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Spanair accident at Madrid

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Spanair accident at Madrid

Old 25th Aug 2008, 21:39
  #901 (permalink)  
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Good on you, xkoote!
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Old 25th Aug 2008, 21:46
  #902 (permalink)  
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I corrected myself and the thread continued.
That's the way I saw it...no issue. Helmet fires aren't limited to the great unwashed...I'm living proof,
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Old 25th Aug 2008, 21:47
  #903 (permalink)  
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IF it took more than :30 seconds you were heavy and if it took :45 seconds, you were very heavy.
I agree with those timings -which I've been monitoring as a pax. for some time - and if we're not airborne by 45 secs. I've decided that I'm going to start putting my head between my knees - after re-checking the emergency exit !

Looks like the Military are the only ones to check acceleration rate - interesting. makes sense, but the application Worldwide might need more than just a wish !
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Old 25th Aug 2008, 22:03
  #904 (permalink)  
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Just read the so-called CVR transcript translation - or whatever it is.

Reminds me of one of my first sim. sessions on the 707, crew were asked what was the first action in the event of a fire warning or suspected engine failure ? Won't bore you with all the replies, but the answer was - Nothing ! sit on your hands and think before touching ANYTHING. Then silence the aural warning, and so on - we all know the rest, or should.

Maybe not relevant, sorry.
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Old 25th Aug 2008, 22:32
  #905 (permalink)  
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Hi All,

My first post on this forum.

I would like to throw a theory at you all. Relatively low percentage chance of happening though.

I'm not knowledged in the intricacies of the MD flight management computer, but are the final V1-Vr-V2 speeds programmed into the FMC at the gate? Reason I say this is as the aircraft returned to the gate less taxi fuel used, would the used up fuel, after taxi to Rwy36, return to gate, then more used up fuel again to Rwy 36 have affected the V numbers already programmed into the FMC?

Did the pilot order more fuel at the remote gate to cover the loss of the taxi out/in/out?

If not, would the 30 minutes or so of fuel used in the taxi out/in/out change the actual Vr speed if the crew did not reprogram the V speeds? On top of this, changes in temperature, air density etc due to the 1 hour delay originally from the gate may change the V speeds?

Bad V speeds may have caused the early rotation and over-rotation due to passing of V1 in haste to get airborne, then onset of left wing stall.

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Old 25th Aug 2008, 22:52
  #906 (permalink)  
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The MD80 uses about 200 kilo's of fuel for a 10 minute taxi and takeoff. Given they used 10 minutes out, 10 minutes back and 10 out again means they used let's say 600 - 800 kilo's. But remember, they are lighter, not heavier, so that fact should have helped their case, not hurt it. They would have theoretically taken off with more speed than needed. But with these weights it would not have differed more than 2 knots. I don't know if they refueled, I asked recently about the time spent at the gate for another reason also but don't know yet. If they refueled you would have the correct speeds again in the FMC. If they overfueled you would come back to the same 2-5 knots at the most per ton of difference. our MD's don't have intergrated FMC's as we don't have EFIS. But I think the speeds are manually entered in EFIS MD's. Not sure though.

In a recent post I talked about the commands "Flaps up" and "Slats in" given by the captain while arriving at the gate. Our operation does it independantly of the taxi in checklist although it is also stated in there.
They are done last minute to reduce FOD while taxiing by keeping the flaps at 15°. If they decided that it would be a quick fix and omitted all checklists so they would be ready to go when finished it could be one scenario of having the high lift devices not in the correct position. I say this because if they did the checklists it is very difficult to miss this item. It is many times the first one on the taxi out.

One last thing. I remember someone posting about the fact that he's never seen an SOP where the F/O executes an abort. In our operation, the F/O handles the full takeoff, including a possible RTO. The only limitation we have is if a F/O gives a "stop" command it should be regarded as an advice to the captain. Otherwise the first officer handles everything and also keeps his hands on the throttles until V1..... I know however that indeed there are many other companies where this is not the case.
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Old 25th Aug 2008, 22:54
  #907 (permalink)  
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I am not going to speculate on the specific cause of the accident, but will submit that it will eventually be attributed to the conjunction of a number of adverse factors.

I will illustrate with an incident that happened to me thirty odd years ago.

Taxiing out in DC-9-34, route training flight, trg Capt in RHS.
Shortly after we entered the runway backtracking (checks completed "down to the line"), got message, "please return to ramp XXX (senior civil aviation dept official) wants to talk to you.
Turn onto taxiway and official comes on radio requesting medevac for a seriously ill female. When asked if patient has Doctors certificate, answer negative. Sorry, unable to accommodate without certificate. Taxi back onto runway and proceed with takeoff.
Climbing out through 400' starting departure turn, experience some gusty turbulence and a couple of momentary stallwarning/stickshaker. WTF???
Stall recovery, flaps 15, max power.
The source of our problem then became apparent; flap/slat retracted.

Trg capt had retracted them as we cleared runway heading for the ramp, and then became involved in the decision on the medevac request. I failed to re-check (that vital PanAm et al last double-check) configuration because of numerous distractions, on PA to pax (explaining turn on to taxiway then back onto runway), checking with FAs etc.
The warning system had failed.

What broke the chain of events-luck. The aircraft was relatively light, full pax but short sector fuel. I was in the habit of fairly gentle rotation when plenty of runway was available, so we breezed through the critical zone totally unaware of how lucky we were.

Incidentally the medevac patient turned out to be the daughter of an even more senior Civil Aviation official, and she turned out to have acute appendicitis. The official called me to say I may have saved her life according to the doctor, if she had flown in that condition the appendix could easily have burst causing dangerous complications. Luck again.

PS. Prior to this incident flap/slat warning check was once per detail, it then became prior to each flt.

Last edited by ZQA297/30; 15th Sep 2008 at 23:53. Reason: add ps
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Old 25th Aug 2008, 23:18
  #908 (permalink)  
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Sometimes struggling through 40 odd pages of speculation is worth it for one post. Thanks ZQA297/30.
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Old 25th Aug 2008, 23:58
  #909 (permalink)  
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Looks like the Military are the only ones to check acceleration rate
Another nice thing military aircraft usually have is the AOA gage. It will tell you your honest weight, your real approach speed, and your best rate and angle of climb, all based on what the aircraft is feeling. I think it should be required on all transports as a vital crosscheck. It's not expensive.
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Old 26th Aug 2008, 00:21
  #910 (permalink)  
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Quote from ZQA297/30,

Trg capt had retracted them as we cleared runway heading for the ramp
This is exactly what I am referring to. Flap/slat retraction on taxi in is usually not done by checklist but by heart. Thank God you guys made it through. Glad to have you still roaming the skies.

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Old 26th Aug 2008, 00:44
  #911 (permalink)  
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Yep. thanks for sharing ZQA297/30.
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Old 26th Aug 2008, 00:45
  #912 (permalink)  
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I seem to have started something mentioning timing runway acceleration to a pre V1 speed... which some hadn't ever heard of but quite a few others seem to have.
The whole theory was simply that whilst V1 was/is a prime parameter, it's 'calculated' for a set of conditions that can't always be guaranteed - Thrust profile; known TOW (debated earlier); Tyre drag due runway water/slush/brake binding; etc.
No good finding oneself at V1 and RTO if you're too far down runway -

Long since leaving the industry I'd assumed that today accelerometers (or an INS mode) would be keeping an eye on take-off progress.

No, I'm not advocating it or criticising anything, possibly a sideways glance at how 2-crew operations have changed the flight deck and more than anything from a design aspect, how critical it is to keep things as simple as ergonomically possible to reduce workload and aid rapid and clear decision making under stress.

ZQA297/30 - Thanks, a ray of light. As frank, well-meaning and educational a post as you'll get on here.

.. and whilst the media (in their own way) and indeed many on this board struggle to put some perspective on how such a dreadful accident could happen, I say a little prayer for all those lost souls last week - lest we forget what this is really about.
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Old 26th Aug 2008, 01:21
  #913 (permalink)  
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Thanks for that post. I've been pax on one hurried, slat-less, flap-less departure (737-200) and I've sometimes wondered if it doesn't happen more often than we hear about.
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Old 26th Aug 2008, 01:46
  #914 (permalink)  
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Yes it does. My friend was an FO that took off at LAX in a 737 200 with no flaps because the circuit breaker was pulled because maintenance moved it to the gate and didn't want to hear the takeoff warning horn every time they advanced power. They got stick shaker on take off rotation so lowered the nose. Everything turned out ok but it was a big FU. Hate to add to the ridiculous reasons why this happened on this thread because I agree, we have no facts and endless speculation with no facts is a waste of time.

In the simulator we did a no flap take off at SNA with their short runway and we got airborn by rotating to normal and waiting to get the proper speed for that configuration. I wonder when we will get any data about this accident.
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Old 26th Aug 2008, 02:42
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Pan Am used the term "Killer items" for their 'takeoff configuration check'.

I use FET, misspelled FAT, as in "I'm in fat city", which is U.S. slang for being in great shape.

F - Flaps
E - Engines
T - Trim

"Taxi into position and hold." Runway's clear, no one on final approach, FO calls out last minute checklist items...silently check FET(flaps, engines, trim). Good to go.
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Old 26th Aug 2008, 03:22
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Here are some translations of relevant parts of another news article quoting some survivors' recalls of the accident.

-42yo female colombian doctor: "I didn't truly feel anything (wrong), it looked to me like a plain-and-normal flight until it took off (went up) and it started to "tumble". I was shot out of my seat. I saw fire and smoke ..." (No mention of loud bangs or noises)

-30yo male: "Prior flight was full, so I had to take this later one. As soon as the airplane left the ground, it made a "bandazo" (sudden move more properly translated to side-by-side-towards-one-side, but likely refers to a hard roll) to the left, then another to the right and I knew we were going to crash. He could hear people asking for help: "I'm suffocating", but didn't see the fire as it was behind him and the front of the airplane didn't (quite) catch on fire. (No mention of large bangs or noises).

-27yo female: A flight attendant and only crew survivor in the flight. Is in fairly good health and recovering from sternal/vertebrae and elbow fractures. Also has some facial burns. Expected to leave the hospital in a few days. Has already been debriefed. No details of major technical significance have been reported. She has declared to have heard cries for help among survivors, but that she was unable to move.

Some of her statements to the police have, of course, leaked to the public. Here are the ones of most technical value from a news article:
"I noticed the plane didn't have "power" (force/fuerza) when it started to take off (elevate)" - "Most other survivors agree on the plane feeling sluggish, w/o enough power to take off". She was rendered unconscious and woke up in the creek (river). She testified she wasn't inside the cabin and, therefore, didn't hear any pertaining conversations among the pilots.

Most survivors agree that they couldn't (or didn't) hear from the pilots during or before the accident or have loss memory from ever hearing from them in the few minutes prior.

41yo female, the only survivor with minor injures (possibly to be discharged in a matter of hours). Was the person to help rescue two of the children.

56yo female. 4 broken ribs, her condition is good.

68yo male, in serious conditions (burns by inhalation).

67yo female: wife of the passenger above, one of the survivors in very serious condition (head and leg fractures).

22yo male. Sternal and vertebrae fractures.

30yo female. Lung and various other traumas.

40yo male. Pelvis and femur fractures. Flying also in the front section of the plane (most of the survivors were from a 4 row section of the front).

8yo male: single leg bone fracture. His father died in the accident.

44yo female, mother of the survivor above, is the one in the worst condition.

6yo male: skull fracture and other face injures, has already left the hospital. Was flying with 16yo sister, who sadly didn't survive.

29yo male: torax trauma and lung condition.

11yo female: single femur open fracture. Mother and 14yo sister didn't survive.

47yo male: father of the girl above. Torax trauma and pelvis fracture. His life is not in danger.

Female (>40yo): burns and coma, evolving favourably. Her 20yo daughter died in the accident.

57yo male: very serious condition, several bone-deep wounds, malar and femur fractures, left ankle fracture. Lung condition.

Doctors only fear for 2 patients not fully recovering or getting worse at this point, with the rest evolving favourably and out of inmediate danger.

Identification of some 40 victims' remains could take up to 3 more weeks, as they are relatives among themselves (brothers/families) and therefore DNA tests need to be complemented with other measures.

Those of us that have listened to the evidence and the experts, I think by now have very little doubt about what happened in all likehood, in spite of the media insisting, even in this very same morning articles, on one or both engines losing thrust.

Altough nothing can be cathegorically dismissed, of course.

Only details such as why pilots didn't realize what was happening sooner or didn't take the appropiate measures to correct it are still unknown, but a number of likely scenarios are also pretty clear to help explain how that could've happen.

Those "minor" (but no doubt make-or-break) details are gonna have to wait for the investigation results, as the only 100% reliable source would be the (unfortunately damaged) FDR, as visual clues such as pieces of wings showing slats/flaps deployed or engine reversers locked, could've happened AFTER it was too late into the accident events while trying to recover from stall, become airbone again, trying to brake, etc.

By looking at the debris only w/o the FDR info, we can't really know the timeline of events. Without knowing what happened-before-or-after-what, and so many scenarios (unlikely but) still possible, such as accidental reverser deployment during T/O, well ...

FRD analysis is a loong way off, so I guess we'll meet again a few months from now to speculate on ways the aviation industry could prevent this from happening again.

Last edited by justme69; 26th Aug 2008 at 07:07.
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Old 26th Aug 2008, 05:14
  #917 (permalink)  
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Pan Am used the term "Killer items" for their 'takeoff configuration check'.
First lesson with my new instructor, "There are three things that will kill ya on takeoff and you should double check them...."
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Old 26th Aug 2008, 06:43
  #918 (permalink)  
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TN Argentina CVR Recordings fake

According to El Mundo, the CVR recordings presented in TN Argentina are fake, the intention of the journalist was to "reconstruct" what could have happened.

La conversación entre pilotos de Spanair es un montaje

La conversación entre pilotos de Spanair es un montaje | elmundo.es

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Old 26th Aug 2008, 07:33
  #919 (permalink)  
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New Safety Briefing?

So, perhaps we should add flaps to the CC checks. You know, seatbelts fastened and check we have some flap selected.

Or we could add it to the safety briefing
"Will those of you seated near the overwing exits please contact the CC if the captain has forgotten to select enough flap"

It sort fits with that "Safety is Everybodies Business" view.

Joking apart, the data should be there as to how often it has been done, who has the figures?
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Old 26th Aug 2008, 07:35
  #920 (permalink)  
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PanAm 3 killers

Ex PanAm pilot here 1968-1991.
The correct "PanAm 3 killers" are TRIM FLAPS SPOILERS...
These are 99% of the reason of takeoff incidents and accidents.
Everytime I line-up for takeoff, I verify the 3 killers.
In my career (retiring in 3 months) - it saved my neck TWICE...
Twice flaps were UP - yet check-list had been properly completed as per SOP.
There are NO guarantees that the takeoff warning horn will operate.
You might forget other items... i.e. pitot heat... that will make you crash 10 minutes later but T/O will be ok.
In this sad accident, what I gather so far from "extracting" valid information, it looks that this aircraft was not configured (slats/flaps) and flew at rotation in "ground effect" to some 50 ft AGL, then stalled - maybe even got engine compressor stall as well at that time. Did their T/O warning horn fail...?
P.S. I think the "FET" FLAPS ENGINES TRIM goes back to the DC-6/7 days.

Happy contrails
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