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50 years ago - Air Canada 621

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50 years ago - Air Canada 621

Old 6th Jul 2020, 00:54
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Join Date: Oct 2005
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50 years ago - Air Canada 621

Today (July 5th) is the 50th anniversary of the crash of an Air Canada DC-8 near Toronto Airport (in an area that is part of a suburb called Brampton now).

A report of the accident can be found here:

The circumstances that led to this accident is somewhat similar to the recent PIA A320 crash; go around after a ground contact.
Skywards747 is offline  
Old 6th Jul 2020, 02:16
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"The circumstances that led to this accident is somewhat similar to the recent PIA A320 crash; go around after a ground contact".

There's only one similarity: PIA accident appears to be caused by a grossly "high and fast" final approach, gear up ground contact at high speed and a subsequent go around with damaged engines.
Air Canada accident was caused by a non standard extention of ground spoilers in flight at low altitude, causing the aircraft to hit the ground at high G, regardless of the go around maneuver initiated still in flight.
What caused each accident were two completely different (wrong) decisions. AC accident was caused by a split second mistake, caused by following a non standard procedure.
PIA accident, on the other hand, was caused by two major mistakes, deliberated decisions, with many chances to be revised.
fullforward is offline  
Old 6th Jul 2020, 03:17
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Join Date: Sep 2001
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This was in the early days of passenger jets. Not long after, certification standards required blocking in flight deployment of ground spoilers and thrust reversers.

Many lessons had to be learned the hard way.
RatherBeFlying is offline  
Old 6th Jul 2020, 04:19
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I was 15 at the time and remember the accident well. A bright blue sunny and beautiful day in Toronto. And then the airwaves full of news about an accident.

Captain Peter Hamilton was 49 years old. He had flown the Halifax during the war, had been decorated and had spent time as a POW after being shot down. What a stupid way to die - survive the war (and being shot down at night) only to die in an airplane light years more modern and safer in a peacetime environment.

The last words on the CVR are haunting. After the F/O inadvertently deployed the ground spoilers at ~60’AGL:

Captain: “No! No! No!”
F/O: “Sorry Pete, oh sorry!”
(sound of impact)
F/O: “Sorry Pete”.

Two and a half minutes later during the go-around, a series of explosions destroyed the right wing with one more:

F/O: “Sorry Pete”.


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Old 6th Jul 2020, 06:28
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Join Date: Jun 2001
Location: Rockytop, Tennessee, USA
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A Piedmont pilot told me a story years ago about a hillbilly 737 short field landing technique where the speedbrake handle was fully deployed before touchdown on landing and when weight on wheels was sensed, the ground spoilers would come up without delay. I do remember that the flight spoilers on the 737 were said to give more noise than drag compared to the effective 727 inflight spoilers.

When Piedmont got the 737-300 the ground spoiler deployment lockout was done by radar altitude and a crew found out the hard way when they used the speedbrake handle down before landing technique. The ground spoilers came up at 20 feet RA or whatever and hard landing was made.

Valujet had a ground-air sensing problem on a DC-9 in 1996. To allow gear retraction and pressurization after takeoff a circuit breaker was pulled in an ad hoc workaround to force the air mode of the systems. On approach the breaker was pushed back in to depressurize, the ground spoilers came up and the plane settled into the approach lights. This time they made it around for a landing but with major damage.
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