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Continental TurboProp crash inbound for Buffalo

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Continental TurboProp crash inbound for Buffalo

Old 13th Feb 2009, 16:34
  #81 (permalink)  
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Black Box and Voice Recorder have been recovered. Hopefully will give a bit more of an indication. Very sad..
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Old 13th Feb 2009, 16:53
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Well, having flown Dash-8 100/300/Q400, I can say from experience that the aircraft can handle a LOT of ice. The Q400 also has an ice detection system, alerting the crew through the centre MFD (Engine Display). "ICE DETECTED" will flash in reverse video for 5 seconds, go to steady reverse video, then turn white/normal video when the "increased ref speed"-switch switched ON. The warning activates when either of the two ice detector probes (on on each side of the a/c nose) detect ice of more than 0.5mm thick, and are very sensitive.
The de-ice boots are, as per manufacturer´s recommendations, to be activated before entering icing conditions. These are very effective at removing ice. Never had any problems with this system during my 6 years on DHC8 models. Also, two small spigots (one on each wiper) will tell you if ice is accumulating. These are part of the certified ice detection system, and are lighted (on/off btn).
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Old 13th Feb 2009, 16:59
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My speculation would be "Tailplane Icing", since everybody speculates.
Nose diving after changing configuration? Hard to recover if you do not expect it.

Anyway, lets wait for the FDRs.
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Old 13th Feb 2009, 17:21
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Re: #51

In my opinion, I think that the latest generation of pilots are not educated/trained about how to handle icing conditions. Witness the latest NTSB recommendation about turning on the boots at the first indication of icing, and that "bridging" is a myth.

I also think that the newer generation of "smallish" commuter turboprops/regional jets are not capable of handling prolonged icing conditions because the designers figured that the aircraft would be through the icing conditions in short order.

I also think that the wing designs have a lot to do with ice carrying capabilities.

I spent many hours in DC-3s and DC-4s in moderate to severe icing conditions. We'd wait for about 1/2 inch of ice to accumulate on the wings and then we'd cycle the boots to break it off.

In the Winter, we carried extra alcohol for the props and windshield. If it was rough, half the alcohol ended up on the cockpit floor. The sound of ice hitting the fuselage as it slung off the props was reassuring in a strange way.

The main point is that the old prop-liners were designed to carry and shed ice for extended periods because they couldn't get above the weather. Those of us who flew them learned how to deal with icing. The wing and props were not as efficient. Airspeeds had to be watched. If we were still carrying ice during landing at SLC or DEN for instance, approach and landing speeds were increased.

Enroute, the general rule was to climb to colder air if possible. The ice that couldn't be shed by the boots and alcohol would shed by sublimation. If the weather was reported to be really bad, we just postponed takeoff until we got better reports.

The worst mistake was to turn on the boots and let them run in heavy icing because "bridging" was a very real concern. If the boots were cycling beneath the ice buildup, you were in big trouble.
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Old 13th Feb 2009, 17:33
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...and you're around to talk about it so something must be right in what you did.
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Old 13th Feb 2009, 17:37
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Dumb Q: any chance the anti ice wasnt turned on?
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Old 13th Feb 2009, 17:40
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Anti/De-icing equipment are operated according to manufacturer recommended procedure and not seat-of-the-pants instinct. There have been many accidents because the ice systems weren't activated by the crew. Furthermore, on an airplane such as this the crew probably cannot see too well what is happening on the leading edge of the wing. They have to rely on electronic ice detectors and solid-state indicators like the windscreen wipers.
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Old 13th Feb 2009, 17:44
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I'm beginning to see that much of the news stations want something almost anything from authoritative sources in the first 24 hours. Since the government investigation agencies have little concrete facts to go on, the newpeople turn to available "experts" with a proven record or a pretty face and demeanor.

I'm afraid that is the way it is and there is not a thing that bitchin about it is gonna change.

Fortunately we can all luck out when both a pretty face, demeanor and expertise end up in an interview at the same time.

I've come to find that PPRune provides as much as expertise as needed in the first 24 hours provided that one can read through the chaf.

So thanks for that
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Old 13th Feb 2009, 17:49
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Dumb Q: any chance the anti ice wasnt turned on?
Of course there is that chance. There's a chance a flap failed, or there was a total or partial failure of the de-icing, or a crew member committed suicide, or they unintentionally allowed the plane to get too slow, etc, etc, etc, or any number of other "chances".

I'm not certain if the switch position will physically survive this crash, nor do I know if the FDR records that switch position. The heat of the fire also eliminated any chance to determine what ice had developed on the control surfaces.

The good news is that the FDR / CVR are both physically good shape. Answers will come.
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Old 13th Feb 2009, 17:52
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I can only agree with crossunder. During the 19 years and more than 11000 hours on the Dash 8 100,300 I had a lot of flights in icing condition, up to severe. Just switch any deicing or antiicing equipment on and increase your speeds according to the book. You will never have troubles.

Lets hope that the DFDR and CVR are readable. NTSB will find the reason, all other things are more or less speculations.
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Old 13th Feb 2009, 18:01
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Witness looking up through auto windshield reported gear was not down.
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Old 13th Feb 2009, 18:02
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Actually both the FAA and Transport Canada have recently come out saying they can not find actual information of 'ice bridging' be factual. The FAA and TC are now saying to activate the systems PRIOR to entering the conditions and to continue using the systems until one lands or exits the conditions.

And yes, I have for decades followed the old rule of wait.. no longer. NTSB now is saying as little as 1/4 in can increase stall speed 25-40kts.
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Old 13th Feb 2009, 18:16
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A question, are the boots on the Q400 considered anti-icing or de-icing as there is a difference.

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Old 13th Feb 2009, 18:20
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I followed the modern advice about ice bridging myself, pop the boots straight away. Changed my mind after a bad experience and now follow the old method again. So far so good.

I'm surprised that I've not read anything about the operator Colgan. Okay they've not had an accident since they lost that B1900 in 2002. That had the FAA crawling all over them. However the Q400 is a new machine for them and from what I gather needs a lot of TLC. I know several people who fly for Colgan and as of a few years back, none were complimentary about the way they maintained their aircraft.
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Old 13th Feb 2009, 18:24
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In more than 6000 hours on DH8-300 and DH8-400 I have run into a lot of icing conditions some with heavy ice (Propellers throwing ice against the ice shields on the fuselage). Sometimes even level change would not help and we had to stay in these conditions for quite some time.

Never ever had any problems. Not even a noticable speed or climb performance loss during stong ice buildup. The Canadians certainly know how to produce planes who can handle ice.
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Old 13th Feb 2009, 18:27
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The boxes just might be heat damaged though. It took the firemen some 13 hours to put the fire out. Black boxes can only take so much heat... Something like 1 hour @ 1100 degrees C or 10 hours @ 260 degrees C.
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Old 13th Feb 2009, 18:34
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I know that this is my first post here and unfortunately it has to be on a subject caused by such a sad event, but I read earlier today on another aviation forum a post by someone (I presume a ramp worker or fellow pilot), who claims they saw the aircraft in question a few hours earlier in Newark doing ground runs on one of the engines, with one of the pilots outside looking at it, while the run was performed, thus delaying the boarding and subsequent departure.
Perhaps there was something that happened earlier yesterday, which contributed to this accident.

Anyhow, RIP to the victims and my thoughts go out to all those affected by this
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Old 13th Feb 2009, 18:35
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in 1995 an atlantic southeast airlines turboprop lost a prop blade, the plane crashed...huge amount of drag as the engine changed its position in the mounting.
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Old 13th Feb 2009, 18:36
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If a company Q400 was following, I'd think the NTSB would like to read out the FDR from that other flight and have pictures of any ice on the airframe after landing for baseline comparison.

With the caveat that icing conditions can change very quickly, if the following Q400 flight was uneventful, mechanical failure becomes a stronger possibility. Mind you, any mechanical problem with ice added to the mix is test pilot territory.
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Old 13th Feb 2009, 18:52
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onfinals post

an engine run up is quite interesting in this case...I wonder if they were checking the prop and its governor.
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