Go Back  PPRuNe Forums > PPRuNe Worldwide > Australia, New Zealand & the Pacific
Reload this Page >

ANZ Erebus crash 28 November 1979 - 34 years later.

Australia, New Zealand & the Pacific Airline and RPT Rumours & News in Australia, enZed and the Pacific

ANZ Erebus crash 28 November 1979 - 34 years later.

Old 10th May 2014, 20:04
  #161 (permalink)  
Join Date: Jun 2009
Location: Auckland
Age: 76
Posts: 191
Hempy, let's develop the analogy: "I've never been to bed with an ugly woman but I've woken up with a few."

I wrote earlier Collins made a shocking error. The "shocking" is said with hindsight. I think this reflects Brian's stance. (Next morning things look different...)

Collins made a decision to descend. He didn't see any significant risk because he believed he was clear of Erebus. He broke the rules, as others had done. Had he been where he thought he was, he would have got away with it, in all probability.

But he wasn't, and that's what changes the decision from "poor airmanship" to "shocking error".
Ornis is offline  
Old 10th May 2014, 22:23
  #162 (permalink)  
Join Date: Feb 2008
Location: New Zealand
Age: 60
Posts: 482
Even if he was where he thought he was, he would still have flown within 3 nautical miles of Ross Island, whose summit is about 13000 feet, at a height of 10000 feet, at a speed of 260 knots. And if he was so certain of his position, with the high ground of Ross Island to his left, why didn’t he turn right when attempting to climb out? His first officer had just told him that it was clear to the right, yet the captain turned left, towards where he is supposed have thought the high ground was. The answer, I think, is that the penny finally dropped and he recalled what had been said to him at the briefing, which was that the final waypoint was at the NDB at McMurdo Station. If so, the nav track would go right over the summit of Erebus, which meant that Mount Bird would be to the right, so the only way out was left.
ampan is offline  
Old 10th May 2014, 23:40
  #163 (permalink)  
Join Date: Jun 2009
Location: Auckland
Age: 76
Posts: 191
Ampan, agreed. I am not trying to justify Collins' flying, I am trying to find some way of looking at it that allows for some diversity of opinion and gives us some basis for agreement.

I have to say the most intransigent seem to be entrenched in Mahon's camp. I think most who accept Chippindale's report would concede some deficiencies at AirNZ and the CAA.

Last edited by Ornis; 11th May 2014 at 06:36. Reason: misplaced apostrophe
Ornis is offline  
Old 11th May 2014, 08:43
  #164 (permalink)  
Posts: n/a
He broke the rules, as others had done.
One can see where you are coming from, but to knowingly break the rules when you had absolutely nothing on your side to justify breaking said rules, I mean they never ever sighted Mt Erebus, just beggars belief.
It was stated in an earlier post that Jim Collins was a good pilot and a decent man, and I would agree with that. But his decision to descend when he did, with the info he had regarding weather conditions as they were must surely be regarded as a massive brain fart, and if he could come back and join this discussion I am sure he would agree with that opinion.
Old 11th May 2014, 10:31
  #165 (permalink)  
Join Date: Jun 2009
Location: Auckland
Age: 76
Posts: 191
Prospector, agreed. You don't get off a ticket for running a red light because people do it all the time without getting caught. You don't get away with murder just because some people do. Collins made a mistake, he broke the rules and exhibited poor airmanship, but he didn't set out to kill anyone. This is why I tried to reduce the behaviour, the error, to statistics: How many pilots would have done what Collins did?

I suggest very few. It is an approach I used to try to get Paragraph377 to rethink his position. If he was an airline pilot, and I have doubts he is a pilot, he has been brainwashed. That is the danger of NZALPA: groupthink.

Anyway, getting back to statistics, we know one pilot did what Collins did: Collins.

I am also trying to explain that it was the outcome that changed the decision from poor airmanship to shocking error.

The mind is a funny thing. We all make poor decisions. Clever people do stupid things, without thinking. That's the reason we need rules. Pilots should obey the rules, but pilots are humans, and humans tend to observe rules that make sense, that seem important.

Collins should not have descended, regardless of the outcome, which we are aware of but he was not - it being in the future. He shouldn't have descended because it broke the rules in place to ensure a safe flight, and because he was flying VFR on instruments, which is forbidden. Why? He had reasons and he had justifications but he was wrong on all counts.

There is a point where we all must take responsibility for what we do. A surgeon can't defend an action because he was trained a certain way. An engineer can't blame a collapsed bridge on his school. Collins cannot defend his decision to descend because he wasn't trained to fly in whiteout. We can say it would have made a difference had he been, but he went outside his task and his training. He took a bet on his skill and he lost. Along with a lot of other people.

If my exposition seems clumsy or waffly, presumptuous even, sorry.
Ornis is offline  
Old 12th May 2014, 00:41
  #166 (permalink)  
Posts: n/a
If my exposition seems clumsy or waffly, presumptuous even, sorry.
None of the above, in fact very good.
Old 12th May 2014, 08:10
  #167 (permalink)  
Join Date: Aug 2003
Location: Sale, Australia
Age: 75
Posts: 3,829
A question. If a flight was to fly the descent in accordance with,
the only letdown procedure available is VMC below FL160 to 6000’ 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° Grid through 360G to 270G from McMurdo Field, within 20 nm of TACAN CH29.
4. Descent to be co-ordinated with local radar control as they may have other traffic in the area.”
and became visual at 6,000. How then was the flight permitted to proceed?

eg: Confine operations to the designated arc as above at 6,000, then climb within the designated arc to the MSA and return home?
Brian Abraham is offline  
Old 12th May 2014, 09:35
  #168 (permalink)  
Join Date: Oct 2002
Location: ɐıןɐɹʇsn∀
Posts: 1,963
It's a let down procedure. At 6000" you navigate visually, presumably wherever you like as long as you follow the Visual Flight Rules (and the company restriction of nb A060). The procedure was designed to keep them away from high terrain in poor visibility, hence the restrictions on it. They broke the restrictions and then they hit the high terrain...
Hempy is offline  
Old 12th May 2014, 10:48
  #169 (permalink)  
Join Date: Sep 2008
Location: 41S174E
Age: 52
Posts: 2,767
and became visual at 6,000.
You couldn't go below FL160 unless you were visual so the above doesn't apply.
You could only leave FL 160 if you we visual, and then you could descend to 6000ft while maintaining visual.
That's it.
The argument that "everyone else did it" has it's place, but not not in absolving the Captain of responsibility. It's place belongs in the discussion of 'company culture'. If Collins was heavily influenced by the actions/words of his superiors and colleagues then he is completely normal, so we have to look at how seriously we take the development and maintenance of these cultures, because 99% of us are susceptible to the influence they wield. The CEO's and department heads in our organisations need to be aware that they are responsible for the 'safety culture' and that they need to control the direction it is moving, this will be uncomfortable for them as it may make it difficult for them to achieve some commercial targets, but that is the cold hard truth. I would go so far as to say that the 'safety culture' needs to be monitored.
Either way, Collins, who I assume was a good man, dropped the ball. The fact that he was let down by others around him does not absolve him of his responsibilities. That's life, now we need to look at why we haven't learnt from it.
framer is offline  
Old 12th May 2014, 20:33
  #170 (permalink)  
Join Date: Oct 2010
Location: Styx Houseboat Park.
Posts: 2,053
Framer - Best on thread.

framer –"That's life, now we need to look at why we haven't learnt from it."
Brava: – Bravo that man.. Well said Sirrah; have a choccy frog or two even....
Kharon is offline  
Old 13th May 2014, 01:52
  #171 (permalink)  
Posts: n/a
the only letdown procedure available is VMC below FL160 to 6000’ as follows:
I have posted the descent requirements a number of times, in this and other threads on the same subject. I would not have thought that the following had to be spelt out.

You couldn't go below FL160 unless you were visual so the above doesn't apply.
You could only leave FL 160 if you we visual, and then you could descend to 6000ft while maintaining visual.
That's it.
But it certainly removes all doubt to have it spelt out so well.

Old 13th May 2014, 06:20
  #172 (permalink)  
Join Date: Aug 2003
Location: Sale, Australia
Age: 75
Posts: 3,829
I confess my slip up, I meant under the original arrangement prior to the VMC from FL160, that is with the 7,000 overcast..
Brian Abraham is offline  
Old 15th May 2014, 08:14
  #173 (permalink)  
Join Date: Oct 2002
Location: ɐıןɐɹʇsn∀
Posts: 1,963
On 10 August 1977 Air New Zealand letter HO:B:22 requested authority to conduct five flights overflying Antarctica in the McMurdo area undertaking to operate these flights to the specification earlier submitted with the following exceptions:

“a. A proposal to permit descent to 6000 feet QNH in VMC or by the approved NDB procedure in IMC provided that:
1. Cloud base to be 7000 feet or better.
2. Visibility reported to be 20 kms or better.
3. ASR is available and used to monitor flight below flight level 160.
4. No snow showers in the area.

Flight in the McMurdo area below flight level 160 will be restricted to an arc corresponding to a bearing of 120° Grid through 360° G to 270G from the NDB within 20 nm in order to keep well clear of the Mr Erebus region."
The change was the requirement for ASR monitoring was altered to 'coordinated with local radar control' and the descent in VMC from F160 to A060.

To be honest, a descent in IMC to A070 following the original procedure was safer than the later amendment requiring visual terrain clearance - but then again only if it was actually followed too I guess.
Hempy is offline  
Old 15th May 2014, 09:51
  #174 (permalink)  
Posts: n/a
From John King's publication. New Zealand Tragedies, Aviation

Before the 28 November flight the McMurdo NDB was officially withdrawn.
Although still operating, it was no longer being maintained and so its accuracy could not be guaranteed. The nearby TACAN (Tactical Air Navigation System with its Distance measuring equipment , or DME) was used instead.
Old 12th Jul 2014, 22:47
  #175 (permalink)  
Join Date: Dec 2006
Location: BoP
Posts: 10
Note - tonite ( Sunday) on TV 1, NZ time @ 2030, "Erebus, Operation Overdue."

"Tells the emotional and compelling true story of four police officers who went to Antarctica to recover the bodies of the victims of the 1979 Air New Zealand crash that killed all 257 passengers."

(Appears as tho the vexed question of the diary missing pages emerges again.)

Should be available within days on TV 1 Ondemand.

Last edited by grummanavenger; 13th Jul 2014 at 00:40.
grummanavenger is offline  
Old 13th Jul 2014, 09:09
  #176 (permalink)  
Join Date: Jun 2009
Location: ex everywhere
Age: 67
Posts: 25
ALPA ....Schmalpa. An organization so erudite they named their safety award after the guy who hit the hill. 'Nuff said.

tpad is offline  
Old 13th Jul 2014, 23:12
  #177 (permalink)  
Join Date: Mar 2008
Location: NZ
Posts: 26
Talk about Pressure

If you had asked Jim Collin's colleagues a week before the accident, " What sort of a Pilot is he ?" The comments would have reflected a methodic,professional, cautious, exemplary Aviator. By all accounts, he was well respected. A week later he flies a servicable aircraft into the side of a mountain killing all. As so many have rightly asked, " How on Earth could that happen to Jim of all people"? The photos showed sunlight pouring through the windows, apparently good visibility in most directions etc, etc.
It makes no sense. So why, how, ?? I make no attempt to conclude who was to blame for this accident, i'll leave that to others. But i would like to offer some food for thought as to why such an experienced crew ended up dying that day. I believe it can be summed up in two words;
'Commercial Pressure'
Jim Collins had flown year in year out doing what all IFR Pilots do. Get airborne, follow the SID, climb to cruise altitude, hours later descend, follow the STAR, fly the ILS, Land...then get to the hotel in time to make the 'Happy Hour' ! Totally procedural. The requirement for these routine flights was to get the passengers from A to B.....nothing more. After years of doing that successfully, they are asked to fly down to Antartica and provide the passengers with a 'Scenic Flight'. Considering the terrain, the extreme weather that can suddenly appear/change, the fact that they'd never been there before(most of them), the fact that they would have read and seen the articles about previous flights flying low level in glorius weather up McMurdo Sound, giving the passenger magnificent views of the ice, plus the fact they themselves would have been keen to see it themselves, would in my opinion, have put a 'not so subtle' pressure on the crew to deliver. I have spent the last 15 years plus doing an awful lot of 'ad hoc' flying globally. I went into many places for the 1st time. One example that comes to mind is Iraq. It is quite mountainous towards the North and East. If i had been asked to perform a scenic flight around there, having never gone there, i would surely have been a little apprehensive. It's one thing to 'fly all the numbers' and have a runway pop out in front of you, it's another to try to get down and show the passengers what their expecting. A different ball game completely !
If you're lucky enough and it's a gin clear day, well great, it makes it a lot easier. If it's not, then the 'Commercial Pressure' now sits heavier on your shoulders...and it's possible our decisions become influenced by that ?
That i think explains why TE901 didn't return that day. As to who is ultimately to blame ?, i'll leave that one alone...
MitrePeak is offline  
Old 13th Jul 2014, 23:32
  #178 (permalink)  
Posts: n/a
After years of doing that successfully, they are asked to fly down to Antartica
Would agree with the intent of your post with the exception of the above.

Was it not ALPA that demanded that their senior pilots all have a "Turn" at these Antarctic flights? They must have known of the requirements of other operators, the USAF, USN, RNZAF etc that required a Captain not go down in command of a flight to the ice unless they had prior experience as an observer or first officer. The wisdom of that policy is surely demonstrated with the demise of flt 901.
Old 14th Jul 2014, 01:30
  #179 (permalink)  
Join Date: Jan 2002
Location: Melbourne
Posts: 95
When the RAAF were operating there, not only did the pilots need a check ride they had to complete a survival course at Scott Base. Unfortunately mine was abbreviated due to the instructors having to recover the bodies from Erebus. My crew were on the C141 30 minutes behind ANZ
trashie is offline  
Old 14th Jul 2014, 03:04
  #180 (permalink)  
Join Date: Feb 2008
Location: Wingham NSW Australia
Age: 79
Posts: 1,349
Antarctic operations

Trashie, not only the pilots had to do the survival course, the whole crew did. Additionally, as you may recall we maintained HF contact with McMudo getting regular updates on wx trends as to probability of "white-out" for our ETA. If the trend was indicative of "white-out" we would, and did on one sortie at least, return to Christchurch before PNR. I went down to McMurdo in Dec '78, our initial involvement in Deep Freeze. Ironically, the one big fear the people at Scott and McMurdo expressed to us was that one of the scenic flights might have an accident in which there were survivors whom would likely perish before being rescued due the limited resources on the ice.
Old Fella is offline  

Thread Tools
Search this Thread

Contact Us Archive Advertising Cookie Policy Privacy Statement Terms of Service

Copyright © 2018 MH Sub I, LLC dba Internet Brands. All rights reserved. Use of this site indicates your consent to the Terms of Use.