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Merged: Erebus site launched

Old 24th Jun 2009, 03:11
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Merged: Erebus site launched

NZALPA has today launched a comprehensive (and excellent) website commemorating the 30th anniversary of the loss of TE901. It includes the video footage together with personal accounts and extensive resources surrounding the accident and the subsequent investigations and inquiries.

Erebus plane crash disaster story. Air New Zealand flight TE901 crashed at Mt Erebus Antarctica 28 November 1979 > Home
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Old 24th Jun 2009, 03:22
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Thanks for the link, much appreciated.
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Old 24th Jun 2009, 06:37
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Thanks for the link. It looks like a well put together and comprehensive site.

NZAPLA were talking about setting this up last year, so it's great that it has finally been done.
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Old 25th Jun 2009, 06:22
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Thank you Dick. An impressive archive with files that appear to contain the complete published reports. Shouldn't be long before the speculators start posting in the forum section and debate the finer points of the numerous discrepancies that Gordon Vette, (and others), only started to uncover before his stroke. Big accolades for the Kiwi pilots' union.
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Old 26th Jun 2009, 11:37
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It is an interesting site, as long as one keeps in mind who constructed it.

The opening photo really does show what a massive piece of real estate Mt Erebus is, and how not sighting this massive mountain whilst descending VMC, maintaining own terrain separation visually, beggars the imagination.

“captain’s decision to make a VMC descent below the specified minimum safety height while north of McMurdo.” from Ron Chippendales accident report, which is still the official report, is the belief of many.
 
Old 26th Jun 2009, 12:02
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I am not sure exactly what point you are trying to make prospector - particularly with the quotes - so I shan't respond directly in case I misunderstood your position.

Having personally 1. flown into McMurdo sound and 2. flown down south in VMC white outs, I can clearly see how the uneducated failed to see the "massive mountain" - (and yes, it's very big!).
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Old 26th Jun 2009, 12:24
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compressor stall,
Much has been made of the change in track, sector white out, and other related points. My point is, from 16,000ft, Erebus should have stuck out like the proverbials, this would not have anything to do with whiteout, sector or otherwise at this altitude, when the decision to descend further, VMC maintaining own terrain separation visually, was made.
 
Old 27th Jun 2009, 07:45
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On a personal note, I met the Flight Engineers' (Brooks) widow, Wendy, when she was working for Hazeltons' in Sydney in the early 80's, and adding to the tragedy of it all she had been diagnosed with breast cancer. Does anyone know how she did, and of her daughter Fleur?
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Old 27th Jun 2009, 10:34
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My point is, from 16,000ft, Erebus should have stuck out like the proverbials, this would not have anything to do with whiteout, sector or otherwise at this altitude,
Prospector,

Are you qualified to make this statement, have you flown in this enviroment? I haven't so I don't know what it is like but I do take note of comments like this

Having personally 1. flown into McMurdo sound and 2. flown down south in VMC white outs, I can clearly see how the uneducated failed to see the "massive mountain"
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Old 27th Jun 2009, 11:42
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I've just spent a fair amount of the afternoon looking over the site and reading some of the accounts.

I'd like to thank very much the folk who worked to put it together. It's very readable indeed.:

As well as a recognition to those that had to deal with the events at the time, it also seems to me a valuable catalogue and reminder of the personal dedication and integrity of those who put their beliefs first, at some personal sacrifice, so that a new paradigm of accident and incident investigation be moved toward. One that I believe to be correct.

Now if only it would "take", in a few more areas; geographically, politically, economically....
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Old 27th Jun 2009, 23:56
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27/09

" Are you qualified to make this statement, have you flown in this enviroment? I haven't so I don't know what it is like but I do take note of comments like this"

No, I have not, but then neither had this crew, which is why the requirements to be met for descent below 16,000ft were spelt out in such detail.
 
Old 28th Jun 2009, 09:17
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Prospector

How can you say this
My point is, from 16,000ft, Erebus should have stuck out like the proverbials,
when you have never been there in the same condtions that the crew of TE901 experienced. I'll bet the photo you refer to wasn't taken in the same conditions that existed on the day of the fateful flight.

I don't recall what the requirements were for descent below 16,0000 but if I recall correctly the crew believed that they had those requirements. As history now shows they didn't have those requirements, the conditions had deceived them, hence my reference to
Having personally 1. flown into McMurdo sound and 2. flown down south in VMC white outs, I can clearly see how the uneducated failed to see the "massive mountain
One of the problem this crew faced was, they didn't know what they didn't know, when it came to operating in these conditions. The US military require at least one trip down there as an observer before flying down as an operating crew member, these guys had never been there before.

It's easy to be arm chair critics with the benefit of 20/20 hindsight.
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Old 28th Jun 2009, 10:13
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27/09,
All this ground has been covered in previous threads, in particular if you do a search on thread "Erebus 25 years on" you will see there are many folk who do not agree with Mr Mahons findings as to the cause of the disaster, he did open up a new chapter in accident investigation perhaps, but his opinion, which is all he could deliver, could not be challenged, and the Official Report is still that issued by Ron Chippendale, the Air Accident Inspector. That report is available for perusal at the site mentioned in the original post.



"I don't recall what the requirements were for descent below 16,0000 but if I recall correctly the crew believed that they had those requirements"

These were the requirements, and a copy was found in the cockpit during the search.
" Delete all reference in briefing dated 23/10/709. Note that the only let-down procedure available is VMC below FL160(16000ft) to 6000ft as follows:

1. Vis 20 km plus.
2. No snow shower in area.
3. Avoid Mt Erebus area by operating in an arc from 120 degree Grid to 270 degree Grid from McMurdo Field, within 20 nm of TACAN CH 29.
4. Descent to be coordinated with local radar control as they may have other traffic in the area."

Which one of these requirements was met??
 
Old 28th Jun 2009, 14:05
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Here we go again

Prospector is still unable to accept the Royal Commission Report

Captains of antarctic flights were specifically briefed in 1978 and in 1979 that they were authorised to descend in the McMurdo area to any flight level authorised and approved by the United States air traffic controller. When Captain Collins accepted the invitation from the United States air traffic controller to descend to 1500 feet where he would find himself in clear air, and with unlimited visibility, he was acting in compliance with authority directly given to him by the airline's briefing officer and under conditions approved by the United States' air traffic controller. The proposed over-flight of McMurdo Sound in the areas specified by the air traffic controller was at a perfectly safe altitude. Contrary to what I think has been a public misconception over this altitude question, there was at no time on 28 November 1979 any unauthorised "low flying" by the crew of TE 901.
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Old 28th Jun 2009, 15:20
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Whiteout and Mt Erebus.

Having flown several resupply missions to McMurdo, as a C130 F/E, on Operation Deep Freeze in the summer of 1978 I do understand how the Air New Zealand crew got into trouble with such catastrophic consequences. No single factor caused the accident, as is almost always the case. What we should all be doing is feeling great sympathy for those whose lives have been shattered by the loss of loved ones and, importantly, learn from the accident. Given the limited rescue capability at McMurdo it is probable that even if the crash had been survivable many would have perished from exposure to the elements before a rescue could have been completed. Playing the blame game 30 years on from the accident does nobody any credit.
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Old 28th Jun 2009, 22:43
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Desert Dingo,

I see that prospector needs a reminder on a previous post by you!

--------------------------------------------------------------------------
Privy Council

Maybe because this, the final official analysis of the investigation, completely demolishes his arguments that the crew were at fault.

Allow me to quote:
(836 onwards)
The Royal Commission Report convincingly clears Captain Collins and First Officer Cassin of any suggestion that negligence on their part had in any way contributed to the disaster. That is unchallenged.

Care to read that again slowly ?
The Royal Commission Report convincingly clears Captain Collins and First Officer Cassin of any suggestion that negligence on their part had in any way contributed to the disaster. That is unchallenged.

It continues on to explain why Mr Chippindale’s finding of pilot error was wrong:
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Old 28th Jun 2009, 23:51
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Desert Dingo,

Prospector is still unable to accept the Royal Commission Report


Quote:
"Captains of antarctic flights were specifically briefed in 1978 and in 1979 that they were authorised to descend in the McMurdo area to any flight level authorised and approved by the United States air traffic controller "


As against a direct Company order for this flight

Delete all reference in briefing dated 23/10/709. Note that the only let-down procedure available is VMC below FL160(16000ft) to 6000ft as follows:

1. Vis 20 km plus.
2. No snow shower in area.
3. Avoid Mt Erebus area by operating in an arc from 120 degree Grid to 270 degree Grid from McMurdo Field, within 20 nm of TACAN CH 29.
4. Descent to be coordinated with local radar control as they may have other traffic in the area."

When, according to your quote, an invitation from an Air Traffic Controller overides a Company Standing order, then yes, I have trouble accepting A Royal Commission Report.
 
Old 29th Jun 2009, 03:34
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During the recovery I can remember seeing the bodies of the Captain and First Officer lying in the snow. I recognised who they both were. I couldn’t blot that out of my mind. They were two human beings with names known to me. That made it very difficult.

I found Captain Collins ring binder diary which I read. It contained what appeared to me to be handwritten briefing notes so I handed it to Sergeant Gilpin. It was later produced empty at the enquiry. It has never been adequately explained to me how this happened.
-----------------------------------------------------------------------
Above is an extract from the article by Inspector (then Constable) Leighton on the website. The second paragraph suggests a cover up at an early stage.
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Old 29th Jun 2009, 05:47
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I was on the DC10 at the time and flew Mahon from CHC-AKL so he could observe the radar shadow behind Mt. Egmont.
I was very impressed with this man and the work he had obviously done and have no doubt his report was spot on.
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Old 29th Jun 2009, 06:24
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From my understanding , the Flight Engineer HAD been on a previous flight; & from the Flight Recorder transcript HAD expressed verbal concern as to where the Aircraft was at , geographically - something along the lines of "I dont like this" or "I dont like the look of this" or "This isnt right". Anyone have similar recollections????
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