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TAM A320 crash at Congonhas, Brazil

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TAM A320 crash at Congonhas, Brazil

Old 22nd Jul 2007, 00:18
  #361 (permalink)  
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The video is from Globo’s late night news on Thursday. The presenter is William Waack, coincidentally a recent PPL. The president’s foreign affairs advisor Garcia and his assistant are filmed while watching Globo’s eight-o’clock news where the thrust reverser MEL is “revealed”. Garcia’s aide’s body language is universal; Garcia’s is local but means the same. Garcia, in an interview shortly thereafter, explains he would never have done that in public; it was just a way of expressing his indignation at all the attempts to pin the crash on the government. He later issued an official apology and little more has been made of it other than in column blogs.

I said it’s an indication of the true nature of the government’s appreciation of the airline industry. Despite the superficial similarities to Britain’s (not so) New Labour, there are still more than pockets of government deeply suspicious of private enterprise and, above all, successful private enterprise. Like TAM. In the Gol/Legacy collision it was easy to let the multitude of players loose on the most convenient scapegoat, the Legacy pilots, and weather out the ATC storm while negotiating internally with the airforce over ATC. This time it’s all home-based, foot-dragging on infrastructure vs airline rapaciousness.

Throughout the post-Gol crisis the airlines have been remarkably passive or, if you will, very low-key reactive. There’s been no overt pressure on the government at all and ramarkably little in the way of a collective attempt to influence public opinion. But the “authorities” and, to a great extent the press, have bashed them about as being only profit-motivated at the expense of passengers; emphasis on flight cancellations and overbooking; anything that reflects badly on the carriers is good for government spin. Economy Minister saying “there’s no crisis, just a reflection of a growing economy”; Tourism Minister with “relax and enjoy it” in a very clear connotation of how to deal with rape. Mr Garcia’s gestures just rub the salt in, so to speak.

I realize this jaundiced rant adds nothing to the factual discussion of what happened on 17 July. What galls me is the patent attempt by "authorities" to evade any hint of involvement. It's difficult to be a neutral bystander.
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Old 22nd Jul 2007, 00:22
  #362 (permalink)  
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Fully concur. And where do we think SMS is headed?... "more" oversight and responsibility?...
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Old 22nd Jul 2007, 02:53
  #363 (permalink)  
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It's a pilot problem, not an airport problem. [I am a current pilot].
Yes, a very uninformed one.
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Old 22nd Jul 2007, 11:20
  #364 (permalink)  
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Looking at it logically from a non professional POV...

We know the runway was wet and had recently been resurfaced and was ungrooved. We know the runway was on the short side. We also know one of the reverse thrusters was tiggered.

In other words conditions were not condusive to a short stopping distance.
We also know the plane skidded/aquaplaned and veered sharply to the left before crashing. We also know the plane was airborne when it crashed.

To me this suggests that the following occured:

The plane came into land and started to skid. The pilot tried to slow the plane using the one good reverse thruster. This would presumably cause the plane to pull on one side and possibly make the plane start to slide sideways.
When it became apparent that he wouldn't stop in time the pilot made the decision to take off again and put the engines into full forward. Due to the fact the plane is already sliding sideways and the thrust from the two engines is uneven this caused the plane to veer off at a sharp angle.

The plane becomes airborne enough to miss low obstacles but can't gain enough height to miss the TAM building.

My view therefore is that the accident was caused by a combination of problems which on their own would not have been a problem. (Short runway, poor surface, wet conditions, broken reverse thruster)

I'm also of the opinion that the pilots did all they could under the circumstances. Yes, if they'd played things differently they *might* have been able to bring it down intact. However, It should be remembered it was an unusual set of circumstances and the pilots had to make a split second decision. They had to make a call and unfortunately they chose the wrong one.

However, the decision that it was safe to land under these conditions should be questioned.
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Old 22nd Jul 2007, 11:35
  #365 (permalink)  
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When you remember the LH accident back in 1993 and read through the accident report one might see paralles to the sad crash in Sao Paulo.

LH two Cpts one giving a linecheck to the other

TAM two Cpts doing a linecheck as well? (As per TAM webpage which published the operating crew)

Rwy Wet in both cases
Possible Windshear in SP?
Same A/C type
High appch speed

The link brings you to the LH accident report
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Old 22nd Jul 2007, 12:10
  #366 (permalink)  
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Airplanes have been taking off and landing at CGH for over 40 years on wet and dry pavements, including B727-200s [95Kg weight category]. One doesn't need to be a test pilot to know that the pavement length of 6365 feet is well within the operational capability of the A320 [73Kg weight category].
For comparison purposes, the former Eastern Airlines had operated B727-100s [73Kg weight category] into Key West, Florida [EYW/KEYW]. . . which has a pavement length of 4801 feet. . . !

On a dry runway at sea level, the B747 can be stopped at max landing weight in 3800 feet with autobrakes selected at Max setting.
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Old 22nd Jul 2007, 12:38
  #367 (permalink)  
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French TV version of what happened.
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Old 22nd Jul 2007, 12:40
  #368 (permalink)  
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Looking at it logically from a non professional POV...
End quote
Nuff said
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Old 22nd Jul 2007, 13:09
  #369 (permalink)  

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Well said Rev man. If this was any other profession's website he would have been flamed into oblivion.

RIPPA, want to thank you for your good work over the last few days. It's difficult to carry on working when your colleagues are gone, and dealing with the queries on this site, especially the uninformed and amateur ones must strain your patience.

Hang on in there. For your professional colleagues out here in PPRuNe land, your on the spot information has been crucial to our understanding.

Also a thanks to the other TAM guys who have been such objective reporters.
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Old 22nd Jul 2007, 13:24
  #370 (permalink)  
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Please do not include me in your summary of "we know" to support your guesses about what happened

You seem to accept as fact an awful lot of the fanciful tripe you read in the news.

It is not yet fact that the plane tried to takeoff

it is not yet fact that the reverser was deployed

it is not yet fact that the plane started to skid during landing
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Old 22nd Jul 2007, 14:19
  #371 (permalink)  
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barrymung, please do us all a favour and stay on Pluto. You have no business here on earth where we have intelligent life form (with the exception of our politicians of course).
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Old 22nd Jul 2007, 14:54
  #372 (permalink)  
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I don't know why you are all giving barrymung such a hard time.

Think of the time and money that's been saved by him or her completing the investigation in such rapid time. I bet there's NTSB investigators out there wishing they were as quick as barrymung.

barrymung, I'm standing by for your list of recommendations.

Or on the other hand, perhaps the only thing we actually know is that the aircraft over-ran runway 35L in light rainy conditions. We have no idea if it was a total brake failure, a late go-around, aquaplaning, poor braking action due to the runway surface or some other problem and we are unlikely to know anymore until a press release gives us the initial findings of the FDR.
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Old 22nd Jul 2007, 14:54
  #373 (permalink)  
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We also know the plane was airborne when it crashed
Have you seen the photos showing how the LG crushed the "small wall" ?
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Old 22nd Jul 2007, 14:56
  #374 (permalink)  
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For someone who appears to be a spokesman for the Brazilian authorities I congratulate you on your command of the English language.
For someone who professes to be a professional pilot your eagerness to blame the TAM crew, whilst having no more information than other professionals posting here, frankly disgusts me.
Could this be the reason why few, if any, of the said professionals have bothered to debate with you?
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Old 22nd Jul 2007, 15:15
  #375 (permalink)  

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OK, that's enough. I've stopped Barrymung from making any more posts on this thread for a while in order to save him from any more embarrassment and more importantly to stop this thread being drifted way off course with indignant replies to amateurish speculation.

I've been away for a few days and this is the first chance I've had to view the video's of the a/c as it went past the terminal. I'm not familiar with reverse thrust operation on the Airbus but it certainly looks like the No1 engine is in reverse mode and producing thrust, not just at idle judging from the spray pattern in the standing water.

Can someone with experience on the A320 family please tell us the way thrust reverse is actuated. On the Boeing, the forward-thrust levers can't be advanced until the reverse-thrust reverse levers have been stowed and even then there is a mechanical interlock to prevent the forward-thrust levers moving forward until the reverser clams/buckets have actually stowed. Unlike some suggestions on this thread, you can't just hit the TOGA buttons and expect to go-around once reverse has been selected. Is this the case with the A320?

I find it very strange all this speculation that the a/c was attempting to go-around after landing and especially after selecting even idle reverse. Even when doing some base training in the actual a/c for touch-and-go's, never mind in the sim, I have never even practiced going-around after selecting reverse. I would seriously doubt that a line crew, trainers or not, especially with pax, would initiate a go-around after landing and selecting reverse. It just goes so totally against the grain and any teaching that I know of for airline pilots on modern jet aircraft to attempt a go-around once reverse has been selected. Even when performing touch-and-go's for base training, it was explicitly briefed that reverse is not to be touched and if it was ten a full-stop would be performed. I don't know of any pilot who even briefs the possibility of a go-around once reverse has been selected under any circumstances during normal revenue ops.

It is very possible that inexperienced eyewitnesses assumed that the sound of reverse thrust was take-off thrust. The excessive speed seen in the video footage could very well be due to aquaplaning and only limited braking from the single thrust reverser. There is certainly enough spray to class that runway as WET. No way is it just DAMP.

So, could an experienced A320 pilot please explain the actions and what you would expect to happen with the thrust lever quadrant on that type should anyone have decided on performing a totally unnatural and untrained way to go-around after selecting reverse on that type. As far as I'm concerned, although I am prepared to be proven wrong by black-box data, the attempted go-around after landing is a red-herring and driven by uninformed speculation from those who have no real idea what the job involves.
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Old 22nd Jul 2007, 15:45
  #376 (permalink)  
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My outlook.

Airport Authority are doing runway works. To shut down the airport will cost a lot of money. Short runway and it is not grooved. If the AA had any kind of responsibility, as soon as it rained the airport should have been closed.

Probably would have been closed an hour or so. Again, it is all down to money. No one in the AA will shut down the runway, so the responsibility will rest with the pilot and in the end they will be blamed.

Now, TAM says it is legal to approach with a reverser inop. Now my question is………….. before the runway works was the runway grooved? Maybe the crew thought on paper in was achievable. Maybe there was more rain than normal. I don’t know.

Did they land long? I don’t know.

Ultimately we as pilots are responsible for our aircraft, but
Learn by others pilot’s mistakes, we will not live long enough to learn them all our selves.

There by the grace of God, Go I.

There are many overruns because of heavy rain and aquaplaning. My advice, if below 200 ft on a cat 1 approach, if you hit a wall of water due to thunderstorm or just heavy rain or you think the runway has a lot of water on it, GO AROUND! If you don’t have enough gas, well grown some balls and take more.

For the TAM Crew and the 14 crew onboard, I don’t know what happened but I bet it will come out as nobody accounted for the runway works, no grooved, smooth runway after works and the boys just sailed off the end Maybe the reverser did not come in. It’s over.

I wish I just had those 45 seconds back; they could have changed the world.

Think about it.

IMHO. Bad day in aviation. Let’s learn from it.

BTW, if the A320 went around, with it best co of lift, it would have been farther from the airport. It can fly at the best COL and it would have flown further.

After reverse is pulled, you are staying whether you like it or not. Then you have to pick the best spot to go. Doesn’t help when you have a 50’ drop to a highway.
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Old 22nd Jul 2007, 15:47
  #377 (permalink)  
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Originally Posted by SkyWave
... perhaps the only thing we actually know is that the aircraft over-ran runway 35L in light rainy conditions.
One thing we CAN add is that it was still going quite fast at the end of the runway: if it had been going, say, 30 kts, it would have fallen down the embankment and crashed on the avenue. Instead it had enough momentum to "sail" over the avenue and crash in the building on the other side.
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Old 22nd Jul 2007, 15:57
  #378 (permalink)  
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It more than likely bounced.

I remember when I hydroplaned, the aircraft seemed to speed up. There was nothing there.
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Old 22nd Jul 2007, 16:00
  #379 (permalink)  
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Hi Danny:

Thanks again for trying to keep the discussion on a "sane" level.

Re your question on the A320, there is no interlocking mechanism on the thrust levers like the Boeing system. So, if one were to select reverse on landing and then select TOGA thrust, nothing will stop the thrust levers from moving to TOGA. The thrust will be limited to idle by the FADEC as the reverser stows and then once stowed, the engine will accelerate to TOGA thrust.

You're right that doing so goes against the grain of normal airmanship thinking, but then again, as all too many accident reports have proven, if it can happen, it will happen eventually. While Airbus does not recommend a go-around after selection of thrust reverse, it "can" be done. If the crew really were in the process of attempting a go-around, then something else must have happened to perpetuate it, such as a loss of braking or a long touchdown. Only time, and a full investigation, will tell.

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Old 22nd Jul 2007, 16:19
  #380 (permalink)  
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Well if a job position opens at the NTSB there must be the first 1000 aplications already on the way...

Please guys - take a chill pill and wait for the report.
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