View Full Version : AA 587 Final Report

Shore Guy
6th Dec 2004, 21:48
The NTSB has issued the final report for AA 587 and is available at:


6th Dec 2004, 22:39
Are indeed quite damning of American Airlines flight training procedures, the particular handling pilots' (the First Officer) actions, and indeed calls into question the whole idea of jet upset training, as followed by American Airlies at that time.

Lessons so long ago learned in the very early days of large jet transport flying are, or have been, completely ignored by American Airlines.

Can we really be surprised at all this?
I certainly am not.:yuk:

Flight Safety
7th Dec 2004, 02:05
In section "A300-600 Rudder Control System Design Compared to Other Airplanes", on pages 27 thru 29, Tables 4 and 5.

It appears that the rudder control system and limiter of the A320, A330 and A340 are almost as sensitive at higher speeds as the A300-600. I find this shocking and almost unbelievable. It seems possible that this type of accident could happen almost as easily on these aircraft, as on the A300-600.

Please tell me I'm reading this information incorrectly, or the FBW system can protect the pilots. :uhoh:

7th Dec 2004, 23:32
"Lessons so long ago learned in the very early days of large jet transport flying are, or have been, completely ignored by American Airlines."

Would be interested in hearing what some of these lessons are. Let's spread the knowledge. I have no doubt you have seen plenty over the years. Its always interesting to hear some stories from the uh... old timers.

Idle Thrust
8th Dec 2004, 02:14
Large Jet, Small Jet, Any Jet, for that matter Any Airplane:

Basic training has always taught that you deflect the flight controls with great discretion especially in the higher speed range of the envelope. Doesn't matter whether it is a Cessna or an SST; full deflection will stress/can over-stress the airframe. Sure, in a full stall in a C-172, you will use full rudder to counteract yaw and avert a spin but in a large jet ?? At speed ???

Yes, most modern transports have "built-in" protections from such inputs, either mechanical stops or hydraulic limiters, but it is really a stretch to see a major carrier (AA) teaching pilots to yard the rudder from stop to stop (limiters notwithstanding) just to cope with turbulence. And also .... are we talking turbulence or "jet upset" - there is a big difference. My experience with jet transports ranging from the DC-9 to the B-747 is that one is best advised to just hang on and damp out the motion (if hand flying) or let the autopilot cope if in auto-flight. Intervening with aggressive inputs, especially on the rudder, is counter to everything that I was taught and that experience enforced.

While most of the early jet transports needed all the rudder for an engine failure at the critical speed, most of the more modern ones are "over-ruddered" and only require a portion of that available - you can actually fly through an engine failure at the critical speed using aileron alone. It's not pretty, but it works. So why would an airline teach stomping on the rudder to cope with turbulence? Especially at speeds well above the stall.

I do not always agree with 411A, especially when he knocks AA, but he does have a point here. They/he broke that airplane.

8th Dec 2004, 04:28
No one was taught to STOMP on the rudder.

The A300 has had SEVERAL Pilot induced ocilations in the Yaw regime by several different airlines.

That makes the AIRCRAFT unique throughout the airline industry. NO OTHER type of aircraft has a similar history. And the incidents are NOT confined to AA service.


Ignition Override
8th Dec 2004, 05:49
Wino: Did the pilots at (formerly East German) Interflug, Air France and other companies which experienced such rudder oscillations ALSO stomp on the rudders? Can anyone find access to the info, other than Airbus, Inc? Can any Air France or Lufthansa, Condor or Eurowings (G-Wings etc) pilots out there with contacts from the old "DDR" find out whether such data is available? Or would this not be desireable, based on pride in local/shared technology?

If they allegedly stomped more than once on their rudders, then this is quite interesting. If those pilots, as a group, did NOT push aggresively on both rudder pedals, then this would be more than just interesting. Maybe the authorities will keep this "Pandora's box" sealed for many years-or shred the data. :ouch:

8th Dec 2004, 08:12
One has a sense the AA587 report conclusion is driven more by the political goal of detente than by a true reading of de facts.

8th Dec 2004, 08:26
That's right, arcniz.

They find that if (for whatever reason of incompetence or poor training) the pilot reverses the rudder to its full stops several times in 6.5 seconds, it will fail despite withstanding more than its design and certification requirements.

Very political:yuk:

8th Dec 2004, 12:31
This particular model of airbus has a trap laid out in it and no one wants to accept it. Ark Royal. Do you really believe the pilot INTENDED to reverse the rudder quickly several times in few seconds? I guarantee you he did not intend to do that. If he didn't INTEND to do it, then its a problem with the airplane. The controlls of an airplane should be intuitive. They should respond in a predictable manner. In this area of the flight envelope of the A300 they most certainly do not.

while it is exceptionally rare that you should need to use the rudder at faster than landing speeds, it DOES happen. Once in a career. Possibly more rarely than an engine failure.

The A300 is the ONLY airplane in the world where it is not POSSIBLE to apply cooridinated rudder should you need to for what ever reason.,

If you TRY and use coordinated rudder in the A300 at 250 knots it is a virtual guarantee that you will start banging the stops.

If it is your opinion ARK royal that the rudder should NEVER be used at that speed, then it should be locked out.

I have several thousand hours in the aircraft, at the airline and took all the courses that Sten Molin and Ed States were alledged to have taken. I guarantee you they are NOT what you THINK you know from TV or news, and that Airbus did a masterfull job of covering up a REAL defficiency in their aircraft.

ARKROYAL and ALL the others here, if you can show me ONE just one aircraft out of the 10s of thousands of transport category jets worldwide that excede its rudder load limits in a similar manner to 587 I will accept your premise of pilot error.

On the other hand out of 300 or so A300600rs world wide, I can show you 4 at 3 different airline that have had similar events.

Thats a PATTERN. Well documented and VERY serious a real handling problem with a small fleet of aircraft.

I can lay out HOW the aircraft has this problem. The break out force (Force required to get the rudder moving at all) is MUCH TO HIGH RELATIVE TO THE FORCE TO REACH THE STOP.

The Rudder sensitivity increases by an order of magnitude with speed.

Airbus arrogence is such that they would rather kill more people than admit they made a mistake and implement a cheap and effective fix. All the AA bashers are either simply yank bashing or taking the easy way out. Certainly not the first time we have seen that in aviation.

AA operates over 800 Jets of MD80 size or larger. If it was an AA handling issue, then surely there would have been events in 767s, 777 MD80s, MD-11 DC-10s etc... Yet there is none. Explain that one? Yet the SMALLEST fleet at AA (35 A300 jets) had two events. the other 750+ had none. HMMMMM statitstics don't bear out any of the Yank/AA bashers.

When someone shows me problems with other AA aircraft handling, or a POI of ANY type of transport category of a different aircraft type about the Yaw Axis, ANYWHERE in the world I will recant.


cargo boy
8th Dec 2004, 13:40
Wino, whilst you put a good case out for the technical problem with the rudder could you please do us all a favour and stop it with your paranoia about "yank bashing". The biggest "yank basher" on here is none other than your own 411a... a "yank" no less! :rolleyes:

8th Dec 2004, 13:58
I can lay out HOW the aircraft has this problem. The break out force (Force required to get the rudder moving at all) is MUCH TOO HIGH RELATIVE TO THE FORCE TO REACH THE STOP. In Airbus the ratio is 1.45 -- in Boeings and MD, the ratio ranges from 3 to 6.5.

AA's part in this was rigging the simulator with a different rudder response model than was in the a/c.

The report makes it clear that the FO was likely surprised by the a/c response to his rudder input as the pedals at that speed give you either nothing or full on.

The two other incidents where the FO was aggressive with the rudder were in 727s which have rudder ratio changers and a maximum deflection to breakout force TWICE that of the A300-600.

That training and experience were then brought to an a/c where: Tests were also conducted in which the subjects were instructed to move the control wheel and rudder pedal to 50 percent of their available range. The tests showed that the pedal force applied during the 50-percent condition resulted in full rudder travel, even though that force was one-half of the force applied at the 100-percent condition. Page 75 (89 of 212) of the report.

For those still unable to grasp the human factor significance of a low maximum deflection to breakout force ratio, lets just call it rudder snatch.

8th Dec 2004, 16:08
Cargo boy,

Change yank to AA bashing and you have 411a to a T. Eitherway I am describe prejudice that gets in the way of looking at the facts of the case.

In this case 411a happens to be one of the biggest bigots on the board. It is just difficult to categorize it so he falls under the yank bashing category. Lets call him a self hating american.


8th Dec 2004, 18:46
Before Wino gets sent the full FAA / JAA list of all commercial aircraft, ‘that if flown inappropriately could exceed the rudder load limits’, just reflect that aircraft are not designed or certificated to be foolproof. The rationale is that fools do not fly aircraft, but it also presupposes that crews have some understanding of the aircraft design and certification that enable a safe operation; training provides this knowledge.

There are many assumptions made about pilot performance and behaviour in certification, some unfortunately have found to be wanting, as in this instance. There are still many other assumptions that crew need to know in order to prevent them breaking an aircraft; i.e. we assume that pilots will flare to land the aircraft, if they don’t most aircraft will be structurally weakened. That’s obvious, but who until recently remembered that Va was the limit speed for full control deflection … and what is Va.

The issue is not necessarily the rudder sensitivity, but that the rudder was cycled quickly between maximum values, causing dynamic over-loading of the fin. A single, quick maximum deflection (within Va) will not cause any harm to the structure. If crew’s were to use other aircraft controls in a cyclic manner, stop to stop with reversals, and it can be done in some conventional aircraft, then structural overload and failure is quite possible.

If you do something stupid in an aircraft it may break, the essential knowledge for pilots is to know all of the stupid things and avoid them.

“Somebody does somethin' stupid, that's human. They don't stop when they see it's wrong, that's a fool.” - Elvis Presley.

Because of this accident, it is probable that the certification requirements will be amended, either to eliminate the certification oversight or to provide tolerance in the event of crew abuse, but will this action result in the aircraft being closer to foolproof or is it just accepting that more fools are flying?
Airspeed and Upwardness

8th Dec 2004, 20:48
Let us presume for the moment that the A300-605R that American has in their fleet, is as bad as Wino suggests.

OK, now considering that American Airlines ordered 35 of 'em, and American Airlines carefully evaluated the design, and its requirements for use in their fleet, and had their training Captains sent to TLS to attend the manufacturers course, so that these same American Airlines training Captains could come back and report on any problems encountered, and pass this information on to American Airlines line crews, so that no untoward difficulties would occur...well you get the point, I'm sure.

The question remains, why did not American Airlines find out about any special problems that the particular type had, and if not, why not?

You will note many references to American Airlines in the above, and it is there for a reason...American Airlines sets a very poor standard for itself, which it consistantly fails to achieve, at least in the flight deck crew training department.

IE: not many bright bulbs in the lamp in Dallas.:uhoh:

Good grief, and these folks call themselves a 'large scheduled airline'...phooey.:yuk: :yuk:

8th Dec 2004, 21:16

Much of the information REQUIRED to do what you suggest was NOT provided by Airbus. Sorry dude, but them's the facts...

The other cases of overloading the tail did NOT come to light untill the NTSB got them.

AA's manuals were in accordance with the factory manuals. I have a copy of the factory manuals on CDr, and they incorrectly describe the rudder load limiter system as would be applied to this case.

Furthermore Airbus's own published procedures had a case calling for "alternating sideslips" in the event of a problem during manual extension. To the best of my knowledge all manual gear extensions were so far trouble free, but sooner or later this would have come up there as well.

That procedure as since been DRAMATICALLY modified.

This is a problem that was somehow missed by the engineers. But rather than try and correct it, (which can be done with a software change) Airbus is gonna save face till the end and claim there is nothing wrong with the airplane, inspite of the overwhelming evidence.

411a, If AA is as bad as you say, how come this problem hasn't reared its head in any of the other aircraft in its fleet (which number more than 20 times as many)


8th Dec 2004, 21:42
Fact : American Airlines has completed in excess of 17 million flights, its one of the worlds safest airlines. Whilst a number of airlines in North America are statistically safer than American Airlines, on a global scale, only a few other large established airlines are statistically safer than American, i.e, British Airways, Lufthansa, All Nippon, Mexicana Airlines, and Qantas, however if you add the number of flights by all these airlines together they will only just get over the number of flights that American have completed.

Fact : No one here can attest to what the pilot intended to do, or what training he received.

Fact : The structure failed after loads were induced in the structure by pilot control inputs.

Fact : The loads induced to cause structural failure exceeded FAA certification requirements.

Fact : The A300 has had less incidents per number of flights than the B747, and has killed fewer people.


8th Dec 2004, 22:06

I refer you to safetypee's excellent post.

The guy had a history of misuse of the rudder. AA's training included use of rudder where it was not needed, the sim excercise was totally unrealistic, and instilled a fear of wake encounters which was misplaced and excessive.

This aeroplane crashed because it was mishandled

9th Dec 2004, 14:00
Well said. Could'nt phrase it better.

neglecting your special love-relation concerning American Airlines all your other remarks how to handle or mishandle a large jet are appropriate IMHO.

As you know there are two europeen airlines (AF and LH) which operated a number of A 300/306/R/310-200/300 in the past -partially until now- in huge numbers. Compared to that a fleet of 35 AC with AA is a "small" fleet.
Strolling through the floors/training departements/simulator briefing rooms and and talking to old buddies and presenting
some of your statements in different threads at PPRuNe most
people are NOT AMUSED.

As insiders know both incidents (A310) at MOW and Paris
had nothing to do with "oversensivity" or "breakout force" of the "unique" rudder system but everything with gross mishandling after pulling the TOGA lever unintentionally and missing knowledge of the consequences by not disconnecting the autopilot. This brave working horse A 310
at MOW even recovered itself 3 times flying on a vertical S flight path between full stall and x degree nose down pretty close to the ground. Stomping the rudder during this unusual handling overstressed the vertical stabilizer which was found out much later.
In this case the crew finally disconnected the AP, recovered and landed uneventful.

Your repeated statement of so many other airlines suffering problems with the A 300 rudder system or "pilot induced occilations in the yaw damper regime" are not factual.

BTW no repeat no european airline train or trained their crews the way AA did: Upset training scenarios in simulators outside their envelop refering to wake turbulance was no option on this side of the pond.


Dr Dave
9th Dec 2004, 14:53
Can I make an analogy to illustrate my view of this situation:

If I am driving my 4x4 at 70 mph (quite an achievement actually in this case...), and choose to turn the steering wheel quickly through two complete turns, then the vehicle will probably roll over and crash. If I do the same thing in my Mercedes 'C' class it almost certainly won't.

Now, I have been on an official training course run by the 4x4 manufacturer. At no time on this course was I told not to do this. However, it is up to me to know that I should not turn the wheel rapidly at high speed in this vehicle. If I do, it is not the manufacturers fault - they design a vehicle to do a certain job within a certain envelope. If I choose to take the vehicle outside that envelope then that is, frankly, my fault and the consequences are my problem, not theirs.

It is not an excuse to say that my Merc would not roll. They are different vehicles with different designers. As a driver it is up to me to know what the limitations of each vehicle are. Of course the 4x4 manufacturer could put in some fancy electronics to stop you doing this (perhaps a device that controls the powered steering according to speed). But, there is no need so long as drivers are sensible.

Of course, if the manufacturer told me that it was definitely safe to turn the steering wheel through two complete revolutions when it is not, then they would have to carry some (but not all) of the responsibility.

It seems to me that in the case of the Airbus A300, we have an aircraft that has been around for 30 years. Only one pilot has ever managed to snap the rudder off, and he did that by taking the aircraft significantly outside the envelope. It appears that he did that in part because his training led him to believe that this was an appropriate thing to do in those circumstances.

In this context, the fault just does not lie with the manufacturer.

So AA did not have this problem with their other fleets. Frankly, so what? The training for any fleet should be tailored to the needs of that fleet. Perhaps for the other aircraft types it was. For the A300 it appears to me at least that it probably wasn't.

Dr Dave

Flight Safety
9th Dec 2004, 15:14
After several years of posting and reading posts here at PPrune, I have an observation to make regarding accident discussions.

When contributing factors to an accident like this one, includes both a training problem (or a pilot performance problem), and a potential aircraft design problem, both factors are legitimate contributing causes. In this accident the NTSB found that both training AND an aircraft design anomaly contributed to this accident, and it's their job to determine if multiple contributing causes exist.

I've noticed over the years that a number of pilots posting here seem to lean toward the training human performance causes, while tending to lean away from a potential design issue. In some ways this is understandable, given that training is commonly used to overcome a potential design problem, and training is the ONLY thing a pilot can do to prevent the next accident, since making an aircraft's design better is completely outside the control of nearly every pilot.

Still, my observation is that the constant back and forth of arguing whether it's "training" or it's "design" is not very productive. Gentleman, learning from an accident is NOT whether the fault was training OR design, but rather that real understanding comes from knowing that BOTH were contributing causes to this accident, and BOTH topics are worthy of full and complete discussion. Each person may focus on one issue or the other, but one issue does NOT cancel out the other.

OK I'm done now, thanks for listening. :D

9th Dec 2004, 15:43

Would like to be your patient. Sounds reasonable.


14. Because of its high sensitivity (that is, light pedal forces and small pedal
displacements), the Airbus A300-600 rudder control system is susceptible to
potentially hazardous rudder pedal inputs at higher airspeeds."

As someone who logged quite an amount of hours on that AC I do not fully agree. But keeping the big picture in sight as you say its probably a contributing factor and therefore I will swallow it.
As there has been an amazing misunderstanding of rudder application and limits to that in our pilot community we all might
gain some profit from the NTSB report for a safer future operation.
Fully agree with your post. Therefore: Last post concerning AA 587. :D


10th Dec 2004, 13:17

I certainly cannot agree with your reasoning.

Altho the A300-600 may indeed have a poorly or oddly designed rudder limiter from a pilots perspective, nevertheless if American Airlines had not institued their Anvanced Maneuvering Course, as it was at the time, and insisted that pilots use the rudder in an excessive manner during so called 'upsets', AA587 would undoubtedly not have crashed.

And, even if you further claim that the specific maneuvering course was not designed with the idea of using the rudder to an excessive degree, American is still guilty of not using due care in supervising and training properly the First Officer in question, who clearly on previously reported circumstances, was known to have used excessive rudder on previous flights, even in other aircraft.

So, American Airlines, even if they did not know of any deficiency with the A300-600 rudder limiter, nevertheless showed very poor thought process in designing and implementing the advanced maneuvering course in the first place, knowing full well that excessive rudder inputs are very bad news at higher speeds.

Oddly enough, American Airlines was the first US operator to have a problem with large rudder inputs (due to a hydraulic actuator problem), when an AA B707 experienced a rudder hardover in 1960, departing IDL (now JFK), and went straight into the drink in Flushing Bay, with all on board lost.
Altho this particular accident with the 707 was not the result of pilot induced inputs, it nevertheless aptly demonstrates just what can happen to an aircraft, when the rudder travels to the stops, pilot induced or otherwise, at inappropriate times.

A pig is a pig, no matter how much lipstick you put on it.

AA is guily as hell, and the NTSB report is right on target, in my opinion.

13th Dec 2004, 04:04
Decided to un-block the old man for a change and read his posting....

Strangely enough, I partly agree with his statement about not re-checking Sten's understanding of rudder use, if that was what was at fault. But then, it's my observation from flying here in the US, both on exchange in the military and in the airlines, that a great deal of the training is just "filling boxes" and ticking squares to graduate a gradesheet at minimum cost. I have been horrified at some of the questions I have been asked by both students and instructors alike, and when probed deeper, the complete lack of in-depth understanding. Answers are vomited out parrot-fashion. The written exams are a good example. Students learn to pick the correct answer out of a collection without any understanding of the mechanisms at work; minimum cost, minimum delay....quickest route to that "dream job at our school affiliated commuter airline". Hmmmm.

Let's examine the rest of 411a's posting and daily AA rant....

"...aptly demonstrates what happens..." Absolute rubbish.
The 707 accident was ultimately a loss of control, but not caused by structural failure or crew action. It no more demonstrates it than any other flight control abnormality-caused accident. There was no blame placed on the 707 crew by the NTSB and for you to relate the two is pathetic. Don't confuse the "youngsters" out there that you love to haze on. Loss of control from full-deflection of the rudder is different from structural failure of the base of the fin from exceeding the design strength side-loads on the bracket.

"...the first US operator to have rudder problems....". More complete rubbish. I suspect the Wright Brothers were the first. Plenty of other transport aircraft prior to the 707 had insufficient rudder and/or other problems in directional stability or vertical stabilizer failure. Vmca was discovered prior to you, mate. In fact, the dutch roll phenomena affecting early 707's and KC-135's was well before the Flushing smash, leading to the fin extension and lower strakes on the Intercontinental.

I strongly suspect 411a's career looks like this:

Flew for PanAm
Got laid off by PanAm in the 80's after enduring years of their dinosaur-speed seniority system just as he was getting somewhere
Bitterly blames the "Big 3" for putting PanAm out
Goes searching round the world for a job (too old for starting over in the US)
Lands at SQ, great place to practice CRM
Ah, but home beckons....back to Az to try his hand
Still very bitter at the Big 3, and the CX blokes (from seeing their A-scales when he was at SQ)
If AA, UA, or DAL went under, he'd be very happy - revenge!

Oh, here's an interesting tit-bit:

PanAm's fatalities per million miles is higher than AA's, including an absolutely disgusting 9 fatal accidents (7 involving 707's) during the time you were probably there (1971-1982), killing well over a 1000 passengers. It's quite clear their management didn't learn anything from the "old hands" around at the time. Apparently lessons learnt were ignored at PanAm....

Some people never learn, blah, blah....:p

Green Guard
13th Dec 2004, 08:20

All you said, even about 411a, sounds very reasonable

and after this one:
>>" Plenty of other transport aircraft prior to the 707 had insufficient rudder and/or other problems in directional stability or vertical stabilizer failure. Vmca was discovered prior to you, mate. In fact, the dutch roll phenomena affecting early 707's and KC-135's was well before the Flushing smash, leading to the fin extension and lower strakes on the Intercontinental. <<

did not we come full circle on this topic?

A300 HAD sufficient rudder...

13th Dec 2004, 10:29
Personally,the only bit about an Airbus I trust are the wings(built by the Brits).This rudder separated just above design load limits.Well,thats fine.Keeps Airbus out of court but its not exactly a great testimony to Airbus.Boeings have been pulling g's well in excess of design limits for years.They're built stronger.MD's too.And Lockheed strongest of all.Wino's arguments are more persuasive than others.The only comeback seems to be "Airbus build weak rudders.Know that and act accordingly and you'll be fine"
However,having said that,I have huge respect for the NTSB and if they found something amiss at AA,then I'd back them.Perhaps this unfortunate crew had been given the wrong training.But then as Wino points out, AA flies an awful lot of flights so why didnt this show up on other fleets?

13th Dec 2004, 10:58

It was the vertical stabiliser that separated, and according to the conclusions of the NTSB report, at loads that were:

"about twice the certified limit design envelope and were more than the certified ultimate load design envelope"


13th Dec 2004, 11:27
Rananim I think the DHL pilots who guided an A300 back to SDA having been hit by a surface-to-air missile might disagree with you there......seems to me Airbus put their aircraft together very well indeed!

13th Dec 2004, 15:36
It would appear that good 'ole RRAAMJET has been sniffing at the glue pot once again.
Soory old bean, but never worked at PanAmerican, only trained there, as did so many others...who wanted the best training there was.

Then again, quite unlike some at AA (past and present), I never crashed an airplane or injured a passenger...sadly, something AA has never been able to say.

Cali, Little Rock, Bradford, Denver...and these are just the more recent examples, never mind the JFK departing Airbus.
Poor technique, poor training, bent aeroplanes...the hallmark of American Airlines...and the record speaks for itself.
The NTSB is spot on with their report.
The AA first officer crashed the aeroplane, pure and simple.
Lawyers will have a field day, and the billable hours will be in the many thousands.

Dr Dave
13th Dec 2004, 15:46
Renanim, you said 'Boeings have been pulling g's well in excess of design limits for years.They're built stronger.'

That is presumably not the same Boeing company that had:
- a 747 disintegrate over the South China Sea for no discernable reason (and this is not the first 747 structural problem surely?)
- a 767 crash due to uncommanded, in-flight reverse thrust operation
- a series of 737 losses due to rudder reversal
- a 737 go 'cabriolet' near Hawaii, with the loss of a flight attendant
- a Boeing-repaired rear bulkhead fail on a 747, with the resultant loss of the aircraft

Presumably that was a different Boeing?

Not trying to devalue any of these tragic events, just to point out that Airbus is not the only imperfect manufacturer of aircraft.

Dr Dave

13th Dec 2004, 18:03
"...the best training there was..." ended up wrecking 9 jets in 10 years. Dream on....glad I'm not a pax behind you. :yuk:

Far safer operations, and better training, existed apparently...

Some old duffers never learn, blah blah....
Apparently the lessons were not learnt blah blah....
How many Asian islands have a 707 imbedded in them from the 70's....


13th Dec 2004, 20:25
On the other hand RRAAMJET, 'ole buddy, apparently the AA 707 crew I mentioned couldn't find the rudder power switch...just overhead the Captains position, something the original Boeing procedures stressed quite well.
Why am I not surprised.

ALL of the recent AA accidents/incidents have been directly related to improper crew actions. Yes, Cali, Little Rock, Bradford, Denver, not to mention AA587.

Look at other US trunk carriers, and not one of 'em have had this sad record.

Hardly surprising, with American Airlines arrogant attitude.

13th Dec 2004, 23:20
So, in other words, a technical fault and not crew error, and totally unrelated to 587 and you're waffling. Who knows what the cockpit g-forces or otherwise were in that scenario in Flushing. Go ahead and condemn the crew as usual....

Certainly nothing like controlled flight into the top of Bali or any number of other "...best training available..." scenarios, eh? How's about missing the correct turn-off in Tenerife....

Some people never learn.....:yuk:
Lessons weren't learnt.....:yuk:

411a word association quiz:

"Glass" "Houses" "Stones"


Oh, and Bradford is in Yorkshire, and a very nice little airport, too, I might add, Bradley ( BDL) is an airport near Hartford, Conn....anybody with a modicum of professional aviation quality training would know that, but apparently that wasn't available in the "...best available...". Glad you're not a navigator, too.

Some people never learn, blah, blah....:yuk:


14th Dec 2004, 00:08
Indeed, RRAAMJET BDL it was, a perfectly serviceable aircraft flown into the trees.
Denver, just recently I might add...unstable approach found some of the frangible bits of the approach lights.
LittleRock, with a system chief pilot (no less) off the end, trying to land in a thunderstorm.
And, the worst of all, Cali, where a totally confused crew ran right smack into a hill, because they could't follow the most basic of instruments, the RMI, which should have been tuned to the proper LF beacon, but ignored by this crew, so pre-occupied they were with entering incorrect data into the FMC, and then finding themselves in deep doggie do-do, tried to climb away, with the spoilers still extended.

A sorry record, would't you agree?

But then again, an AA pilot would be inclined to dismiss all this as just bad luck, or perhaps faulty equipment.

Others, more objectively concerned with a definite pattern of deficient training, simply can't agree.

AA587 was no different. Nothing wrong with the aeroplane, yet the vertical fin departed, according to the NTSB, because the handling pilot overused the rudder...in the extreme.
If there was anything completely wrong with the A300-600 design, it would have been found out long ago, by other operators.

Sadly, AA was the first...with good reason, IMO.

The facts really do speak for themselves...that is, to anyone objective enough to actually read the NTSB findings.

Ignition Override
14th Dec 2004, 00:57
This maybe trivial, concerning the Cali accident. Was there not a discovery that in the Honeywell FMC database there were actually TWO different fixes, both having the exact same idents as Tulua, which was near the Cali airport? Read this years ago in "Aviation Week" after I was in 757 training. One was near the airport and the other was off in a totally different direction, yet the FMC turned the airplane towards the mountains!

This is not to excuse the crew's rush to change runways in a plane which is very difficult to slow down, even with flaps 5 and speedbrakes extended, while descending (talk to crews who flew the old LAX Civet Arrival :mad: ), and allowing the plane to turn off into the darkness from a charted route. The 757's speedbrakes make almost no noise or vibration in the [email protected]/flightdeck, and are out so often that in a very high workload situation, you almost need to leave your hand on the lever in order not to forget.

But I never was/will be the type, so common on Pprune, who can always avoid making mistakes .:hmm:

14th Dec 2004, 02:57
Indeed it was, Ignition Override, the designator was 'R' as I recall, and it was off somewhere in Brazil, in their database.

Now, if you are heading in the proper general direction, and you enter what you think is the proper ID, yet the aeroplane turns to left field, can this really be that hard to miss?

Modern electronic FMC's are fine, and can indeed be a real help, but on the other hand, basic instrument flying techniques have to enter the picture at some point, and for these AA folks, it just simply did not.

Pilots need a good deal of situational awareness, yet it was absent on that dark night at Cali, by both guys at the pointy end, so bang, into the hill.

One would think that AA pilots are better than this...sadly not.

Ignition Override
14th Dec 2004, 04:34
411: I agree with most if not all of your objective facts and data on various topics, but because accidents have happened throughout airline history due to loss of situational awareness (whether the non-flying pilots clearly expressed a concern or not), must it be constantly emphasized that American's training and procedures are really much worse than elsewhere? If one seriously questions AMRs overall flight ops. and mgmt attitudes about safety (versus revenue/"mission-oriented" accomplishment), then is this done from a detached, quite impersonal perspective, with no personal bias at all? One of the largest US airlines with a high percentage of short-haul flights, statistically, can experience a certain share of incidents, no matter what the safety culture. Is this not true, if all else is equal? I'm not trying to make any excuses for accidents, however our industry is full of pilot furloughs, downgrades, even upgrades and various levels of requal training syllabi (very short, medium or long course), right now. These can influence safety, and not just in subjective ways. Some of our industry's requal and line check training might consist of barely enough simulator periods, due to cost management. These are some factors at some US majors.

At least one regional airline flying the CRJ has hired some pilots who have only about 500 hours 'experience', because more experienced pilots can not afford, or simply refuse to go through weeks of training while being paid NOTHING. One of 'their' Line Check Airman told me so at an airport Taco Bell, near gate 70.

If AMR's insurance company went over their flight operations with a fine tooth comb, as supposedly happened at another US company's flight ops very recently (due to several hull losses, both wide and narrowbodies), then this would indicate a very unfortunate trend. But is that the case? A complex situation can not be described or resolved with oversimplified, sweeping generalizations. A detailed investigation is needed to understand various elements.

I leave these as open questions for all readers of these topics.

14th Dec 2004, 05:17
Well, Ignition Override, I cannot argue with much that you say.
Certainly, training today is at a minimum in many companies, and by minimum, I mean the very least that they can get by with, and still satisfy the regulations.
Which sometimes ain't much...that is truly needed.
When I went onto jets for the first time (B707) the program called for thirty two hours of sim followed by 10 hours in the aircraft, as the sim was not approved for many maneuvers then (or now) required.
This was for a direct entry Command, which was my situation at the time...directly into the left seat.
Yes, I was lucky, and the company I was working for at the time needed Captains...pronto.
So, I presented myself at PanAmericans door, and at the end, a new 707 Captain emerged...at age 30.
Then, off to Africa, with old PanAmerican and TWA straight-pipe 707's, Doppler navigation, NDB approaches (no ILS's in sight, except at LIS) and plenty of long flying hours...with minimum rest in between.
Thanks to old line Flight Engineers, I learned from the school of hard knocks, and didn't crash...fortunately.
Then off to bigger and better things.
Always with minimal recurrent training during those years with the charter companies, until moving up the ladder with a large scheduled carrier.
And, when I arrived at that large scheduled carrier, I found that they were precisely interested because of my rather varied experience, and in their opinion of the knowlledge that I could pass along to new First Officers...who, oddly enough, came to the 707 with a total number of flying hours that was less than 300, yet these folks never crashed and went on to become rather senior Captains.
Gosh, what a surprise.
Yet at American Airlines, a very old line company, with several thousand pilots, and a lot of flying experience under their belt, continue to have some very basic errors with their flying procedures, something I would have hoped would have been eradicated long ago.
But it apparently is not to be.

Looking at AA objectively, you gotta admit, something is wrong in Dallas...and it ain't the cowboys.

Green Guard
14th Dec 2004, 17:07
Wow it sounds very impressive !!!

Perhaps the CV is next.

Ignition and PRAAM
don't you see the point?

The guy is most probably looking for
a simulator instructor job with AA.

Maybe you should ask him for an interview.

14th Dec 2004, 19:12
If I could trust him to find his way to Ft Worth and not Ft Wayne, or even Yorkshire, I probably would....but he'd have to pass my Flight Test first. I doubt he'd make it. Clearly lacking in basic navigational and social skills....:yuk: Clearly muddled between rudder hardovers and structural failure.

What we used to call in the RAF an utter [email protected] sort of person who used to stand in the corner of the Mess regailing all the bored jp's about his hero status and flying skills. Yawn...

Some people never learn, blah blah....:yuk:

Something smells, blah blah....( I think it's his Depends...);)

blah blah blah

14th Dec 2004, 19:16
Jeez, the CVR makes for very sobering reading :ugh:

Seems as though there was much backchat during those 15 mins though, with very little concentration on the day ahead in many ways :confused:
Even when discussing the wake turbulence on the ground before rolling it was interspersed with 'chit-chat' ...

Very sad accident, and alot of A300 bashing going on too.
The plane has been flying (very) safely since 1969 , so it would appear that some of this is wholly unnecessary.

14th Dec 2004, 19:21
Not a chance Green Guard, AA couldn't afford me...and besides, they would not listen anyway, as sadly, their minds are made arrogantly up, never mind the quite obvious facts.
Really gross mistakes made by AA crews, yet they seem quite unconcerned...and RRAAMJET is a prime example.
He apparently thinks they really are the best there is, sadly their rather substandard record factually proves otherwise.
IF they were a rather small charter carrier, it might be understandable, with lower cash flow, training takes a back seat to survival.
But, as the USA's largest trunk carrier, they consistantly fall flat on their collective faces, yet to hear their individual pilots tell it, they are the best.
Oddly enough, their collective record proves otherwise....altho they do indeed operate many hundreds of flights daily, other carriers have a much better safety record...Southwest for example, and these folks certainly are not a long-haul carrier by any means....many sectors/day.

As for the A300-605R in American Airlines fleet, they simply did not investigate the potential problems involved in operating the type, introduced a very poorly thought-out 'upset recovery procedure', and now want to place the blame squarely in the Airbus corner, claiming that said aircraft is a deficient design.

It simply will not wash, to any objective observer.

Shore Guy
14th Dec 2004, 22:17
Will you guys just cut it out!!!!!!!

Take your bashing to private e-mails, please.

When I initiated this thread, I thought there would be an honest, intellectual, and professional exchange of information on 587. But, ............

Is this what PPRUNE has become?


:( :( :(

14th Dec 2004, 22:36
Sorry, old duffer, but I can't recall a "...really gross mistake..." during my flying :p

They wouldn't have let me fly the Queen if I had....

Concerned? You bet.
Still learning? All the time.
Still make crummy landings occasionally? Yup.
Having fun? I try to.
The sort of idiot who, with zero prior jet experience jumps straight into the left seat of a 707 with 32 training hours and arrogantly regails everyone about his superior flying skills, absolutely not. :yuk:
(Apparently the airline was so great that it didn't trust promoting from within :rolleyes: )

"....there's nothing so becomes a man as....humility..." (Henry V.)

Some people never learn, blah blah


15th Dec 2004, 04:47
Oh gosh, so sorry, Shore Guy.
I suppose that I have upset good 'ole RRAAMJET enough, after all, he has to think about the Queen....:rolleyes: :}