursday that the plane did not use the full length of the runway and simply ran out of room.

Mr. Fowler said investigators were looking into that but added: “We do not have any information that there was an early takeoff point, that is, substantially early.”

MK Airlines said the dead crew members were all men. Six were from Zimbabwe while the seventh was South African.

The Boeing 747-200, which was loaded with fuel for a flight to Spain, crashed shortly before 4 a.m. Halifax time near an industrial park and quarry about 30 kilometres north of Halifax.

The crash forced the airport to close for several hours, delaying or cancelling 17 flights. Power was temporarily knocked out, but flights resumed on one runway later in the morning.

Aside from the usual three-person crew in the cockpit, the plane was also carrying a loadmaster and a spare crew.

The weather at the time of the crash was good with a partly cloudy sky and light winds.

The huge aircraft, which stopped in Halifax to refuel and take on cargo, was loaded with lawn tractors, parts, computer gear and 53,000 kilograms of lobster and fish bound for Zaragoza, Spain.

Mr. Fowler said preliminary information suggests that the aircraft wasn't overloaded.

The crash was the fourth for the cargo company in 12 years and the second involving fatalities. All three previous crashes were in Nigeria.

In 2001, one crew member was killed when a 747 went down about 700 metres short of the runway.

In 1996, a McDonnell Douglas DC-8F-55 struck trees during approach. There were no fatalities.

In 1992, a McDonnell Douglas DC-8 crashed and caught fire, also during final approach.link (http://www.theglobeandmail.com/servlet/story/RTGAM.20041015.wplane1015/BNStory/National/)

Phileas Fogg
15th Oct 2004, 14:10
You might have deleted the statistics at the end, I don't know how many times we've read that now and as others have wished, now is not the time to drag up the past nor MK bash, leave that to our media friends!

15th Oct 2004, 15:26

Sawbones is 100% correct the normal taxi would have been G-F-Rwy15 holding short of Rwy 24. Depending upon your weight most heavy departures would request a backtrack to the button of 24. At that time of morning it is quite possible that they would be allowed to backtrack down the full length of the active if so requested. The width of the runway would not pose a problem unless it was ice covered which it wasn't. Since I wasn't there I have no idea what happened although I'm sure the investigators have a pretty good idea if it was a taxi error as they already possess the tower tapes.


15th Oct 2004, 16:33
Is it possible that 24 at CYHZ, even backtracking to allow the maximum runway length, is a bit marginal for a fully laden B742 with max fuel?

Flight Safety
15th Oct 2004, 16:33
If the info from Capt.Kaos is correct, dragging the tail that much would indicate that the aircraft was held pitch up for rotation for some distance, but it apparently never got airborne. That suggests that maybe the correct VR was never reached for some reason, or perhaps the flaps weren't configured for takeoff (on that runway), or perhaps something else prevented enough lift from being generated to get airborne.

My condolences to the families and friends of those who were lost, what a terrible tragedy. :(

(fixed typo)

15th Oct 2004, 17:08
Jet struck runway, broke in two, probe confirms
CTV.ca News Staff

Investigators probing the deadly crash of a Boeing 747 cargo jet at Halifax International Airport are refusing to speculate on what may have caused the plane's tail to scrape the runway before breaking off.

Speaking at a news conference in Halifax on Friday morning, Transportation Safety Board of Canada investigator Bill Fowler said, based on his initial survey of the crash site, it appears the jet's tail struck the ground twice, before tearing loose on contact with an earthen berm 300 metres beyond the end of the runway.

"There is an indication that the aircraft was slightly airborne, in other words; the scrape trail disappears just a few hundred feet before the berm." At the antenna-topped mound, the plane broke in two, he said.

With its tail torn off, the rest of the fuselage flew into the bush, cutting a kilometre-long swath before coming to a stop.

"It was like it was almost dragging -- the behind was dragging," eyewitness Darren McLaughlin told ATV News, an affiliate of CTV. He said the plane just seemed to blow up, "from white sky to an orange sky."

Pressed by reporters to suggest what could have caused such a crash, Fowler would only say there are a number of scenarios that demand attention.

"From the aircraft loading to the aircraft performance -- whether all the engines were operating -- we're just going to go through, systematically, each of the elements that could produce a scenario such as this and we'll go where the data and analysis leads us."

In an interview with The Canadian Press on Thursday, a pilot familiar with large planes said their tails do occasionally touch tarmac when the pilot pulls the nose off the ground.

Known as 'rotation', it's so common many large planes have protection built-in to the tail, and pilots can typically recover.

"It doesn't happen that often,'' said the pilot, who didn't want his name used. "You can encounter turbulence right at rotation.''

A MK spokesperson told CP the aircraft was in the process of rotating when it crashed.

Headed from Connecticut to Spain with a load of tractors and parts, computer gear and more than 50,000 kilograms of fish, the Boeing 747-200 had just refuelled when it crashed before 4 a.m. local time on Thursday. All seven crew were killed.

The dead are described as male nationals of the U.K., Germany and Zimbabwe who lived in South Africa and Zimbabwe.

MK Airlines, the company that owns the crashed aircraft, is a Ghana based, British-owned cargo firm that has been involved in three other crashes since 1992.

All were in Nigeria -- all during final approach to landing. Two involved DC-8 aircraft, and resulted in no fatalities. The most recent, involving a 747 in 2001, killed one crew member.

Vouching for the experience of the crew flying the plane out of Halifax on Thursday, MK Airlines operations manager Capt. John Power said the 747 crews "generally have a high level of experience."

"None of the crew members flying the plane were involved in any of the previous accidents," he said.

"I personally have flown with the senior captain on board that aircraft for 14 years, and as far as the other crew members are concerned, they have all had previous flying experience on DC-8 aircraft."

With investigators from Canada, the United States, the United Kingdom and Ghana in Halifax for the accident probe, former aviation accident investigator Tom Hinton says it takes time to coordinate the effort.

Individual committees will investigate witness accounts, the airliner's electrical system and its data and voice recorders, he says, and then submit reports to be compiled into a final document.

But the investigation won't even begin until the painstaking process of documenting the entire crash site is complete.

"They have to document all of the wreckage in situ before anything is moved," Hinton told CTV's Canada AM on Friday. "Everything is photographed and documented before it's even moved."

The RCMP is treating the crash as a potential criminal investigation for now, following witness reports of explosions during the crash. But investigators said they had no reason to believe an explosion had brought down the plane.

After numerous cancellations and delays Thursday,
Halifax International Airport is now back in limited operation. HIAA spokesperson Pat Chapman says airport staff are focused on cleaning up the fuel spilled in the crash.

15th Oct 2004, 17:52

The only thing thats marginal is your post. How do you know it was FULLY laden with MAX fuel??? I,m sure if that was the case then the poor guys wouldn't be attempting to t/off in the first place!

15th Oct 2004, 17:55
Perhaps the loadmaster on board got it off by a few tonnes? The a/c was dragging it's tail when it went off the runway....

A very sad event, my condolences to the crew's families and all the guys at MK.

15th Oct 2004, 18:29
AUW was 103 tonnes, 7 tonnes less than the max 110 tonnes allowed for a B747-200B.

Sorry Correction , Cargo weight was 103 tonnes !!!

15th Oct 2004, 19:38
What do we know about this flight so far?
It had a 103 ton payload.
It took off(ish) from a 2700m(ish) runway.
It was flying to Spain.
It had a tail strike or two close to the end of the runway.

What can we speculate?
It wasn't very heavy(unless it was tankering fuel).
It had experienced crew.
It had a problem of some sort.

The problem was probably one of these,

Incorrect loading.
Aircraft malfunction (engine, airframe).
Pilot error (incorrect or no flap (config warning!?!), incorrect bug speeds(unlikely to make a difference on this length runway)).

Who knows, we can all speculate.



15th Oct 2004, 21:13
As this thread progresses, could those who quote directly from the media leave out the bit about the fact that it was carrying fish and tractors etc, it's destination and the fact that it's lost some DC8's in the past. The point being, after 7 pages, it's been repeated umpteen times.
A most tragic event, and one that will hopefully reach a logical conclusion sooner than later.
My condolences to family and friends involved.

West Coast
15th Oct 2004, 21:13
"Who knows, we can all speculate"

Can but shouldn't. Why cast any shadow when its done without full knowledge of the facts?

15th Oct 2004, 21:47
"The cause of the pre-dawn crash wasn't known, but Paul Sharpe, a JetsGo worker, lent support to unconfirmed reports that the 747 didn't have enough runway to takeoff safely.

He told Canadian Press the plane was supposed to leave from the end of a 2,700-metre runway, but entered through a taxiway at the 2,000-metre mark.

"From where she left, they only had about 6,000 feet and it just wasn't enough runway," he said."

link (http://www.thestar.com/NASApp/cs/ContentServer?pagename=thestar/Layout/Article_Type1&c=Article&cid=1097790608787&call_pageid=968332188774&col=968350116467)

15th Oct 2004, 22:21
Taxiway Delta is exactly 2000 or 700 mtrs from the end of 06/24?

(if the total runway length is indeed 2700 mtrs)

15th Oct 2004, 22:45
Suspect that I may have had many a beer at the MFC, with a few of the guys. Damn it.
Condolences to all families who have lost a loved one.

Metro man
15th Oct 2004, 23:32
Names have now been released on the MK website. R.I.P.

16th Oct 2004, 01:47
This very unfortunate accident reminds me of a similar one PanAmerican had at KSFO, with a B747, in the very early seventies.

Departure from a shortish (01R) runway, and takeoff calculations/V speeds done, with the expected use of flaps 20, however flaps 10 selected instead, and the error not caught.
The aircraft rotated at the end, with extensive damage to the lower fuselage and tail.

PanAmericans 'fix', so this absolutely, positively would never happen again, was a 'configuration check' as the last item on the before takeoff check, and that it must be done while lined up on the departure runway.
The configuration check consisted of....

Flaps/V speeds correctly set for the departure runway
Spoilers down
Trim in the takeoff range, correctly set
Compass headings all agree with the departure runway.

Two other airlines that I am aware of also adopted this procedure as well.

I wonder, were the flaps correctly set for the runway used with the MK aircraft?

I suspect we will find out sooner rather than later.

A very sad event, nonetheless.

16th Oct 2004, 03:39

Respectfully, I believe it was just the opposite... flaps were at 20 and bugs were set for 10 on the Pan Am.


16th Oct 2004, 04:02
You could well be right, av8boy.
I was going thru B707 recurrent at PanAmerican at the time, and it sure did shake up the training, and use of checklists at the time.

16th Oct 2004, 08:58
To all the family members of those taken that night, to all my old Zimbo friends and ex Zimbo work mates who work for MK, I am so sorry you have lost these guys. From RR (ex Air Zim pilot.)

16th Oct 2004, 09:25
from MK's latest Press Release ....

Captain Mike Thornycroft

Captain David Lamb

First Officer Gary Keogh

Flight Engineer Pete Launder

Flight Engineer Steve Hooper

Loadmaster Chris Strydom

Ground Engineer Mario Zahn


16th Oct 2004, 09:28
Any 747 operator able to back-calculate the approximate rotate point from brakes-off assuming that 2700m of RW had been planned in the conditions prevailing?

If the a/c really did enter the RW at Taxiway Delta, why did the tower not query it? The Delta entrance is almost directly outside the tower window.

I once flew a simulator sortie from Colorado Springs at MRTOW and the 'modelled' RW on the visual was the older RW, whereas we'd planned the newer, longer RW and had been re-pos'd at the holding point to save time. When you see the end of the RW unexpectedly rushing towards you between V1 and Vr, it's quite horrifying even in a simulator. What would you do for real? Well, an RAF TriStar was once confronted by an idiot army driver in a truck who'd crossed the RW without clearance - and by going to max thrust and rotating well below Vr they cleared the truck (just) but I can't recall whether the tail struck the RW.

My condolences to the bereaved.

16th Oct 2004, 11:37
I stand to be corrected here but it may be the case that CYHZ tower is unmanned at that time of the day. If so, the only ATC coverage would have been a Flight Service Specialist probably without a direct view of the airport.
Can you confirm Smurfjet?

16th Oct 2004, 12:10
With all respect to the men who lost their lives,

For another possiblity for the cause of this accident one could look at another 747 classic that had problems becoming airborne and crashed in 1974 at Nairobi, Kenya.


Boeing 747 D-ABYB was taking off for the last leg of the Frankfurt-Nairobi-Johannesburg flight when the crew felt vibration or buffeting following lift off. The captain, suspecting wheel imbalance, raised the gear. A lack of acceleration forced the crew to lower the nose in order to maintain airspeed. The Boeing continued to descend however and contacted the ground 1120m past the end of runway 24 and struck an elevated road 114m further on. The aircraft broke up and caught fire before coming to rest 454m past the initial point of impact.
PROBABLE CAUSE: "The accident was caused by the crew initiating a take-off with the leading edge flaps retracted because the pneumatic system which operates them had not been switched on. This resulted in the aircraft becoming airborne in a partially stalled condition which the pilots did not identify in the short time available to them for recovery. Major contributory factors were the lack of warning of a critical condition of leading edge flap position and the failure of the crew to complete satisfactorily their checklist items."

I don't want to jump to conclusions or blame anyone prematurely for the accident, I'm merely interested in the hows and whys of all accidents as a student of aerospace engineering. I have some knowledge of the 747's systems, but remember I'm a student, not aircrew. :8

I imagine this could still be possible with one of todays (heavier) classics, but please, correct me if I'm wrong.

My sincere condolences to ones who lost someone dear. :sad:

16th Oct 2004, 12:10
HZ tower is 24/7

16th Oct 2004, 12:31
Although CYHZ tower is manned 24/7 at that time of night there could have been only one hat doing both the job of both ground and tower controller. It is quite possible depending on traffic, that the flight was cleared to position on runway 24 the taxi route being at their discretion. There are so many different scenarios that could have taken place that speculation is hopeless so it’s best to wait for the investigators to complete their job.

16th Oct 2004, 14:45

This is a media quote;

"Investigators working in scorched wreckage and driving rain began Friday to reconstruct the final, harrowing seconds of the doomed flight of the MK Airlines Ltd. cargo plane. What they've already learned is that the tail of the wide-body jet struck the runway twice during takeoff early Thursday, then broke off after hitting a mound, or berm, topped by an antenna"

Ranger One
16th Oct 2004, 17:41

If the a/c really did enter the RW at Taxiway Delta, why did the tower not query it? The Delta entrance is almost directly outside the tower window.

Why would they use Delta anyway? On a 24 departure, assuming 103T loaded and not tankering, would they have planned to roll directly from Echo without backtracking?

Other than that... wait for the tower tapes... IF this is the area where there was a problem, at least a partial answer should be forthcoming fairly quickly...


16th Oct 2004, 18:04
This would be an interesting and useful thread if we could manage to eliminate all the "condolences for the crew" type postings which have no other constructive or useful information in them. Most of these posters (not all) deserve little respect, as they are probably just using the accident to increase their number of postings. If not, they should restrain themselves, as their comments are neither rumours or news.

Every time there is an accident PPrune is a useful site to get an idea of what really happened, but all these banal condolence postings really are banal. OF COURSE we all feel dreadfully sorry for the families of the crew - that should go without saying.

16th Oct 2004, 18:09
R1 ..... what does "and not tankering" mean? ......

16th Oct 2004, 18:24
I remember a DC-9 crashing on take off from Detroit many years back. I believe that was blamed on incorrect flap settings, but the A/C took off and stalled in a nose high attitude resulting in an initial impact with a power pole and then full impact with a bridge. If slat position were to blame, would the 747 have been a greater distance away? And, as with the 747 crash, if it did not have ample runway to use, would it not have ended up in the field just off the end of the runway where the tail parts were found?

16th Oct 2004, 18:44

The Pprune site is an excellent site to get useful background information but it doesn’t really tell us what happened that is the job of the accident investigators. Spreading needless speculation without the full knowledge of the facts is very unproductive. Speculation on this side of the pond is running rampant as some of the friends of the line crew involved are relating what the line crew heard, saw and experienced. The rumors may very well turn out to be factual but no-one knows for sure. Like every other accident I’m sure that this accident will turn out to be an accumulation of events, remember it’s rare that one event will kill you but a chain of events will…


Fuel is cheap in CYHZ making the "tankering" or transporting of it to a high fuel cost destination desirable for use on the next leg.

16th Oct 2004, 19:08
A-FLOOR The configuration anomaly at NBO (D-ABYB) was further compounded upon leaving ground effect due to higher density altitude/high elevation airport. (5300+ feet).

If Vr appears to be long in coming and if the end is near, an unwritten technique of last resort would be to immediately "firewall" the throttles and extend flaps another notch...just to get off the pavement intact. But if leading edge flaps had stayed retracted at YHZ, as you had theorized in one scenario, then this desperate last minute survival measure would have made no difference either.

Phileas Fogg
16th Oct 2004, 19:31
Fuel would have to be a hell of a lot cheaper to tanker it for something like 6 hours to spain, something like 20+% cheaper.
But, does one want to put excessive weight into an already heavy freighter on what isn't the longest of runways?

16th Oct 2004, 19:52
Phileas Fogg

Fuel tankerage of 6 hours is no big deal, as it has become quite a cost effective science. The final decision to carry tankerage fuel rests with the Captain or at least it does at my company..

16th Oct 2004, 20:03
Apparently mk's 7th hull loss, and more than one of the previous accidents have had findings that crew fatigue was a contributing factor!

Phileas Fogg
16th Oct 2004, 20:12
I am fully aware of the viabilities ot tankering fuel, companies normally issue guidelines to Capt's regarding when & where it may be viable to tanker fuel, if they didn't then the Capt. may not be aware of contract fuel prices!
I don't know what science you're referring to but as a rule of thumb, it costs 3+% fuel burn per hour to carry that additional fuel thus it needs to be something like 20% cheaper in YHZ to make it viable on the sector concerned.

16th Oct 2004, 20:23
There, but for the grace of (my) God, go I...

Rest well guys. You were a good bunch of blokes.

16th Oct 2004, 20:52
Thanks for your 5 cents worth Riverboat.
I think the Condolence messages are really nice for people who knew the crew. I am sure some of the friends and relatives of the crews who read these messages know the faces behind the names on this forum and I am sure they really appreciate the messages of support.

16th Oct 2004, 20:56
Tan .... many thanks for the "tankering" info :ok:

16th Oct 2004, 21:02
Phileas Fogg

Perhaps my airline’s policy differs from the scenario that you have put forth. Flight dispatch normally through a computer program has determined where when, and if it’s cheaper to do tankerage as there is more then the actual cost of the fuel to consider such as hook-up fee’s additional aircraft maintenance costs, operating costs etc. That is why I referred to the carriage of tankerage fuel as a science as the software program is designed to take into account all the various factors. If I recall correctly the rule of thumb that we use is 4% per 10,000# of tankerage fuel carried per hour whatever, as the flight plan tells us exactly how much it fuel it costs to carry the tankerage.

I would dump tankerage fuel in a heartbeat, as would any other Captain if I thought it was going to affect the safety of my operation.


16th Oct 2004, 21:51
Can anyone tell (from the International press at this stage) if the 747 ever got airborne so far? Apparently it did not.

Yes it did.......barely.

I believe the investigators said it got airborne with something like 150 meters of runnway left. Evidently not enough to clear the berm. After the tail came off the rest of the plane continued through the air into trees where the wings came off and the fuse hit the ground - breaking up.

Phileas Fogg
16th Oct 2004, 22:23
This post should not be diversifying from the subject in hand however I can only presume you work for a healthy passenger airline. Here, we are talking about the rough and tough cargo world.
Sure, I've produced many 'max fuel' computerised flight plans in my career but the systems I worked with only took into consideration aircraft performance and not airfield performance.
It's all very well for an Ops guy to produce such a flight plan but I doubt airfield conditions were taken into consideration, not just the modest runway length but was it contaminated, what was the surface wind, what flap settings were the crew to use etc.
Whether it be via a flight crew notice or a computerised flight plan, the operator would need to notify the Capt. of fuel prices for him to accertain if it was financially beneficial to tanker or not, of course the Capt. would need to take into consideration the RTOW which Ops, at best, would have been only able to second guess at when producing the flight plan.
All your most recent of post does is talk about the flight planning equipment available, I said 3+%, you say 4% so we don't disagree there however I don't believe any Captain should believe a flight plan will tell him EXACTLY how much fuel will be burnt, it'll only do that if it has the winds, payload etc. spot on and those winds may have been forecast some 12 hours previously.
I've never known a Capt. who believes that the flight plan has the fuel burn EXACT! All I said in my original post was that the fuel in YHZ would have to be significantly cheaper to make tankering fuel viable, on your figure of 4% and let's call it a 6 hour leg then it would need to be 25% cheaper to make it viable, I stand by my original post and your writings have not said a single word in dispute of this.

AN2 Driver
16th Oct 2004, 22:58

Sure, I've produced many 'max fuel' computerised flight plans in my career but the systems I worked with only took into consideration aircraft performance and not airfield performance.

The system I worked with had an option "economical fuelling" which would give the PIC the information on

what the fuel prices were at which port of call,
how much fuel it was economical to carry,
how much the gain would be at intermediate figures

It's all very well for an Ops guy to produce such a flight plan but I doubt airfield conditions were taken into consideration, not just the modest runway length but was it contaminated, what was the surface wind, what flap settings were the crew to use etc.

Any ops guy worth his money and in a company with SOP's worth considering would definitly look into that even before starting calculations. What we would do first would be to go into the IRT's and find out the RTOW we would have to calculate with in the first place bases on TAF and actual conditions. We would then use that as a base for the above calculations. Naturally, the precalculated values were conservative in our company, but the crew would have a good idea on what to plan with.

Being based at an airport which has notorious political problems with tailwind take offs being the rule rather the exeption, we definitly were checking and rechecking these values over and over again until doors closed. Of course we'd do the same for the outstations.

I've been out of profession for 3 years now, but I had a look at some 747-200 IRT's yesterday and a 2700m runway at SL and with 0 wind in the calculation (yes, I know there was some headwind) looks rather short for an intercontinental flight in the best of conditions. Of course the accident plane might have been totally different from the one I looked at, but if I calculate a ZFW of around 260 tons on a 6-7 hour trip, I think with minimum fuel it would push 350 tons. That is a lot of weight to carry out of a 2700 m runway, at least for the -200 series I looked at.

Best regards

AN2 Driver

17th Oct 2004, 01:27
If you have nothing better to say then keep off this forum.
Facts are what we want not incorrect figures that spark more rumours. Think before you write

Well put I think riverboat is one heartless person.
Show some compassion !!!!

17th Oct 2004, 01:41
Investigators confirm that tail of cargo jet hit runway before crash

Steve Macleod
Canadian Press

October 16, 2004

HALIFAX -- A Boeing 747 was barely airborne when it rocketed off the end of a runway, broke its back on an earthen mound, then careened out of control into thick woods and brush.

Investigators working in scorched wreckage and driving rain began Friday to reconstruct the final, harrowing seconds of the doomed flight of the MK Airlines Ltd. cargo plane. What they've already learned is that the tail of the wide-body jet struck the runway twice during takeoff early Thursday, then broke off after hitting a mound, or berm, topped by an antenna.

All seven crewmen were killed in the crash at Halifax International Airport.

"The indication is there was prolonged contact of the aft fuselage on and off the runway," said Bill Fowler, a spokesman for the Transportation Safety Board of Canada.

"The aircraft was barely airborne. The scrape trail disappears just before the berm."

The preliminary finding supports an eyewitness account of the crash - the fourth by the Britain-and Ghana-based airline in 12 years.

An airport worker recounted seeing a rooster-tail of sparks trailing the wide-body plane as the pilot tried desperately to lift off.

Fowler said the tail struck the runway for the first time about 250 metres from the end of the 2,700-metre runway, then again with about 170 metres to go.

About 300 metres beyond the end of the strip, the tail struck the berm and sheered off, sealing the fate of everyone on board.

"That is what caused the tail to break away from the rest of the airplane," said Fowler, one of 25 TSB investigators on the scene.

The rest of the plane hurtled into the brush, carving a wide V-shaped swath before coming to rest in pieces about a kilometre from the tail.

"The main part of the fuselage continued . . . ballistically until the final impact point," he said.

Investigators are also examining whether or not the plane took off from the wrong spot.

An airport maintenance worker said the plane taxied on to the runway about 700 metres from its top and suggested it didn't have enough room to take off safely.

Fowler said it's too early to determine if "there was an early takeoff point - that is, substantially early."

Four British nationals, two Zimbabweans and a German died in the crash.

The dead Britons were Capt. Michael Thornycroft, a resident of South Africa; as well as Capt. David Lamb and flight engineers Peter Launder and Steve Hooper, all residents of Zimbabwe.

Also killed were ground engineer Mario Zahn, a German who lived in South Africa; and loadmaster Chris Strydom and First Officer Gary Keogh, both of Zimbabwe.

"I knew all of them personally," said a sombre John Power, operations manager for MK Airlines.

The Boeing 747-200, which was loaded with fuel for a flight to Spain, crashed shortly before 4 a.m. local time near an industrial park and quarry about 30 kilometres north of Halifax.

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17th Oct 2004, 01:42
SNAM Sort of.......
There were actually 2 sets of tail scrapes.
I don't think you could say that it ever got a chance to stall. About 150 meters from the end of the runway it lifted off - (probably hit it's minimum unstick speed and hung out in ground effect) - but going .....oh, i don't know, at least 150 knts (probably more), it wouldn't take long to eat up 150 meters i would think. The plane was barely able to lift off so once it got to the end of the runway it had no room left and the tail hit the berm at the end of the runway - tearing the tail off.

Momentum combined with thrust (asuuming max) from the engines carried it a few hundred meters (the exact distance is not mentioned yet) into the woods where the wings came off and everything came to an end.

From TC investigator:
Fowler said the tail struck the runway for the first time about 250 metres from the end of the 2,700-metre runway, then again with about 170 metres to go. About 300 metres beyond the end of the strip, the tail struck the berm and sheered off, sealing the fate of everyone on board. "The main part of the fuselage continued . . . ballistically until the final impact point," he said.

Farty Flaps
17th Oct 2004, 01:48

river and dicky both have a point.

1.It is not possible to feel grief over someone you didnt know ..fact.To do so is has a diluting effect on the event.
you may empathise but not eulogise. To do so cheapens the genuine grief.I knew two of the crew but dont feel the need to publicise my shock.

2.If fatigue/duty could be written off as a factor, then why and how does a company operate out of manston but feel the need to be registered in west africa?Maybe its more leinient, maybe not , but it would be a line of enquiry, assuming the records and laws of the west african state are available for scrutiny...yeah right. Flags of convenience indicate one thing...plyable laws and scrutiny...why do the uk caa allow this to happen

as i saidI knew a couple of the crew, but i've seen many people die in this job for reasons that could have been avoided. A shiney website and good guys doesnt exonerate the owners from liability, and dare i say it , the crew also.

Some good men are dead now is not the time to shy away from the facts.

Shore Guy
17th Oct 2004, 03:24
regarding runway used.....

"Responding to renewed questions about where the aircraft started its takeoff run, Fowler said it's believed the jet used all but the first 60 metres of Runway 24."


17th Oct 2004, 05:05
To me, all the characteristics of this kind of accident happening in Halifax would have immediately drawn suspicion to a possible failure to de-ice.... except for the fact that of course it did not actually happen in weather that was even remotely close to Winter. My personal suspicion is that there was some failure regarding flap configuration.

Meanwhile, The Globe & Mail is reporting that two engines of this 747 were replaced just weeks before the accident. Here is the article:

Crashed jet had engines replaced

Canadian Press

Halifax — The cargo jet that crashed in flames off the end of a Halifax runway last week had two engines replaced in the weeks leading up to the accident, investigators revealed Saturday.

The new information has raised questions about the engines and maintenance history of the Boeing 747-200 operated by MK Airlines of Britain.

Bill Fowler, an investigator with the Transportation Safety Board of Canada, said he didn't know why the engines had been replaced or where the work had been done.

"We'll get the facts . . . and see if there's any indication of a systemic issue with this aircraft or these engines," Mr. Fowler told a news conference at the Halifax International Airport.

All seven people aboard the plane were killed Thursday morning after the huge jet crashed into a wooded area near the airport as it tried to take off.

It was the fourth time an MK Airlines jet has crashed in the past 12 years.

Fowler said the jet had a major maintenance inspection in Jakarta, Indonesia, in September. Since the inspection, two engines had been changed.

There are typically four engines on 747s, as well as an auxiliary power unit in the tail of the aircraft.

"There could be any number of reasons why you'd change an engine," Mr. Fowler said.

"We're trying to find out the circumstances around each engine and what was it that required it to be changed."

Capt. John Power, operations manager for MK Airlines, said the 747 typically uses all four engines during takeoff.

However, 747 crews are expected to factor in the possibility of one engine failing.

Investigators have struggled in their search through the plane's wreckage in recent days, as heavy rain has drenched the crash site.

Meanwhile, gawkers continue to make their way to the debris field, causing problems for the RCMP.

Camera equipment and camping gear was seized from one group that entered the secure area, said RCMP Insp. Peter Lepine.

Meanwhile, Mr. Fowler confirmed the bodies of the seven crew members had been recovered.

But investigators were still searching for the jet's data and voice recorders.

Responding to renewed questions about where the aircraft started its takeoff run, Mr. Fowler said it's believed the jet had used the majority of Runway 24, although he said it may have started shortly after the beginning of the runway.

Under ideal circumstance, the shortened run would still have given the aircraft enough room to take off, Mr. Fowler said.

When asked whether a shorter run and an engine problem could have contributed to the crash, Fowler suggested it was possible.

"It's obviously going to affect performance," he said. "Runway length is an element, the weight of the aircraft, the environmental circumstances and of course the condition of the aircraft — the amount of thrust that's being produced."

17th Oct 2004, 05:21
It seems a bit unusual that the CVR and FDR have not been found yet.

Goldfish Jack
17th Oct 2004, 07:45
Firstly, might I add my name to the list of people expressing their condolences - the loss of someone in our aviation fraternity is always hard to accept and one often wonders why these things happen. Life is so hard on occassions.

I am led to believe that the aircraft had recently come out of a C check/service. They might have had an engine failure on the one side, with possible ingestion by the other engine. The subsequent yaw possibly resulted in some of the cargo coming loose and moving which would have affected the C of G and subsequent related effects on the control of the aircraft.

Any thought on this one?

17th Oct 2004, 07:59
That is unusual. The FDR & CVR are located in the aft equipment centre E8, just aft of the main cargo door but within the pressurized cabin area, considered to be the most survivable section in a crash.

Goldfish, I very much doubt if any yawing moment would compromise the pallet locks on the cargo deck. Have you ever operated a 747F? Are you familiar with the loading system? Most unlikely to have a load shift, especially with a professional load master in the crew.

17th Oct 2004, 08:13
The temptation to speculate what happened is great, (I do it myself), but I do believe its best not to publicise my opinions when the only availible (Mis-?)information we get is from the media, who screw it up well enough on a good day.
I don't know any of the guys who lost their lives, but still they were kindred spirits who deserve to be given the dignity and respect any of us would want.
Remember, opinions are like A-holes,, we all have one and most of the time they stink.

Why don't we wait for the report and in the meantime mourn the loss of kindred spirits and another airplane?

Phileas Fogg
17th Oct 2004, 08:29
AN2 Driver,
I think you'd be surprised how many Ops guys understand little about route planning and computerised flight planning, many have been trained only to tap the right buttons without understanding the theory behind it.
To put the amount of work in to producing the flight plan you suggest might be 1 hour's work, fine if the guy has got nothing better to do but we're talking about a fleet of some 13 aircraft.
Also, this aircraft was on a multi-sector trip, the flight plan could have been delivered to the crew before they left USA so the data used would have been even moreso out of date.
I know little about the performance of a B747F's but I do know about DC8F's and with a heavy DC8 (40,000K+ payload) it would have enough problems getting off that length of runway on a transatlantic sector without adding additional weight.
I think we can put the idea of tankering fuel to bed.

17th Oct 2004, 09:29
I agree with your posting I think it's time the managers and owners of the airline answered some serious questions.
Ops Manager Power is quoted in a newspaper as saying "MK have an excellent safety record"
What dream is this man living in????
Time to stop, take a step back and face the facts!!!!!

17th Oct 2004, 13:23
I'm perplexed why replacing engines (which surely have been tested in service) should attract so much attention in the press. It is a very low probability that this detail had anything to do with the accident.

Also, so what? if there was a single engine failure of any of the 4 engines assuming that the speeds vs VR and runway length vs gross weight had been calculated correctly.

If the numbers are correct than you need at least two major system failures to take it out of a routine training syllabus and to postulate two independent engine failures beyond V1 is statistically extremely remote.

Waiting for more data

17th Oct 2004, 13:52
The aircraft actually left Ostend saturday
don't you think that if there was any problems
with overhauled engine(s) they would have had
problems before, being the aircraft would without
doubt been loaded going over to Halifax?

17th Oct 2004, 14:18
GlueBallDesperate measures

A-FLOOR The configuration anomaly at NBO (D-ABYB) was further compounded upon leaving ground effect due to higher density altitude/high elevation airport. (5300+ feet).

If Vr appears to be long in coming and if the end is near, an unwritten technique of last resort would be to immediately "firewall" the throttles and extend flaps another notch...just to get off the pavement intact. But if leading edge flaps had stayed retracted at YHZ, as you had theorized in one scenario, then this desperate last minute survival measure would have made no difference either.As you know the Lufthansa was a 747-100 certified for about 333 tons MTOW and according to the 1976 report weighed an estimated 254,576kg when it took off, and the MK aircraft is a 747-200F certified for a much higher MTOW: 369,224kg according to the INTAG.

While I don't know if the MK Airlines aircraft was fully laden, any disruption or anomaly in the aircraft's high lift devices would have had far greater implications on the plane's ability to leave the ground than on the fateful Lufthansa flight. And ofcourse, as you know 2700m isn't a whole lot of runway for a 747 that is about to cross the Atlantic with 53 tons of lobsters and fish and an unknown load of lawn tractors in its cargo hold. I imagine it would have been very close to the maximum permissible takeoff weight for that runway in those conditions. :ugh:

17th Oct 2004, 15:04
But what everyone seems to overlook is the fact that
if the leading edges were not extended the config warning
would be sounding as soon as he advanced the throttles
even during the initial breakaway power before taxi.
And if this was the case, heavy or not ,any pilot would correct
the cenario prior to take off

17th Oct 2004, 15:24
If the 747's aural takeoff configuration warning system was indeed modified as recommended (not demanded) by the authorities in the 1976 report, then indeed that would be the case. :)

Does anyone know if this was the case? On the 747-400 they have, but I'm not sure about the 747-200 in question. One would think it was, as the plane was built in 1980.

17th Oct 2004, 16:54
A-FLOOR: Haven't read the probable cause as to the Lufty scenario at NBO, but one could image that the F/E had the engine bleed valves turned off while the flaps were set, off for extra thrust at a high altitude airport. The leading edge flaps, being pneumatically operated, didn't extend and the absence of the "LE" green light wasn't noticed. Do you know the details of that accident?

17th Oct 2004, 17:12
GlueBall & SNAM

Some more details (weights, times, pictures, CVR transcript and investigative findings & recommendations) here:



According to A.net the MKJ had a round-dial flightdeck (as opposed to tape-style):


I found that on tape-style 747 flightdecks (including a simulator I frequently work on) the LE lights on the tape style flaps gauge on the CM1 side of the engine instruments are so tiny that any misconfig could easily go unnoticed if they aren't in the aural warning logic. On round-dial flightdecks these lights are slightly larger and on the CM2 side under the two flaps gauges.

Although it's pointless to do so, I would assume something was indeed wrong with the high-lift devices and that this is the reason the aircraft couldn't get airborne. The fact that this plane didn't get airborne at all as opposed to the 1974 Lufthansa flight (which flew for about 1km past the runway threshold) could be attributed to the weight (254,576kg vs. a likely 369,224kg) and the damage incurred when the tail struck the embankment. The forward shift in CG and the loss of elevator "downforce" by the tail breaking off caused the rest of the plane to lurch forward very rapidly and as it struck the ground clipped the power lines to the airport :ugh:

But let's wait for more info from the people who do this for a living :ok:

king air guy
17th Oct 2004, 18:17
I normally don't comment on tragedies such as this as I am not an investigator, nor was I there. So please don’t think I’m trying to “jump on the bandwagon”.

I was talking to a friend of mine who works handling planes (and that one) in YHZ. Although he himself wasn’t working that night many of his close friends/co-workers were and these were some of the points he mentioned to me. Take them as you will.

The plane was fully loaded with the exception of 2 small spots at the rear of the plane, unusually large load. Also a large amount of fuel was taken on as the cost of fuel was cheaper in YHZ then there destination.

On push back the tug operator made a comment that the plane was “really heavy” as the HUF was having a hard time pushing it back. It should be noted that 3 sources (pilots, loadmaster, and line crew) confirmed the load and albeit heavy, on paper was not over weight and within C of G. The newspaper was incorrect as to load, there was more fish then reported (30,000 pounds more) and there weren’t tractors on board but these little 6 wheels amphibious ATV’s, which are fairly light, among other stuff.

It was thought by the ground crew that an intersection departure was made either Echo or Delta, not 100% sure on which.

I know next to nothing about the 747, but I assume a reduced power T/O is the norm and as such the line crew are used to what noise level those engines make. Apparently some point down the T/O roll, the engines powered up to such a point that everyone had noticed and turned to look, indicating Full power. Line crews were noted as saying they’ve never heard the 747 make that much noise on takeoff.

Then as mentioned the tail struck, was dragged, the nose went higher as the end of RWY 24 came, the tail broke off, the power to the airport was cut off, all lights went out, then the fire ball.

A few of the line crew raced to the scene, in an attempt to find survivors. You all know the rest.

Again, not making any assumptions, just sharing some of what was told to me by someone who knows/works with the eyewitnesses.
But the truth of what actually happened will only be known when the investigation is complete.

17th Oct 2004, 18:26
Recent section 41 inspection maybe?

17th Oct 2004, 18:41
Section 41 is at the front of the airframe.:confused:

17th Oct 2004, 18:57

Well, don't get me wrong, but on large aircraft you look at the light and if the light says your LE flaps are out, then they are out. Simply because there are so many safety features in these systems making an erroneous indication highly impropable and ofcourse because of the fact that visually checking the LE flaps position would have been near impossible on a Boeing 747 at 3AM.

I was referring to the aural warning as something that might have prevented the Lufthansa tragedy, as a safety net for a crew that for whatever reason failed to recheck the LE flap position, not as something to solely rely upon. As I said before, on the 747 classic the LE lights are easy to be missed or even misinterpreted as there are two of them right next to each other: one to indicate the LE flaps are travelling and one to indicated they are all deployed correctly.

On the 747-400 when you apply power with the flaps out of their takeoff positions a clear EICAS message appears and the red warning light and associated aural warning comes on, forcing the crew to abort the takeoff. The question is whether the 1976 recommendation following the 1974 Lufthansa crash were followed by an A/D and the leading edge flaps were included in the warning logic of the older 747 classics.

17th Oct 2004, 19:30

The LE flap indication light on a 747 classic is general, meaning one light for the 20 krueger flaps that are on the plane, with not even a distinction between L or R. One little green light indicates whether your plane will make it into the air in time or not.

But if this LE flaps hypothesis is what happened, the problem is not with the light or the gauges but like on LH540 with the crew. On the Lufty flight both LE flaps lights were extinguished, indicating that the LE flaps were not deployed. The crew failed to take notice, so subsquently the aircraft had difficulties getting airborne and crashed 1100m past the threshold. I'm suggesting that if the MKJ didn't have the suggested modification fitted to alert the crew to the configuration error which -if that is what happened- they failed to pick up initially, the same course of events might be what happened at Halifax.

So to answer your question: if the crew didn't check the position of the LE flaps properly and the suggested modification to the T/O config warning was not implemented, they started the takeoff without LE flaps and with the increased weight compared to the Lufthansa flight the plane would have refused to lift off the relatively short runway and continued roaring down the ground either until it picked up enough airspeed to take off without LE flaps or until she hit something.... regretfully the latter was the case. :ugh:

On another note though: the eyewitness reports that state the plane was both "really heavy" and at the same time state that is was taking off from a point of decreased runway distance (2000m vs. 2700m) suggest the crew started the takeoff without having enough runway, and found out when it was too late. :sad:

AN2 Driver
17th Oct 2004, 19:39

<<I think you'd be surprised how many Ops guys understand little about route planning and computerised flight planning, many have been trained only to tap the right buttons without understanding the theory behind it.

Not where I come from, luckily. I'd certainly feel less than enthusiastic working in such an environment. In any event, a recheck of RTOW by the crew would be expected before any departure, especially on a comparatively short runway such as this one.

It is as you say, I have been on and around longhaul planes for the better part of 20 years and 2700m and a max gross (insert widebody type) are not what I would expect to compute.

Ah well, we'll know soon enough I guess.

Best regards

AN2 Driver

king air guy
17th Oct 2004, 19:53
A floor, I was asked to post this tread by a member of this board and the board I frequent due to the amount of pure speculation going on in here. I read, too late that someone had done it for me.

I haven't read every post in this thread but I must say there are some real "experts" in here...


17th Oct 2004, 19:56
king air guy

Yes, both tan and I have removed our posts and he sent me a PM. Sorry if I caused any aggravation. :)

gas path
17th Oct 2004, 20:03
Just a couple of minor points ref the LH accident, there were 2 parts to the SB for the leading edge flaps one as described was the config warning and the other more important was that on the early classics it was possible to start the engines without selecting the pylon (bleed air) valve switches to on first. Therefore it was possible to start the engines with the pylon valves selected closed with only the reverse flow solenoid opening the valve until the start switch was released.
There is not only the leading edge flap lights on the P2 panel but also the annunciator on the FE panel which has amber (transit) and green (extended) flap motor position lights.

17th Oct 2004, 20:22
gas path

Thanks for pointing that out :ok:

So I guess the change recommendation for the warning system was "just" issued as an SB?

gas path
17th Oct 2004, 20:27
Actually, the mists of time etc etc, it may well have been an AD!

17th Oct 2004, 22:06
RCMP help find crashed jet's data recorder
CTV.ca News Staff

Thanks to a break in the weather, search teams have found the black box of a cargo jet that crashed at Halifax's International Airport last week.

RCMP helped with the search by taking advantage of Sunday's dry weather to move heavy equipment into the crash site.

Bill Fowler of the Transportation Safety Board is calling the discovery of the flight data recorder a break in the investigation, but said they are still looking for the cockpit voice recorder.

The recorder will be taken to TSB headquarters in Ottawa, where it will be examined.

Fowler told a news conference that the data recorder might have suffered some heat damage.

"We are not certain of the integrity of the data, but certainly this is an important milestone in our investigation," Fowler said.

The cargo jet crashed in flames off the end of a runway last week. So far investigators know that the tail of the plane hit the runway. They aren't sure why.

17th Oct 2004, 22:19
A-FLOOR: Thanks for the link.

gas path: I don't think that the F/E (Lufty at NBO) necessarily had to have started the engines, as you had said, with the pylon bleed air valves deliberately closed, as it is not a normal procedure to turn off the bleeds. A more likely scenario was that he had turned the bleeds off during taxi-out (backtrack on Rwy) just as the flaps were lowered to Ten degrees. (No 2 Pack could continuously have been powered from APU air with isolation valves closed). Perhaps because of the high altitude airport, Lufty's procedure, or the captain's preference, was to take-off with the bleeds off to extract max thrust from the engines.

But Captain Krack's response on the CVR (from A-FLOOR's attached link on his previous post) to the Flaps callout was: "10/10 and GREEN." So whether he had actually seen the green LE light, or whether he had just answered a conditioned response, it was undetected by the F/E and F/O. :ouch:

17th Oct 2004, 23:06
McGinty - without questioning your reasons, or qualifications, why would you only suspect "some failure regarding flap config"?

king air guy - if "3 sources (pilots, loadmaster, linecrew) confirmed the load, and albeit heavy, on paper was not overweight + was within C of G limits", why on earth would the operating crew decide on an intersection take-off "as reported by line crews"? Come on guys, on a 2700m runway, I hardly think that's likely?

17th Oct 2004, 23:11
Well, it was in the middle of the night so they could have just taken a wrong turn during taxiing.

Strange yes, but hardly unlikely. :(

17th Oct 2004, 23:50
king air guy - but your later comment of there being some real "experts" on this thread is oh so true! Too many bored people with too much time on their hands perhaps? To those experts - get a grip, get objective, and get off the wagon!:(


A wrong turn? I don't know if you've seen the airport chart, but how hard is it to get confused between three taxiways? Middle of the night or not, I think if they had conferred and agreed that they were heavy (as the "linecrew" said they had), then they would have all been particularily aware of where to taxi? This whole leading-edge theory bothers me too - how many times does a group of people in a 747-200F have to check the LE devices in order to satisfy the "experts" out there? The NBO crash was so long ago, and all those lessons have been deliberated for so long, just for them to all be brought out and dusted off now that another one has had an accident on take-off? Surely all the pilots that this concerns might have learned from that one guys? Any other theories?


Thanks for the update on the black-box recovery:ok:

18th Oct 2004, 00:28
Welcome to PPRuNe.

Your profile indicates you just joined, have two posts so far, both of them is this topic, and fly 747s and DC-8s for a living. Something you want to tell us perhaps?

While I don't know if you somehow knew the guys who lost their lives in this tragic accident, we are all very sorry this happened and I can assure you our thoughts are with them.

But however understandable, there is absolutelty no need to take your frustrations out on me or anyone of us simply because we like to talk about the possibilities as to why this happened.

18th Oct 2004, 00:37

Thank you for your welcome.

As you and I know well, it is very easy to assume you know a candidate by viewing their profile. But how easy is it to register under a new name with any relevant criteria to fit a profile? Haven't we met before? Is there anyone in your past who has questioned your motives, causing you to jump and check? The obvious may not be as simple as you first think. All I'm asking is that you answer the questions asked, not the profile where they come from!:ok:

see your pm!

18th Oct 2004, 00:52
Ofcourse you are totally right, but I must say that regging on a forum time after time just to put people in their place is a very silly thing to do, and neither do I expect anyone I see on the forums I frequent who might be new to be someone from my past who has come to haunt me or something ;)

So, to answer your question: As I've mentioned in this topic and as you might have read in my profile I'm a student in aerospace engineering. Personally, I don't think there is anything wrong with theorizing a case to try to explain what happened with the limited information that is available to us, and I don't think that my LH540 comparison is excessive, as you might have noticed that the two accidents appear to be very similar and involve the same type of aircraft.

So until the proper facts are presented to us by the people who are rightfully in charge of this, theorizing is all we can do to try to and quench the thirst for answers. :ok:

18th Oct 2004, 02:08

see your pm.

Rather than bog this thread down with endless "clever" use of the English language - let's examine the possibilities. Don't get all caught up on the mis-config theory, but rather examine other things which might have gone wrong. As you said, until the relevant authorities tell us what actually happened, all we can do is speculate. But three pages of threads on the same topic is going nowhere fast - rather open other avenues which other people might be interested in?:ok:

Do you think we could interest anyone else out there to comment on any other theories - load shift, mis-bugging, engine failures (according to ground "witnesses", there was an "explosion" heard?) In my recent experience of aircraft accidents, 747's don't just run off the end of runways, and I don't think this particular company's crew training can be that much different from anyone else's in the world?

18th Oct 2004, 06:31
In response to csomesense's question: McGinty - without questioning your reasons, or qualifications, why would you only suspect "some failure regarding flap config"?

As with many others. I cannot help but speculate on the underlying causes of tragedies such as this particular crash, especially in the absence of hard data. Puzzles such as this naturally draw the curious into speculation as to the cause.

As noted in my first post, if this accident had occured in the midst of winter, then one would immediately suspect that icing might be the primary cause of a failure of a modern airliner to achieve sufficent lift to become airborne at a Canadian airport.

Given the absence of icing, there are really only three possible causes: c of g out of whack (including possible load shift); insufficent thrust; or insufficient lift.

It is difficult to imagine that the c of g was out of whack if the plane was fully loaded, given the description of the cargo. Similarly, if the plane was full of pallets, it is difficult to imagine anything that would stimulate a major load shift. A few empty spots would be required for a destabilising load shift to take place.

Regarding insufficent thrust, there are no eyewitness reports of unusual sounds or sights regarding engine performance prior to the plane hitting the berm. In addition, the kinetic energy of the plane was clearly very high, given how far it ploughed through the forest at the end of the runway. Also, there are no reports of any engine debris on the field prior to the collision with the berm.

All in all, my curiosity leads me to think that this plane just did not have enough lift, the two tail strikes indicating a desperate attempt to get the thing off the ground.

There are a number of accidents in modern times of planes not leaving the ground or barely getting airborne, and nearly all of them seem to have involved flap problems when icing was ruled out as a possible cause.

Just my guess, and of course there may be other compounding elements that may be revealed in due course.

18th Oct 2004, 07:25

I feel compelled to dispel any rumors and speculations regarding this aeroplane, which I personally have flown under an earlier tail number.

1) The leading edge devices are not slats at all, they are leading edge flaps. There are 4 on each wing and there are individual annunciator lights on the Flight Engineer's panel (Fondly referred to as 'Nairobi Lights, as they were fitted after the Nairobi incident), repeating to a master light on the pilots forward panel which will illuminate amber for any ONE OR MORE leading edge out of agreement with selected flap position.

2) The aircraft in question was fitted with a takeoff warning horn to alert the crew to any configuration deviations.

The chances of the crew failing to observe two different warnings (Aural and Annunciator) are slim, but naturally not impossible.

I would like to say for the second time on this forum, that investigation is best left to professionals who have access to relevant info, and speculation is best pursued around a few drinks, where no-one is taking notes of all the dumb ideas we come up with...


18th Oct 2004, 08:18
Your statement, "that (the) investigation is best left to professionals who have access to relevant info" is the best statement that I have read so far concerning this accident.
Good on ya, mate!
One thing is for sure-there was not enough runway available for WHATEVER configuration they were in, i.e. intersection departure, loss of thrust or low thrust on one or more engines, flaps not in the proper position for this departure or more weight for this aircraft on this runway. I can't think of many other possibilities.
I need to correct you on one statement. The -200 (not sure on the -400) has 20 leading edge flaps, 10 on each side-not 4. They are in 4 groups.

18th Oct 2004, 08:54
Airguitar, whilst you are of course quite right, this is an aviation forum. It will always be a human trait to be curious about what may have caused an accident. Discussing the subject in a bar will only involve a handful of people at best. This forum advances the opportunity for many more to air their theories and for others (often professional pilots) to support or discount them. A good example is your own answer about what features the a/c was equipped with based on your “hands-on” experience of the a/c concerned. We all know that we will have to wait for the final report to know what actually did happen. That though will be a long time coming. In the meantime humans will speculate, pilots just as much as non-pilots. I think that we are all mature enough to understand that it is just that: speculation.

18th Oct 2004, 09:26
According to sources in Zimbabwe Air Canada had filed an objection to the MK flight to Halifax. The objection was overruled by Civil Aviation and the flight allowed. Maintenance was one part of the objection.

18th Oct 2004, 09:38
Speculation is often frowned upon as unprofessional and distasteful. However, I do not believe that is the case and agree with Avman.
Discussion about the possible causes of an accident, can increase our own awareness of how quickly things can go so horribly wrong.
If speculation makes us all the more aware in our own aviation careers, then it is a good thing.

To my friend, we will miss you terribly.

Sky Wave
18th Oct 2004, 09:43
If people don't like the speculation there's a very simple answer. Don't bother looking at thread. I suggest you look at the header at the top of this page, it says "rumour network"

I think most people on this forum are sensible enough to realise that the full facts will only be in the public domain once the report is published and until that time we will be working with rumours, speculation and hearsay.

Everyone has the right to voice there opinions on this matter and it should be left up to the reader as to whether they choose to accept the opinion or dismiss it.

"We have some real experts here" I would say that we have. We've got pilots with many years experience, Maintainers and many others involved in aviation.

18th Oct 2004, 10:31
To all of you speculating about indications for the L/E flaps,AD 75-05-11 was issued to "Provide the Crew with both visual and Aural indication of the L/E flap position" this AD had to be implemented by 29 March 1975 and was issued on 25 March 1975,and as I am sure you all know any aircraft from that date HAD to have had this AD complied with,an AD is a Mandatory requirement and is NOT a "Recommendation(whereas an SB is).A further AD(79-09-03) was issued on May 10th 1979 to do a one off test of the system and this had to be carried out within 500 hrs time in service.
My background is I am a B747-100/200/300 licensed Engineer but am now involved in Aircraft technical services.

18th Oct 2004, 11:28
747 Classic.

There are 13 Leading edge devices per wing, 10 Variable Camber and 3 Krueger Flaps. Total 26. Driven by 4 PDU's per wing.
Group A extend at Flaps 1 position and Group B extend at Flaps 5 position.
Should they not be in a Take Off Config aswell as visual indications on P2 and P4 the Aural Warning Horn will sound when No.3 Throttle is advanced.
For info the 747-400 has 28 Leading Edge devices. 1 extra per wing.

18th Oct 2004, 11:42
To all you guys on here who flew with my dad Roger at Affretair and knew the crew, regards and sympathies.

18th Oct 2004, 11:47
My apologies for ruffling a number of feathers,, :ouch:
However a few statements on the last few pages of this thread were completely wild guesses, serving to do more harm than good. If you don't know the airplane, ask those who do.

I also apologise for the misleading statement about the LE flaps. I meant 4 groups on each wing, indicated by 16 lights on the FE pane, one green and one amber for each group, etc.


18th Oct 2004, 12:57
as another boarder posted this is rumours&news.

so i apologize if the following is total wrong.

so may i throw in another theory:

speed indication.

what if the instruments showed a higher speed then the actual speed ?

maybe on the last 200-300 meters the crew realized this and applied full thrust to make it ?
and think about the tailstrike(s) - maybe the instruments showed vr but the actual speed was below this ?

reading all the posts about the flaps setting and the warnings when this isn't proper i would guess this accident has another cause.

another guess is the statement of the driver who pulled the 747 back "this is real heavy". maybe a problem with the gear ?
so maybe the plane accelerated slower then normal ?
don't know whether a crew would immediately realize this fact during the first 1000-1500 meters of a take off run ?

heavy as the plane and short as the runway was a difference of 5-10 km/h could be a factor ?

18th Oct 2004, 13:27
Data I have: From Brake Release......

@800K TOW distance to VR 8200', distance to 35 ft 9350'.
@833K TOW distance to VR 9176', distance to 35 ft 10404'.

These are 100% of balanced field length numbers not 115% as required.

Flight Safety
18th Oct 2004, 14:10
I think we can do some informed speculation based on some of the information that TSB has released to the press at this point.

TSB has reported that the tail struck the berm at the end of the runway (where it broke off), but there has been no mention whatsoever (at this point) that any of the landing gear struck the berm. So it appears that the aircraft got airborne just enough for the landing gear to clear the berm, but we know that the tail did not. The berm is located about 300 meters from the end of the runway.

The first tailstrike occurred at 250 metes before the end of the runway. Is this close to where VR should have occurred for this aircraft, at it's weight and at the field conditions that were present that night?

The other tailstrike occurred at 170 meters before the end of the runway, and appears to have continued until the aircraft finally lifted off right before the berm. This suggests to me that the pilots were trying desperately to get the aircraft airborne.

The distance between the first and second tailstrikes, may have been occupied with a sudden surprise to the pilots of a tailstrike, followed by a realization that the wheels were still on the runway, followed by a quick realization that they had to get the aircraft into the air. However, only the CVR (and perhaps the FDR) can really tell us this.

gas path
18th Oct 2004, 14:37
Just a minor point, BUT, the leading edge flap lights transit and extended refer to the motor position only and not the actual flap position.

Flight Safety
18th Oct 2004, 14:43
I might add that the fact that the pilots seemed able to lift the tail off the runway, and put it back down again after the first tailstrike, suggests that the pilots likely had normal pitch control of the airplane. Since this does not appear to be a typical "aft of CG limit" accident (seemingly normal rotation, followed by high pitch up and stall that the pilot can't control), this could all but eliminate the load shift theory.

(edited for clarity)

18th Oct 2004, 15:23
Unless it bounced.................

18th Oct 2004, 15:35
Flight Safety: If you overrotate and hit the tail hard enough, the airplane will porpoise nose down; a subsequent "pull-up" (second overrotation) would explain the second tail strike. :ooh:

Flight Safety
18th Oct 2004, 15:48
I thought of the bounce too, but the tail dragging that occurred after the second tail strike sort of lead me away from that conclusion. But again I'm just speculating, so you could be right.

18th Oct 2004, 16:30
Anybody have any idea when we are or if we are going to get to see the video of the event? Not that I am too excited about it, just want to see it for myself. :(

Willie Everlearn
18th Oct 2004, 16:35
Until proven otherwise, I'm inclined to think this MK accident crew had a fairly high degree of qualification and experience.

As a fellow pilot, don't you find it a little disappointing that some remarks in this post, regarding this accident, are a little too simplistic.

Yet, speculation seems to be good sport for some.

Improperly set speed bugs, incorrect intersection departures, incorrect configuration...pure speculation.

If we really put our collective, speculative natures and minds to work, perhaps we could come up with better and more responsible theories than some have suggested. If you really want to speculate?

My guess (...and I mean guess) is when we have an error chain to examine it will more than likely be outside the HF realm of the operating crew and lie somewhere else.

But that makes this post that much more boring, I suppose.


18th Oct 2004, 16:58
Is there a chance these guys were supposed to be using flaps 20 for takeoff and had flaps 10 selected?

18th Oct 2004, 18:37
Willie: Understand that not every participant on these forums and on this particular thread necessarily is or is supposed to be a pilot or one seasoned aviation accident investigator. Any participant could be anybody from anywhere. You could be reading a response authored by a plumber from Canterbury. Just imagine that.

Until the Canadian Safety Board issues its final report, one or two years from now, curious or otherwise interested people may speculate, theorize or otherwise debate the issue. :ooh:

Idle Thrust
18th Oct 2004, 19:05
One hopes the Board does a better job than it did on SR111.

Flight Safety
18th Oct 2004, 19:54
Willie and GlueBall, just fyi, I'm neither a pilot nor an accident investigator, just someone with a keen interest in aviation satefy that dates back to 1997 (the year my interest became strong, though I had some interest in this subject before then).

However I'm like most who participate in these forums, I just want to get to the root cause (or causes) of an accident, and to learn something valuable from the experience. I just want to understand and learn.

18th Oct 2004, 20:35
... Is it typical to have 2 engines changed at once on a 24 y.o. 747?

18th Oct 2004, 20:37
To change 2 engines at once is not so unusual however it is normal that a flight test would be accomplished if this was done.

Phileas Fogg
18th Oct 2004, 20:48
Don't flight tests cost money?

18th Oct 2004, 20:48
apologies if this sounds ignorant, but would engine runs not suffice? What would a test flight achieve that a full ground run wouldn't?

18th Oct 2004, 21:03
Airplane done some sectors between 2 engine change and accident. So I presume that crew would have notice the problems with engines performance (if any) before.
However reading the other tread (report on A330 glider on Azores) you never know.

18th Oct 2004, 21:21
At my previous employer (operator of 747 classics, 767s and MD11s as far as heavies go) the following seemed to be the case:

Engine change - test run
FC and/or FD check - test flight

Never actually witnessed a multiple engine change, but one would think they would just test the two new engines during a single run-up.

Farty Flaps
18th Oct 2004, 22:07

yes they do cost money. But its cheaper to be registered in a random west african country if you get my drift.
conveniently exempts you from noise legislation as well.

Walks like a duck etc etc.

18th Oct 2004, 22:22
Could the cargo shifted after the first tail strike, for whatever reason in the chain of events, thus inducing the second one, and the tragic ending of this flight?

18th Oct 2004, 22:38

It could be, but considering that "load of tractors" has turned into few ATVs in fact, it is unlikely if you ask me.

Golf Charlie Charlie
18th Oct 2004, 23:02
MK doesn't look like a very safe airline to me.
Am I wrong?

MK have about 10 aircraft which conduct - what - 15 flights a day, or let's say 20 maximum.

British Airways (I'm talking mainline) have about 235 aircraft which conduct, let's say, 600 flights a day, maybe a few more.

So, MK fly in a year what BA fly in a day, roughly. MK have had 4 hull losses and two fatal events in their 14 years of operation, say 80,000 flights (probably fewer as the company was smaller in its earlier years).

British Airways have had two fatal events (one of those a mid-air collision, the other at an IT subsidiary, not mainline, but let's be tough) and one other flight-related service full loss since 1974 (when the airline took its present form), or say 6 million flights. The last fatal event was 19 years ago.

The comparative position is obvious, and even if the figures are a bit wrong - the relationship is correct.

Now, I think it's inappropriate to pick on MK, in the wake of an accident, even though you may think I'm picking on them. They merely seem an example of some generic problem in the wider air freight/cargo sector.

My point is really this. We have here yet another accident in the freight/cargo sector. There have been far too many accidents in the sector over 20 or more years, maybe for differing reasons. But regulatory authorities in the major aviation nations have had enough time and evidence, you'd have thought, to investigate why this record is the way it is (in both "Western" countries and elsewhere). Or if they do know, to put into place some remedial programmes to bring about improvements. Yet large cargo aircraft keep on crashing - no doubt, all for differing reasons, and yet there must some common factors, eg. older aircraft, smaller operators, less financially strong or stable operators, more marginal environments, less inherited corporate tradition within operators of a high-level safety culture, weaker SOPs, poorer or weaker regulatory oversight due to lack of fare-paying passengers.....

Is it not also a fact that, perhaps with one exception, freight operations carried out by major passenger airlines, retain the general safety excellence of those airlines ?

So, is there not an issue within the small freight operator community to address here ?

19th Oct 2004, 04:22

given your ratio of 20 to 600 flights, that would be MK fly in MONTH, what BA fly in a day.

19th Oct 2004, 05:55
In my previous post I suggested that the nature of the cargo did not suggest a high probability of cargo shifting.

CargoOne has also said that "considering that "a load of tractors" has turned into few ATVs [cargo shifting] in fact... is unlikely if you ask me."

But as I have been turning this horrible event over in my mind there is one other bizarre possibility regarding the plane's cargo and its center of gravity that keeps cropping up in my mind.

I have written extensively about accidents in roll-on-roll-off car ferries, where the fact that the vehicle decks of such vessels have no interior bulkheads means that if water ever gets in to the vehicle deck then the vessel becomes unstable very quickly. The analogy that I have always used is to compare the stability of the ship to a tray that has some water in it that you might try to carry with your hand held high. The second that the water begins to slosh in any particular direction, the tray begins to tip over on its side. It is utterly unstable. The lack of interior bulkheads in roll-on-roll-off ferries would produce the same effect for any ship that has water sloshing about on the car deck.

In the case of the MK 747 crash at Halifax, one of the cargo items was lobster. Is there anyone who can tell me if these lobsters were being flown alive and fresh, or if they were dead?

If they were alive and fresh, then they must have been in containers of seawater so as to keep them alive.

Have there been any previous incidences of the shipping containers that these lobsters are packed in splitting open during transit and leaking all their seawater?? Could there have possibly been a load of seawater rushing toward the back of this plane as it tried to take off? If so, then the plane’s center of gravity may have been as unstable as the car ferries that have sunk after getting water into their vehicle holds. (The two most notorious such ferry disasters in Europe were the Herald of Free Enterprise at Zeebrugge in 1989, and the Estonia in the Baltic Sea just 10 years ago.)

I fully realise that my imagination may be going full blast here, and that many might want to criticise me for raising such an extremely remote and bizarre explanation for this crash. I do not know if it is even feasible to consider that a ton or so of free-flowing water within a 747 could be a destabilising force with regard to pushing the c of g beyond its limits when it rushed back toward the tail at take-off. I do not know if free-flowing water in the hold of a 747 would actually stay there, or if it would immediately flow through to the belly of the plane. Nor do I know if free-flowing water within a 747’s hold would short out all electrical circuits so as to instantly render all the plane's systems inoperative.

But the weirdest thing about the possibility of a ton or so of water leaking from a lobster container would be the fact that, as with those murder mysteries where the victim is killed with an icicle, there would be no direct evidence from a post-crash fire that there was ever any water sloshing around within the hull of the plane prior to it crashing.

Is there anyone out there who can comment about the lobster cargo? Were they live lobsters? Were they in containers of seawater? If so, what is the safety record of these types of lobster containers?

I admit this is a strange line of reasoning. Please don't waste your time telling me I am stupid for thinking these thoughts. Let us hear from someone who can talk authoritatively about the shipping of lobsters by air, and let him or her tell me if I am an idiot for suggesting this as a remotely possible cause of this crash.

19th Oct 2004, 06:22
If they were alive and fresh, then they must have been in containers of seawater so as to keep them alive.

I have flown lots of live lobster.

The usual method of packing them is to first chill the lobsters live for a few hours while still in their holding tank. This slows their metabolic rate considerably.

Once chilled they are packed in foam containers along with dry insulation. The foam containers are then packed into cargo bins. In this way I believe they can be transported live and fresh for many hours.

No water is involved at all in their packaging.

19th Oct 2004, 06:23
I'm going to stick my neck out here and say that even if a "ton of water" did slosh from forward to aft, it would make very little difference. I've got a loadsheet in front of me as I write this; perhaps 1.5% mac shift.

19th Oct 2004, 08:58
Leaving at the 700m mark seems to be the most likely reason, not shifting tractors, lobsters in water etc.

MK starts takeoff run at 700m mark, as the plane gets past V1, the crew realise that they suddenly have less runway than expected. They try and rotate to get airborne before the end of the runway, causing the first tail-strike. They can't get airborne so they drop the nose to try and get more speed. Then as they reach the end of the runway, they see the berm 300m ahead and realise they have to get airborne regardless. So they try and rotate again in a hurry, causing the second tail-strike. They manage to take off but can't get enough lift to clear the berm in time, and the tail of the plane strikes the berm, shearing off. Unfortunately, all they can then do is try and bring the hull down and hope for the best.

It has to beg the question, why have a large berm at the end of a runway followed by an uncleared area of woodland? That's asking for trouble and not good disaster avoidance, surely? The crew deaths may have been avoided if there had been clear and level runoff ground beyond the runway for this type of emergency. Surely, lessons must be learned from this sad tragedy.

Latte tester
19th Oct 2004, 09:14
Theorise, the deaths of the crew were not caused by the berm, yes the jet hit the berm, but why? Surely there are other factors that contribute to this accident and everyone has their own opinion. If as you say, they pulled the nose off the ground the second time to get airborne, I strongly doubt that the jet would have made the climb and probably would have just been farther away on impact. Not too many aircraft that size do well climbing at slow speeds, you failed to mention Vr, I would assume that Vr was behind them and never to be regained, even without the berm.

19th Oct 2004, 09:16
Would you 747 pilots use a derated T/O config given the runway, met conditions and the load carried?

My question is: even from the 700m mark if they get it at full thrust, would it be possible to get airborne before the end of the runway, and cleared of obstacles?

19th Oct 2004, 09:41
latte tester

why did it hit the berm? cos it didn't have enough runway if it left from the 700m mark.

how did the berm cause the deaths of the crew? cos it took the tail off the plane causing it to crash.

i thought my original post was clear.

19th Oct 2004, 10:35
can someone please give us a calculation ?

i mean it must be possible for the professional pilots posting here to calculate how much runway would be necessary for a save take off. you know the met and you know the weight of the plane.

so this would be the first point to rule out or the opposite .....

if your calculation says more then 2000 meters needed (as i understand the runway length is 2700 meters and they started from the 700 meters mark?) then something went terrible wrong.

i am no professional, but the jet was really heavy and i think 2000 meters would be too short ?

19th Oct 2004, 11:24

No one knows what happened or even what even started the chain of events. My mind is awash in the speculation on this thread from everything to transporting seawater to thinking berms are akin to mountains at the end of the runway none of which is true.

One of the black boxes has been recovered and if the heat of the accident hasn’t corrupted the data the accident investigators will have a better idea of what really happened. Hopefully the aircrafts voice recorder will be recovered very soon in good condition and at that time I would expect the investigators to release their initial findings.

If you really want to speculate read the second hand eyewitness report posted by King Air Guy a few pages back as that is the most creditable post so far and even that is only speculation.


19th Oct 2004, 11:52
speculation is one thing - mathematics another.

so maybe someone can calculate with variable weights
whether 2000 meters were enough for a save takeoff
when no unexpected problems with the plane occurred.

Boeing 747-200

06/24 8800' x 200' asphalt / concrete <=== used
15/33 7700' x 200' asphalt

CYHZ 140700Z 26006KT 15SM OVC018 10/09 A2967 RMK SC8 SLP051
CYHZ 140800Z 25005KT 15SM OVC016 10/09 A2968 RMK SC8 SLP054
CYHZ 140900Z 26005KT 15SM OVC016 10/09 A2970 RMK SC8 SLP061

ca. 360.000 kg - 369.000 kg

19th Oct 2004, 11:59

You just don’t get it, pray tell me how you know exactly the weight of the aircraft the type of engines mounted the WAT charts that were used if used at all, runway gradient etc. You don’t know and that’s why professional pilots won’t get into the game because of all the variables and none of the facts.

Cheers and if speculation is your thing enjoy..

19th Oct 2004, 12:05
no bad feelings here.

it's clear that you cannot calculate this exactly, but at least
even with some not known parameters (engines) you could say
i better take the whole 2700m runway then only 2000 meters.

19th Oct 2004, 12:25

Every heavy pilot that I know would have done the backtrack even though you only gain an extra 100 feet or so due to length and turning radius of the aircraft as available runway is always better in front then behind.

I don't know if this crew did the backtrack or even what exit they used so you can see the problem.


19th Oct 2004, 12:32

I note that you are just practcing your new member posting techniques. But partcipants on this forum are very sensitive about speculations without supporting facts shortly following an accident.

While others support the sharing of possible contributing factors based on experience or speciaizedl knowledge.

However, your linking of multiple connected speculations especialy regarding multiple crew actions leading to a crash appears to be pure musings without either the benefit of CVR , DFDR, past experience or specialized knowledge to support them.

Rest assured that as new facts are developed then the investigators in charge will start slowly to consider linking of these facts in a causal chain


19th Oct 2004, 12:32
That would be a check flight.

19th Oct 2004, 12:42
GCC. Why not pick on them? You -- thanks for that -- gave the data. It's an atrocious record, and the good citizens of Belgium, as those of north Kent were, have good reason to be worried.

Theorise. Clear overrun areas would be massive improvement. Berms and other such obstacles turn accidents into tragedies. A Lufthansa captain was killed like this a while ago in an overrun at Warsaw. And what would have become of the 75 at Girona if there had been any obstacles in the way of its two kilometre sleigh-ride after the collapsed nose gear jammed the throttles open?

Idle Thrust
19th Oct 2004, 13:21
Yes, perfect clearways would be wonderful in a perfect world.

I have extensive experience at YHZ, not lately, but if memory serves correctly, that berm had something to do with the ILS localizer antenna. I always assumed that it was necessary to make the ILS certifiable to Cat II standards. Initial reports of this accident were quite clear that the ILS antenna had been destroyed.

So maybe we cannot always have a perfect clearway, just adequate runway for the takeoff.

19th Oct 2004, 13:42
Ahh, so that's why the heavies don't want to take off down this runway (2443m)...... ;)


It has been tested with a AN-124 at about 80% MTOW 5 years ago......it made it.....but only just.

Sometimes a clearway is, well unrealistic!

19th Oct 2004, 13:47
Interesting perspective on your photo... problem is.. it doesn't look much more inviting from the flt deck of a 747F!

19th Oct 2004, 14:22
Farty Flaps, Being in Africa does not get you out of Noise requirements. Besides, as far as budget cargo carrier MK has one of the quietest 747 Classic fleets.

Like I demonstrated in a previous post, if the airplane was anywhere near 800K TOW they never had a chance unless they were using flaps 20 for takeoff and even then it would have been very marginal.

19th Oct 2004, 14:36
I just cannot help myself

PLEASE!! 2 days ago Shore guy posted a link to a report which had the following quote from an investigator:
“Responding to renewed questions about where the aircraft started its takeoff run, Fowler said it's believed the jet had used the majority of Runway 24, although he said it may have started shortly after the beginning of the runway.
Under ideal circumstance, the shortened run would still have given the aircraft enough room to take off, Fowler said.
When asked whether a shorter run and an engine problem could have contributed to the crash, Fowler suggested it was possible. “
Why then are we still banging on about this 700 m short business? Speculation has a habit of sticking to an accident long after the facts are known and the report is out. In this example this particular bit of b***ocks has stuck around for 2 days after being discounted by an investigator.
To those asking if 2000m is long enough for a heavy 742, short answer NO!!! But that is irrelevant anyway so why are you still asking? To those speculating (wildly) that the full length was not enough, give the crew some credit! They would not have even been trying if that was the case.
By my calcs IF the cargo weight was 103t then only a few tons of tanker fuel would have been possible before reaching landing weight restriction, hardly enough to cause this accident in isolation.
As those who are keeping quiet and those professionals who have made informed input already know, this accident will probably turn out to be a tragic chain of events and relatively small factors which added up to tragedy. Speculation here is bad because many non professionals will take what is said as fact and will not then bother to update themselves when the report comes out, so please be careful about what you say and where you hear it from.
One more thing, this is an example of how unreliable eyewitness reports can be. It has turned out that way many times before.
That’s my 5 cents

19th Oct 2004, 15:05
October 19, 2004

HALIFAX (CP) - The cockpit voice recorder has been recovered from the wreckage of a crashed cargo plane, but is too badly damaged to be of use to investigators.

Bill Fowler of the Transportation Safety Board of Canada said Tuesday the recorder from the Boeing 747 was found Monday in a large debris field near Halifax International Airport.

But the so-called black box, one of two recovered from the MK Airlines Ltd. plane, was badly burned in the crash that killed all seven crewmen last Thursday.

19th Oct 2004, 15:25
I am not in a position to comment the accident as I have no relevant information on payload, fuel load,CG or the route. However here is some info that might give an insight to those that do not do RWY performance calculations daily (Ie do not fly for living).

This is an extract from CDG RWY 09L based of B747-200 with RB211-D4X engines and a F20 take off. Field elevation is 390ft some 90ft below that of Halifax with similar RWY slope of +0.15 degrees. MTOW is in this case field lenght limited

Using Halifax weather at the time of the accident:

CYHZ 140800Z 25005KT 15SM OVC016 10/09 A2968 RMK SC8 SLP054

In the CDG example limiting MTOW is 351.4 tons.

Based on that

Flight from Halifax to Zaragoza using optimum random track (Great circle) zero wins and ISA conditions, would have been approximately 5h 30 minutes. Required trip fuel in the range of 65 tons, excluding all alternate, reserve, holding fuel, tankering and crew additions.

OEW: n/a
MZFW: n/a
MTOW: n/a
Payload: n/a
Reserves: n/a

Also note that MK aircraft was equipped with P&W JT9D-7Q engines and the above scenario was based on the more powerful R&R engines.


19th Oct 2004, 15:37

We can all speculate about the aircraft, runways, weather, flaps, berms etc for days on end. One aspect that has not been discussed is the crew... or more to the point the crew FDP.

Anyone who knows any of the pilots at MK also knows that the Bosses push the crew to the limit... and in some cases - beyond. We notice from the list of Crew killed on the flight (R.I.P) that they had a "Heavy Crew" onboard. The theory behind this is that you do not have to position crew in hotels along the way (which is expensive), but while one set flies the aircraft, the others crew take a break onboard. From what I gather, the 7 crew (2 Capt's & 1 F/O) had come through from Bradley Int (North of New York) via Halifax going to Zaragoza, Spain for final destination Luxembourg. A real Ball Breaker if I ever saw one!

Were the crew over their FDP??? Is Heavy Crewing legal??? I have my doubts and my personal feeling on this one is that the crew FDP played a serious part in this catastrophe.

19th Oct 2004, 16:02
Here is a picture I took of an MK747 just before it took off. The crew had just gone up the ramps and the doors closed.

Not sure where missing wing to body fairing falls on the MEL..............


19th Oct 2004, 16:06
From a prevoius post:

06/24 8800' x 200' asphalt / concrete <=== used

They had departed Bradley field earlier that day (KBDL). I have flown out of KBDL and they have a 6/24 runway also, but it is about 10,000 feet long. Could the crew used KBDL runway for their calculations?

Flight Safety
19th Oct 2004, 16:07
Sorry to hear there won't be a CVR available, that won't help. :(

Does anyone know about the FDR?

Also, I'd like to ask this question, since the tail broke off at the berm, why is the CVR too damaged to be used by the investigators? I thought the point of locating the CVR and FDR in the tail in most aircraft designs was to help protect them in a crash. Where exactly was the CVR and FDR located on this 747-200F? Apparently they weren't exactly in the tail.

19th Oct 2004, 16:21
Closer inspection using Photoshop shows that the aircraft in your picture is 9G-MKJ, the (although yet unconfirmed) ill-fated MK jet, preparing for departure at Findel :ooh:


While I don't know if these particular panels are in the MEL, I imagine they're there for more reasons than just to reduce drag. Keeping the weather out of the aircraft's interior cavities would be a good start. It saddens me to see an airworthy aircraft in such a condition.

19th Oct 2004, 17:21
The news media are reporting that Bill Fowler of the TSB is now saying although the voice recorder is badly damaged as the tape was broken they have managed to splice it back together and hope to be able to read it later on today.

19th Oct 2004, 17:43
Wing fuselge fairing/seal would not be in the MEL but rather in the CDL. There's a performance penalty involved with it, but it is not a NOGO Item if I remeber correctly.


Flight Safety
19th Oct 2004, 18:12
Tan, good news.

Farty Flaps
19th Oct 2004, 18:48

Developing arfican states and therefore their operators have /had extensions on meeting stage 3 req. it was deemed unfair in that the cost of binging their fleets upto date would be more of a financial burden on developing aviation industies. Additionally any form of audit is compromised due to the nature of business in Africa. Mk fills a slot in the third world market but as the modern manifesation of a sanction busting operation i personnally doubt their suitability for the first world unless they choose to submit to the authority of a first world authority.

Having a good bunch of talented gus at the controls cant make up for a management (like all) with a bottom line mentality but no one keeping them in check(local caa). Everything has a price in africa. One way or another youll pay it.

Atlanta already pointed out the difference between an mel and cdl but it does leave me wondering about your depth of knowledge and consequently the veracity of your opinion.

19th Oct 2004, 18:59
Farty Flaps,

I have forgotten more about aircraft noise certification and general aircraft certification than most will ever hope to know. Anyone that has read my posts here on PPRUNE knows I can walk the walk and talk the talk.

Would you mind pointing out which of MKs 747 Classics do not have Stage 3 certification? In fact, unless you are a French person all 747 Classics are Stage 3 certified. :E

With the exception of the 707 era Boeing aircraft there are Stage 3 solutions for all models if I remember correctly. Some can be bought right from Boeing and others you can get from a third party. Very few 3rd world countries are flying jets into the EU or other noise sensative areas on waiver anymore. Hell, its getting hard to fly an MD-80 around the EU. :E

As far as you questioning my qualifications.........:hmm:

ps. Before anybody jumps on this post because of my sometimes questionable posts regarding the Airbus product please don't take this thread down that path. ;)

19th Oct 2004, 19:48
Flight Safety,
The CVR and FDR in the 747 and 767 are located within the pressure vessel. They are at the back of the plane usually around the aft door or galley in the ceilling. They are not located back near the APU.

It also looks, from the pics available, that only the very aft section - such as the portion that houses the APU - hit the berm as there are tail feathers laying around but very little fusalage. It's not like it broke off at the pressure bulkhead area - which is what I first envisioned when it was mentioned that the tail 'snapped' or broke off.

19th Oct 2004, 19:55
CBC News reports that the CVR is too damaged to be of use, but that the FDR, while also suffering damage, may be able to provide useful data.

19th Oct 2004, 20:54
When was the picture taken?

19th Oct 2004, 21:48


When did you take that photo?

19th Oct 2004, 22:34

Atlanta-Driver comments that the missing wing/fuselage fairing might incur performance penalties - I'm assuming fuel penalties in the cruise, as I don't see this being a significant drag factor in the acceleration of the plane down the runway. What was your reasoning for putting the photo in this thread, putting your obvious "a/c noise certification and general aircraft certification" knowledge aside? Seems a bit off the point? Or am I missing something?


19th Oct 2004, 23:29

There is no brutality of my opinion. In fact there has been no expression of an opinion by me anywhere in this thread. I have posted questions, mostly more food for thought. I have posted real demonstrable takeoff performance. I have posted one picture. Even in that post where did I accuse ANYBODY of wrong doing or fault?

I post questions or I post facts. Those are the rules that govern my existence on pprune. If Danny decides one day that those rules are not good enough then I will take my hat and “Good day to you”.

Ps. Jet Blast posts are not part of the two rules expressed above. Those I try just to follow the rules. :E


Nice one on the edit after reading my last post. :p :ok:

Farty Flaps
20th Oct 2004, 00:09
Didnt question your qualifications old chap, as i dont know them. just your depth of practcal knowledge and subsequent general veracity of your knowledge and opinion.( previous opinions are not admiisible which is in your favour).Apparantly you are more informed on certain topics as you like to point out.

Big difference between knowledge and qualifications old bean. lots of chaps about with degrees et al but dont know diddly.

Personnally after a life time in africa i know where i would be looking inorder to prevent large areas of kent or ostend replacing a quarry. Think about it. First nigeria, now some upcountry strip in canada where next? What do we need to happen before the playing field is levelled, 9and that includes aai and ryr.)

20th Oct 2004, 00:25
Farty Flaps,

From you:

"Atlanta already pointed out the difference between an mel and cdl but it does leave me wondering about your depth of knowledge and consequently the veracity of your opinion."

Your saying this does not question???

Your bit there about being in Africa beckons that I am in some way allowing myself to become involved with who is responsible for this tragedy? Can you read; man?

I just said in my previous post that I do two things here:

1. Ask questions.
2. Post facts.

ps. Jet Blast does not count. All of us here know this.

From your last post it would appear you have a bone to pick not I. :hmm:

20th Oct 2004, 00:39
747F, I am not questioning your postings, but I too would be interested in when you took the picture. I don't think there is anything sinister in that query. I wonder if you would sink to the level of replying?

20th Oct 2004, 01:57
After reading some messages about that terrible accident I'd like to know your opinions: (But first, see this picture on a Brazilian forum)


Did that MK 747 reach a height of 35ft by the end of the runway?
Has MK Airlines been following all recommended safety procedures?

20th Oct 2004, 03:09
The two recorders are being confused as to which one may deliver data.


HALIFAX - Investigators searching for the cause of the crash last week of a Boeing 747 cargo jet won't get to hear from the two people who may have known exactly what happened.
After days of searching swampy, scorched terrain outside Halifax, officials recovered the aircraft's cockpit voice recorder from a kilometre-long trail of mangled debris.

"But that's the good news," Bill Fowler, lead investigator for the Transportation Safety Board of Canada, said during a news conference today.

"The not-so-good news is the recorder was damaged such that there is no retrievable information."

The so-called black box, which records the cockpit conversations of the pilot and co-pilot, was destroyed by fire after the MK Airlines Ltd. jumbo jet crashed on takeoff last Thursday at Halifax International Airport.

Fowler said the recorder was found yesterday and shipped to the board's lab in Ottawa.

It was quickly determined that no recording survived the fire that resulted when the jet, carrying a full load of fuel, hit the ground and broke up.

"It certainly would have helped but we were operating under the assumption we wouldn't have it," said Fowler, referring to the severity of the impact.

A second black box - the plane's flight data recorder - was recovered Sunday. That instrument, which monitors aircraft function and performance, was also damaged but investigators are hopeful it will offer fresh clues.

Fowler said the tape in the data recorder broke on impact, but has been repaired.

"I would hope that we can have some information on the data shortly, but I have to be realistic," he said. "It could be much longer - up to a week or two weeks - and that's on the outside."

20th Oct 2004, 04:51

You reply hadn't appeared when I did my edit, apologies all the same. Apart from that, what was your question, or what fact were you trying to illustrate with the picture.


20th Oct 2004, 06:06
Caluculated using Boeing Mark 7.
B747-200 D4 Engines Flaps 20.
RWY 24 CYHZ. 10C.
Climb Limit Weight = 393300 Kgs
Field Limit Weight = 345500 Kgs

The weights will differ slightly for the Pratt Engines.


20th Oct 2004, 15:20
New photos here, including an overhead of the "berm" reported as being 300m from the end of the runway.


20th Oct 2004, 16:12
I was just looking at the pic of the missing fairing(s) and wondered what possible circumstances would this kind of situation be created by? If it's true the picture was taken just prior to departure then MEL or no MEL, it says something when bit's are missing from an aircraft. It would seem a natural thought process to wonder - if these parts are missing, then what else is either missing or faulty? how often is this deemed to be acceptable/within limits. Various posters have commented on MK's record, I for one am not qualified to judge, but as someone else put it, when compared loss vs hours/flights to a major carrier like BA, their record does not seem good. A smallish Company pushing ageing airframes too hard & too often must equal incidents or accidents - whatever the cause(s) this time. Please do not draw any conclusions from my location, I have no connection whatsoever to the the Company concerned.

20th Oct 2004, 16:53
Firstly, my deepest sympathy to the crews family.

But regarding the CVR/FDR

I thought these things were supposed to be virtually indestructible and could survive a crash like this and the ensuing fire for at least 45 mins or am I living on a different planet?

I know nothing about CVR/FDR but am just going off what I’ve read but was led to believe these things are pretty tough cookies.


20th Oct 2004, 17:00

Yes a good point indeed and something that has been on my mind also.

Guess they are not as indestructible as we are led to believe.

20th Oct 2004, 17:02

Anything that is vunerable to heat damage can only be protected from fire for so long. This is a problem in data storage safes that are "fireproof" and I guess this would apply to black boxes as well. See, the only defense from being in a fire is insulation, and no insulation is perfect. You can have a coolant that is used (some safes have a moist material in the layers that evaporates to move the heat away). But that means mass and mass is an important consideration.

20th Oct 2004, 17:12
Making Sure the Recorders Survive
Things have come a long way since 1958 when it was the state-of-the-art in crash-survivability that had the major influence on the level of the minimum requirements for crash-survivability. Today the minimum standards are set according to the conditions that a flight recorder is likely to meet in a crash.
These days to become certified for use flight recorders must pass a collection of extremely arduous tests. These include:


This is two-fold, the flight recorder casings must protect the recording medium from 1100degC (the temperature at which aviation fuel burns) for thirty minutes (simulating the initial fuel fire after a crash). It must then be able to protect the recording medium from a temperature of 260degC for ten hours (this simulates a long baggage-fuelled fire).
Common heat-insulation materials used include polymers, wax and gelled which - all offer good protection from high temperatures.

Water protection and Deep Sea Water Pressure Resistance.

The casing must protect the recording medium for thirty days underwater at a pressure equivalent to being submerged at 20,000ft below the ocean surface.

Static Crush Test.

The recorder must withstand a 5,000-pound pressure applied against all six axis points.

Penetration Resistance.

The recorder must withstand a 500lb force being dropped on it from 10 feet up, the point of contact being a one-quarter inch diameter hardened steel spike.

Impact Test .

In this test the recorder is fired from an air cannon into an aluminium wall. This simulates the required, 3400g deceleration in 6.5 milliseconds (which is equivalent to going from 350 mph to zero in 16 inches).

Fluid Immersion Test .

To check that the recorder will not be eroded by any of the fluids that are most commonly carried by planes, the recorder must survive emersion for 48 hours in each of the following:
hydraulic fluid
lubricating oil
aviation fuel
fire extinguishing agents
and toilet flushing fluid .

20th Oct 2004, 18:08
Thanks Rolling Thunder for the info

With all of that rigorous testing listed should the CVR/FDR have survived this crash then? When you compare it to what it should be able to survive during testing?
Or are these relatively new figures?
How old would the CVR/FDR have been in this 20-year-old 742?
If the CVR/FDR are quite old would they have being able to with stand as much damage as a modern CVR/FDR?


20th Oct 2004, 18:25
Interesting that the report in the Halifax Herald states that "From the helicopter there were no gouges visible in the pavement, but two tire marks in the brown grass led to a line of orange posts, part of the airport's navigational system."

It further says that "...the tail of the jet bounced twice off the tarmac near the end of the runway and separated from the plane when it hit a mound of earth 300 metres beyond the end of the runway."

The visible tire marks suggest that the plane stayed on the ground for that distance of 300m past the runway threshold.

20th Oct 2004, 18:40
This will probably turn out to be a simple but awful error. Personally I suspect insufficient runway for the weight and this can obviously happen in several ways. However let’s leave that to the investigation.

At this point one could blame the crew and perhaps the controller then be done with the business. However thankfully we tend to look further these days and examine the deeper issues. With MK this is going to be some can of worms.

Does the company have a safety culture? Any discussion with the crews will show this to be a joke. They fly long and hard and the company only does what is needed to cosmetically satisfy whoever. You get paid for what you fly. No fly – no pay. Complain too much and someone else gets the trips. This can be very persuading when living as a white in Mugabe’s Zimbabwe and trying to keep up a family, education etc. when clearly the state takes pleasure in persecuting you. MK took advantage of all this. Cheap crews with a noose around their necks.

Does the company have a safety department? Sure they called in a few boys from Cathay to fix up the procedures. Procedures count for nothing if the safety culture is not there. It has to start from the top. It has to be sincere. The accident rate shows just how successful this half hearted attempt has been. A large part of the greatly proceduralised fleet is now a charred wreck. However the same hasn’t happened to Cathay. I wonder why. MK just didn’t get it. The only true belief was in the bottom line.

Is there an incident reporting method? Analysis of incident data? I doubt it. The real stories in MKs years of operation are out there. Ask around. They defy belief in some cases. The real tribute to the flying skills of their crews is that there were not more accidents. If someone had kept track of a penalty free incident reporting system, the flags would have been very large and very red.

Was there a Confidential Human Factors system? Who has time for that when there is money to be made? Flying tired, many days away from home, where the wife and kids could be raped, or murdered, where nothing much works and there is often no where else to go, and no other job at all to be had, is a severe strain. “Everyone else in the company handles it so stop whining” Putting a brave face on it however does not mitigate the underlying issues.

The only good thing about this unfortunate affair is that it happened in a country whose authorities can be taken seriously. I wish the first 2 accidents had, then perhaps 8 men would still be alive today. I also hope this flags the semi regulated carriers from Africa that fly over our heads every night. Let them fly in their own corrupt regimes but not over densely populated areas in the civilised world whose authorities have little idea of what is really going on inside the aircraft.

This is so typical of managements that get caught up in the bottom line and blinker themselves to the realities of aviation. So typical of inexperienced companies who arrogantly think that years of aviation experience in these matters is just the stuff of text books and awkward legislators.

Well now we have the bottom line: 7 good men killed, 1 beautiful aircraft written off, 1 ugly investigation and hopefully an expensive law suit to provide for the women and children who now have to go it alone in Zimbabwe.

20th Oct 2004, 18:45
I think it is going to come down to they were at Flaps 10 when they based TO performance on Flaps 20. If you look at all the information we have it points a large finger towards that line of thinking. :(

20th Oct 2004, 18:50

Yes perhaps I should have said weight or config. However without a performance discussion it all really comes down to the same thing in the end. (Give or take a tail scrape!)


20th Oct 2004, 18:54
Sad to say we have all been pushed to the point to where we all could make mistakes.
Not saying thats what happened here
No matter what our qaulifications are.
I hope we can learn from others mistakes.
How many changes has the FOM and the Mel been changed due to others mistakes? Since the begining.
We all learn from this.
My prayers for the families and crew.