Go Back  PPRuNe Forums > Flight Deck Forums > Rumours & News
Reload this Page >

Spanair accident at Madrid

Rumours & News Reporting Points that may affect our jobs or lives as professional pilots. Also, items that may be of interest to professional pilots.

Spanair accident at Madrid

Old 3rd Sep 2008, 15:44
  #1421 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: Jan 2005
Location: Oslo, Norway
Posts: 313
a deployed thrust reverser won't bring this plane down if properly handled by the crew.
Sure, if they;
1. KNOW the reverser is deployed and
2. Act VERY fast within a few seconds.

In this case, the right reverser was deactivated and stowed with wire.
What panel indications would they get if THIS reverser deployed?
My guess is not much - if any.. .

XPM
XPMorten is offline  
Old 3rd Sep 2008, 16:29
  #1422 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: Oct 2007
Location: SW Europe
Age: 55
Posts: 23
Don't forget climatological and geographical conditions ( High temperatures, tail wind ).

Keep on mind also that the plane skidded out of the runway with more than 1000m of runway ( displaced threshold 18R ) available in front.
Ferrobus is offline  
Old 3rd Sep 2008, 16:30
  #1423 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: Nov 2007
Location: Seoul
Posts: 103
Dear pilots,

How deadly is not setting flaps/slats? I have read if I am not mistaken on this thread that some (in 737??) have taken off with incorrect settings.

What I am getting at is considering the number of flights per day, is this something that happens unplanned often (daily, weekly, monthly???) with planes using a good chunk more runway but still getting just into the air, or is this a near certain crash situation. As a follow up, is the MD more or less tollerent of this situation than other aircarft?

What I am following with these questions are the possible human factors. This morning I was in the shower and half way through the shower I could not remember if I had already shampooed. When we do something every day in the same 'context' it is natural that we may falsely remember doing something or become confused and 'skip' a set of actions and not realize it. I know checklist protect agaist that, but mistakes can still happen.

Human factors are very hard to overcome, and if this accident was caused by such factors, what else could be done to prevent a repeat?

Thanks,

TM
TeachMe is offline  
Old 3rd Sep 2008, 16:58
  #1424 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: Aug 2008
Location: Canary Islands, Spain
Posts: 240
On 05-06-2007, an MD83 (OE-LMM) flying from Lanzarote (ACE) in the Canary Islands to Barcelona (BCN) almost crashed as it could barely stay on the air right after take-off. The pilots mentioned some malfunction with the autothrottle and electrical components (engines at each side started to alternatively accelerate-decelerate), according to their "feel" of the situation.

The only official published information is the factual statement: "After having flown in from MAD to ACE, and after a 1h stay in ACE, during rolling on the ground to take off, crew observed acceleration problems. Just as rotation was completed, the airplane destabilized, producing pronounced rolls. The stall alarm went off. Crew barely took control of the plane, ascended to 5000', turned around and did a visual landing."

I always wondered what could've happened there. Since nobody was hurt, I guess we'll never know. Witnesses speak of the plane clearing obstacles in front "by inches" and buildings in front of the airport by meters. Some friends working at the airport speak of the pilots crying after they got out of the plane from being so close to crashing. Preliminary "buzz" was some sort of electrical malfunction on an assisted take-off.

How much does the MD82 usually rely on automatic controls during take-offs? Are the MD82 and MD83 very different on that regard?
justme69 is offline  
Old 3rd Sep 2008, 17:00
  #1425 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: Jan 2008
Location: uk
Posts: 793
Originally Posted by Ferrobus View Post
Keep on mind also that the plane skidded out of the runway
Not convinced that we can count that as established fact. There have been reports of skid marks on the runway, but also reports such as this:

Spanair MD-82 struck terrain tail-first: investigators

which implies that the investigators have said that no marks or debis were found on the runway, and that the aircraft got airborne and then impacted tail-first to the right of the runway. I can't find an official document saying that, but my spanish isn't really up to searching through the CIAIAC website properly, so it might be there.
infrequentflyer789 is offline  
Old 3rd Sep 2008, 17:17
  #1426 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: Feb 2008
Location: Subterranea
Age: 66
Posts: 187
When we do something every day in the same 'context' it is natural that we may falsely remember doing something or become confused and 'skip' a set of actions and not realize it. I know checklist protect agaist that, but mistakes can still happen.
Same can be said about an event so remote and rare such as a possible uncommanded TR deployment during a critical phase of flight. Is there enough situational awareness if no warnings/indications are presented or not immediately observed? Even if an amber light would have illuminated, and I quote xkoote's post #1392, p70 who I believe is, or was, a Mad Dog pilot. When explaining the bright ART light he had this to say about the TR unlock lights:

"They are not the glow in the corner of your eye type of light like the reverser unlocked lights for example."

How big is the chance such a light is not identified immedately in the brief period of time available in order to take corrective actions?


Green-dot
Green-dot is offline  
Old 3rd Sep 2008, 17:18
  #1427 (permalink)  

Do a Hover - it avoids G
 
Join Date: Oct 1999
Location: Chichester West Sussex UK
Age: 86
Posts: 2,206
TeachMe

Being long retired and no longer connected with the business of flying aeroplanes perhaps I could offer some guidance to you.

As you may well appreciate the use of flaps and slats increases the maximum capability of a wing to generate lift at a given speed. The snag is the difference in the lift potential between a ‘clean wing’ and one with high lift devices selected out (a ‘dirty’ wing) varies considerably from aircraft type to type and so it is not possible to generalise about the degree of difficulty that a particular aircraft will have in staying airborne when it is (say) clean but being flown at dirty speeds.

The situation is made even more variable by whether you are talking about devices on the leading edge of the wing or the trailing edge (or both).
The final complicating factor is that should the aircraft enter the stall regime (because the wing is in the wrong configuration for the speed being flown) then with some types this can be relatively benign – amounting to just a lot of shuddering and shaking - while on others really abrupt effects occur such as a sudden uncontrollable change in bank angle.

Your query about how often such incorrect configurations are flown is a very tricky one. For obvious reasons if a mistake is made and got away with the crew are unlikely to tell everybody and may even tell nobody. However my gut feeling is that it does not happen very often because most modern types have a warning system to alert the crew if a takeoff is attempted in the wrong configuration and when landing there may well be enough height in hand to recover the situation if the stall is approached.

As you say human factors affect us all every day (although a few very experienced and talented people may be in denial about that) and while the chances of certain critical mistakes going undetected can be reduced by crew selection and training plus better aircraft design, they can only be eliminated by the use of automation and removing man from the loop.

Speaking personally I can remember a day back in the mid 60s when I was working on the development of the first autoland system proposed for an airliner. The automatics did brilliantly and landed the aircraft in cross wind conditions that were beyond my skill level. From that day onwards I have believed that automatics are better at flying than me.

So, for me, the issue is not how well automatics can ‘fly’ but how reliable they are. Which is a totally different issue. I must stop now because my wife wants me to extract her biro from my pencil sharpener.
John Farley is offline  
Old 3rd Sep 2008, 18:20
  #1428 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: Jul 2008
Location: spain
Posts: 33
CIAIAC BOARD REPORT / SKID MARKS on RWY

Quote:
Originally Posted by Ferrobus
Keep on mind also that the plane skidded out of the runway

Not convinced that we can count that as established fact. There have been reports of skid marks on the runway, but also reports such as this:

Spanair MD-82 struck terrain tail-first: investigators

which implies that the investigators have said that no marks or debis were found on the runway, and that the aircraft got airborne and then impacted tail-first to the right of the runway. I can't find an official document saying that, but my spanish isn't really up to searching through the CIAIAC website properly, so it might be there.
I am familiar with the CIAIAC website and nothing I am aware of is posted on this accident (other than place/date/type/reg).
Prelim information should be available here Relación de accidentes e incidentes. Año 2008 - CIAIAC - Ministerio de Fomento
once posted.

I believe all of the significant data reported by CIAIAC are contained in post #1020 page #51. They did report no marks on the runway believed to be from the accident flight.
blackboard is offline  
Old 3rd Sep 2008, 18:45
  #1429 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: Jul 2008
Location: spain
Posts: 33
Automatics

John,

The words

From that day onwards I have believed that automatics are better at flying than me.
coming from someone with your (VERY) impressive background have a very profound meaning.

To (probably) most of us, flying is a lot more than just short-term 'handling' or 'controlling' an aircraft, which I believe is what you are referring to in your statement. I could not agree more with you in that sense, as I did my end-of-degree thesis on adaptive automatic flight control systems.

It is in the decision-making involved and the medium-to-long-term flight management (and this includes the human factor in the 'payload' as well) where a human crew can excel in a lot of ways.

In some of the scenarios theoretised here for the Spanair accident, a human could have saved the situation better than certain automatic systems (these are after all created by humans), but we must admit that the statistical likelihood is probably low.

However, the statistical likelihood of automatics saving flight situations better than humans is probably very high.

Still, for carrying humans, I would like to keep another human (somehow) in the loop...but this is maybe for another thread.

Thx for your (VERY) valuable input!
blackboard is offline  
Old 3rd Sep 2008, 19:14
  #1430 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: Oct 2007
Location: fort sheridan, il
Posts: 1,656
TeachMe:

you must tell us, did you shampoo again?

that is the whole point of flying...almost, but not quite, being paranoid about the important things LIKE SLATS/FLAPS.

Just as thrust was applied to start taxiing, with the slats up, we would hear the warning horn...thus checking that circuit.

Then I moved the flap handle and watched for a blue light and the proper indication on the flap gauge. I didn't release the handle until the light and gauge were proper (and I heard the very comforting PLUNK of the slats moving into place)

Later, as we taxied, the checklist called for checking the slats/flaps and then the takeoff warning configuration. If the slats were set, No warning...if a warning was heard, the slats were not set.

Then, as we took the runway, I checked the slats/flaps once more...not a checklist item but a KILLER ITEM as discussed before. FLAPS, TRIM, SPOILERS will all kill you on takeoff if not properly set.

You see, I (and many other pilots) would check the flaps/slats 3 times before takeoff and the takeoff warning system twice.

PLUS the OTHER PILOT would hopefully check the flaps/slats too.

AND YES, you think you have already checked the slats/flaps...And we used "muscle memory" that our hand had to jiggle the flaps handle a couple of times to "FEEL" right before takeoff.

And to the people asking about automatic stuff. the dc9/md80 has very little automation compared to the airbus 320. And perhaps that is a good thing.

How many times do you check to see that your door is locked at night before sleep?

Last edited by sevenstrokeroll; 3rd Sep 2008 at 20:33.
sevenstrokeroll is offline  
Old 3rd Sep 2008, 19:34
  #1431 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: Jul 1999
Location: 58-33N. 00-18W. Peterborough UK
Posts: 3,043
sevenstrokeroll, You're confusing me. Your previous posts -

Post 1256. … our airline does extend takeoff flaps/slats as the plane first moves forward under its own power...why? One reason is to stop the takeoff configuration warning from blowing while the power is advanced.

Post 1449 …… being paranoid about the important things LIKE SLATS/FLAPS. Just as thrust was applied to start taxiing, with the slats up, we would hear the warning horn...thus checking that circuit.

Is it me?
forget is offline  
Old 3rd Sep 2008, 19:45
  #1432 (permalink)  
Warning Toxic!
Disgusted of Tunbridge
 
Join Date: Jan 2005
Location: Hampshire, UK
Posts: 4,011
zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz!

Last edited by Rainboe; 14th Sep 2008 at 19:39.
Rainboe is offline  
Old 3rd Sep 2008, 20:27
  #1433 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: Dec 2007
Location: France
Posts: 481
I think it is pretty well general procedure now to extend flaps/slats after pushback and before taxi
...and thus the probability of a takeoff without flap in snow or ice is increased significantly.

As is fuel burn, funnily enough.

Swings, roudabouts...
frontlefthamster is offline  
Old 3rd Sep 2008, 20:32
  #1434 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: Oct 2007
Location: fort sheridan, il
Posts: 1,656
forget

sorry, that was meant to convey that subsequent advances of the throttle, after the first "beep" were silenced by correct slat position etc.
sevenstrokeroll is offline  
Old 3rd Sep 2008, 21:01
  #1435 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: Mar 2008
Location: USA
Posts: 2
Ancient Observer

What is "Belgrano's data unit"? (re: crashes/institutional memory)

Thank you
jbriggman is offline  
Old 3rd Sep 2008, 22:00
  #1436 (permalink)  
Everything is under control.
 
Join Date: Jul 2001
Location: Washington, D.C.
Posts: 433
Wall Street Journal: Error With Flaps May Have Led
To Spanair Crash

"The pilots of a Spanair SA jetliner that crashed in Madrid last month failed to extend the aircraft's flaps before trying to take off, according to people familiar with the investigation, and a suspected electrical malfunction kept them from getting a cockpit warning about the danger.

Preliminary data obtained from a pair of so-called black boxes recovered from the wreckage of the McDonnell Douglas MD-82, which killed 154 people, indicate that both engines were working properly and there was no fire before impact, these people said.

But the flight-data recorder shows that the plane's flaps, movable devices at the rear of the wings that provide extra lift needed at takeoff, weren't extended, according to these people.

Usually, that would have triggered a loud horn in the cockpit alerting the pilots that the plane wasn't properly configured for takeoff.

In the last few days, investigators have focused on the theory that some sort of electrical defect or problems with circuit breakers prevented the horn from sounding, these people say.

According to one person familiar with the details, investigators also are looking into why the normal pre-takeoff checklist failed to pinpoint that the flaps hadn't been extended. One person familiar with the details said investigators, among other things, are looking into whether the cockpit crew was distracted or hurried through the check.

Crash investigators haven't released this accident scenario and it still could change as the probe continues. One reason the automatic cockpit warning horn didn't sound might have been because some of the airplane's logic circuits mistakenly sent signals indicating the MD-82 was already in the air. The horn is designed to give a loud warning -- but it operates only when the plane's systems show the aircraft is on the ground.

Loaded with tourists headed for the Canary Islands at the height of the summer travel season, the twin-engine jet barely lifted off the runway, veered off it and smashed its tail on the ground three times while traveling about 4,000 feet (1,200 meters) before breaking up in a fireball.

Investigators are looking into the role of a malfunctioning outside-temperature sensor, which mechanics apparently disabled before the tragic takeoff. The operation of the sensor itself is unlikely to have any direct impact on the plane's ability to fly, according to aviation safety experts. But the problem with the sensor may have been a signal of related problems affecting other electrical circuits.

One retired pilot familiar with the electrical circuits of the MD-80 family of aircraft said problems with the probe could have been a sign of related electrical problems affecting other circuits.

The plane's unusually nose-high attitude and the rolling motion of the wings described by eyewitnesses, according to this retired pilot, is consistent with handling characteristics of a takeoff without flaps.

WSJ.com

Last edited by Eboy; 3rd Sep 2008 at 22:02. Reason: fix link
Eboy is offline  
Old 3rd Sep 2008, 22:19
  #1437 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: Aug 2008
Location: Canary Islands, Spain
Posts: 240
Considering that about half of the passengers were residents of Las Palmas and at least a few others were non-tourist residents of Madrid/Mainland, I would certainly not classify this flight as "loaded with tourists heading on a holiday".

But, of course, news reporters usually know more (and better) than we do. And that's not to say that Las Palmas receives some 5 million visitors a year, so indeed many of those passengers were likely tourists.

If the sources quoted had real access to FDR CVR they would know for sure if the TO alarm went off or not.

To me it looks like a lot of press has been reading these threads and reporting.

I, for that matter, have found an article in a major spanish newspaper that quoted MY OWN EXACT WORDS from this thread. About 60% of that article I would consider my own words. Didn't even bother to change them.

And I didn't get paid for the article. Some woman reporter did.

While I guess we all understand the need for the press to come up with news items, it's them who have to feed forums like this, were we just especulate and try to come up with likely causes so that others can learn and hopefully find ways to avoid it.

But until those with access to the real data speak, that's all we do. Speculate and learn from other's "wild" ideas.

The press shouldn't feed FROM this forum. Totally on the contrary, the press should feed this forum.
justme69 is offline  
Old 3rd Sep 2008, 22:28
  #1438 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: Aug 2005
Location: Devon, England
Posts: 248
Can we rely upon the Wall Street Journal publishing an accurate report not available from a formal source?
manrow is offline  
Old 3rd Sep 2008, 23:15
  #1439 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: Aug 2008
Location: London
Posts: 5
Another set of pictures of the accident, some are new:

Los restos del avión de la tragedia de Barajas - 20minutos.es
whopper2 is offline  
Old 3rd Sep 2008, 23:37
  #1440 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: Apr 1999
Location: Europe
Posts: 38
GPWS and flaps

Maybe I'm wrong here but, if the ground/air-logic would have been in air-mode, and therefor they didn't get a config-warning, wouldn't the GPWS still be shouting 'TOO LOW FLAPS' (aircraft 'airborne' with gear down but no landing-flaps set)?
RadAlt is offline  

Thread Tools
Search this Thread

Contact Us - Archive - Advertising - Cookie Policy - Privacy Statement - Terms of Service - Do Not Sell My Personal Information

Copyright © 2018 MH Sub I, LLC dba Internet Brands. All rights reserved. Use of this site indicates your consent to the Terms of Use.