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Pinnacle Airlines aircraft incident

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Pinnacle Airlines aircraft incident

Old 17th Nov 2004, 06:25
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I know a guy who has an interview with P. very soon.

Unfortunately, his previous employer often avoided seniority (with solid turbine PIC experience) for upgrades.

Last edited by Ignition Override; 20th Nov 2004 at 06:03.
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Old 17th Nov 2004, 09:52
  #82 (permalink)  

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Fuel gelling - fuel heat

How do the fuel heaters work? - by heat exchanger from one of the hyd. systems?

Is this continuous? Is there a backup if that Hyd System goes u/s?
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Old 17th Nov 2004, 12:22
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Johnny D

I suspect the NTSB will give us a definitive answer on the double Engine failure. Not me. I've been wondering the very same thing. And you're right, it wasn't part of the deal. My guess is the CF34 itself at high altitude in very thin air. With a high angle of attack to maintain altitude, (another of my assumptions) airflow over the wing might have disturbed the airflow through the engines. However, prior to any aerodynamic stall, you have automatic continuous ignition.
FL410 must be really, really close to the performance limit for this engine anyway. (Watch this space)

Possible scenario: (note: "possible")
The ADG provided ship's power till FL300 following the loss of both generators.
At FL300, the APU could have been started. Power restored. AP engagable. FMS back in business. Cabin Alt still slowly climbing cuz the APU can't provide pressurization above 15.
At 26,000 the aircraft is pitched down to accelerate to 300 KIAS + and at 21,000 the aircraft should be at 300 KIAS when the crew would confirm start parameters, select continuous ignition and start an engine. Depending on crew skill with the QRH, they might not have increased from 240 KIAS to 300 KIAS as stated in the re-light procedure. The core speed of the N2 wouldn't be much above 2 or 3 %, if that. Even at 240 KIAS.
Depending on the tail number of this aircraft, they needed 330-335 KIAS to conduct a windmill start.
Prelim info suggests the aircraft didn't exceed 300 KIAS which would explain their inability to re-start an engine above 13.
You would certainly expect at least one engine to have been re-started using the APU. But then, we don't know how the procedure was followed. Nor do we know how 'excited' the crew might have gotten as they neared low altitude, an airport and uncertainty. All we know is the result.

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Old 17th Nov 2004, 12:34
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Yo Willie, sounds like you're current on the CRJ, so a couple of questions...

Does the FMS give you an OPT and MAX altitude? (I assume it does). The link to the other forum's Pinnacle thread, had some interesting techniques for determining cruise altitude capability, some of which seemed to imply the FMS doesn't supply that info.

Is the Autopilot that poor in holding IAS in the climb, in terms of oscillation etc? Some guys on the other forum, actually joked about climbing in VS or pitch mode until stick shaker woke them up...personally from the DH8 upwards, I was taught not to climb in VS, but if its that crappy a ride in Speed mode...

Regarding information from the Primary Flight Display, i.e. low speed buffet, is it accurate and displayed while in clean configuration. A couple of posters stated that the 1.27Vs bug or whatever you call it was only applicable in the landing config?

The other nagging question is altitude capability. If these guys had just fuel and themselves on board, how restrictive would it be to get to FL410. I have to assume that in an airplane certified to that altitude, if they were practically empty, it shouldn't be too tough to get to 410. Thoughts?

Last edited by jonny dangerous; 17th Nov 2004 at 12:51.
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Old 17th Nov 2004, 13:21
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Few Cloudy

The RJ fuel is fed through a heat exchanger on the engine. It is unlikely the fuel 'geled'.

"IF" these guys suffered an aerodynamic stall then it is also possible the engines flamed out, even with CONT IGN. (Depending upon aircraft attitude, etc)

One possibility is that during an APU in-flight re-light at or below 13,000 the crew didn't get the bleeds transferred to the APU from the engines as stipulated in the QRH. If so, they'd never get an engine started.

Cheers
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Old 17th Nov 2004, 14:10
  #86 (permalink)  
 
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Groundskeeper Willie, just read your post on the sequence of events, very plausible. I might add that I might have had my quick donning mask out/possibly on, should we have experienced the double engine failure, at night to boot, even if the QRH didn't call for it...if I had the time (as my world fell apart).

Its certainly possible that a switch gets missed. Either both guys misconfirm a switch due to the stress of the alarm bell filled cockpit (nighttime as it was) or one guy misses it while the other guy is busy flying and talking on radio, looking for a runway somewhere...Then a diagnosis at low altitude that distracts both pilots from the, ahem, purpose of the exercise.

The Air Transat Glide was a piece of cake compared to this...

The AT236 guys had daylight. They knew they had no fuel, so let's not spend a whole bunch of time trying to start it. Let us keep the speed constant at well, greendot? Find land. One choice? Perfect. Certainly it's in manual backup, but it'll do...

The Pinnacle crew, relatively low timed as they were, were facing a multiple of sensory inputs and decisions followed by task completions that in all probability overwhelmed them. In the Air Transat incident, despite whatever brought them there, the Captain had a depth of experience that aided him well, at the end of the day. However, he wasn't tickling several dragons by the tail, as it seems the Pinnacle crew.

At this point I think the 411 guy pipes in...
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Old 17th Nov 2004, 14:31
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"At 26,000 the aircraft is pitched down to accelerate to 300 KIAS + and at 21,000 the aircraft should be at 300 KIAS when the crew would confirm start parameters"

Has the QRH changed to reflect this? When I went through it wasn't laid out as concise as this. It simply told you the min speed was 300 Kts and to be at 21,000. If you didn't have an epiphany or the sim instructor didn't tell you most guys would get to 21,000 and then start accelerating. It took 5000 ft to achieve 300 Kts which meant you were at 16000 feet when you achieved proper speed, eating up part of the start envelope and putting you closer to terrain.
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Old 17th Nov 2004, 15:11
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J D

Briefly, the Collins FMS doesnít provide the crew with an ability to check OPT ALT, STEP, or MAX altitude calculations. If you insert an altitude on the PERF INIT page above FL410 you get a message stating UNABLE CRZ ALTITUDE.
How reliable is it?
You tell me. I donít use it. I look it up.
If the distance to go is insufficient for a climb then it should advise UNABLE CRZ ALTITUDE.
The time to determine your OPTIMUM altitude is during pre-flight. Check the met, winds aloft, weights, routing and flight planned altitude, etc. Based on your calculated weight reaching CRZ, from your OPF, you should confirm your optimum and Max altitude by looking it up in the RJ Manual. At a weight of 40,000 lb or less in ISA conditions the RJ should make FL410 (according to the chart) At ISA + 10 this aircraft would have to be less than 36,000 to maintain FL410 and M .74.
I agree, the RJ ďseemsĒ to be a lot more stable in V/S. Personally, Iím not impressed with the Collins AP/FD in the RJ, but thatís what you get.
When you decide to leave optimum altitudes you cost the company $$$. So why would you climb? (Except for the obvious reasons) Like any other aircraft in V/S, the RJ will maintain V/S as selected. The problem has more to do with thrust limit (Engine MAX CLB power setting). The higher we go above optimum the less available thrust output to get us there, so we begin to lose IAS and move toward the stall. Your rate of climb may be good. Unfortunately, KIAS/Mach, isnít.
Speed mode is affected by temperature and winds aloft while climbing. Therefore, on climb and descent it will tend to be a lot more active in pitch to maintain a constant KIAS.
This is not a put-down, but I find many regional pilots, new to jets and the RJ (sometimes), baffled by this. Most regional pilots are coming from years and years and years of turbo props. (Dash 8, EMB, Saab, Dornier, etc.) so itís a bit of a surprise. Reading tends to help.

Be careful with FAA customers. ďNĒ registered aircraft have a ďgreen lineĒ mandated by the regulator, which is displayed on the PFD. It is probably correct to say the green line is most accurate during the approach phase. Airbus types would equate it to the ďgreen dotĒ.
The missing element to your understanding is thrust limit and weight. You have to be light enough to make 41. I donít think they were light enough and I donít think it was ISA at 41 either.
I also think they may have tried an APU start at 13 but may have forgotten to configure the bleeds. (Purely speculation on my part)
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Old 17th Nov 2004, 15:28
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Just a couple of coments to reinforce what some others have already said.

The engines at altitude are typically operating with reduced stall margin. If you upset the inlet air by a flow separation off the wing they will likely stall, albeit quietly due to high altitude effects. In spite of continuous ignition the engine may not recover with the aircraft also in a stall mode,before they spool down far enough that they can no longer be relit automatically.

The inflight restart specifications after that are very specific and must be met if you are to reliably restart a spooled down engine. Too high an altitude and too little ram air spool up and the restart may not work. Worse yet you are liable to get a hung or hot start and if left unabated you will burn out the turbine and all hope is then lost for even a normal restart at the right conditions.
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Old 17th Nov 2004, 16:25
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good posts both...thank you.

Just another quickie question. Is this an autothrottle?

Have experience with thrust limited aircraft, specifically the A320 at high operating weights. Bit spoiled now as the 737-700 quite capable in the thrust to weight category. Good insight though from Iomapaseo: just because you can comfortably get up there, doesn't mean it won't get real interesting in the event of a serious malfunction(s).

One of the casualties of the switchover from the old generation to the latest and greatest from Seattle and Toulouse is an assumption inherent in computers that "it knows best". When once upon a time the question of when to climb was answered by references to things like weight, temperature, and buffet margins, an inexperienced (and some experienced) FMS whizkid might answer, "when it says we'll save gas by doing so, ie step climb."

But don't get me started on that thread...
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Old 17th Nov 2004, 16:26
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West Coast

If you look at the QRH, or Supplementary Procedures, you are advised that increasing your speed from 240 to 300 can take 5,000 to accomplish. Thatís not news. Itís been there for a long time.
Bearing this in mind, Iíd have to agree with you, if your sim instructor didnít properly or adequately brief you (or these guys) on the double engine failure, you would probably wait to reach 21 to accelerate.
Not a good idea. Right?

One thing that bothers me as a TRI on the RJ is that most students are quick to say the Bombardier QRH is garbage. I can assure you, the Boeing, Airbus (and many others) arenít much better. These documents have to meet an international language requirement and that can present difficulties when writing a QRH or any technical document. All manufacturers toe the same line. All manufacturers have their QRH issues.

That said, I make it a point to tell my students,
ďITíS ALL YOUíVE GOT ON A DARK AND DIRTY NIGHT!!!!
You better get comfortable with it.
You better do your thinking and understanding of it at home where itís warm and dry.
If youíre not comfortable with it, ASK!!! While you still have the chance.Ē

Thatís not news either, but it is reality.



JD

If you\'re flying a 700, your Smiths is more capable than the 4200. In all probability, your PERF data more reliable as well.
It definitely has a high altitude wing, which is a comfort.

BTW,
I\'d also be inclinded to consider the oxygen mask as well in this situation, in anticipation of \'bad things\'.

For me, predictions are predictions. From the early days of computers, garbage in=garbage out.

Some things never change.

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Old 19th Nov 2004, 01:47
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Data Indicates Relight Attempts before RJ Crash
NTSB analysis of the flight data recorder (FDR) and cockpit voice recorder indicates that the flight crew of a Bombardier CRJ200 tried to relight the engines several times before the airplane crashed near Jefferson, Mo. Both pilots were killed in the October 14 accident. The FDR shows that while the regional jetliner was at 41,000 feet on a repositioning flight the stick shaker and stick pusher activated several times before the airplane entered an aerodynamic stall. Almost simultaneously, both engines shut down and the air-driven generator automatically deployed. According to the emergency checklist for a dual engine failure, there are two ways to relight the engines. One option is to use a windmill restart, which requires at least 300 kias and the core of the engine to be either 12 percent rpm above 15,000 feet or 9 percent rpm below 15,000 feet. The FDR data shows that the airspeed did not get above 300 knots and that there was no measured rotation of the engine core. The second option is to use APU bleed air, which has to be accomplished at 13,000 feet or below. The FDR analysis indicates the APU was on and that the airspeed was sufficient for an APU start.
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Old 21st Nov 2004, 20:23
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hello everyone,

very sad accident here, but i think the relight procedures should be designed as simple as possible with a relight enveloppe as large as possible. i don' fly this airplane but 13000ft before the apu can be used for a starter assist relight seems a bit marginal?
300kias for a windmill relight looks also to be on the high side.
maybe the beancounters at bombardier didn't want to invest in a stronger apu & more robust engines during certification?

i can imagine that stalling at that altitude combined with a dual flame out at night might be a handfull for any crew.

what is sometimes overlooked is the psychological & emotional stress you go through in such a situation. suppose that when an awfull thing like this happens, as your first reaction, you correctly or incorrectly thinks it's because you goofed up somewhere, well it is then very difficult to set this mindset aside & move into high gear to cope with the emergency. training, training, crm & company safety culture can point into the right direction, but all this costs money.

Last edited by blackmail; 21st Nov 2004 at 20:33.
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Old 21st Nov 2004, 20:37
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All well and good, blackmail, but you must remember just what the aeroplane was designed for....IE: regional air services.

For junior jet guys to think they are in the big leagues with their junior jet is sadly mistaken.

Now, IF these crew had been/are trained accordingly, then these problems would not crop up...unless of course ego takes over (gosh...what a noval idea, for junior jet guys)...then the problems are a plenty.
Now, before acidic comments from these folks are posted....hey, the CRJ is a commuter airliner...and not a wide-body jet designed for high altitude, long range ops.
Fly it within the designed parameters...and problems go away.

Simple as that

Rocket science it ain't.
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Old 21st Nov 2004, 21:59
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"CRJ is a commuter airliner...and not a wide-body jet designed for high altitude, long range ops"

Long range ops, no alright. They however operate thousands of times a day in the high altitude structure without incident. One accident and all the years of safe operation are shot in your myopic viewpoint. These "junior jet guys" have also killed a lot fewer passengers than your era did.
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Old 22nd Nov 2004, 03:13
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Killed a few less, West Coast?

Yes, true, but then again the junior jet guys have not had long enough to try....give 'em time.
Smaller machine as well.


It is just as well that the aeroplane is so forgiving....down low.
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Old 22nd Nov 2004, 03:25
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What do you consider down low?
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Old 22nd Nov 2004, 05:46
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Specifically, takeoff and landing, West Coast.

For example, there is a very good reason that some first generation jet transports...the Boeing 707-100 and early -300 aircraft for example, with their slow to spool up engines, and poor handling foilbles, crashed a lot, early on.

Guys right out of DC-6's/Constellations simply were not trained well enough, and the record clearly shows this.
You don't have to take my word for this, look up some of the older retired pilots who flew these old aircraft or, review the accident/incident statistics.
And, this does not even touch the jet upset problems they had...in several cases engines chucked right off the pylon on the way down.
When I went to jet aircraft, I was trained on the 707-320B advanced, and then stepped into old straight-pipe -300's. The folks at PanAmerican had the answers , and I sure was glad I listened.

As one old Captain there mentioned...'ah, the good 'ole days, NOT'
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Old 23rd Nov 2004, 04:17
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Yeah sure is a lot of fascinating reading on jet-upset incidents on the older aircraft....test pilots with passengers...maybe the aircraft were rushed into service too quickly with lots of flight regimes still unexplored..and aircraft that were a lot less docile than the ones we operate today...
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Old 24th Nov 2004, 01:47
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Ever hear about the Lufthansa guys on a training flight in a 720 that crashed while trying a roll? I have heard that they had already done one successfully.

Last edited by punkalouver; 26th Nov 2004 at 00:46.
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