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MK Airlines B747 crash at Halifax

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MK Airlines B747 crash at Halifax

Old 15th Oct 2004, 08:29
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My heartfelt sympathy goes out to the families of the crew and also to the controller who was handling the flight. I have been in a very similar situation twice and know that it will stay with him for the rest of his days.

TheShadow - do they not have ground radar there? This would absolutely prevent such errors.
Old 15th Oct 2004, 08:42
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Whilst very gratifying regarding the emotions shown on this board towards the MK crew members I just find it unfortunate that similar sympathies were not shown towards the far greater numbers that lost their lives in the TU134 & TU154 incidents of only a few weeks past.
Many Russians visit this site and at that time, the postings here became something of a 'circus'.
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Old 15th Oct 2004, 09:41
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Condolences to the pilots friends and families.
You will be in my prayers.
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Old 15th Oct 2004, 09:43
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my condolences also go out to all the friends and family of the crew on board the flight.


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Old 15th Oct 2004, 10:32
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Putco, a sad day.
Hope to join you soon. working a plan. Contact me when you can.

Sympathies to the familys that lost fathers, husbands, sons and friends. Our thoughts are with you. The best bunch of guys you could ever hope to know.
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Old 15th Oct 2004, 11:01
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condolences to the crew members familly
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Old 15th Oct 2004, 11:10
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My condolences to the crew, their families and friends at MK. They are an awesome bunch of guys and this is a terrible tragedy.


Sir C
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Old 15th Oct 2004, 11:47
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Well said.

Sympathies to all however this board isn't consistent.

Oh and Greek God, if you want to wallow in your own sorrow (a la Princess Diana) fair enough, but is there any need for the poetry for all?


Last edited by normal_nigel; 15th Oct 2004 at 11:58.
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Old 15th Oct 2004, 12:28
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Nice one Nigel
It is not my sorrow I am concerned about.
My answer to you is wholly inappropriate here, as are your comments; if there are those who gain some solace all well and good, if not so be it.

Last edited by Greek God; 16th Oct 2004 at 00:11.
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Old 15th Oct 2004, 12:34
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To answer some of the Shadow's questions ...

My understanding from news reports is that the aircraft was departing runway 24, so your suggestion of mistakenly lining up from taxi C on 06 doesn't make sense.

The normal taxi route in YHZ for 24 is by way of the main apron, G, F, runway 15 short of runway 24. To achieve full length of the 8800' runway, one must do a short backtrack and a 180 on the 200' wide runway, otherwise take-off run from the intersection of 15 is 8500' ... minus whatever is lost from lining up.

There is no ground radar in YHZ, nor are there distance to go boards, but it's a CAT 2 runway with centre-line lighting and 3000' to go alternating red/white lights, and red lights with 1000' remaining.

Our airline has our tech/safety people on site now, and along with all the Governmental agencies that are involved, it likely won't be long before some facts are known. Until then, speculation is just that.
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Old 15th Oct 2004, 12:47
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I would like to send my sympathies to the families of all those involved on this sad sad news and those involved directly and indirectly with the airline.

What more can I say?
Old 15th Oct 2004, 13:26
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Just a hypothetical.
Thought that I had seen a report of 06 - but it works for either end. Instead of Charlie, read D instead of E for a r/way 24 departure.

Are the runway lights unidirectional? Always hated those as far as ground and airborne orientation go. It's so easy to get lost in the dark, with or without weather - recalling SQ006.

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Old 15th Oct 2004, 13:54
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BBC Radio report early today said there was allegedly a suggestion that the aircraft had entered the runway at a point part way down it, and that there was insufficient concrete for it to get airborne. Later reports did not include that element.
However it could tie in with the comments posted above.
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Old 15th Oct 2004, 13:59
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Halifax — The tail of a Boeing 747 struck the runway twice, then broke off before the loaded cargo jet crashed, killing seven people, investigators confirmed Friday.

Bill Fowler, a spokesman for the Transportation Safety Board of Canada, said the tail of the wide-body plane snapped when the aircraft ran off the end of a runway at Halifax International Airport and struck an earthen berm topped by navigational equipment.

“There is an indication the aircraft was barely airborne,” Mr. Fowler said at a news conference. “The scrape trail disappears just before the berm.”

Mr. Fowler said the trail struck for the first time about 250 metres from the end of the 2,700-metre runway, then again with about 170 metres to go.

“The indication is there was prolonged contact of the aft fuselage with the runway and off the end of the runway,” he said.

About 300 metres beyond the end of the runway, the tail then struck the earthen mound topped by an antenna and snapped.

“That is what caused the tail to break away from the rest of the airplane … ,” he said. It came to rest near the berm.

The rest of the plane hurtled into thick brush, carving a wide V-shaped swath before coming to rest in pieces about a kilometre from the tail.

“The main part of the fuselage continued ... ballistically until the final impact point,” he said.

A maintenance worker at the airport suggested Thursday that the plane did not use the full length of the runway and simply ran out of room.

Mr. Fowler said investigators were looking into that but added: “We do not have any information that there was an early takeoff point, that is, substantially early.”

MK Airlines said the dead crew members were all men. Six were from Zimbabwe while the seventh was South African.

The Boeing 747-200, which was loaded with fuel for a flight to Spain, crashed shortly before 4 a.m. Halifax time near an industrial park and quarry about 30 kilometres north of Halifax.

The crash forced the airport to close for several hours, delaying or cancelling 17 flights. Power was temporarily knocked out, but flights resumed on one runway later in the morning.

Aside from the usual three-person crew in the cockpit, the plane was also carrying a loadmaster and a spare crew.

The weather at the time of the crash was good with a partly cloudy sky and light winds.

The huge aircraft, which stopped in Halifax to refuel and take on cargo, was loaded with lawn tractors, parts, computer gear and 53,000 kilograms of lobster and fish bound for Zaragoza, Spain.

Mr. Fowler said preliminary information suggests that the aircraft wasn't overloaded.

The crash was the fourth for the cargo company in 12 years and the second involving fatalities. All three previous crashes were in Nigeria.

In 2001, one crew member was killed when a 747 went down about 700 metres short of the runway.

In 1996, a McDonnell Douglas DC-8F-55 struck trees during approach. There were no fatalities.

In 1992, a McDonnell Douglas DC-8 crashed and caught fire, also during final approach.link
Old 15th Oct 2004, 14:10
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You might have deleted the statistics at the end, I don't know how many times we've read that now and as others have wished, now is not the time to drag up the past nor MK bash, leave that to our media friends!
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Old 15th Oct 2004, 15:26
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Sawbones is 100% correct the normal taxi would have been G-F-Rwy15 holding short of Rwy 24. Depending upon your weight most heavy departures would request a backtrack to the button of 24. At that time of morning it is quite possible that they would be allowed to backtrack down the full length of the active if so requested. The width of the runway would not pose a problem unless it was ice covered which it wasn't. Since I wasn't there I have no idea what happened although I'm sure the investigators have a pretty good idea if it was a taxi error as they already possess the tower tapes.


Last edited by Tan; 15th Oct 2004 at 15:41.
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Old 15th Oct 2004, 16:33
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Is it possible that 24 at CYHZ, even backtracking to allow the maximum runway length, is a bit marginal for a fully laden B742 with max fuel?
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Old 15th Oct 2004, 16:33
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If the info from Capt.Kaos is correct, dragging the tail that much would indicate that the aircraft was held pitch up for rotation for some distance, but it apparently never got airborne. That suggests that maybe the correct VR was never reached for some reason, or perhaps the flaps weren't configured for takeoff (on that runway), or perhaps something else prevented enough lift from being generated to get airborne.

My condolences to the families and friends of those who were lost, what a terrible tragedy.

(fixed typo)

Last edited by Flight Safety; 15th Oct 2004 at 20:34.
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Old 15th Oct 2004, 17:08
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Jet struck runway, broke in two, probe confirms
CTV.ca News Staff

Investigators probing the deadly crash of a Boeing 747 cargo jet at Halifax International Airport are refusing to speculate on what may have caused the plane's tail to scrape the runway before breaking off.

Speaking at a news conference in Halifax on Friday morning, Transportation Safety Board of Canada investigator Bill Fowler said, based on his initial survey of the crash site, it appears the jet's tail struck the ground twice, before tearing loose on contact with an earthen berm 300 metres beyond the end of the runway.

"There is an indication that the aircraft was slightly airborne, in other words; the scrape trail disappears just a few hundred feet before the berm." At the antenna-topped mound, the plane broke in two, he said.

With its tail torn off, the rest of the fuselage flew into the bush, cutting a kilometre-long swath before coming to a stop.

"It was like it was almost dragging -- the behind was dragging," eyewitness Darren McLaughlin told ATV News, an affiliate of CTV. He said the plane just seemed to blow up, "from white sky to an orange sky."

Pressed by reporters to suggest what could have caused such a crash, Fowler would only say there are a number of scenarios that demand attention.

"From the aircraft loading to the aircraft performance -- whether all the engines were operating -- we're just going to go through, systematically, each of the elements that could produce a scenario such as this and we'll go where the data and analysis leads us."

In an interview with The Canadian Press on Thursday, a pilot familiar with large planes said their tails do occasionally touch tarmac when the pilot pulls the nose off the ground.

Known as 'rotation', it's so common many large planes have protection built-in to the tail, and pilots can typically recover.

"It doesn't happen that often,'' said the pilot, who didn't want his name used. "You can encounter turbulence right at rotation.''

A MK spokesperson told CP the aircraft was in the process of rotating when it crashed.

Headed from Connecticut to Spain with a load of tractors and parts, computer gear and more than 50,000 kilograms of fish, the Boeing 747-200 had just refuelled when it crashed before 4 a.m. local time on Thursday. All seven crew were killed.

The dead are described as male nationals of the U.K., Germany and Zimbabwe who lived in South Africa and Zimbabwe.

MK Airlines, the company that owns the crashed aircraft, is a Ghana based, British-owned cargo firm that has been involved in three other crashes since 1992.

All were in Nigeria -- all during final approach to landing. Two involved DC-8 aircraft, and resulted in no fatalities. The most recent, involving a 747 in 2001, killed one crew member.

Vouching for the experience of the crew flying the plane out of Halifax on Thursday, MK Airlines operations manager Capt. John Power said the 747 crews "generally have a high level of experience."

"None of the crew members flying the plane were involved in any of the previous accidents," he said.

"I personally have flown with the senior captain on board that aircraft for 14 years, and as far as the other crew members are concerned, they have all had previous flying experience on DC-8 aircraft."

With investigators from Canada, the United States, the United Kingdom and Ghana in Halifax for the accident probe, former aviation accident investigator Tom Hinton says it takes time to coordinate the effort.

Individual committees will investigate witness accounts, the airliner's electrical system and its data and voice recorders, he says, and then submit reports to be compiled into a final document.

But the investigation won't even begin until the painstaking process of documenting the entire crash site is complete.

"They have to document all of the wreckage in situ before anything is moved," Hinton told CTV's Canada AM on Friday. "Everything is photographed and documented before it's even moved."

The RCMP is treating the crash as a potential criminal investigation for now, following witness reports of explosions during the crash. But investigators said they had no reason to believe an explosion had brought down the plane.

After numerous cancellations and delays Thursday,
Halifax International Airport is now back in limited operation. HIAA spokesperson Pat Chapman says airport staff are focused on cleaning up the fuel spilled in the crash.
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Old 15th Oct 2004, 17:52
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The only thing thats marginal is your post. How do you know it was FULLY laden with MAX fuel??? I,m sure if that was the case then the poor guys wouldn't be attempting to t/off in the first place!
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