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Spanair accident at Madrid

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Spanair accident at Madrid

Old 31st Aug 2008, 14:28
  #1361 (permalink)  
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The reverser doors are attached to the engines which are much higher than the bottom of the fuselage. Any scrapes on the runway would likely be from the fuselage
Wrong..., on rotate with reverser
buckets deployed, they would hit ground before the tail.

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Old 31st Aug 2008, 14:35
  #1362 (permalink)  
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if you deploy reversers with the nosewheel in the air, you are likely to scrape the reversers on the runway.

all MD80 operators admonish their pilots to never deploy reversers with nosewheel in the air
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Old 31st Aug 2008, 15:22
  #1363 (permalink)  
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if you deploy reversers with the nosewheel in the air, you are likely to scrape the reversers on the runway.

all MD80 operators admonish their pilots to never deploy reversers with nosewheel in the air
Not true unless you have at least 8 degrees of nose up - which CAN happen, but you really have to land slow and flare like a mofo for that.

At typical weights and flaps 40, you will not scrape a bucket. However, in the interest of training to the lowest common denominator and standardization, it is true that most if not all 80 operators require nosewheel contact before deploying.
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Old 31st Aug 2008, 15:35
  #1364 (permalink)  
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I agree that the lower bucket hit the ground. I however believe
that this happened on the RWY during rotate!
That may be plausible. If so, it may be an indication the buckets on at least one engine were deployed before or during rotation. I see no reason to intentionally deploy reversers while also anticipating or initiating a rotation.

On the picture there are no relevant dirt marks visible on the warped bucket. It's trajectory after separating from the aircraft or engine before it came to rest may also be attributable to its damage but i would expect that the upper bucket would also have shown more signs of a beating if that was the case. It all depends on when and how the reverser detached.

It makes me wonder in which condition the reverser buckets of the other engine have been found (have not seen a shot of those buckets yet). Serial numbers will quickly reveal which reverser was installed on which engine.

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Old 31st Aug 2008, 15:49
  #1365 (permalink)  
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Here's a video showing reverser deployment prior to nose wheel touch-down.

YouTube - SAS MD82 landing

As long as you don't have excessive pitch, there is nothing preventing you taking reverse prior to nose wheel touch-down.

I know on the F100/F70, they also take reverse prior to nose-wheel touch-down.

You try and avoid touching the brakes though prior to nose-wheel touch-down. It can make it quite uncomfortable otherwise.
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Old 31st Aug 2008, 16:52
  #1366 (permalink)  
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PJ2 #1322

Surely this is only one end of a scale where high demand for cheaper flights causes industry to commoditise its product (bums on seats for minimum cost of operation)? On the other we have the inhibition of some safety measures where the cost/benefit of lives saved, exceeds $0.25M/125K per capita (i.e too expensive for industry wide application). I would suggest that the fate of onboard fire fighting sprinkler systems is a case in point for the other end of the scale.


Last edited by sAx_R54; 1st Sep 2008 at 10:09.
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Old 31st Aug 2008, 18:03
  #1367 (permalink)  
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Surely this is only one send of a scale
Not sure a linear, "binary-opposites" method of examining the issue produces useful results. "Method" can either illuminate or mask phenomena - placing the discussion on a continuum does not make clear those "arenas" which contribute heavily to a safe operation while at the same time permitting very low-cost operations - "lo-cost" does not automatically equate to "unsafe" or "lower safety", (I believe you know this already and we're perhaps discussing the same thing, expressed differently).

Presenting straightforward, honest information on "risk" which effectively, captures first the interest then the imagination of those who's primary role and responsibility is to control costs, is a great challenge within this industry because of the characteristics I mentioned. To move an "operations" manager off his/her position of "cost" and towards a position of "the sprinklers are worth it", (to employ your example), is, curiosly in this industry, an extremely difficult and very long, time-consuming process in most cases - some are obvious, most are not.

Even with clear, undeniable data which highlights higher risk, the motivation (and social beliefs) to not spend money "needlessly", (which is felt and seen as exactly the "right and responsible" approach to business) and to not compromise production, (reducing productivity - airplane turn-around times, for example, must be very firmly justified with a "business case"), eclipes the safety dialogue such that "I'll see it when I believe it" becomes the operating factor - it is very difficult to address and change "world views" without commanding reasons.

Flight safety data is not like "a business case" - one cannot quantify or digitize risk but one can point to it. In such "pointing", one can use the term "stochastic" to describe this process...it means "randomness, with a 'preferred' outcome", (not preferred in the sense that that is what was desired, but preferred in terms of chance outcomes).

A "continuum" model won't capture these notions nor will it carry the sense of "risk-reward", "cost-benefit" forward such that action comes out of the board-meeting on Monday morning or that managers suddenly experience a very cold chill down their spine and break into cold-sweats, something which I have seen our own flight data safety team do and not infrequently.

The risk, too, in such a model is that it provides operations people with a "point along the line between "safe-but-expensive and breaking-even-but-not-so-safe" and that's not the way flight safety works or should be thought of. Under time and production pressures, even when in operations or safety meetings, the power of being able to point to "a place" along a continuum and announce "we are 'here', on this line between cost and safety", (forgive...very simple example, I know).

So many managers think that "work safety" is wearing high-visibility vests on the ramp, to use one of a thousand other examples, but it is not. It is a way of travelling, an approach to action, a consideration and not a "technique".

These understandings aren't ivory-towerish, purely for books, either. They work in the push-and-pull world of rushed daily operations. They're exactly the same as what pilots do in the cockpit...paced, deliberate, reflective but not hesitant actions, all according to exacting SOPs which are both robust and error-tolerant in the "layered" sense.

So an airline may be very safe in some areas and literally quite blind in others. An "SMS" approach to safety means that such blindnesses are sought out and eradicated. That is what a healthy safety culture does, and it doesn't impede business...it facilitates it and it keeps the investment safer and thus the shareholders happier.

sorry...long, but I think such thinking is still very rare within airline managements who are under severe pressures and who are only trying to get through another day of "disastrous" costs with little reward or "feel good". It isn't the only key by a long shot but it's a primary one and it doesn't always "sell" well.

"Listening" is a social approach to information. "Hearing" is a physiological quality.

Last edited by PJ2; 31st Aug 2008 at 18:15.
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Old 31st Aug 2008, 18:26
  #1368 (permalink)  
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lomapaseo, sevenstrokeroll;

I think the damage pattern (lateral crushing) to the bottom reverser bucket indicates that it hit something with substantial vertical force while the top reverser sustained little damage (that is evident in the photo, anyway). I hadn't thought of "where" but assumed it would have been on the runway because it isn't "packed" with weeds, grass, mud, etc but was "pristine" and had (what I took to be) striations along it's lower edge. Interesting notion about the shower of sparks being mistaken for engine problems...I hadn't thought of that. It will bring new meaning to the airport videos.

The "evidence", such as it is, available to us through poor photographs is so flimsy that these exercises may be wholly off-base. But I think they have a very useful "engaging" quality and that such informed speculation is part of what aviation people and those interested in and driven by aviation, do. There are tremendous learning opportunities "in the unsaid" in such discussions. It is much like CRM work in the cockpit or the safety investigation itself, where "what" not "who" is important. Pet theories succumb either to clearer thought or better evidence.
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Old 31st Aug 2008, 20:31
  #1369 (permalink)  
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Thanks for the detailed explanation. It is not the quantification of hazard and frequency outcome using stoichastic/deterministic modelling (Monte Carlo, HazOP, ALARP/ALARA etc) that intrigues me here, but the nature of an industry that is not highly understood by the majority protagonists of its use.

The price that a willing individual is prepared to pay is only one aspect of the cost of safety for an industry highly coupled with its related and underlying systems. The other is the need to maximise the return on capital employed by operators who truly understand the underlying risks and it is a this point I would respectfully suggest, that continuous improvement in flight safety needs to remain in the ambit of.

In simple terms it is not the price of a ticket that should ultimately determine the aviation safety case.

Apologies to all for straying off topic.

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Old 31st Aug 2008, 23:27
  #1370 (permalink)  
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999 times out of 1,000 fast hands in the cockpit are a very bad thing. In this isolated occurance, it was the correct course of action.
Absolutely right,Has Been.Nice post.Response to uncommanded reverser deployment with yaw/buffet after V1 must be immediate.I hope that DC9 skipper had a long and happy retirement.
The discussion on possible reverser deployment is fascinating but its just not backed up by what little evidence we have.Survivor testimony(much better than eyewitness) and those who reviewed the video speak of lateral oscillation(left then right),like a falling leaf.Additionally,the unusual high nose angle fits the stall not the reverser scenario.A thrust reverser open after lift off is going to try and turn you upside down all in one direction!Also,lift off body angle would remain at 6-8 degrees.
Sevenstrokeroll's insight into the probe failure(apparently from actual experience..) and the more serious problem it was concealing(Groundshift and hence TOCW failure) is in my humble opinion,despite all the wonderful contributions,our only trump card in 70 pages.I had hoped that the refueller had seen the strobes,not the anti-coll,because this would have been powerful corroborative evidence.
Until new evidence is released,perhaps our Mad Dog contributors could give us a little insight into:
i)blue slat light and amber ART light?how visible during daylight takeoff?Do line pilots look for this picture(1 blue,1 amber) before they advance TL's for takeoff?
ii)setting TO thrust manually..assuming AT u/s..how much of a distraction to monitoring the big picture?Should be fine-tuned by sixty,but how realistic is that?For example,the new gen Boeings show commanded thrust on the dial..you just match commanded thrust to the target N1...On the older gen aircraft,you set a ballpark TL angle and then finetune which might take a bit of time.
iii)autobrake T.O position..would it arm if there was a groundshift malfunction?Is it on the same relay???
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Old 31st Aug 2008, 23:37
  #1371 (permalink)  
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As posted by justme69, post #1045:

I would like to ask the golden question to pilots of MD-82 or similar planes.

In your opinion, *assuming perfectly working engines and no reverser deployment*, *assuming no windshear*, and assuming said airplane took around 500m more of air strip than estimated as normal for its
(pretended) configuration to lift-off (i.e. it took longer to accelerate to speed than predicted or it rotated for longer than "it should've" or a combination of both, etc), what is the most likely cause of a fully loaded airplane like that being able to become airborne for 3-5 seconds but yet just "fall" after rolling left & right and w/o an experienced crew being able to do much about it on time?

Again, let's assume both engines were working properly and reversers were never deployed, just for the scope of this question.

Thank you in advance.
I am not a pilot but . . . .

There is a scenario which can lead to rolling left and right at rotation or lift-off if the cause went undetected but it does not fit the summer season, ice contaminated wings. With temperatures near 30 C, and an aircraft on ground for several hours that would seem very unlikely, unless the aircraft had cold soaked wings from a previous (long) flight at altitude, no or very little fuel uplift, and precipitation at Barajas prior to departure. At more moderate temperatures (sometimes upto 15 C) that could have been a possibility. Aircraft not limited to the MD-8x but any aircraft with aft fuselage mounted engines has an extra issue with ice on the wings, if there is clear ice on the upper surface near the wing root, it can break away at rotation as the wing flexes and it can reduce engine performance if not flame out an engine all together.

I know, far fetched in case of this accident.

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Old 31st Aug 2008, 23:53
  #1372 (permalink)  
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you are quite right, the failure mode did happen to me. but we noticed a problem at the gate with a lower than normal epr setting for takeoff...investigated and found the RAT probe heated on the ground. It was nutty and our experienced mx staff recognized the problem right away.

It happened 3 times to me while on the DC9.

I truly think that all lights, slat or otherwise are nicely visible in daylight, provided you are not using the dimming switch.

I also had adopted, prior to this, an exagerated method of checking the flaps//slats prior to takeoff...thanks to the tragic crash in DTW.

My airline, at the time, was one of the premier operators of the DC9 and its training program was excellent, including stalls on takeoff and going to slats extend flaps 15, and also thrust reverser deployment on takeoff.

The DC9/MD80 is a fine plane when well maintained and properly flown.

I would rather fly this type than any comparable class plane. The 737 was a true PIECE OF SHIT compared to the DC9. And don't even get me started on the 'bus.
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Old 1st Sep 2008, 01:15
  #1373 (permalink)  
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Thanks for the thoughtful and informative response. Rather than take the thread off-course, if I may, I would like to ask a couple of questions by pm. I'm trained as a captain and don't have a background in statistics, finance or engineering but would very much like to pursue one or two points raised which I think I need to understand. I had to look up "ambit" - wonderful word!

Kind thanks,
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Old 1st Sep 2008, 01:57
  #1374 (permalink)  
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1. The ARt fire light and the slat takeoff light are clearly visible in daylight....when you are looking at them. They are not the glow in the corner of your eye type of light like the reverser unlocked lights for example. In a situation of distress you would not be able to answer the sim instructor's question if the ART fired or not if you were the pilot flying (come to think of it maybo you can as the sim is always dark )

2. The procedure on the MD80 is to pull the manual EPR setting knobs. A small digital (but mechanical) display will appear in the EPR gauges. Together with the orange chevrons which are normally slaved by the TRI.
Upon setting takeoff thrust - if you did not have the presence of mind to brief a static takeoff to better monitor power settings - you will (still) get ample time to set the thrust. From my experience you will never get EXACT thrust anyways. For example if you have a FLX TO of 1.82 EPR, maybe you end up with 1.80 on the left and 1.81 on the right, but dancing a bit up and down around 1.82. The diefference is maybe a couple of pounds of thrust, if it isn't indication inaccuracies.

3. Don't know as I never flew a Mad Dog with one equipped. I would venture a guess at saying that it has to be related to the ground shift. Both for the RTO or NORM range as for the time it needs to sense to start applying.

I hope I have clarified thes questions somewhat.

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Old 1st Sep 2008, 03:57
  #1375 (permalink)  
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I'm also disturbed with the idea that pilots are inputting data into calculators and not considering whether the output is reasonable. Garbage in, garbage out. One instance noted indicated that the crew ignored what to me would have been a very obvious 33 knot error in V1. When taking off in a heavy 747, wouldn't you think that something like 33 knots would stand out like a sore thumb? Are these guys robots or pilots?
Damd right!

All it would need is for avionics to catch up with modern electronic data systems to STOP this kind of thing DEAD in its tracks. DEAD being the appropriate word.

Aircraft systems have fallen behind modern electronics technology by aeons in modern terms - except perhaps for the 'buses.
Old 1st Sep 2008, 04:18
  #1376 (permalink)  
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Electronics to the rescue - NOT

I agree with PA sound man.

The only problem is that the people who design to electronics need to have flying experience to foresee the mistakes that can be made and the consequences of them. As a teacher of computer engineering, I frequently come across failures caused by a simple lack of "what if" foresight on the part of the designer. One example I use is the MK Airlines 747 cargo crash at Halifax NS, where the weight and balance program was found to have allowed the operator to take off from an intermediate stop with the same gross weight after taking on 100,000 pounds of seafood in water!

Obviously the designer could not know the change in weight and balance in advance, but why allow the previous value to be used at all?

Only when we include reading failure reports in educating engineers will we develope the culture to get ahead of the curve on correcting mistakes.
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Old 1st Sep 2008, 09:42
  #1377 (permalink)  
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Simple. Defective thrust reversers should not be an MEL acceptable item. How many people have they killed now ?

If T/Rev was not allowable you would only operate with a failed reverser in the sim and in a new failure case. In terms of statistics that may be worse than operating under the MEL.

Maybe the question should be how many people have they killed when operating under the MEL?
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Old 1st Sep 2008, 10:25
  #1378 (permalink)  
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MEL:invention of profit-oriented capitalistic world? :)

Just in case anyone would care to know: in Russia, we have no MEL/MMEL procedure for Soviet-made aircraft. We do have something similar, the List of allowable failures and malfunctions, which is attached at the end of FCOM but its crucial difference from MEL is that you can only depart with these failures/malfunctions from final destination or stopover airport to return to the base but not from the base one.
The "you cannot fly a plane with anything u/s on it" notion that was characteristic for the stringent and orderly Soviet-era is however giving way to a more "liberal" and slack-ish Russia where planes (like Tu-204) are operated with inop equipment even though there is no formal document to let operators do so.
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Old 1st Sep 2008, 11:49
  #1379 (permalink)  
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Simple. Defective thrust reversers should not be an MEL acceptable item. How many people have they killed now ?
Please enlighten me - I am not aware of a any accidents caused by a faulty Thrust Reverser that had been MEL'd?

Please do not include the A320 series accident(s) that involved an MEL'd Thrust Reverser that the MEL Operations led to a human factors issue. AFAIK the accidents were nothing to do with the Rev U/S - they were to do with the procedures and crew actions... which is best corrected by addressing those procedures (as has been done) rather than a hyterical "Ban Thrust Rev U/S MEL section"...

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Old 1st Sep 2008, 12:49
  #1380 (permalink)  
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The "you cannot fly a plane with anything u/s on it" notion that was characteristic for the stringent and orderly Soviet-era
U r kidding, right?

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