View Full Version : Accident in LIN involving a SAS aircraft.

8th Oct 2001, 11:38
Just heard on the local news that a SAS aircraft has collided with a building. 4 has been reported dead.

8th Oct 2001, 11:52
Regarding Scandinavian Airlines flight SK 686

Scandinavian Airlines regrets to confirm that one of its aircraft; an MD-
87 with flight number SK 686 from Milano/Linate, Italy to Copenhagen,
Denmark was involved in an accident at around 08.15 hrs local time today.

SK 686 is an SAS flight, and is not a code- share flight.

Although no further details of the accident are available at the moment we
estimate that there are approx. 104 passengers and 6 crew onboard.

SAS is doing everything possible to help passengers and to assist
Italian authorities at this time. A special phone number for next-of-kin
will be released as soon as possible.

The media information center can be contacted at the following number: +46
8 797 29 44.


8th Oct 2001, 11:55
CNN reports that a private plane crossed the path of the SAS plane causing it to impact the bulding

8th Oct 2001, 11:57
BBC has this to offer:
A passenger plane belonging to Scandanavian carrier SAS has crashed on take-off at an Italian airport.
One report on the Italian news agency ANSA says at least 12 people were killed and more than 100 injured.

An SAS spokeswoman said the aircraft was Flight 686 flying from Milan's Linate airport to Copenhagen in Denmark.

The plane is reported to have hit a smaller aircraft and ploughed into a building, before bursting into flames.


8th Oct 2001, 12:00
ROME, Italy -- An airliner has crashed into a building after being cut up on the tarmac by a smaller plane, Italian media has reported.

The SAS, or Scandinavian Airlines System, plane burst into flames, reportedly killing some passengers and injuring about 100.

An SAS spokesman in Stockholm, confirmed to The Associated Press news agency the accident involving its Flight 686, the 7:35 a.m. service from Milan's Linate airport to Copenhagen.

Fire crews were at the scene extinguishing the fire. Linate is Milan's second airport, after its main hub at Malpensa.

Billy the Kid
8th Oct 2001, 12:02
LIML 080720 080720Z 0000KT 0400 R36R/P1500 V1100U FG BKN002 BKN015
18/16 Q1014 NOSIG=

8th Oct 2001, 12:24
Latest from the BBC at 9.24

Two passenger planes have collided at Milan's Linate airport in Italy, killing at least 16 people, say reports.
One of the planes belonged to Scandanavian carrier SAS, which was taking off on a flight to Denmark when it hit a smaller Cessna plane on the runway.

The SAS plane ploughed into an airport building before catching fire, say reports.

One report on the Italian news agency ANSA says at least 16 people were killed and more than 100 injured. Earlier report said 12 people had died.

An SAS spokeswoman said the aircraft was Flight SK 686 flying from Milan to Copenhagen in Denmark.

The plane, an MD-87, had an estimated 104 passengers and six crew on board, the company said.

It had been due to take off at 0735 local time. The incident happened at 0815.

The Cessna plane is believed to have belonged to a German carrier.

At least four of dead were from the Cessna, said reports. The others are thought to have been on board the SAS flight.

Linate is Milan's second-biggest airport - most air traffic is handled at Malpensa.


8th Oct 2001, 12:52
Sadly, Italian news agency Ansa are now saying that over 100 have died.
I hope they're wrong.
Condolences to all affected.

8th Oct 2001, 13:03
Swedish TV news (SVT) is reporting that all 110 on board are feared dead.

8th Oct 2001, 13:03
Latest from Sky news suggests the MD-87 was on takeoff roll and had to abort takeoff when the Cessna crossed its path, then the MD swerved and crashed into a hangar, and caught fire.

Sadly they say over 100 may have been killed in the MD and 4 people in the Cessna. As you can see above heavy fog at Linate at the time which surely must have been a causal factor - it sounds like the Cessna mistakenly taxied onto the active runway.

8th Oct 2001, 13:09
BBC 0910 GMT

'Two passenger planes have collided at Milan's Linate airport in Italy, and at least 100 people are feared dead, says a report on the Italian news agency Ansa.
One of the planes belonged to Scandanavian carrier SAS, which was taking off on a flight to Denmark when it hit a smaller Cessna plane on the runway.

An SAS spokeswoman said the aircraft was Flight SK 686 flying from Milan to Copenhagen in Denmark.

A fire official told the AP news agency that more than 100 people had died when the plane burst into flames after crashing into an airport building.

The plane, an MD-87, had an estimated 104 passengers and six crew on board, SAS said.

It had been due to take off at 0735 local time. The incident happened at 0815.

German carrier

The Cessna plane is believed to have belonged to a German carrier.

At least four of dead were from the Cessna, said reports. The others are thought to have been on board the SAS flight.

The airport management company, SEA, told the French news agency AFP that between 20 and 25 people would normally have been working in the maintenance building which was hit by the plane.'

Oh dear!

My thoughts are with those affected.

Please, anyone with a 'good news' story about our industry - please post


8th Oct 2001, 13:55
Daily Telegraph.

100 killed in Milan aircrash
(Filed: 08/10/2001)

MORE than 100 people are feared dead in a collision at Milan airport when an SAS plane preparing for take-off hit a smaller craft and crashed into a building this morning.

Officials said that rescue workers were still recovering bodies at the scene, but gave no further details.

All 104 passengers on the SAS jet were believed to have been killed, as well as the four people aboard the small Cessna plane it was reported to have hit at Linate airport. The Cessna belonged to a German firm.

The airport management company, SEA, said that between 20 and 25 people would normally have been working in the maintenance building destroyed by the crash.

According to initial reports, SAS flight SK 686 was preparing to take off for Copenhagen when it made a sudden manoeuvre to avoid a small plane.

However, the SAS plane, a Boeing MD-87, hit the smaller plane before ploughing into an airport building and bursting into flames, reports said.

8th Oct 2001, 14:22
I would have hoped that was not worse than what was reported when I posted my initial post.

My sincere condolances to everyone involved.

bugs bunny
8th Oct 2001, 14:58
Condolences to all who have been affected by the tragedy.

Doors to Automatic
8th Oct 2001, 15:05
A terrible tragedy on the back of what has probably been the worst month in the history of aviation.

Sincerest condolences to all involved - our thoughts are with you.

8th Oct 2001, 16:40
Funny old world.

When a train passes a red signal it's management to blame for relying on outdated technology.

When a plane encroaches on the path of another plane struggling with 50-year old technology - I wonder who will carry the can?

When are we going to stop using this primitive voice nonsense and embrace the modern world? What lessons were learned at Tenerife? Say "Departure" instead of "Take-off" - well that seems to have done a whole lot of good.

You can't control a modern airport with CB.

Nick Figaretto
8th Oct 2001, 18:04
This question might be a little premature, but still: With heavy fog, and when there's no ground radar, and (obviously) no red stop bars in function, what the heck is a Cessna doing in the manouvering area when an other A/C is taking off in the first place, I wonder.

I guess the following days will provide us with an answer.

I hope... oh well, with the latest news updates I guess there are not many things left to hope for, really.

Another sad day in the worst month in aviation history. :(


[ 08 October 2001: Message edited by: Nick Figaretto ]

8th Oct 2001, 18:12
According to BBC World, the Cessna had been cleared for take-off but took the wrong route to the runway in fog.

Temp Hi
8th Oct 2001, 18:23
What a sad, sad day.
I had the pleasure of piloting the SE-DMA, Lage Viking, as late as last week and it certainly feels awful to see her lying in the smoking ruins in Linate.
My thoughts and prayers goes to the passengers, their relatives and the 6 collegues onboard :(

8th Oct 2001, 18:39
My condolences to all involved...

Can anyone comment on the standard of taxiway markings at LIN? Was at Malpensa recently, and found it decidedly difficult to spot correct taxiways at night, as the only markings are those on painted on the largely unlit taxiway surface. You could only spot the markings as you were taxying over them! Surely lit signs could help prevent accidents such as the one today?

8th Oct 2001, 18:54
From the Nando Times
[URL=http://www.nandotimes.com/world/story/126140p-1329348c.html]Nando Times[/URL

nullBy VICTOR L. SIMPSON, Associated Press

MILAN, Italy (October 8, 2001 10:17 a.m. EDT) - A SAS airliner collided with a small private jet while taxiing before take-off on an airport runway in Milan on Monday. The SAS plane plowed into a building and burst into flames, killing all 114 people on both aircraft.

Government officials ruled out terrorism. The Interior Ministry said the accident was most likely the result of human error as well as poor visibility from heavy morning fog at Milan's Linate airport.

The SAS plane, an MD 87 with 104 passengers, six crew members and a tank full of fuel, hit the twin-engine Cessna, swerved off the runway and ran into a baggage handling depot, the Interior Ministry said in a statement. The airliner had not yet started taking off.

The Interior Ministry said the private jet, a Cessna Citation II, was on the wrong runway.

Transport Minister Pietro Lunardi put the death toll at 114 with four ground workers missing. Fifty-six of the SAS victims were Italians, the rest other nationalities, he told an airport news conference.

"The cause seems for now attributable to human error," he said, refusing to say who was to blame. He said the investigation was in the hands of a magistrate.

Four of the dead were aboard the smaller Cessna aircraft, which was destroyed by the fire. The two Cessna pilots were German, and the two passengers on the eight-seater plane were Italian, said Alessandra Tripodi, a spokeswoman at the Milan Prefect's office.

"Unfortunately the toll is bound to rise," she said.

She said the Cessna had stopped in Milan while en route from Cologne, Germany to Paris.

More than 35 bodies had been pulled from the wreckage, as firefighters worked to contain the blaze, Tripodi said. Access to the fuselage and cabin of the jetliner was made difficult because the plane hit a cement beam as it plowed into the baggage storage building, causing the roof to collapse.

Rescue crews using a crane lifted the roof off but "the scene is not encouraging in terms of finding survivors," she said.

Thick smoke filled the air around the crash site, and charred pieces of the shattered airplane stuck out of the red-and-white checked building as firefighters tried to board. Fire trucks were clustered around the scene and the ground was covered with mounds of white, fire-retardant foam.

The airport was closed until at least midnight.

"I heard three or four booms and a few moments later a crash and then flames dozen of meters (yards) high," an unidentified airport worker told private TG5 television. He said he was awaiting word of his colleagues, some 20 of whom were believed to be in the building.

Two of the injured from the baggage depot were taken to Niguarda hospital, and were listed in serious condition, spokesman Savino Bonfanti said. Another airport worker was taken to San Raffaele hospital for shock, said spokesman Luca Esotti.

"It's a terrible tragedy that fills us with pain and mourning and comes at an already difficult time in the international context," said the provincial president, Roberto Formigoni.

German Interior Minister Otto Schily, who spoke to his Italian counterpart after the blaze, called the Linate crash a "tragic accident" and said terrorism had been ruled out.

The worst-ever runway incident happened in 1977, when 582 people were killed when a KLM Boeing 747, attempting to take off, crashed into a Pan Am 747 on Tenerife in the Canary Islands, said Chris Yates, of Jane's Airport Review.

SAS, or Scandinavian Airlines System, said the aircraft, Flight SK686, had been scheduled to take off at 7:35 a.m. Monday for Copenhagen. The incident occurred at 8:10 a.m.

"SAS is doing everything possible to help passengers and to assist Italian authorities at this time," the airline said in a statement. The airline sent experts to Milan to assist in the rescue operation and investigation.

At Copenhagen's airport, about 20 relatives and friends of the passengers who had been expected to arrive were being gathered and offered the opportunity to talk with psychologists. Relatives at Linate, Milan's second airport after its main hub in Malpensa, were kept in a room away from the press and special hotlines were set up for those seeking information.

[ 08 October 2001: Message edited by: gofer ]

Flap 5
8th Oct 2001, 19:04
What I don't understand is why a light aircraft was moving around an airport when Low Visibility Procedures were in force? Maybe the full facts will reveal the answer.

8th Oct 2001, 19:14
I heard that Milan's Radar was U/S

8th Oct 2001, 19:15
F-5: The Cessna was apparently a Citation II bizjet, so not a light a/c.

[ 08 October 2001: Message edited by: sanjosebaz ]

Few Cloudy
8th Oct 2001, 19:18
Firstly condolences to those remaining.

Secondly My God - it's happened again - the foggy runway takeoff accident. To my knowledge it happened to Swissair in Vienna (involving a light aircraft rolling incorectly from the other end) in Tennerife and now in Linate. There are probably other cases.

In VIE correct voice procedures were used by the SR DC9 but the little aircraft's transmissions were partially blocked. We know the history of TRF. What went wrong in LIN we don't know yet.

Short of inventing a ground radar warning matrix and an RT tell tale whenever crossed transmissions occur - especially in Low Vis Procedures, it seems that VHF procedures will always be less than fully safe.

8th Oct 2001, 19:24
Use Linate quite frequently and think well of the radar and tower operators. The main runway is 36R which is usualy used for departure. Left Linate yeterday afternoon at 1220 on the 7th having gone in couple of days earlier. There has been low vis down at times to minimums and it seems to have been persisting.
The taxiway R6 which is generaly used, (though they can taxi you the long way around the top via R5), from the Private terminal on the West Apron intersects the main runway about two thirds of the way up from the departure end of 36R. A Citation II would not have used 36L which is for light aircraft only.
They generaly cross you at this point via R2 to continue on the opposite side down the parrallel taxiway to the holding point of 36R at R4. There is line of red stoplights set across the taxiway before the entering the runway.
R6 is a long taxiway with a couple of curves and passing bays and in low vis he might have become disoriented as to where he was along that taxiway.
A tragedy for all concerned our thoughts to those who have been involved.

8th Oct 2001, 20:02
Nick Figaretto and Flap5: What reasoning makes you think that a "light aircraft" (Cessna Citation II business jet) should not be permitted to manoeuvre during low vis. operations??!!

Flap 5
8th Oct 2001, 20:53

You are making the assumption that I was aware that it was a Cessna Citation. I was told that it was a new light Cessna being tried out by Signore Forsatti who is the owner of the Star food factory in Agrate Brianza near Milan. It would appear that not all of the information I had received was correct.

However having flown LVP ops many times myself I am aware that you do not continue down taxi ways unless you are absolutely sure where you are. Furthermore if transmissions from the Citation were being blocked the Cessna should have stopped to ensure that ATC were fully aware of what they were doing.

Flap 5
8th Oct 2001, 21:19
As of the six o'clock news on Radio 4 the BBC are still reporting that it was a 'light Cessna with four people on board'.

8th Oct 2001, 21:44
My thoughts go to the passengers and crew of the airplanes involved.
But I can't stop to think after every accident what could we have done...
In my company we select the transponder ON when cleared to line up or Take-off, and we check for Runway/ Approach clear both visualy and on TCAS especialy in LVP.
1- Did the Cessna have the Transponder ON.
2-Would it be a good idea to ask all operator to select Transponder ON and not Auto when LVP in progress.

8th Oct 2001, 21:51
I echo twistedenginestarter post entirely. How many more lives will it take.

RIP to those lost in this tragic and unnecessary event. :(

8th Oct 2001, 22:33
Along with FG & the fact that the MD was running late (a well-known CRM issue), another factor could have been the 3 different nationalities involved. Though everyone was speaking a supposably correct english, ATC was Italian, the C550 guys were German & the MD guys Scandinavians. This could have lead to some lack of communications monitoring by both aircrafts, that is... if they were on the same frequency ! Any rwy crossing should always B double-confirmed when approaching it, even if a previous clearance has been issued, & especially in such poor conditions.


8th Oct 2001, 23:00
Some info from the Corriere della Sera, net edition.

Cessna Citation, belonging to Luca Giovanni Fossati, president of Star & Findim. 2 Pilots german.

IL RADAR CHE NON C'ERA - L'incidente ha acceso ancora una volta le polemiche relative al radar di terra che non funziona dal novembre 1999. La cui mancanza ha provocato diversi esposti in procura. ŦL'inefficienza del radar di terra potrebbe aver contribuito notevolmente a causare l'eventuale errore umanoŧ. Č quanto ha dichiarato Mario Marinelli, presidente dell'Unione piloti , ricordando anche che Ŧgiā in passato l'organizzazione sindacale aveva segnalato la situazioneŧ.
Anche per Michele Bufo, presidente della Licta , l'associazione sindacale dei controllori di volo, il sistema SMGCS (Surface Mouvement Ground Control System) di Linate Ŧera ormai antiquato e la sua sostituzione č stata decisa dall'Enav circa due anni faŧ, ma non č stata ancora portata a termine

THE RADAR THAT WASN'T THERE. The accident has relit the discussion about the ground radar that hasn't functioned since november 1999. <the inefficiency of the ground radar mihgt notably have contributed to causing the eventual human error> declares Mario Marinelli, president of the pilot union, also remembering that <also in the past the union has pointed out this situation>

According to Michele Bufo, president of the ATCO union, Linate's SMGCS <has long been antiquated and it's substitution had been decided on by the Enav about 2 years ago> but hasn't been completed yet.

Food for thought...................

Saw snippets from Kastrup airport on tv just now, SAS personel grieving for lost colleagues. Had to switch it off.

Condolences to all SAS ppruners.
Thoughts are with you.

......How fragile we are.........

Saab 2000 Driver
8th Oct 2001, 23:14
The ground radar indeed was u/s in foggy conditions. In addition to Maxflex55 I would like to add that, in my eyes, Italian ATC is simply appaling, promotes unsafe situations, and I would not be supprised to learn that ATC has played a contributing factor in this tragic accident. :confused:

Although I do not fly to Linate, I do fly a lot to Lugano (talking to Milano appraoch on 126.750), Olbia, Genoa, and Florence. Non standard clearances, incomprehensible use of English, an irritated responce if requested to read back (an unreadable) clearance and a general carelessness…..the list goes on and on ! Just take one look at the NOTAMS page for Malpensa or Linate… :eek:

My condolances to all those affected by this tragedy. :(

8th Oct 2001, 23:18
Heard LIN ATC a couple of years ago to the aircraft in front of us "clear take off, direct any point"!!!!!!!!!!! :eek:

8th Oct 2001, 23:41
First of all my deepest sympathies to the crew, passengers and their next of kin.

Second, it is a travesty on the part of Italian airport authorities to have not had ground radar operational for the past two years, as BBC claims. I have flown from both Milan airports and both tend to get fog and bad visibility, including snow. Following is the BBC excerpt from their web story;

"It was later revealed that the airport's ground radar system, which tracks planes as they move around the airport, had been out of action for anything up to two years."

Do pilots know this when flying in and out?

9th Oct 2001, 00:30
My condolences to all that were affected by this tragedy.

9th Oct 2001, 00:34
A few years ago the threat was CFIT (Controlled Flight into Terrain). With all the advances in GPS navigation and EGPWS this accident scenario is becoming less common. Now it seems accidental runway incursions will take centre stage. We had the Streamline accident at CDG last year and a very close near thing in the States a couple of months ago. So what will be the industries response. All the flight crew reading this will be doubly carefull this winter but will airport operators like LIN look at their configuration and rue the fact that Ground movement radar costs nothing in comparison the cost in lives of this type of accident.

Condolences to all and lets be careful out there....

9th Oct 2001, 00:34
The following is the bad news when reporting lives lost. According to the Swedish newspaper, Expressen, the following were the crew casualties aboard the SAS plane that crashed in Milan today:

-- Capt. Joakim Gustaffson, 36, Swedish, who had been working for SAS for 14 years. Stationed in Copenhagen. He had 5,624 flight hours in his career. Was employed by SAS in 1987.
-- F/O Anders Hyllander, 36, Swedish, who had been working for SAS for four years and had a total of 2,370 flight hours.
-- Stewart Olaf Jakobsson, 49, Swedish, who had worked for SAS since 1976 and had 15,143 flight hours.
-- Purser Lise Lott Andersen, 57, who had been with SAS since 1971.
-- F/A Janne Penttinen
-- F/A Eiler S. Danielsen

9th Oct 2001, 00:41
Yes, ground radar would help, but it's not the only solution to what is fast becoming aviation's #1 operational menace.

1. Electronic charts with gps position overlay - I've tested them (and my airline's testing them now, I believe), and you can follow a little aircraft symbol accurately around an airport diagram (Jepp airport diagrams are to scale). So no excuses for getting lost there...

2. An electronic warning system that sets off the caution system on the a/c upon approaching/entering the active (when on the ground), and requires positive cancelling action by the crew. All a/c cleared for lvp could be fitted with this.

Ah, the costs of all this........well, hundreds dead makes it seem a bargain, to me.

Condolences to all, especially the SAS crew, who faced one of my nightmare scenarios. Poor folks - RIP.

9th Oct 2001, 00:42
Another in a long series of low visibility collisions on the runway with many more to come (and there was also the accident in Taiwan where an a/c began a low vis takeoff on a runway closed for construction and collided with construction items).

Yes, TCAS sounds like it could be a backstop. Does it pick up every active transponder including small a/c and will the antennae be effective on the ground? I'm no TCAS expert; so I don't know if it can do the whole job.

Best of all would be a ground traffic display superimposed on the airport chart showing all a/c (including those on final) and vehicles.

If govt. bureaucracy cannot be relied upon to maintain a functional ground radar, a box could broadcast current and projected GPS position at intervals determined in a manner analogous to Bluetooth protocol to eliminate transmission conflicts. A cockpit display could then integrate the position updates along with velocity and display them. The crew could then see the current and projected position of other traffic. Takeoff and landing would be obvious times to check the display for conflicting traffic. Likely the display would have the smarts to identify potential conflicts. Closed runways could be identified by parking vehicle units at each end and the middle if necessary.

9th Oct 2001, 01:13
Just a quick question,

For those of you that do fly into LIN, do your charts show that ground radar is not, rpt, not functioning?

9th Oct 2001, 01:27
Totally agree with Mr Saab Driver.My experience of Italian ATC is the same. Non standard clearances, non standard RT and a general feeling that you are on your own.

With the Po Valley weather typified by fog and strong CB activity these guys frankly just are not up to the job. Will be interesting to see what comes out of this tragedy. Let's hope at least more professionalism from Italian ATC generally.

9th Oct 2001, 01:36
re TCAS on the ground, certainly on my mount, the transponder is inhibited by the squat switches, so we would be invisible on other peoples TCAS. The weather radar may be of use, (eg tilt up and look for a/c like returns), but it would be tricky to decline a take off clearance due to what is probably ground clutter. A definate safeguard during LVPs is to always confirm the r/w with the ILS for that r/w selected on one nav display, and keep a cynical listen out.

[ 08 October 2001: Message edited by: Sick ]

9th Oct 2001, 02:09
hey.. i'm not a pilot, but as far as i know - while acft is on the ground - transponder is not working, so you are invisible for others, who looking on their TSAC display... to be exactly - acft can appear on TCAS displays only after undercarrige is airborn.
i had one bad experience - i was riding on jumpseat of a300 freighter, on short final at CPH. just few seconds before touchdown, TCAS alerted "TRAFFIC, TRAFFIC.."... crew replied with "**** , **** , **** ..." - anyway it was too late and we landed... the reason for TCAS traffic alert was Malasyian (?) 747 with mode-s transponder activated on taxiway due to corresponding contact plate failure...

9th Oct 2001, 02:19
Our transponders and TCAS are working on the ground. The TA/RA function is inhibited below 500ft AGL. Some airlines turn their transponders on during taxi out. We turn ours on when we are cleared onto the runway. No squat switch.

Lew Ton
9th Oct 2001, 02:23
The building that the MD crashed into appeared to be painted with red and white squares, i.e., an obstacle. What is it's position in relation to the runway?

A sad sad month.

Wee Weasley Welshman
9th Oct 2001, 03:37
A few months ago I took part as a volunteer pilot in a DERA (Defence Establishment Research Agency) testing program involving HUD's and ground movements.

Using a simulator I was able to taxi a generic large jet around an unfamiliar airfield in LVP's with ease and confidence. So there certainly are people out there looking at technology and LVP's...

But even so - if ATC clear you for take off and the runway isn't clear... no amount of technology will help. Perhaps a HUD image coupled to a IR camera to detect heat would be universally useful?

Jaguar Cars Ltd have such a system available to the general public...

Safe flying,


9th Oct 2001, 11:14
The smaller a/c was a Citationjet.

To those whose unfortunate experiences with Italian controllers have left them so upset. I have been in and out of Linate Malpensa Genoa Nice as well as Zurich Brussels London and Athens frequently in the last month. The contolling I have recieved in Italy has been well up to the standard of any of the other FIRs, and no I am not Italian

I frequently use airports that do not have ground radar in low vis. Yes it would be nice to have, and yes it is understood that most large airports are working towards as safe an environment as possible, but in the real world as opposed to a perfect world we deal with what we have and the various contraints bugetry or otherwise.
Accidents do occur sadly and no most of us don't want to die, but sometimes these things do happen no matter how hard we try. Thats life.I am not trying to excuse it, just deal with it.

9th Oct 2001, 11:19

DERA was the Defence Evaluation and Research Agency. Now mostly sold off and known as QinetiQ. My former employer, not that I miss them much....

9th Oct 2001, 11:21
According to a report carried by the BBC http://news.bbc.co.uk/hi/english/world/europe/newsid_1587000/1587991.stm
the Italian CAA is blaming Pilot Error already.
Condolences to all the families.

9th Oct 2001, 11:22
Obviously I don't make mistakes so I never associate myself with accidents.

Except this one. It is really quite difficult negotiating your way around a strange international airport.

Don't you just get that It could have been me killing all those people?

I do...

9th Oct 2001, 11:57
a couple of months ago an Air Europe 777 had to abort T/O in MXP because an Egyptair AC made an incursion on the runway.
Italian pilots have been aware of the problem, and reported it.
It is nothing new, nothing that couldn't be avoided (such as human error).
In both cases the ground radar was not working.
If we can't avoid human error all the efforts must be orientated in order to use all the available means to avoid such accidents: ground radar, crew training and checking on the runway signals.
But some of the managers in this country have managing positions because of political support and not because of their technical competence.
Those managers worry more about the balance sheet than the safety.
Tragically, in Milan we can't say we had no warnings of the management incompetence and inefficiency: it started with the XMas closing down of MXP for 10 cm of snow, went on with the Egyptair near collision, then here we go with this tragedy.
After all they always have a pilot to blame handy, who's not ther to defend himself.

Fool's Hole
9th Oct 2001, 12:15
For a while now on the MXP ATIS 121.62 there is this patronising addition at the end "Please use standard phraseology".
Who the hell are they aiming that one at??????

[ 09 October 2001: Message edited by: Fool's Hole ]

9th Oct 2001, 12:25
Thats life.I am not trying to excuse it, just deal with it.

If we should all have an attitude like yours, then how are we ever going to be able to make progress and continously enhance safety...?

My condolences and my deepest sympathy for all involved.
SAS will have a minute of silence at 1100GMT. I know that I any many of you out there will honour it in memory of what has happend.

9th Oct 2001, 12:39
What do we have to do now, to avoid this?? Should I challenge ATC after I have obtained my take-off clearance by asking if he can give me a 100% guarantee that the runway is clear???? And if he does not provide me with that guarantee, should I go back to the gate?

It is a pity that this avoidable accident should happen...

Safety is no accident!

9th Oct 2001, 13:00
Does anyone have any experience at airports using Honeywell Airport Systems A-SMGCS system (Surface Movement Ground Control System)? And if so do you think that it might help in situations where pilots may be unfamiliar with airfield layout in reduced visibility? I'm not suggesting that this might have averted yesterdays tragedy, but I do think that there should be systems available to minimise the risks at airports.

9th Oct 2001, 13:54
Food for thought.
LIML main RWY is 36R/18L. There is a small parralel 36L/18R (600M).
RWY 36R, in use, has 4 exit/entry points, R1 R2 R3 R4, where R2 connects with TWY R6 to go to the west apron by crossing 36R.
Now, when LVP is in use at LIML I quote Jeppesen LIML Airport 20-9A.
Quote, Low visibility procedures cat II/III
operations RWY 36R.
General. Pilots will be informed when Low Visibility Procedures are in operation by ATC. Aircraft taxiing to/from GA west apron will be stopped at R6 by a stop signal. Aircraft taxiing to RWY head 36R will be stopped by a stop bar. TWY R2 and R3 are not authorized. Unquote.

Now, if the citation left apron north(main)to depart, it would be taxiing on the paralel
all the way to R4, as, see above, R2 and R3 are not authorized.
As by then the MD is on it's t/o roll it would reach V1 at around R2.
If this is where they hit, one wonders what the citation was doing there, t/o from the intersection, going to connect to R6 to go to the GA terminal and thus crossing the active??
In either case, as R2 and R3 are not authorized under LVP, who gave them clearence to use R2 and or subsequently cross the active??
Inadvertently on R2? I doubt it as it is the first intersection after leaving the apron.
If they were coming from R6, west apron, they were stopped by the stop signal and hat to get approval crossing or line up the active. In both scenarios, would they have cleared them selves??
As for ground radar, in both scenarios it would only take a few seconds to go from R2/R6 onto the active so I doubt if even a sharp and awake ground controller would have had the time to raise hell.

All above IMHO.

Any takers?.

9th Oct 2001, 14:01
Someone was asking about the positioning of the building.
If you look at http://www.airliners.net/open.file?id=018759 you can see the building at the far end of the runway on the righthand side(long low & pinkish). The picture forshortens the distance a bit but it is approx 450m from the far end of the runway to the building.
You can also see where the taxiway from the GA area joins the runway on the lefthand side.
Notice also where the parking stands are. This could have been much worse.


[ 09 October 2001: Message edited by: Flap40 ]

9th Oct 2001, 14:33
Now,imagine if the Air Europe/Egyptair incident happened in fog.MXP is an accident waiting to happen!I know,it's my base airport.

9th Oct 2001, 14:37
I believe that placing red and green lights on the taxiways can solve the problem in Linate. After this tragic accident, I hope that, the authorities will give the required funds to implement the necessary tasks.
Radar coverage can help, but, been the taxiways as they are, it is very difficult to prevent an accident as this one.
And fog is a very common phenomenon in Milan.

9th Oct 2001, 16:08
For Low Vis Ops, is it not mantatory to have an operating ground movements radar.......I appreciate the citation allegedly was in the wrong place but me thinks heads will roll in Milan ATC over this one. Condolences to all.

Flap 5
9th Oct 2001, 17:16
The lack of ground radar would have been in the NOTAM's. With LVP's in force the ONLY way ATC will know where you are is by telling them AND by repeating your message to ATC until you receive an acknowledgement with no ambiguity in their reply. It is essential that you are pedantic about this.

Clearly the Cessna pilot had his transmission blocked and did not ensure they had a reply to that transmission, by repeating it. ATC also had an extremely relaxed attitude about the location of both aircraft as well.

9th Oct 2001, 18:17

I don't think there is much question that what happened is that the Citation pilot was using R6, which crosses 36 and becomes R2, instead of R5, which goes round the upwind end of the runway, as cleared. The question is 'why' and right now there is no obvious answer.

As a comment, I think there is a phenomenon at the moment by which relatively cheap, do-able solutions specifically to the runway incursion/alert issue are being shelved in the desire for all-singing, all-dancing surface surveillance systems. A classic case of the perfect driving out the good.

Worse still, smaller fields that will never be able to justify the full-up kit are not going to be able to get their hands on the runway incursion prevention kit that would be just the ticket for them. :(

9th Oct 2001, 23:12
Algy, Aisleman.

Yes, if the citation came off west apron the clearence would have been R5.
What stunnes me though is that when you leave west apron for R5 you go due north whilst if you go R6 you go south east.
One look at the chart and one at the compass would have done it.
Now, at the end of R6 there is a stop sign and flashing lights before you enter RWY 36R. So, the ATC tapes have the answer.
Who was talking to whom at that point or wasn't there any talking.

A pilots nightmare, you see it but can do nothing anymore.

Regards, AV

ps Algy, greetings to James B.

Flying M
10th Oct 2001, 01:47
Today at 1300 hrs CET all employees at SAS, including on all flights in normal operation, held a minute of silence for all those involved of the tragic accident.

Obi Wan Kirk
10th Oct 2001, 01:57
I was a passenger on a BA flight out of MXP last week and the t/O had to be aborted because a vehicle was crossing runway...

10th Oct 2001, 02:00
Ok KADS, your now at an airport that does not have ground radar because either it was never there anyway, was there and is U/S, or for some reason is inop. Vis is sufficent for aircraft to be landing and departing.

Do you now not Taxi?

Get real!

Of course I would like progress, who does not, but we live and work with what we have, and sadly mistakes still do happen.

Devils Advocate
10th Oct 2001, 03:39
I've been in and out of a fair few Italian airports and I must say that imho their general ATC procedures are CRAP !

I.e. It's usually rushed, they apparently have little / no coordination between sectors, you're nearly always left high / fast, they seemingly (intentionally ?) speak to us using crap aviation English (unlike the Germans, Scandinavians, Low Countries, Spanish, French, etc)

Thus one leaves the UK and all is rosey until you get handed off by German / Swiss control to Padua (Northern Italy) - and how many times have we all taken a sharp intake of breath before keying the PTT to talk to them ? i.e. you mentally prepare yourself for the inevitable numerous instructions they'll give you in some non-standard sequence / rapid-fire manner, plus all the usual descend due traffic (as in Alitalia ? ) and / or being sent to some never-heard-before waypoint !

Also, imho, it just gets worse the nearer you get to the ground.
E.g. Your wheels have only just kissed the tarmac and the controller is straight on the mike and giving 'vacate runway next left at .... ' (usually impossible to make), 'cleared to cross xyz but hold short of.... ', coupled to 'change frequency to.... ', all the while whilst you've literally only just landed (i.e. the reversers aren't even deployed and they're saying all this stuff to you) - and it's usually once again in that rapid-fire semi intelligible (heavily accented / excited) manner - and they then have the nerve to be smarmy (e.g. they usually make the point by reading the instructions even faster then before) when you ask them to repeat what they said whilst you were landing the aircraft, albeit once you've finally slowed the beast enough to divert your attention to the last of the trilogy of 'Aviate / Navigate / Communicate'.

Bottom line is that if you'd 'blindly' described the above incident to me (or indeed / perhaps, most other Euro experienced pilots) and asked for a suggestion as to where was most likely ? I'd have said - and I'll wager, that many of us would similarly say - that it was Italy !

Please don't get me wrong, this is NOT meant to be some xenophobic rant but, imho, that this does not occur more often in Italy is almost amazing, but in any event it hopefully highlights that there's seemingly something about Italian ATC, and / or their training, and / or their infrastructure, and / or their investment, and / or the phrasiology they use, and / or their attitude, which needs to be addressed (imho)

Yep, I'll be first to admit that maybe what I've written above is not that palatable, but (as a pilot, who's regularly flown in / out of MXP, LIN, BLQ, BLO, BDS, VCE, CIA, NAP, etc) I still think that the above shoud (must) be mentioned.


10th Oct 2001, 04:02
I'm sure that ADS-B will minimize the risk of similar accidents. See www.ads-b.com (http://www.ads-b.com)

10th Oct 2001, 04:31
Devils Advocate,

I register my vote of agreement with your statement. Some or all of this may or may not have been a factor in this latest disaster but nevertheless I believe your statement worthy.


Flight Safety
10th Oct 2001, 04:36
At an airport that has a lot of LVP days and fog, why can't there be a backup ground radar installation? That way one could be in service while the other is being repaired or modified. It seems to me that at an airport such as this one, the standard aviation practice of redundancy could be applied to the ground radar system.

10th Oct 2001, 09:24
Why is everyone so hung up on ground radar ? There is allready a cheaper/simpler GPS based system invented ,ironically by a swede, but itīs implimentaion would mean finacial losses for the likes of Honeywell and Rockwell/Collins, UPS.......... I just answered it myself.
Lets face it, there is a $$ price on human life, and we all accept it silently.
RIP crew and pax.

Fool's Hole
10th Oct 2001, 11:28
Ground Radar is only as good as the monkey that's watching it!!!

Nick Figaretto
10th Oct 2001, 12:18
Yes, let's not join the choir crying for ground radar at all airports. That is what's happening in the Scandinavian press right now. SAS have recieved many critical questions like: "Why does SAS operate at airports where you know that the ground radar is not functioning", etc. When the Chief of Operations replies that SAS is operating at more A/Ds without ground radar than A/Ds with ground radar, without further explanation, the chaos is complete.

Ground radar is just an aid for getting more traffic into the air at LO VIS OPS! If the procedures are limiting the number of A/C on the manouvering area to one at a time, ground radar is not necessary from a safety point of view.

If the A/D is equipped with red stop bars, flashing lights, standard ICAO markings etc. etc., the number of A/C on the manouvering area may be increased, but still the procedures have to reflect the equipment at the airport.

What it boils down to is that I just can't believe that the poor German pilots would have taxied onto the active runway if the markings, lights, taxiway layout, ATC procedures and phraseology, etc, were meeting the high standards that we all take for granted.

If the responsibility rests solely on the German pilots, (as the Italian transport minister has stated), i.e. all ICAO/JAA procedures were followed at LIN, then I refuse to operate in low visibility before the procedures have been changed!

Demanding ground radar on all airports, no matter how small (as some journalists in the Scandinavian and Italian press are doing now), is plain out stupid. We could use that amount of money on other things that will be more effective on the general level of aviation safety.


Sad and frustrated. :( :confused: :mad:

[ 10 October 2001: Message edited by: Nick Figaretto ]

10th Oct 2001, 12:19
Now it has been confirmed that the citation was on R6 instead of R5 the following observations.
If ground movement radar had been available, the controller would have had 20-25 seconds to spot the error and take corrective action.
That is, if he kept looking at the screen after issuing taxi instructions.
Now there was no such facility available and thus there was no clue for ATC to know that the citation was not where he was supposed to be. But then, when they approached the stop sign and flaslights at the end of R6 the citation crew should have a clue that something was not right. They had to stop and talk. (ATC tape will reveal).
If they did not stop and talk and continued, then,....

Just my observation.

10th Oct 2001, 12:57
Paterbrat -

I don't understand where the scenario you gave me comes into the picture. Nowhere did I mention anything in contrary of what you're saying regarding that specific point. What I DO object to is the fact that a lot of people suffered and died that day and your reaction was, and I quote "Thats life.I am not trying to excuse it, just deal with it.", which to me, at that point, was a little premature of a reaction. Therefore my point was to not draw any conlusions, ie "accept the fact that accidents will always happen", until at least "the fires were put out" and a proper investigation had taken place.
Maybe the safety will be enhanced in the future by changing how we communicate our position in foggy or conditions, just to mention an example, which would thereby validate my former point, ie "to be able to make progress and continously enhance safety"

Nowhere did I mention anything about a ground radar, as you seem to imply...

[ 10 October 2001: Message edited by: KADS ]

10th Oct 2001, 16:14
The italians were very quick in blaming the german. Now one news agency claims that both aircraft had received runway clearance. That might explain why the italians are not releasing the tower tapes.

And not that itīs only the guys south of the Alps: The day of the accident a norwegian official said ĻThis could never happen here.Ļ Well, it allready did. Last year there was an incidence at OSL involving three SAS aircraft, with all three having received clearance to do what they were doing. Two of the aircraft had to take evasive action. To date I havenīt seen a transcript of the tower tapes, or a report of what actually happened.

Saab 2000 Driver
10th Oct 2001, 16:39
My point exactly Devilīs Advocate ! Most folks on this trheat seem to go on and on about ground radars and stop bars, but the fundamental issue is how ATC uses these tools.

In addition to ground radar, ALL air traffic controllers should have at their disposal; a training in situational awareness, standard frasiology and the drive to promoting a safe environment. In Italy however, most controllers simply do not seem to care about the points mentioned above.

Therefore, no matter how many ground radars airports wil install, safety will NOT improve unless Italian ATC will become more efficient and disiplined in using the tools/procedures already available and common in the rest of Europe !

10th Oct 2001, 16:51
As a passenger, the bit that worries me is the bit nobody appears to have mentioned.

So one plane hits another - fog, human error, whatever - **** happens.

But... why did *nobody* get out of this one? I'm unclear from the reports as to whether the SAS a/c was airborne when it struck the Cessna (or indeed whether it struck it at all), but for an airliner to burn *on the airfield* and for the fire service to fail to get *anybody* out is very worrying. What was their reaction time?

Obi Wan Kirk
10th Oct 2001, 17:19
Devil's Advocate,

You've gone down pretty heavy on Italian ATC. I've lived and worked in italy for a number of years and flown throughout Europe. I also happened to be involved in traing ATC in the English language.

Compared to British, Dutch and German controllers, I agree the Italians are way behind but I do find them alot better than the French.

The Italian ATC may not speak perfect English but they do their best, while the French babble on in their native languafe all the time. Having flown in and out of CDG hundreds of times I find their ATC terrible. It's about time they realized that they lost the war!

Going back to the accident at LIN: the secondary runway is 36L and only used for small piston aircraft, it is also difficult to recognize while taxying from the GA apron. The German pilots probably mistook 36R for 36L and crossed.

Temp Hi
10th Oct 2001, 17:23
Excellent post once again Nick.
What happened to the skilled and intelligent aviation-journalism (if there ever was one) :confused:

Ace MCcoy
10th Oct 2001, 19:01
My deepest condolences to all involved.
Iīll wait and see what the four accident investigation groups find (German,Swedish,Italian, and NTSB of the USA) They are all working hard to get to the bottom of this.

2 weeks ago, we at our company were heartbroken when we signed books of condolences to our colleagues at AA and UA. Now today we are doing it again for our own. This is a first for me, loosing people I know, to an airplane accident. I pray itīs the last.
Joakim,Anders,Lise Lotte,Olaf,Janne,Eiler :( it was a priveledge knowing you. RIP :(

ATC Watcher
10th Oct 2001, 19:16
Dear Oh Dear ! Italian monkeys and French loosing wars ...
With this sort of language in the posts we are surely going to make good progress and bridge the gap between pilots and controllers.
Safety investigation is trying to prevent something from happening again. Not to find out who is to blame .
There will be 3 separate investigations in the LIN crash including a judiciary one. And knowing the judges in Italy I would not be so sure that there will be many stones left unturned. The result of the investigations might reveal more than one shortcoming...
This is Italy not Singapore...
Just wait a bit more for the investigations to come up with some good old FACTS....

In the meantime, my sincere condoleances to the families of the crew and pax.

Shore Guy
10th Oct 2001, 20:51
Can someone post the taxi diagram for Milan (or a link for it). Thanks.

Nick Figaretto
10th Oct 2001, 23:37
DeeBee: Nobody really knows exactly how it happened yet, but judging by the the distence the MD80 had covered down the runway, it had passed V1 and was probably about to rotate when it hit the Cessna. (V1 is a speed at which it is too late to discontinue the takeoff and stop the aircraft before the end of the runway.)

The cockpit seems pretty intact from the picturs of the wreckage, so it might seem like the nose wheel was lifted from the ground at impact, but we just don't know yet. Wether the rotation was initiated at the normal rotation speed, or as an evasive manouver by the pilot(s) as they saw the Cessna coming towards them through the fog, just a seecond or two before impact, the Flight Data Recorder will give us an answer to.

The aircraft caught fire the moment it hit the baggage handling building just off the end and a little bit right of the runway, so I don't think the fire department's reaction time would have mattered in this case.

This accident is a result of many tragic factors, and after the accident was a reality, even more tragic factors made this accident as fatal as it did for all on board, and those in the baggage handling building.

I guess the reason why this hasn't been discussed on the forum is that as professional pilots it is more natural to discuss all the factors leading up to an accident. That's what our job is all about. Our job is to prevent these things from happening at all. What happens after the accident is kinda the primary concern of the Cabin Crew and the Fire Department.

Don't get me wrong here: The Captain is responsible for his passengers and the whole Crew is thoroughly drilled and professional when it comes to an "On Ground Emergency." But still, I must at least say personally, I am more concerned with preventing the accident from happening in the first place than what happens after. And I think that is where the focus should be for us.

And I can assure you: Like with all other accidents throughout the history of commercial aviation: Flying will be safer after this accident too.


Right Way Up
11th Oct 2001, 00:00
This topic of taxi-way marking has worried me for a while now. In most places we fly to (major international airports) the taxiway signs, placed on the grass never seem that obvious. Why can we not paint taxiway designators on the taxiways themselves with lead-in lines for cross taxiways. Even on wet days I'm sure paint that stands out could be used, even if it means painting taxiways a different colour. Even on a CAVOK day I have seen people take the wrong turn. The u/s radar is a red herring, the lighting/signs should be good enough to prevent a wrong turn.

Ace MCcoy
11th Oct 2001, 01:59

They had indeed rotated. Now, whether it was because they had reached Vr, or it was a last ditch effort to get above the Citation, I donīt know. Iīm sure we will soon, if we just let the investigation teams do their job.
But an ACARS "off" report was received in Copenhagen from the aircraft datalink system.
Itīs a datalink report, automatically sent when the nose strut of the aircraft extends on rotation, and the ground shift mechanism senses that the nose is in the air.
Rgds, Ace

11th Oct 2001, 02:57
Interesting to see the cover story in the October issue of "Avionics" magazine entitled "Can we say Arrivederci to runway incursions?'


ENAV SpA, Italy's air traffic services provider, was mindful of the growing problem of surface incursions and knew that the about 245,000 aircraft movements that occurred at Malpensa during its first year as an air transport hub would grow dramatically in number.

ENAV selected Alenia Marconi Systems to upgrade the airport's surface control by installing the manufacturer's Advanced Surface Movement Guidance and Control System (A-SMGCS). The A-SMGCS incorporates a
surface movement radar (SMR) and digital open architecture capable of fusing information from various sources and presenting a clear overview of ground activity to controllers in the Malpensa tower. (Commissioned on Jan15)

With the A-SMGCS' prodigious processing power, the SMR signals are fused with those of the approach radar by the sensors data handling subsystem(SDHS). Composed of the surface tracking processor and the A-SMGCS
central processor, the SDHS provides controllers with a seamless presentation of the aircraft taking off, landing and moving on the ground. An aircraft's identity or call sign, fed by the secondary radar, remains on the controller's screen even when the aircraft taxis on the ground. Soon that data will be fused with information from a VHF data link that shows the positions of ground vehicles.

Preset parameters in the A-SMGCS at Malpensa give controllers an alert when the separation between taxiing aircraft is less than 3 nm.
Likewise, when an aircraft crosses a taxiway to pose a potential conflict with another aircraft, the call signs representing the two
aircraft begin flashing on the controller's screen and a red line showing the path of possible conflict appears. The system architecture also incorporates the visual aids management subsystem (VAMS), which
controls taxiway centre lights, stop bars and other ground lights. A guidance system directs pilots as they maneuver their aircraft along taxiways at night or in low-visibility conditions. Taxiway routes
programmed by the controllers at their consoles will direct the A-SMGCS to automatically illuminate about 10 lights (each about 130 feet apart on straight sections and 33 to 50 feet apart on curves) in front of a taxiing aircraft. The lamps automatically turn off as the aircraft
passes. If an aircraft makes a wrong turn, the controller is alerted and can redirect the aircraft by contacting the pilot and quickly establishing another taxi route. So far 380 lights have been programmed into the system and they hope to program all of the more that 1,000 lights at Malpensa by the end of the year.

Similar systems are being installed at Bologna's Gugliemo Marconi airport and Fiumicino's Leonardo da Vinci. No mention of plans for Linate.

11th Oct 2001, 07:53
Local NOTAM is reporting the following;

(Source - http://www.phd.nl/aviation/wx/)


11th Oct 2001, 08:50
I think that you will find that the ACARS "OFF" message is off block, not airborne.

11th Oct 2001, 11:13
Hi Doc...

Have a think about OUT, OFF, ON, IN and you'll see the error of your ways!


Ace MCcoy
11th Oct 2001, 13:33
Thats correct Nigel.

DOC, itīs OFF the ground, not OFF blocks as would be logical too. At least where Iīm at.

Rgds Ace

11th Oct 2001, 14:23
At MXP they,more often than not use one RWY for t/o the other for lnds simultanously.This way the trafic has to cross one RWY all the time(either lndng or t/off).It is not ATC's fault,it's the red tape Italy is so 'famous' for.As usual it takes dead people to get something moving.
Very depressing.
57 million people,cca 6500 dead/year on the roads of Italy(pretty constant no).

11th Oct 2001, 14:30
Nigle, Ace
You are both right off course. But I wonder if the nose wheel was off the ground for long enough for the ACARS MU to transmit the message, it normally takes 10-15 seconds to transmit, and given the speed/distances involved I wonder if it would have taken that long for them to hit the building.

Ace MCcoy
11th Oct 2001, 15:20

Good point. Will be interesting to see. I didnīt know, that it takes 10-15 seconds to send that message.
But judging the distance from the point of impact between the two aircraft and the building, it looks Iīm afraid, like there was a rather long distance to be covered before they hit the building. Maybe enough to allow time to send that message... I donīt know. But gutwrenching to imagine what they have felt in the seconds before hitting the building.
We were nevertheless told, that the "off" message was indeed received in CPH (or STO, donīt remember)

11th Oct 2001, 17:16
KADS, then that then makes two of us. I do concur with your point about my remarks regarding taxiing without ground radar, however I would like to say that you in turn took my remark, That's life..very much out of context. It certainly did not refer to the appalling loss of life that had just occurred. It was in reference to comments regarding the absence of the ground radar at Milan Linate, and some of the comments regarding Italian ATC with which I differed with.
I simply did not agree with on or two of the comments on the thread which implied that Italian ATC is as constantly bad as some are trying to make out. Or that the absence of ground radar makes an airport unusable.
I regret that in the brevity of these threads I did not make that clearer. Every single one of us strives daily not to make mistakes particularly when we are contantly aware of the horrendous consequences. Anything that improves those chances is immensly welcome. Constant upgrading, equipment improvement, and education is a goal we all strive for and desire; it makes our jobs easier and safer, so I in turn was annoyed by your origional assumption and comment that I was some sort of aviatory luddit.
The accident was close to home, and yet another unpleasant reminder in a month of such dreadful incidents, that anything, that any of us can do that makes our lives safer is welcome.

11th Oct 2001, 17:43
First condolenses all round. There but for the grace of god go we all. Especially on the sh*tty days, whether we are PAX, Crew or Baggage handlers.

Doc, Ace,

Just to pick up on transmission times. I just don't know how fast the extended nosewheel strut would trigger the transmission, it could be as little as 1/10th sec. but probably not more than 1 sec. - help somebody here.

I also don't know exactly what the message actually contains - but my IT background tells me the following:

One of the slowest transmissions on the planet today is your handy, mobile phone, phobile moan, GSM, or Nokia/Motorola/Ericsson thingy. Data and things like that (SMS's, etc.) today usually still go at 9600 bps (bits per second). A character is basically 8 bits, but with control overheads lets be generous and call it 9.6 - so you get 100 characters per second.

If we now guesstimate that we need the planes ID or Flight number at 10 digits/characters, a Timestamp with date at another 10-12 characters worst case, or 5-6 best case, and a transaction type indication at another 5-10 characters. - OK lets say 30-50 characters or 1/3 to 1/2 second.

To whatever that turns out to be we now add 60 nanoseconds per 1'000Km of distance and 60 or 80 nanoseconds per switching station (and here we may need to guess a bit more). 2 switching stations is minimum (1 in LIN & 1 in CPH), if land lines are used, be mean and add another 5 that will normally take you anywhere in the world. So worst case use 2000km = 120 ns. + 7 x 80 ns. = 680 ns. That to laymen is around 2/3rds of a sec.

So the whole transmission, even if its at these slow speeds is in the 1-2 sec. range - even if it has heaps of addressing and packing information around it, to get it safely where it needs to go.

Personal gut feel says 2 secs. after liftoff CPH was processing the message.

Now calculate how far the plane travelled from the time the nosewheel strut was load free. I'm going to get this wrong so somebody correct my math - but here goes:

V1 speed ca. 200Knts = 400Kmh = 400'000m.p.h = 111 m.p.sec.

So 2 secs is anywhere between 100-300 meters depending on what is and what isn't on the ground - allowing acceleration or creating extra drag and friction.

Now how long was it from initial impact to building impact. The damage on secondary impact was high so - speed was also. From the shots I've seen that must have been the longest 5-10 secs. that none of us ever want to have to live through.

Captain you are so right - avoid it before it happens - your chances of very much influence once s**t has started is OH so low... How sad, what a waste... RIP :mad: :confused: :mad:

[ 11 October 2001: Message edited by: gofer ]

11th Oct 2001, 18:48

680ns is not 2/3rds of a second! A nanosecond (ns) is a (American) billionth of a second....

11th Oct 2001, 19:09

Ooooooppppssssssss. Sooooo right. Told you I blow it somewhere in all of that - thanks for the sanity check. It should, as Professor Evo correctly indicates, have been ms as in milliseconds - and that is 2/3rd of a sec.

If that's all that is wrong ... its past my bed time - all this altitude make me tired ...

[ 11 October 2001: Message edited by: gofer ]

Ace MCcoy
11th Oct 2001, 20:48
Weeeeel gofer, just one more eeeny teeny tiny thingy, V1 speed in a MD80 (or any other airliner for that matter) wonīt be 200 kts. In a MD 80 loaded like SK686 it would be somewhere around 130 kts and a Vr around 138 kts. Please yaīll, give or take some knots. I donīt have the books handy here.

Otherwise gofer, Iīm impressed. Good info!

12th Oct 2001, 00:01
Weeeeelll... :) Interesting, but involving so much finger waving and kludge factors that I think the actual calculations are a bit irrelevant. Not to mention the fact that what happens after the transmission has left the aircraft's antenna is beside the point, as it's on its way and there ain't nothing gonna stop it even if the plane crashes immediately thereafter.

I agree approximately with the conclusion though. The whole process couldn't have taken more than a couple of seconds, if that. This isn't a VLF data link like they have on nuclear subs!!

This is all a bit of a moot point, however, because it seems that the transmission dd arrive, so it obviously was possible!

Sick Squid
12th Oct 2001, 01:20
This thread has reached the PPRuNe 100-posts limit, so therefore to preserve server load it is being shut down. This keeps access times up for all of us.

For those new to the forum this is NOT a form of censorship, or exercise in editorial control, rather a response to the popularity of this site, and the increased load placed on the server by access of large threads. At some time in the future, with increased bandwith, this will become unnecessary.

However, for the time being please feel free to continue the discussion on a new thread... I'll edit in reciprocal links to both the new thread from here and the old thread from there after a short while....

Thanks for contributing everyone. I seriously thought Tenerife would never be repeated....... I speak for everyone on the administration side of this forum in offering our thoughts and condolences to the families of everyone affected.

[ 11 October 2001: Message edited by: Sick Squid ]