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Spanair accident at Madrid

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Spanair accident at Madrid

Old 26th Sep 2008, 22:33
  #2001 (permalink)  
 
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Talking lifetime of relays, cb's?

Everything on any plane built needs fixing from time to time. It is up to well trained pilots and mechanics to spot problems and get them fixed PROPERLY>

I have seen enough to say: it sure seems that the pilots and mechanics at this airline were not up to snuff on the systems involved. it also seems the airline wasn't up to snuff on a boeing/douglas recommendation. it also seems that the airline did not train pilots in takeoff/departure stall recognition and recovery.

now, is anyone out there really going to argue the above?

I don't want to seem calous over the loss of life, but well maintained airplanes with well trained pilots rarely crash!
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Old 26th Sep 2008, 22:54
  #2002 (permalink)  
PJ2
 
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sevenstrokeroll;
I don't want to seem calous over the loss of life, but well maintained airplanes with well trained pilots rarely crash!
Not callous at all - it's a fact in any transportation industry but especially in aviation.

Apropos this, I see that Russia has "grounded some" B737's immediately, pending "training issues". I wondered right away if there was a loss of situational awareness in this (the Russian) accident as the facts began to point to such instead of a mechanical failure; in some circumstances, a go-around, (not sure they were actually doing one here), can be as high a risk manoeuvre as a landing from a non-stabilized approach - it was 3am or so, no visible horizon, some but not much in the way of ground lighting (buildings etc), low circadian rhythm time and a low-time-on-the-airplane crew. It has to make one wonder - I certainly concur with your statement.

How many crews have experienced reduced training footprints?...reduced simulator hours for recurrent training, (from the typical 4hrs to 3 or 3.5). How many are taught how to do a visual approach with all the automatics off? Who can disconnect the Airbus thrust levers and reconnect them again without the passengers ever knowing you've done so?! How many have permitted their skills to atrophy having swallowed management's harping to engage the autopilot from right after takeoff to touchdown, (Airbus AOM statement)? How many actually do hands-and-feet flying? On raw data?

The rhetorical questions could go on and on...
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Old 26th Sep 2008, 23:17
  #2003 (permalink)  
 
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Do the latest Boeings and Airbuses have audible annunciation of air/ground-state change and can it be prominently displayed on the screens?
Wheel speed sensing seems to be the key to a simple (I am rolling along a hard surface, duh!) backup for the u/c poition switches and then resolved if in dispute by a ground proximity signal (dedicated device).
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Old 27th Sep 2008, 01:06
  #2004 (permalink)  
 
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PJ2

Sadly, a modern pilot does not go to work thinking...SOMETHING CAN AND WILL GO WRONG TODAY.

Blow a tire, lose a gyro or display, and all at the worst possible time.

AND the simulator has become our own worst enemy. How? How come we don't practice engine failure during a windshear encounter?

A fire bell at decision height?

IF I were king...the autopilot would fail within seconds of takeoff in the sim.

And for the Airbus, damnit, I would fail everything when the gear handle is selected up and watch and see if you could 'get her round the patch'.

Let's say the poor copilot was making the takeoff...all of 100o hours total time and only with the company a few months. the captain probably thought the copilot screwed up when the plane stalled...instead of checking the flaps/slats.

Sad.
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Old 27th Sep 2008, 01:07
  #2005 (permalink)  
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HarryMann;
The 320/340 Series aircraft do not annunciate "ground/air" condition directly. I am unaware of the 777's annunciations but I suspect neither does that aircraft.

On the Airbus 320/340 series, two LGCIU's (Landing Gear Control Interface Units) alternate operation each leg and do the air/ground sensing and "decision-making". They have inputs from many aircraft systems and sensors.

Thus, there would be indirect indications (ECAM and others) of an "air/ground" issue - for example, Avionics cooling, which is different in the air. The "ground shift" system on the Airbus takes inputs from all three oleos, the downlocks, the gear doors, flaps, as well as the cargo door positions, selector valves and locking mechanisms and cabin door sills (proximity). You can see that it is not a simple nosewheel oleo extension left-and-right switch.

As described above, the Airbus ECAM screen would annunciate several systems which were not in the proper configuration for ground. There would be ample indication that something was not in order.

Wheel speed is available for anti-skid systems but is not used for air-ground sensing. I suspect along with other sensors, wheel-truck tilt on the B777 is used for air/ground sensing.
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Old 27th Sep 2008, 01:24
  #2006 (permalink)  
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sevenstrokeroll;
Sad.
Yep.

And IATA has introduced, (and pilot associations support!) the MCPL so the emptying/retiring ranks can fill with even less experience! The sheer idiocy and hubris of the approach to staffing would be ironic if it weren't so risky. If the trend and the problem isn't acknowledged and recognized for what it is and the stupid industry salesmanship (and equally stupid acceptance) of automation-as-pilot isn't countered with some old-fashioned aviation common sense, the fine safety record achieved through dedication, hard work, and even investment over the last fourty years is about to be torn down and replaced with accidents where knowledge, experience and training meet the bare minimum. "MCPL", Acch!

When the going gets tough, what the h... does a pilot "know" at a 1000hrs let alone after 250hrs in the simulator for an "MCPL"? Absolutely nothing but push-and-pull and precious little of that. And where does the experience come from to command when these wonders get senior enough for the left seat, which can be months to a few years at many lo-cost start-ups and not the two decades it took me and many?

When I checked out on the 320 (from the 767) and did my promotion at the same time, we hand flew a lot, mainly because VNAV hadn't even been installed in the airplane yet. We did visuals, we learned how to actually disconnect the autothrust, (something I taught 'with a vengeance' when instructing later along with the vagaries of Idle-Open Descent), and something else was on the syllabus: Full flight control failure (ELACs, SEC's, FACs) where engine thrust, mechanical/hydraulic stab trim and mechanical/hydraulic rudder were all we had to get the thing on the ground. And we did - not pretty, but in one piece.

The problem is, too many are "comfortably numb" with success. Nothing fails like it, and nothing suceeds like failure.

Last edited by PJ2; 27th Sep 2008 at 01:35.
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Old 27th Sep 2008, 01:58
  #2007 (permalink)  
 
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off topic sorry

How many crews have experienced reduced training footprints?...reduced simulator hours for recurrent training, (from the typical 4hrs to 3 or 3.5). How many are taught how to do a visual approach with all the automatics off? Who can disconnect the Airbus thrust levers and reconnect them again without the passengers ever knowing you've done so?! How many have permitted their skills to atrophy having swallowed management's harping to engage the autopilot from right after takeoff to touchdown, (Airbus AOM statement)? How many actually do hands-and-feet flying? On raw data?
Use of QAR to sanction pilots might be at the root of this.Are you not a big supporter of QAR's if I remember correctly?Also,over-emphasis of SOP's and CRM.Re-assert the position and responsibility of the commander(I want to check the TOWS myself every flight..its not that I dont trust the First Officer just well..)and get away from this pseudo-CRM we're just one big happy team.It is a team but the skipper leads..over-assertive(read arrrogant) co-pilots who try and set the pace on the flt deck are a real pain-in-the-ass because one day the poor skipper will fly with a new guy and he'll forget to call for this and check that.Remember when I was a co-pilot,I would never prompt the skipper for the checklist until right at the last moment.Let the skipper set the tone,dictate the pace.Another thing CRM has a lot to answer for.Same with SOP..young guys lining up with 200 souls behind them and thinking of TCAS and transponders and terrain displays and NOT THE BIG STUFF.Like checking approach/rwy clear,config,actions in the event of eng failure...their displays stay stuck in MAP for the duration of the flight and theyll follow the FD wherever it takes them..training is screwy,empahsis on the wrong things,SOPs over airmanship,real flying without reliance on automation,systems knowledge(real knowledge not jjust ticking a,b or c)..thats all gone now..off-topic..not aimed at Spanair.
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Old 27th Sep 2008, 02:04
  #2008 (permalink)  
 
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Surely, the altimeter and rad alt are a clear indicator of Ground to Air mode, and vica versa??

And whats all this twaddle about LGCIUs? Confusion reigns supreme. What has cargo door indication got to do with air/gnd sensing? I think you've confused the many functions of the LGCIU. At it's basic level, it gives you L/G indication, and controls it up/down. Additionally, it tells the FACs, FWC, SECs and all the other systems the state of the aircraft, so the flight envelope is modified accordingly. Everything from the CIDS, Radar, Door indication, nearly everything passes through those boxes. Only one LGCIU is in command for a sector, they swap over at each retraction selection, if that's what you mean by alternate operation. Actual air/gnd sensing is done by a combination of N,L,R oleo extensions and compressions only. It's a more sophisticated PSEU from the 767.

Truck tilt on the 777 is more to do with allowing it to be retracted into the u/c bay. Similar to the 340 where the leg has to be compressed.

Wheel speed is used for autobrake, antiskid, autospoilers and thrust reverse on some types. It depends on who makes it. Or it's a combination for backup and improved performance. An indication for Air/gnd transition would seem pretty pointless since you would have felt the bump. Going the other way, the brakes have to be applied to stop the wheels spinning, so oleo extension is the logical method by which this is achieved, wheel speed wouldn't be much use for air/gnd sensing would it?
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Old 27th Sep 2008, 02:42
  #2009 (permalink)  
 
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An indication for Air/gnd transition would seem pretty pointless since you would have felt the bump.
Sorry, maybe you missed the inference for this particular thread.... a primary display of the mode the system 'thinks' it's in? I'm sure most crew know when they are in the air and on the ground.

Hence, a half way house between the systems you have now and those legacy systems that control but don't always seem to inform...

So many important systems are dependent on this change of state, that one could argue for the crew having to be blind (or deaf) to not know it doesn't correspond to reality...
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Old 27th Sep 2008, 03:01
  #2010 (permalink)  
 
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Seems like this thread is drifting into another regime not very relevent to the Madrid accident.

With what we know now they took off flaps up, the TOWS was inop because a relay failed causing another problem that was missdiagnosed because of the same relay causing the RAT heater to heat on the ground and it ended up in a fatal crash. The crew, not knowing the flaps were up, rotated , got airborn, got stick shaker and stall warning and crashed. If they had realized on rotation what the problem was they could have tried to get some flaps down and used the extra few thousand feet of runway to get airborn but they didn't. After over 2000 posts is there any more information to add to this thread?
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Old 27th Sep 2008, 03:54
  #2011 (permalink)  
 
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Comments on proposed formula with only slight tongue in cheek

Planes should be modified with the following formula
Slats announce =(Slats UP) and ( any weight on wheels including Nose wheel ) and (Take off thrust in either engine)
slats announce == A programmed chip with the voice of P or CP's, SO or Boss yelling
"Slats down dumba$$ or you die"
if no SO (Significant Other) then program with lover saying in her/his sweetest voice
"Slats down, Honey, If you ever want to see me again"
Which voice chip programming would be based on the Psych Profile of individual Pilots,
whichever the Pilot or CP responds to the quickest in SIM,
using a small black box that would warn if the chip is not inserted prior to take off with a few wiring changes to implement the formula.

In response to suggestion to have a light showing On Ground or In Air which relay contacts would you use?
I would want the light using my formula for the voice chip

Last edited by eaglespar; 27th Sep 2008 at 04:10.
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Old 27th Sep 2008, 04:21
  #2012 (permalink)  
 
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Unfortunately that is what that MD82 had through the R2-5 relay but the relay didn't work that day.
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Old 27th Sep 2008, 04:48
  #2013 (permalink)  
 
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R2-5 is only on the nose wheel , the formula that works better is any weight on wheels that means weight on Left main landing gear OR weight on right main landing gear OR nose relay R2-5, any one of those conditions AND TO Thust in either engine with Slats UP
announces voice.
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Old 27th Sep 2008, 07:16
  #2014 (permalink)  
 
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Not much new.

We already know the main issues surrounding this accident, and it will become even more clear and confirmed around next Tue/Wed when the preliminary report is planned to finally be made public.

Meanwhile, and for what it's worth, here are some previously unseen photos of the wreckage. The usual warning: it is not for everybody, so don't look at them if you don't feel it's appropiate.

interviu - portada

Also, the judge has asked Interpol to request FAA and AESA to clarify operation requirements for the MD-82. Has requested Boeing for flight procedures for the MD-82 and details on when and how and to whom it informed of updated procedural changes.

He has done the same with Spanair, down to the name of the person in charge of receiving manufacturer's alerts and incorporating them in the SOP. He has also requested the actual manuals Spanair personnel used as guide in the "repair" of the RAT probe heater.

Just to clarify some dates that were "wrong" before:
Aug 2nd: When thrust applied for TO, airconditiner pressure indicated 0.
Aug 5th: Brakes on 4th wheel low pressure - Tire replaced.
Aug 6th: lock in cabin door fixed as the key wouln't work
Aug 9th: Autoslat failure lamp when flaps 15 selected.
Aug 17th: Right reverser deactivated
Aug 18th: Autoslat fail light again.
Aug 19th: RAT probe measured 90º while taxing.
Aug 20th: RAT probe heater was noticed on while on the ground an hour before the accident.

Also, one of the survivors has a certain detail that could be of interest (understandibly not all that trustworthy, but for what it's worth).

Leandro O., in seat 3E, declared: "During the airplane repairs (which by the way, involved the captain having to abandon the cockpit to let the technicians work around his seat ... he talked to the flight attendants meanwhile), he didn't hear anyone demanding to leave the plane, although a few complained for the delay.

On the take off, he noticed the sudden roll to the right, HOW THE PILOTS WERE GIVING THE AIRPLANE MORE POWER, but the rolls kept happening". He adopted a modified safety position, with legs and hands pressing/holding the seat in front of him.

You can tell from the proceedings that the judge is pissed that the accident had 3 "simple" ways to be avoided:
-Flaps down OR
-TOWS tested OR
-TOWS working

Any SINGLE ONE of those three actions, and the accident would've likely not happened. Responsability for the first action can not be asked for, as the pilots, who were licensed and trained in the proper procedures to extend the flaps, had enough experience in their jobs, and were not overworked or under extreme pressure, perished.

So why did the later two failed, he wonders? TOWS, like anything electric, can obviously fail at any time w/o a whole lot of warning. But in this instance, maintenance technicians were "on the case" (or near enough). Why didn't they realise a potential problem?

Then there is the TOWS test. Although the crew could've performed one if they so wished, why weren't they required "by law" (procedures) to do it, if precedents (Northwest) had suggested it was the due course of action?

We'll see what kind of answers the judge gets and if they convince him that there was no intencional or negligent wrongdoing by any person holding a responsability on their jobs.

Last edited by justme69; 27th Sep 2008 at 12:39.
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Old 27th Sep 2008, 07:52
  #2015 (permalink)  
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Rananim;

I would like to avoid thread-drift, but to respond to your comment, yes, I support FDA Programs as preventative safety initiatives when done properly. "Properly" in my books means the pilots' association has control of the data and contacts crews for further information.

In my view of FDA, management has no role in an FDA Program except to respond to what is being seen in the data in terms of trends, events and heightened risks. The pilot association representatives accept the due diligence and without identifying specific crews, can report that individual issues are being handled. That is accomplished through a carefully thought-out agreement between the association and the airline. If there is no such agreement, there is, in my view, no possibility of an effective FDA Program at that airline. Pilots must buy in and take part.

Professionals are professionals; a data program merely reinforces what is either already known so it can continue, or what is constantly strived for so it can change. It isn't magic or a panacea which can substitute for good airmanship and professionalism. Ethics do not reside in software.

Mis-handled, FDA Programs are exactly as you say and if that is the concept and the intent, I would do all I could to kill such a program as swiftly as I and the association could.

Apologies for the drift.
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Old 27th Sep 2008, 10:01
  #2016 (permalink)  
 
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Just a little design fault?

Engineers in aviation and marine do in my opinion excellet jobs. They design the equipment to work properly in nearly every condition - fail safe or fail tolerant, depending on the case.

Let's have a look back to the scematic circuit from entry #1936. You see the left and right circuits, for notably important systems they are redundant (activated from left OR right circuit). An activated relais means the aircraft is on ground, The most probable way to fail for a relais is that it cannot be activated which means in this case that the aircraft is in the air. So far perfect...

... with one exeption: the TOWS is extremely important in ground mode - but is deactivated when the correspodend relais R5-2 fails.

Wouldn't it be better/safer to deactivate the TOWS - exactly like the aviation relevant systems - by activating a relais?! Better a warning signal too much than missing one.
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Old 27th Sep 2008, 10:04
  #2017 (permalink)  
 
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Look at training records ...

Since this accident seems to be traced to poor airmanship both from the crew and from the technicians as well, I think that the judge in charge should pay a lot of attention to the details of the crew and technician training - in general.

Looking also at the details of the trainers as well ... At the details of the quality managers, the quality auditors, the "safety officer" ... all those who are responsible for overseeing the quality of the trainings, and improve the level of safety above bare legal (formal)minimums ...

I include the "authorities", who are responsible for effectively oversee the airline practices. Lot of people? Well, a lot of people lost their live, they desserve some real investigation.

If those who are "at the top" don't feel involved in this accident, they should be, by legal prosecution.
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Old 27th Sep 2008, 11:45
  #2018 (permalink)  
 
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Wouldn't it be better/safer to deactivate the TOWS - exactly like the aviation relevant systems - by activating a relais?! Better a warning signal too much than missing one.
very good point. I thought of this a few days ago when the circuit was published. Why have a relay activate RAT heating and deactivate TOWS. They should be split so that the realy goes to the correct phase when it fails. i.e. when relaxed it should give RAT heating and TOWS active.

I suspect along with other sensors, wheel-truck tilt on the B777 is used for air/ground sensing.
Stop suspecting because you suspect wrong.
The B777 uses a strain gauge in the undercarriage support beam to detect weight on wheels.
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Old 27th Sep 2008, 16:55
  #2019 (permalink)  
 
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I find it rather unusual that Interpol has been asked to join the investigation:

Report: Interpol joins investigation into Spanair accident : Europe World
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Old 27th Sep 2008, 16:59
  #2020 (permalink)  
 
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I'm as curious as Swedish Steve on why that configuration was chosen. There has to be a good reason --- I suppose. I'm also curious as to the history of Take-Off Configuration Warnings. The first one I saw was on a Gulfstream II, built around 1970? Yet Boeing claim a US Patent on the bones of any system, in 1978. I know something of Patents and the GII system predates the Boeing claims - no doubt. More to the point, if the Boeing Patent was valid, the GII being much simpler, it says there was no Take-Off Configuration Warning (as we now understand it) prior to 1978.

United States Patent 4,121,194
Downey , et al. October 17, 1978
Assignee: The Boeing Company (Seattle, WA)

Take-off warning system for aircraft.

Abstract. A logic controlled take-off warning system having a circuit for enabling the logic controlled take-off warning system at engine thrust levels exceeding a predetermined value which is less than minimum take-off thrust of the aircraft and greater than thrust required for normal ground operations, provided also that the aircraft is on the ground. When the logic controlled take-off warning system is enabled, a take-off warning horn is subsequently energized when any one of a plurality of undesired take-off configurations exists.
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