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Spanair accident at Madrid

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Spanair accident at Madrid

Old 12th Sep 2008, 06:48
  #1641 (permalink)  
 
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To justme69 and NoD

Regarding your discussion about "failed attempt to takeoff" vs "aborted takeoff" vs "line up and vacate", for the purposes of clear-cut clarity, I suggest using the term which has already been mentioned somewhere in this thread and which seems more or less established - RTG = Return To Gate
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Old 12th Sep 2008, 10:49
  #1642 (permalink)  
 
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Thx xolodenko and others for your comments.

Very few news these past days. An article describes the last minute inside the plane as recalled by the survivors and the moments right after the accident. Not much new to say on the probable causes, but could help someone studying the safety aspects.

-Everyone onboard was aware the plane was going to crash (i.e. panic screams, someone shouted to hunch down, someone screamed the wing was going to hit the ground). No PA, though.

-At least one survivor assumed a safety possition, head between his legs and he decided to firmly hold on to the head rest of the seat in front of him.

-Whole raws of passengers' seats detached and flew around inside the cabin, as did hand luggage, with each hit on the ground.

-One survivor hit his head on the ceiling.

-At least 3 injured owe their lifes to the extremely fast rescue effords (2 were rescued by firefighters right before they drown on the water, as they couldn't talk to ask for help as the water was at chin-level, were trapped and couldn't undo their safety belts). First pair of firefighters reached the scene in less than 4 minutes.
Sidenote: I was reading somewhere how at the "higher" airport management level there was some hesitation or small delay (say 1 minute) to start emergency protocol as the very first voices of alert may have not been "believed". May I suggest that those in charge do never hesitate upon declaring full emergencies and then looking like idiots for being a false alarm rather than the other way around. Always better safe than sorry, and speed is critical in increasing the chances of survivors. Even after seeing the smoke, many workers etc thought it was some training session going on, etc.

-The fire, as sadly expected, was a direct reason to raise the number of deceased that initially survived the impact itself. The water fully covered at least a few victims also, but most or perhaps all under the water were thought to have already passed away before that.

-Only one adult and two children survivors were really in a possition to walk on their own.

-Each time an injured minor was found, the rescue worker had to stop going back and continue effords since they couldn't be left alone. Eventually, two children were left by a firetruck at the care of the survivor women with minor injuries (she was fully mobile) while they resumed the rescue and fire extingusing. She was the one that helped them earlier on, taking one to the bank of the creek (water was shallow enough to walk above it) and pulling another who she left with her father, another survivor.

Out of the 11 survivors still receiving medical care, only 6 remain with medical issues of relevance, one of those still in serious condition, but all doing better. The other 7 (18 total) are already recovering at home or fully recovered by now.

And the last piece of news is that in some two days it is expected that the judge makes public to the families of victims that have requested it the whole (over 1000 pages) of the judiciary investigation proceedings so far, which probably will have more details about the accident and likely will leak to the press.

The Civil Aviation Accident Commission, of course, is not giving out the tiniest detail about the accident until their required factual report "suppossely" one month after the accident (they have a backlog of accidents for which they haven't even published that on time, against their own regulations). If it was up to them, they wouldn't publish anything at all for 3 years, I'm sure.

Last edited by justme69; 12th Sep 2008 at 11:12.
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Old 12th Sep 2008, 11:54
  #1643 (permalink)  
 
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The Civil Aviation Accident Commission, of course, is not giving out the tiniest detail about the accident until their required factual report "suppossely" one month after the accident (they have a backlog of accidents for which they haven't even published that on time, against their own regulations). If it was up to them, they wouldn't publish anything at all for 3 years, I'm sure.
I realize that the above is only an opinion embedded in an otherwise clear factual personal report, but there are other opinions about this as well.

The CAA(sic) is no doubt constrained by the judicial enquiry in early news release to the public. However, any issues to do with the aircraft systems itself that would be appropriate for dessemination to prevent accidents would be available through the aviation community that needs it. In that case as factors are confirmed this information flows through a different pipeline and not always in the newspapers.
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Old 12th Sep 2008, 12:33
  #1644 (permalink)  
 
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Since no more accident-related info that could feed productive discussion is available for the time being, I wonder if we could agree on one of the options below:

1) hang up the discussion until new technical details come up
2) discuss some second-tier matters not directly related to the accident like those which have been dominating the last 5 pages or so.
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Old 12th Sep 2008, 12:56
  #1645 (permalink)  
 
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Cool

Hi,

-Whole raws of passengers' seats detached and flew around inside the cabin, as did hand luggage, with each hit on the ground.
If confirmed .. it's very alarming.

Eventually, two children were left by a firetruck at the care of the survivor women with minor injuries (she was fully mobile) while they resumed the rescue and fire extingusing. She was the one that helped them earlier on, taking one to the bank of the creek (water was shallow enough to walk above it) and pulling another who she left with her father, another survivor.
She deserve a civil medal.

Cheers.
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Old 12th Sep 2008, 19:08
  #1646 (permalink)  
 
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question concerning spanair crew duty time

I would like to know the spanair crew duty time and how many flights they did the day of the accident and the day before.
Thanks a lot for valid answer.
Ciao
Stef
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Old 12th Sep 2008, 21:54
  #1647 (permalink)  
 
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The day of the accident, the pilot would've completed 5 "journals" (days?) of work for the month of August (40 hours of service). Originally, he was not the assigned pilot for the flight on the company's monthly plan. There was some change to that plan which originally asked for him to fly the following Thursday instead.

He started the day in his rented apartment which he shared with another pilot friend in Barcelona. He arrived to the BCN airport around 8:00am, an hour before his first flight of the day, JK455 to Madrid. He flew EC-HFP as he had done many times before. Left BCN at 8:55 with 73 passengers and a crew of 4 and Francisco Javier Mulet as copilot.

No reported problems on that flight that arrived at Madrid Barajas (MAD) airport at 10:13am, 7 minutes early. All the crew, except for one flight attendant who had a different flight scheduled that day, had a required rest stop in Madrid before their JK5022 flight to Las Palmas (LPA) scheduled for 13.05. Pilot and copilot signed in the rest area and remained there for over the 2 required hours (checking emails, reading newspapers, checking flight plans for the next flight).

The pilot is described by everyone as being quite strict on every little detail (a "perfectionist", I guess one could call him).

The crew seems to be 4 flight attendants based in Madrid and 3 other based in Barcelona. The 4 from Madrid were on service while the 3 from Barcelona were travelling to Las Palmas to work on another flight leaving from there the next day.

All the crew have been cleared by the judiciary investigation to be in full compliance of work schedules, permits and certifications. None had worked in the past months above their hour limits, etc.

Last edited by justme69; 13th Sep 2008 at 01:24.
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Old 13th Sep 2008, 01:26
  #1648 (permalink)  
 
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News Article Claims Existance Of Previous Faults With Slats/Flaps

Spanish CadenaSer is reporting some info which might be interesting. They claim it comes from the plane's maintenance log.

The article is not very clear on certain points (i.e, aileron vs flaps and slats) and I have the impression that the author of the article has limited, if any, aeronautical knowledge. Any horizontally moving surface has often been called simply an 'aileron' (alerón) in the Spanish press lately. Nevertheless, I have translated the text as precisely as possible.

Here an excerpt (the most interesting/newsworthy for this discussion) of the article:

"Spanair Plane Had Two Faults In The Aileron System Days Before The Accident

The first fault was detected in Palma de Mallorca on the 9th of August and repaired right there. The 'reporter' (log?) of the pilot states 'Auto-slat fails when 11 degrees of flaps selected'.

The technicians of the company checked the problem and established that 'the stall-system has been reset various times, the test performed OK. Slats and Flaps revised several times, the fault does not appear'.

The second (fault) ocurred 2 days before the accident and was repaired by Spanair's technicians in Madrid. The pilot informed that the auto-slat system failed when the slats were extended. The technicians resolved it and annotated 'test performed OK, various functions of the flaps and slats, they are OK, impossible to repeat the fault'.

The report of the Guardia Civil which covers this maintenance report indicates that after this last fault with the ailerons was solved, the pilot confirmed to the maintenance technician that they had worked correctly during the flight. He said, and here we publish what he said textually, 'the red light which indicates a fault with the slat did not light up'. The answer from the technician was 'thank you for the information'.


[Quotes within the article itself put in bold for clarity]

El avión de Spanair tuvo dos averías en el sistema de alerones días antes del accidente en CADENASER.com
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Old 13th Sep 2008, 07:51
  #1649 (permalink)  
 
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Thanks Old Fokker.

Same information published in today's EL PAIS. Only difference: no mention of "stall system" but of auto-slats fault indication when selecting 11 degr flaps. (two occurrences on 9th and 18th august)
The transcript of the CVR has been sent to the judicial authorities and the Ministery of Transport. Only confirmed detail: prior to take off run pilot said 'slats/flaps OK'.
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Old 13th Sep 2008, 12:17
  #1650 (permalink)  
 
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According to press articles (i.e. not all that "accurate"). The CVR recordings content seems to have leaked.

-10 seconds of alarms (multiple alarms) on the CVR before the crash.

-Voice of pilots hardly audiable due to voice and horn alarms sounding at the same time. It seems the pilots comments can not be figured out (audiable) in the last moments.

-The article speaks of "5 fatal seconds" later on, when the "plane couldn't lift up". It's my personal understanding that the plane took aprox. 7 seconds from the time all the wheels left the ground until some part of it (officially the tail cone but some witnesses and survivors speak of a wing) "briefly" touched the ground again.

-CIAIAC has had the proccessed audio recordings for the past >10 days. They already have the audiable part's transcripts.

-Neither the pilot nor the co-pilot called out V1.

-It seems that more and more alarms were progressively sounding (i.e. multiple faults or conditions).

-One of them was the ground proximity alarm (terrain)

-Stick shaker came on (stall warning).

-Confirmed that there was no attempt of communication with ground control since take-off permission was granted and acknowledged.

-This would've been the airplane second flight of the day, the first successful one a couple of hours before from Barcelona.

-Right reverser locked out for delayed manteinance is confirmed in the article.

-The article mentions the RAT reaching 99 degrees measures (but again, please do not trust all this information as it's obvious the reported mixed in some of his own "knowledge").

-Notable failures noted in the maintenance log: Aug 2nd: "When thrust is applied for take-off, the pressure on the air conditioning reads zero". Aug 9th: "Message (indicator?) of auto slat fail when 11 degrees flaps" - Engineer based in Palma action taken: "System reset, test completed OK on flaps and slats functions tested several times". Aug 18th: maintenance operation by Madrid based engineer: "Autoslat system; slats are extended. Systems resetted and tests OK" - Pilot replied: "Red light slat failure indicator hasn't come on (again?)" - Technician replied: "Thanks for the information".

Last edited by justme69; 13th Sep 2008 at 15:18.
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Old 13th Sep 2008, 12:27
  #1651 (permalink)  
 
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could n MD82 pilot comment on the fact that the engineer said about the slats that the fault could not be replicated, as this seemed to lead for a sign off
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Old 13th Sep 2008, 13:54
  #1652 (permalink)  
 
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Just one thought. Is there never a visual check that the slats have deployed? I mean, just look out the window. Or is the wing so far back that you cant tell?
As part of the killer item check perhaps?
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Old 13th Sep 2008, 13:55
  #1653 (permalink)  
 
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Need more hard data

JM69:

Right reverser locked out for delayed manteinance is confirmed in the article.

You have made a great contribution translating the Spanish press and responding as best you can to requests for information. Please keep it going and don't worry about the outfliers.

I wonder did it also state WHICH engine was found with TR deployed? It seems unlikely to be #2, although, however unlikely, the #2 TR could perhaps have been deployed after a violent impact. More likely, the engine found closest to 36L with TR deployed and which seperated after the tail cone was, in fact, engine #1. If so, this would make TR deployment pre V1 or VR seem less likely as a #1 deployment would have pushed left not right before stall.

The new maintenance data, if true, also adds to the configuration issues scenario as a result of mechanical problems rather than crew.

I note that all remains speculative until more confirmed facts and data become available.
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Old 13th Sep 2008, 15:31
  #1654 (permalink)  
 
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Red face DC9/MD80 Slats Flaps system

The DC9/MD80 is a very simple airplane. Like the DC-8 (from which many of it's systems are derived) most controls are cable operated.

The DC9 series (from the -20's on up to the -90's) have mechanically operated, hydraulically actuated leading edge devices. Both left and right hydraulic systems actuate a drum looking device that uses cables to extend and retract the leading edge devices on DC9 wings. Very simple, very reliable.

In 8,000+ hours of DC9/MD80 flying I've never had one fail.

The DC9 has two position slats, retracted or extended, both mechanically selected by the slat/flap handle. The MD80 has three position slats, retracted, mid-seal and fully extended. Retracted and mid-seal are mechanically selected with the handle, full extension is selected by the AutoSlat computer.

An AutoSlat test is normally observed with initial flap extension. A successful test is one without an illuminated AutoSlat fail light. A rare fail light can sometimes be reset by selecting flaps up/slats retract and reselecting desired flaps setting.

And no, you can't see the MD80 wings from the cockpit. With my face up to the window I can sometimes see the flash of the wingtip strobes, but that's about it.

That being said, I will be surprised if the cause of the crash is due to a mechanical failure of the flight controls.

My condolences to the families and friends of all involved with the accident.

Dave
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Old 13th Sep 2008, 15:43
  #1655 (permalink)  
 
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A smaller newspaper, el periodico de Aragón, writes:

"First discoveries: The investigators found the wings of the MD-82 with the flaps retracted (not deployed). That was the first indication that the accident could've originated on some failure to deploy them. It is virtually impossible that they retracted due to the impact. In fact, the experts believe that it was the cause of the accident, that can be seen on a video from an Aena (airport) camera, which would fit the hypothesis. The airplane reaches almost the end of the runaway ... and when it finally leaves the ground it does it with the nose pointing up too much, which produces that the engines enter stall (they lose thrust due to lack of air flow) and the plane falls down after several oscillating rolls.

They article implies that the analysis of the FDR still hasn't been received from the labs.

Pieces of the airplane (wings, engines) have already been dissasembled part by part, examined, and reassembled in a hangar as part of the investigation.

Only one of the many cameras that Aena was suppossed to have around the area captured the accident. And even then, only the last seconds of it. Seven seconds which don't show the actual crash itself (i.e. it doesn't show much later than when the airplane leaves the inmediate whereabouts of the runaway). It's a fixed angled camera located in the South Tower. The video HAS LEAKED TO THE PRESS and they have been abled to examine it frame-by-frame.

Airplane enters the right part of the image and at about that same time it lifts the nose up quite steeply, while the bottom wheels are still on the ground. They have a hard time, even on a magnified and paused view of the frame, to even be able to tell if the back wheels were fully off the ground or not, although the lack of marks on the ground later off "prove" that all wheels did leave the ground for a while. Survivors have declared that they did noticed they were "on the air". (It's my personal understanding, from the several news sources witnesses etc ESTIMATING the height of the airplane, that it reached somewhere in the vecinity of 10 meters, with 50 meters being the highest estimation I've heard and 7m the smallest).

During the brief ascend, no explosions or fires can be observed. What was obvious is that it took the plane a long time to become airborne (as declared to police by witness pilot of IB 6464 from Guayaquil).

The plane tries to "hold on" the air for hardly a few seconds, to finally deviate to the right and fall down, crawling on the ground with the bottom, outside of the runaway, and it dissapears from the camera angle.

Other videos of witnesses speak of (and show) dust clouds appearing at that time and then, later on, some distance and time away, a fireball.

The judge has forbidden the public exhibition of the recording.

The video is of fairly low quality and small size (resolution), so it's not very effective to the investigation other than to discard visible explosions or large fires or smoke previous to the fall on the ground and to determine that indeed it "took off" quite late in the runaway and with a steep-ish nose angle.

Some sentences that are *suppossed* to be LITERAL from the pilot 876246 log entry on the 20th (day of the accident):
-"Before take off, RAT temperature reaches 99 degrees ..."
-"RAT heater, active while on the ground ..."
-"Airplane dispatched according to MEL ... Action taken by Spanair Madrid"

Last edited by justme69; 13th Sep 2008 at 18:10.
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Old 13th Sep 2008, 16:07
  #1656 (permalink)  
 
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85 pages later we come back to the same question. Is there any part of the maintenance dispatch procedures that could have impacted on the operation of the take-off config warning system.
My profound apologies if the answer is lost somewhere in the previous 85 pages, I have read most ( including much of the deleted stuff) but can't remember if this was specifically answered.
Seems difficult to imagine wrong config not heading the list of causes, but you never know.
And a constantly sounding warning will be difficult to miss on the tapes, so this investigation should have something to say if they release an interim report. I guess even after accident damage it wil be fairly easy to identify flap position via wreckage/ FDR. At least then we can move this thread on from what to why.
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Old 13th Sep 2008, 16:44
  #1657 (permalink)  
 
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CAWS Central Aural Warning System (ATA 34) has been deleted from MEL, so it must be operative before departure, or it is a NOGO.

Maintenance actions to resolve RAT problem leaded to inhibite take-off flaps alarm, and to put the aircraft in (electrical) flight conditions.

Looks like creating the NOGO.

Last edited by mermoz92; 13th Sep 2008 at 16:54.
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Old 13th Sep 2008, 16:53
  #1658 (permalink)  
 
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Have I understood correctly then that it seems that the plane entered a so-called deep stall?
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Old 13th Sep 2008, 17:05
  #1659 (permalink)  
 
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"Maintenance actions to resolve RAT problem leaded to inhibite take-off flaps alarm, and to put the aircraft in (electrical) flight conditions.

Looks like creating the NOGO. "



Thats one hellava assumption fella.......
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Old 13th Sep 2008, 17:24
  #1660 (permalink)  
 
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Thanks, doodahdave, for that very clear explanation.

Just69... Many thanks for the info. To my knowledge, this is the first instance that a Spanish newspaper clearly states that the flaps were not deployed on takeoff. I've not been able to find the Spanish text in the webpage of 'El Periodico de Aragon'. Could you please supply a reference?

XXXavier
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