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Spanair accident at Madrid

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Spanair accident at Madrid

Old 24th Aug 2008, 16:22
  #761 (permalink)  
 
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The El Mundo graphic shows a deviation to the left before veering off to the right. First time i heard that one! Deviation to the left due to the left engine failing and over-correction to the right leading to touching the right wing briefly as often stated?
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Old 24th Aug 2008, 16:45
  #762 (permalink)  
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justme69; (B2N2, I know you were only posting a link but please take note);

Not to judge anyone, but the press has been displaying graphics and even 3D animations without any foundation on reality (I still get nervous when I watch the ones showing an engine explosion).

Regarless, graphics today seem to show a fairly good representation of the strip and path, give or take a few 10's of meters.
I think it is a very good thing that you get "nervous" when you watch this animation showing an engine explosion and interference with the rudder, (I don't read Spanish but I see the red arrows).

As you say, there is no basis in reality for the media to create fancy, convincing animations when they do not possess any information beyond eye-witness and passenger accounts as to what happened. We have no information on the flight data recorders but they certainly haven't been made available to the public let alone the media.

An animation can only be built from flight data. Anything else is from someone's imagination who almost certainly has no aviation background or experience. The animations are misleading and worthless. They answer no questions, they increase wrong answers and increase the anguish of families thereby.

Technical prowess in the graphic arts and editorial license in reporting "as truth" what is in fact not known, is irresponsible journalism which plays with the victims' families and convinces most others that "the truth is now known", which of course it is not.

I do animations from flight data all the time as part of our ongoing flight data analysis program. Crews are free to call us (though management is not), to ask about their flights. The tool is very helpful in answering many, though not all, questions that flight crew may have. The tool helps crews understand what may have happened during an approach (or other event) that they weren't happy with and wanted to know more about - it is an effective safety tool because learning is involved.

I know what it takes to produce an accurate animation which can tell as much of the truth as the data will permit but even then we have to be very cautious about what we see.

The media will have created this "animation" out of a standard graphic software like Studio Max and as such it is an extremely powerful, enticing image, which is completely without foundation.

This illustrates why second-hand story-telling in the wrong hands (the media, as well as some of the wilder theories seen in this thread) can produce seriously flawed results and draw people unknowingly to incorrect conclusions about what happened.

vanHorck:
The El Mundo graphic shows a deviation to the left before veering off to the right. First time i heard that one! Deviation to the left due to the left engine failing and over-correction to the right leading to touching the right wing briefly as often stated?
If I may, I don't mean to be unkind but it is your comment which illustrates precisely the problem described in the post above. The animation has no basis in fact and should be dismissed completely. No one has any information on whether the airplane first went left then right or ...?

Last edited by PJ2; 24th Aug 2008 at 17:06.
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Old 24th Aug 2008, 17:10
  #763 (permalink)  
 
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QUESTION:

Why are planes not fitted with video recording systems? Indeed, why aren't airports fitted with such systems?

The cost of digital video has fallen vastly and storage capacities are huge...

Buses, taxis etc are fitted with such systems...why not large planes/large airports?

(Such a system would go a long way to explaining what happened here, the London 777 crash, Athens crash etc...etc. and whilst they often wouldn't provide conclusive proof it'd certainly point investigators in the right direction..)
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Old 24th Aug 2008, 17:25
  #764 (permalink)  
 
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Today Spanair announced that the reason for returning to the gate was the heating system of the temperature sensor. In other words the heating to prevent ice getting on the temperature probe. It was disactivated by the mechanic according to the MEL. The airplane is aloud to fly with it for 10 days before it needs to be repaired. Since the weather was good and there were no icing conditions the decision to depart was correct if what Spanair sais is correct.

The mechanic is 41 years old and has 20 experience. He is at home with a depression after the accident. I sure feel sorry for him.

The take of was filmed and there were no visible flames from the engine and some sources now say it was the right engine.

It will take some time before we will know what happened but for sure it is an extremely said event.
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Old 24th Aug 2008, 17:38
  #765 (permalink)  
 
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I have relatives air-controller and pilots (me being neither) and we are all amazed at highly profitable airports operating in the first world w/o any sort on video surveillance pointing to the landing strips with the aim of capturing accidents during landing or take-off.

This in a world where a high-definition camera costs under $500 and DVR recorders can be had for under $200.

It's usually only low-resolution, wide angle video surveillance cameras that are deployed and then again only on a handfull of airports.

So many questions that would cost so little to answer.

Thankfully, this accident was recorded in video, so a few scenarios can be dissmissed off-hand such as any large visual explosions or large visual fires on any of the engines before the plane hitting the grown.

Unfortunately the video seems to the layman only show a "normal looking take off" but with a long (to their eyes) period of time until it lifts off, some sense of the plane lacking power to complete take off (unspecified), behaving erratically on the air (rolling) and then falling/bouncing/hitting/catching fire (any, all, or any combination of those in who-knows-what-order) to finally crash-n-burn a few hundred meters later.

But 3 or 4 cameras strategically situated on each strip of major airports would statistically be able to assist on investigations of many incidents during landing and take-off, no doubts. Someone should start demanding new large airports to deploy this.
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Old 24th Aug 2008, 17:40
  #766 (permalink)  
 
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The mechanic may not have made mistake and the two events may not be related. It s too early for that.

I m sure some of the emergency crew dont feel too well either after having to deal with this accident...
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Old 24th Aug 2008, 17:43
  #767 (permalink)  
 
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PJ2:
The graphic posted by justme69 is concordant with the declaration of the captain from Iberia whose statement I copied in post #549
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Old 24th Aug 2008, 17:47
  #768 (permalink)  
 
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Rescue crews speak of most survivors being confined to a specific area where many "soft landed" on a small creek (with shallow water/mud). One survivor speaks of how it was the water that woke her up. One rescue worker speaks of difficulty walking through the mud to assist. A handfull were conscience, even a few mostly mobile, but most with fractures and unable to move or unconscience.
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Old 24th Aug 2008, 17:47
  #769 (permalink)  
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barrymung;

Post discussing cockpit video recorders
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Old 24th Aug 2008, 17:58
  #770 (permalink)  
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agusaleale;
The graphic posted by justme69 is concordant with the declaration of the captain from Iberia whose statement I copied in post #549
I understand that very well. But the animation is not data-driven. It is only an interpretation by a non-aviation person of another's account, in this case an highly-experienced aviation observer. Eye-witness reports, especially by those who are experts, are helpful to investigators in pointing to ways in which the accident may have begun or to ways in which if unfolded. That said, you will know that eyewitness reports, even by experts, are far less accurate than the data available from the recorders. That is the only standard by which both initialization of, and sequence of the subsquent accident, can be determined. All else is second-hand speculation.

Still, I do know what you mean and know that such responses by the media are seen as "legitimate" by the viewing, curious public who are hungry for information. The thing is, that information can be wrong and lead to all kinds of harmful conclusions. The basis for such animations is not "accurate information" but mere curiosity and, unfortunately, legal interests.
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Old 24th Aug 2008, 18:12
  #771 (permalink)  
 
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XPMORTEN:

MD80 Takeoff field length charts give (if I understand them right );
Required available field length of about 9300 feet (2800m)

Gross weight of 69T,
Temp 30C,
Elev 2000'
Flap 15+Slat,
7 kt tailwind,
slight uphill,

Thats about 64% of the available runway at Madrid.

XPM
Just been reading an article on the Madrid crash in the "Sunday Times" which suggests that the crew may have failed to select the slats/flaps before commencing their T/O run. Highly unlikely, I know, but if this did happen, how much more runway would have been required for an MD80 to reach a safe T/O velocity?
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Old 24th Aug 2008, 18:12
  #772 (permalink)  
 
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Why not weigh the aircraft before departure? Doable, nowadays

These days it's possible to build a scale that would fit under the wheel contact area and handle the range of weight expected -- all solid state, no springs or balance levers. Why not have a little square cut out of the pavement at each aircraft gate on which the wheels of the various sized aircraft will rest, instrumented, to measure the weight on that area? Turn on the ones for the specific aircraft, make sure it's parked within the painted lines, sum the total weight. Ding! Why (rolls eyes) I can't imagine why any airline wouldn't want this information .... Wrong topic, just mentioning it's doable nowadays. The rocketeers must do this, they really need to know exactly what their rockets weigh before they launch them.
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Old 24th Aug 2008, 18:26
  #773 (permalink)  
 
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-14,15 Plane leaves finger for second attempt to take-off.
-14,24 Ground control clears plane for take-off.
Wonder what happened in those 9 minutes.
Were they rushed or distracted?
Any timepressure on them for the schedule?

My money is on a configuration error, but then again, 9 minutes is short but not too short.... 3 minutes for startup and 6 for taxi.

I guess it must be relatively easy for the investigators to rule out.
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Old 24th Aug 2008, 18:33
  #774 (permalink)  
 
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Ankh,

if you spend time reading PPRuNe and other venues of discussion, you will easily learn one simple truth:

The aviation industry at large is very against any change, unless they can bring an immediate economic return (and in some cases, not even if so eg, flying more direct routes).

There are thousand of methods and techniques that would improve safety. Many, actually even make sense. Still, they are not adopted.
The reason can be given to you in various forms:
"studies have already proved ..."
"an interesting suggestion, unfortunately ..."
that we can all resume as:
"it's not so useful, beside it costs money".

Since the overall safety record of air travel appears satisfying to most, status quo will remain.
Accept that, or fight like Don Quixote.
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Old 24th Aug 2008, 18:34
  #775 (permalink)  
 
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Just to answer a couple of points raised by previous posters (a couple of pages back in this fast evolving thread!) about RAF ops. Just about every RAF airfield (I can't think of one that doesn't) has distance to go marker boards (in thousands of feet) along the sides. The Tornado force doesn't time the take-off roll, but we do an acceleration check, looking for 100kts by the time you cross the approach end arrestor cable, about 1200ft from the start of the take-off roll. Additionally, during the landing roll, we check that our groundspeed is less than double the distance to go (eg 100kts at 5000ft to go board), braking/rev thrust as appropriate if it is not.

Additionally, as a minor difference from commercial ops, in the event of a loss of thrust post decision (we don't call it V1, just simple, straightforward decision speed), we select COMBAT thrust (equivalent to TOGA) as a matter of course, rather than leaving thrust as set unless satisfactory performance is not being achieved. Our Vmca is well below our stall speed so lateral control is not an issue.

Fin
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Old 24th Aug 2008, 18:38
  #776 (permalink)  
 
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PJ2
An animation can only be built from flight data. Anything else is from someone's imagination who almost certainly has no aviation background or experience. The animations are misleading and worthless. They answer no questions, they increase wrong answers and increase the anguish of families thereby.
Rubbish there are many ways an animation can be produced. I would suggest the relatives might be anguished by people telling them that the situation is a 'disgrace', when in fact, it is no more than human curiosity.

How do you know, as a fact and not an assumption, that whoever made the animation did not have someone who witnessed the video to help them?

Technical prowess in the graphic arts and editorial license in reporting "as truth" what is in fact not known, is irresponsible journalism which plays with the victims' families and convinces most others that "the truth is now known", which of course it is not.
I suppose a pilot telling the media how to do their jobs, is a bit like the media trying to explain how the pilot flew the doomed aircraft
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Old 24th Aug 2008, 18:48
  #777 (permalink)  
 
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"Thankfully, this accident was recorded in video, so a few scenarios can be dissmissed off-hand such as any large visual explosions or large visual fires on any of the engines before the plane hitting the grown."

There is a large gap between a normal running engine and one displaying large fire and explosions. Engine issues (even twin failures) cannot yet be fully discounted.
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Old 24th Aug 2008, 18:53
  #778 (permalink)  
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SpacePilot;
Rubbish there are many ways an animation can be produced. I would suggest the relatives might be anguished by people telling them that the situation is a 'disgrace', when in fact, it is no more than human curiosity.

How do you know, as a fact and not an assumption, that whoever made the animation did not have someone who witnessed the video to help them?
I know that. I've already stated that graphics can be manufactured using a number of standard animation software programs. In terms of calling such work a disgrace it depends upon how accurately one wishes to know what happened. I've learned that in spite of the fact that investigations take a very long time to determine what happened and why, over the long run next-of-kin want the truth.

I have also discussed eye-witness accounts in the construction of animations, in terms of their relative reliability and I have also acknowledged that they are viewed as "legitimate" media responses by many. But let us be clear - what such amateur animations may tell us (and by virtue of that fact, what most people "know" about the accident"), and what a thorough safety investigation by trained and experienced accident investigators tell us can be wildly different. Though painful in the extreme, waiting for truth is, in my experience, what most prefer. That's my only point. Clearly, one cannot stop tides nor should one be able to!... ;-)

best,
PJ2

PS; justme60, B2N2, SpacePilot, just for the record, I would like to ensure that I do not doubt your entries here - what I am being "stringent" about, (perhaps) is the methods, not the actual portrayals of flight paths, wreckage parts, etc. I clearly have strong thoughts on the use of partial or eye-witness information. I know such is valuable as part of the investigation but it is only by very strict rules of evidence, including what's shown as "possibilities", that the truth can be arrived at. I am all for informed speculation so long as "judgement is suspended in favour of curiosity" until at least the recorders are read. That is the intent of all my posts - my apologies if the initial entry sounded a bit direct.

Last edited by PJ2; 24th Aug 2008 at 19:05.
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Old 24th Aug 2008, 19:11
  #779 (permalink)  
 
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I am not saying that was the reason of the accident but I am sure the JK5022 was overloaded same as more than 50% of the actual flights. I find this post very interesting on the theme:
http://www.pprune.org/tech-log/31510...hemselves.html
Edit to specify overloaded from the loadsheet values
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Old 24th Aug 2008, 19:28
  #780 (permalink)  
 
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Thrown from Plane?

I've read reports that some of the surviving pax...
...owed their escape to being thrown from the plane into a stream, thereby avoiding severe burns. (BBC).
Does anyone know if:
  • They weren't wearing seatbelts (I hope this wasn't the case),
  • Their seatbelts failed,
  • Their entire seats were ejected with them,
  • An entire floor section of the plane finished in the stream,
  • Or if this report is a bit exaggerated.
It occurred to me as I was checking seatbelts in a cabin this morning.

I feel very sorry for everyone involved.
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