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TACA aircraft crashed in Honduras

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TACA aircraft crashed in Honduras

Old 19th Jun 2008, 21:38
  #261 (permalink)  

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Kwick,

I don't think the problem is new landing aids :
-On Runway 20, the problem is terrain and go-around performance. Yes, you could place an MLS there or a GPS-based procedure but it won't change the required performance bit.
-On Runway 02, the final approach path is very steep (>5°) and to build an instrument final approach there, you'd need to add the obstacle clearance... and 5.3° visual could lead to even steeper short final. We'll go back to the characteristics of London City...You know the corollary...Ban for all jets. Except some tweaked-up Airbi...
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Old 19th Jun 2008, 23:07
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Our airline was doing practice GPS approaches to TGU one day when I was there. I told the man in charge of the experiment it was a waste of time and extra training because we were able to land 99% of the time with the
VOR approach to 20 so it would be a big waste of resouces to make all crews train for that approach and probably not ever have a better arrival rate. When you are VMC at 2700 ft AGL you can normally land on either runway so the approach doesn't matter.

What matters is when airplanes land long or land with wet runways downwind and go off that cliff. Until jet airliners quit doing that TGU will have more accidents. If they land in the touchdown zone, 800 ft, and not downhill on a wet runway with a tailwind, Taca has demonstrated this twice, it is a safe airport.
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Old 20th Jun 2008, 16:36
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Trying to get real inside information, but there is no preliminary report on the accident or anything official on that. Also, information on the CVR and FDR is being expected along with other data to anlyse the situation.Received information that the ICAO report could be ready next monday. The experts that arrived for inspection and analysis of Toncontin are well kept from getting in contact with the local media, having worked for three days now. Initially it was said that six experts were doing the inspection, but it was confirmed that only three are in the task. Mission is headed by Víctor Hernández (Mexico), Julio Chiu (non confirmed), Ricardo Delgado (Mexico). It was expected that Jorge Vargas (Costa Rica) and another expert from Canada would join them today.Their mission is to establish risks in approach to Toncontin, runway conditions, safety rules that are applied during takeoff and landing, and define if nearby constructions are of any danger to the operations. Once the inspection is finished, they must file a report to the government authorities that closed the airport for airliners usage, closure that was made inmediately after the TACA 390 accident.Last monday, the government requested ICAO to evaluate the airport, in light of the claims from different commercial enterprises and communities that state that the closing of Toncontin is causing extreme damage to the city image and to the incomes of the city population. Meanwhile, Palmerola airport, the military airport closest to Tegucigalpa with 2,400 meters lenght, is yet to be prepared to receive commercial flights, a proccess that can take years, but the government says it would take only 75 days.
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Old 24th Jun 2008, 23:09
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Thumbs up ICAO rules to re-open Toncontín

This is a very quick translation of the news, sorry !!!
More interesting, and safer, approaches coming !!!
Please comment on the 757 braking information.


Honduras
24/06/2008

ICAO rules to open Toncontín

The 170 passenger planes will land again.

ICAO technical specialists conducted an overflight by helicopter in the capital to verify the conditions of the runway.

Aircraft category C and D may be landing at Toncontín airport again, with some safety regulations not very different from those that were being implemented by airlines, according to the preliminary report of the International Civil Aviation Organization, ICAO.

The results of the investigation that ICAO practiced in the terminal must be delivered today to President Zelaya.

Toncontín remains closed by order of Zelaya for aircraft with passenger capacity above 42 since May 30, when an Airbus Taca failed in his attempt for landing and departed the runway, killing 5 people and injuries to 89 others.

It is suitable

The most important conclusion that brings the report is that Toncontín qualifies for operating, and maintaining the same difficulties in the process of approximation of the planes.

As it is known, the findings are intended to propose that it is better than landing the Airbus-319 and not in the Airbus-320 at Toncontín, the first one since they can reduce the speed of descent easier. These two aircraft can accommodate about 170 passengers.

Similarly, it is advisable that other airlines will carry out the same landing procedures manual of American Airlines and Continental Airlines.

Another proposal that would appear in the study is that it defines a single weight of the plane to land at Toncontín. "If many passengers are carried it could offset the weight carrying less fuel or less baggage, not to exceed the weight that would be defined", revealed a Government House source who requested anonymity.

Results

Boeing 757
American and Continental used, inter alia for landing at Toncontín, Boeing 757 aircraft types, which brake more effectively than the Airbus.

Weather
It looks to establish new regulations authorizing the entry and departure of aircraft according to climatic conditions.

Source: La Prensa, Honduras
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Old 25th Jun 2008, 01:38
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This is good news. Following American and Continental landing requirements this is a safe airport. We have used these procedures for 10 years or more with no problems. Having landed the Boeing 757 at TGU almost 600 times without needing the last 1,000 ft I know using proper procedures as we have that it is a safe airport. The B757 has a very good braking system and I have never needed max braking to not need the last 1,000 ft of any runway I have landed on in the last 12 years.
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Old 25th Jun 2008, 17:12
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Bubbers44, surely this is good news. No main city in any part of the world can live without an international airport, well, until teletransportation is made possible.

But let me comment that the U.S. Ambassador in Honduras made a comment a couple days ago that Toncontin airport should not be closed by ICAO (of course, he was protecting the almost exclusive U.S. usage of the Palmerolas military airport).

Back in track, aplying the correct manufacturer procedures as shown on the updated airplane manuals and approved SOPs will provide a real safety net to the crews. Departing from the procedures or aplying non standard personal ideas will only lead to another accident, and responsibilities that we should not take or accept, even if the airlines do not like their planes diverting to other airports for safety. Of course, if we find that a manufacturer procedure or system is not right, we should tell inmediately.

Just so we all know, this is some unofficial information that I found on the 757 landing procedures: 757.org.uk | landing & rollout procedures
And this is how 757 landing gear and brake systems work:
757.org.uk | landing gear system description
If you think something is missing or important, please let us know.
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Old 25th Jun 2008, 20:16
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kwick, et al, I cannot see how ICAO can authorise an operation or otherwise. They provide guidance and recommendations, which signatories to the convention are expected to follow. The national authority would have the overriding decision, although the results of an ICAO audit could be very influential.

The type of aircraft which operates into an airport should not matter. Both would be certificated to essentially the same airworthiness requirements, thus any difference in landing / braking performance might only be seen in the allowable landing weight for the same conditions.
However, if differing standards of operational certification were used, i.e. JAR_OPS vs FAR 121, then some differences might be seen. A particular loophole is the FAR recalculation of landing distance after dispatch, and the use of only a 15% margin over wet data for a contaminated runway. JAR requires the use of independent contaminated data (plus a 15% margin) and factored wet / dry data. IMHO the FAA approach entails a lower level of safety on limiting runways with marginal runway conditions; it also provides significant opportunity for crew error in judging the conditions and how much additional distance margin to add.

If operators are expected to use procedures similar to that shown in one of the recent video links (757 landing), which landed short of the threshold, this increases the risk of the gear hitting terrain before the runway with further risk of a major accident.
There should only be one way of landing on the runway – the safe way. If operators / aircraft fly within the rules, then any operator / type will reduce the risks of an accident. However, a significant variable is human judgment of the conditions at the time of a landing and the decision to continue vs go around / divert. These judgments / decisions can be aided with well thought-out SOPs (operator management) and good knowledge of the many aspects contributing to a safe landing, (see presentation and presenter notes).
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Old 26th Jun 2008, 01:06
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One incident about 10 years ago involved a 757 landing short and hitting the fence landing on now rwy 20. They didn't realise they had hit it until they parked at the ramp. The 1% upslope of that runway causes an illusion of being high so it is easy to get low on approach. It was pilot error and everybody agrees with that on that incident. The threshold was about 100 ft past the cliff and he landed short of that. The skid marks were visible for years. Pilots flying into TGU just need to follow the rules for a successful operation there. No landing downhill on wet runways with a tailwind and, I repeat, never land long. It isn't that hard. Maybe 5 days a year they have a wet runway landing on 02 with a tailwind. Just go to the alternate. The other 360 days will be fine. That is better than Seattle ops. We couldn't get in there for over 2 weeks one Christmas because of fog.
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Old 26th Jun 2008, 03:37
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safetypee, your comment is more than right and I agree with you. ICAO makes recomendations and local authorities define compliance under their own national rules. But when inside the country, they can do whatever they like in the way they like (well, almost something like that). If local aircraft are flying in country (say within Honduras), they can let a 747 land there (just kidding again, but let me use it as an example).

Now serious and to reinforce the idea, this day the president of Honduras has said that even with a report from ICAO stating that the airport is OK he might ban the airport. That was the reason of my previous comment on the U.S. Ambassador in Honduras saying that Toncontin should not be closed, because we know that it is politics that drive many decisions in the airline world. Odd enough for everybody, local people want the airport reopened.

As for landing procedures, if we open the following NTSB link we will see an interesting thing, http://ntsb.gov/Recs/letters/2006/A06_16.pdf, later reinforced with http://ntsb.gov/Recs/letters/2007/A07_58_64.pdf

Let me comment that I do respect all pilots, regardless of experience, but too often I see some problem with decision making education, not to mention decision making under pressure. Many would not make it if a test is taken.
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Old 26th Jun 2008, 22:35
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Military personnel at the airport

Just read that the government by order of the president has placed military personnel around Toncontin airport, taking the premises. The few passengers there, and civilians nearby, wer surprised by the move. Some people say that it might seem that the president does not want any protests in the area after his decision to keep the airport closed for airliners.
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Old 27th Jun 2008, 02:31
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Looks like the president is taking care of TACA. They have most of the commuters to TGU so will own TGU. Politics down there works that way. I am sure he will be well rewarded.
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Old 2nd Jul 2008, 20:14
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Toncontin will remain closed

Keeping updates on the outcomes of the accident, meanwhile for Toncontin airport.

President Manuel Zelaya decided late last night that Toncontin airport will remain closed for airplanes category C and D, so the National Congress is preparing to legislate to reopen it. This decision was reported on national broadcast, after his meeting for about 6 hours with members of the commission appointed to study whether the airfield is reopened according to a report from the Organization International Civil Aviation. The president ruled that until obstacles on the approach are cleared, runway extension is made, and markings are enhanced, C and D aircraft, with capacity for more than 42 passengers, can not land.

As bubbers points out, but in other words: this is politics (pocket money) involved in aviation technical issues.
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Old 3rd Jul 2008, 14:27
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Removing those hills on short final shouldn't take more than 30 years and the only way to extend the runway is to make a bridge extension on the north end that drops off that cliff 70 feet. Looks like Taca will be without any competition until about the middle of this century.
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Old 3rd Jul 2008, 17:32
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So to clarify the situation. After the runway has been lengthened and approach obstacles removed, the larger aircraft will be able to operate again. But then the longer landing distance will enable greater landing weight (higher speeds), but without improving the already inadequate runway overrun protection?

Or is the idea of the ‘runway’ extension to provide an overrun area? If so, then why not immediately declare an overrun area on the existing hard surface (new paint markings), reducing the landing distance available. This would automatically restrict the type (size) of aircraft operating at the airport via the allowable landing weight and improve the safety in these operations. A high standard of safety in any future operation would still require that all operators work to the same standards – factored landing distances and wind limits.
The airport might also wish to invest in improved wind measurement systems, a well drained runway surface, and an airport chart which accurately shows the landing distance available.
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Old 3rd Jul 2008, 19:24
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The airport might also wish to invest in improved wind measurement systems, a well drained runway surface, and an airport chart which accurately shows the landing distance available.

All of that was available on the last two Taca crashes at TGU. 10 knot tailwind, downhill and wet on a 5400 ft runway after displaced threshold.
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Old 5th Jul 2008, 07:29
  #276 (permalink)  
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Two versions of the Cockpit Voice Recorder transcript have now been leaked. Unfortunately at least one of them, if not both, have gaps in them, between the 1,000-foot call and the touchdown - indeed, one version doesn't even include the touchdown.

Nor, of course, do they give any indication about the crucial question - did the aeroplane 'land long' or not.......

Crash: TACA A320 at Tegucigalpa on May 30th 2008, overran runway and crashed into embankment
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Old 6th Jul 2008, 14:56
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With respect, TwoOneFour, the second version tells us (or, rather, DOESN'T tell us) rather more than that.

15:43:46.8 [EGPWS] one thousand
15:43:47.6 [PIC] en ambar

15:45:04.2 [EGPWS] Forty
15:45:04.9 [EGPWS] Thirty
15:45:05.7 [EGPWS] Twenty
15:45:06.2 [CAM] (sounds similar throttle movement)
15:45:06.2 [SV] Retard… retard
15:45:08.2 [EGPWS] FIVE
15:45:11.7 [CAM] (Sound similar touchdown & landing gear compression)
15:45:12.1 [CAM] (sound similar throttle movement full reverse position)
15:45:13.3 [CAM] (sound increase in background noise)
15:45:13.4 [SIC] Spoiler
15:45:15.0 [CAM] (sound increase in background noise)
15:45:17.0 [SIC] rev(ersers) green
15:45:18.9 [SIC] manual braking
15:45:20.4 [SIC] decal
15:45:21.8 [CAM] (sound similar to engine spool up)
15:45:26.4 [CAM] (soun similar to engine spool down)
15:45:27.2 [SIC] SEVENTY Knots
15:45:28.3 [PIC] quíteme quíteme el….!
15:45:28.8 [CAM] (sound similar to throttle movement)


OK, I was only ever the rankest amateur pilot. Except that I'm still alive, and so is everyone I flew with, so I can't have been THAT bad.

Does anyone on here (professional OR amateur) seriously believe that the pilot could apparently have reported an amber light (indicating a warning message) and that over a minute elapsed with neither pilot saying anything at ALL?

And that the First Officer could have confirmed that both the ground spoilers and reverse thrust had deployed, and then 10 seconds later shouted that they were still doing 70 knots? Even ignoring the fact that the ground spoilers were NOT deployed as the aeroplane crashed?

And finally that the Captain said - his last words, as it turned out - "Cancel, cancel the........"

SOMETHING went wrong. And the 'authorities' already KNOW what it was........

Just a matter of when they release an un-censored transcript and tell the rest of us what it was.
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Old 6th Jul 2008, 23:09
  #278 (permalink)  

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the second version tells us (or, rather, DOESN'T tell us) rather more than that.
As you have nop idea what it means, yes :
Does anyone on here (professional OR amateur) seriously believe that the pilot could apparently have reported an amber light (indicating a warning message) and that over a minute elapsed with neither pilot saying anything at ALL?
Wrong. On the Airbus, there is no amber light without a message, and the crew "reads" the message.
What the F/O said was "(something) IN AMBER" and at that point, he very probably referred to the altimeter tape in amber, meaning that they were below MDA. Note that this call-out follows the "One Thousand" rad alt auto call.
And that the First Officer could have confirmed that both the ground spoilers and reverse thrust had deployed, and then 10 seconds later shouted that they were still doing 70 knots?
the F/O made five calls :
1/- "Spoilers", meaning the ground spoilers have deployed

2/- "Reversers Green", confirming the deployment

3/- "Manual Braking", meaning that the Captain has started braking using the foot pedals, therefore cancelling the auto-brakes

4/- "Decel, confirming a deceleration

5/- "Seventy Knots", speed at which in normal operation, we'd start cancelling the reverse thrust in order to avoid FOD and engine surge. As a matter of fact, the Capt had already started it (noise of engine spooling down)
All these call-outs are perfectly in line with SOPs.
Even ignoring the fact that the ground spoilers were NOT deployed as the aeroplane crashed
You cannot derive anything from that spoiler position as it is very easy to restow them ( one T/L above idle is sufficient).
Sorry,. but there is a lot more to an airliner than a glider (especially the crew .)

On the other hand we can - conservatively- calculate the total distance travelled by that airplane, from the "forty" auto call to the "Seventy knots" announced by the F/o. I still take a very conservative 60 tons gross weight, with an approach speed of 138 kt and a 10 kt tail wind throughout the event.
So
1/-From the "FORTY" call to touch-down :
148 kt = 72 m/s .Time elapsed : 7.5 sec (from frame 45:04.2 to 45:11.7)
Distance 1 = 540 m

2/-From T/D to start of decel (reversers deployed) : 6.3 sec (from frame 45:11.7 to 45:17)
Distance 2 = 454 m

3/-Deceleration from 138 kt to 70 IAS, with 10 kt tailwind : 10 sec (frame 45:17 to 45:27), btw, the deceleration is around 3.4 m/s/s
Distance 3 = 586 m

4/-TOTAL DISTANCE COVERED from 40 ft to the 70 kt point =
540 + 454 + 586 = 1580 m.

I have no pretention for accuracy. Just interested in ball-park figures...But with these figures, I can only say that these poor guys were running fast out of runway. Why they realised so late that they were in a dangerous situation is beyond my knowledge of the airport environment.
As to what went wrong, I have no clue.
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Old 6th Jul 2008, 23:47
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15:45:04.2 [EGPWS] Forty
15:45:04.9 [EGPWS] Thirty
15:45:05.7 [EGPWS] Twenty
15:45:06.2 [CAM] (sounds similar throttle movement)
15:45:06.2 [SV] Retard… retard
15:45:08.2 [EGPWS] FIVE
15:45:11.7 [CAM] (Sound similar touchdown & landing gear compression)
15:45:12.1 [CAM] (sound similar throttle movement full reverse position)
15:45:13.3 [CAM] (sound increase in background noise)
15:45:13.4 [SIC] Spoiler
15:45:15.0 [CAM] (sound increase in background noise)
15:45:17.0 [SIC] rev(ersers) green
15:45:18.9 [SIC] manual braking
15:45:20.4 [SIC] decal
15:45:21.8 [CAM] (sound similar to engine spool up)
15:45:26.4 [CAM] (soun similar to engine spool down)
15:45:27.2 [SIC] SEVENTY Knots
15:45:28.3 [PIC] quíteme quíteme el….!
15:45:28.8 [CAM] (sound similar to throttle movement)
15:45:30.5 [CAM] (sound of click)
15:45:31.5 [CAM] (sounds of single chime)
15:45:33.0 [?] (sounds of inhale/exhale/breathing)
15:45:34.2 [CAM] (sound of thump/clunk)
15:45:34.8 [PIC] Puta.
15:45:35.2 [CAM] (sound of thump/clunk)
15:45:35.7 [CAM] (sound of thump/clunk)
15:45:36.0 [CAM] (very loud sounds begin, and continue to end of recording)
15:45:38.3 [CAM] (end of recording)
15:45:38.5 End of transcript

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Old 7th Jul 2008, 05:22
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"Five"

The radalt will normally only produce the "ten" call just before touchdown, on occasion during a 'not overly critical' floater. For the "five" call to be generated, you may well have an extended floater on your hands.

Tower reported a perfect touchdown yet from the there a floater may well look like a greaser. A greaser however is the last thing you need in those conditions.

If there was any danger of an extended landing roll, why does the CVR record the engines spooling down 'early' indicating that reverse thrust had been cancelled? You'd keep them in full reverse until the fullstop if necessary.

Interesting that a 'manual braking' call was made by the FO. We assume that was because the Capt had applied manual brakes, though as we can't deduce the intonation in his voice, perhaps it was a question.

Does 'decal' on the CVR mean decel? If so, this was given after the 'manual breaking' call. That's the wrong way round isn't it? The decel light will extinguish once manual braking is applied. I've often heard the non SOP call of 'no decel' given as a reminder that the autobrake is not selected and, if you like', hey skipper, don't forget the brakes.

Tower reported runway as damp. By the look of the tire spray, it appears more than damp on the video.

Tailwind of 10 knots
Downslope
Perhaps a floater
No autobrake and late selection of manual braking
Slippery surface (whatever the 'offical' opinion)
Premature cancellation of reverse thrust
Short runway

It's not a good combination.

Merely observations on a rumour network. We'll wait for the official investigation to be concluded.

On the 'wrong' day it could happen to any of us.
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