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Jet goes down on its way to Medellin, Colombia

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Jet goes down on its way to Medellin, Colombia

Old 5th Dec 2016, 02:23
  #661 (permalink)  
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In the name of safety, would it be wiser to not penalize (at least legally) a pilot for calling a Mayday for low fuel, even when he's done something stupid to get himself into that position? It might be more effective to do random spot checks of aircraft after landing, and penalize anyone who is found to be below minimums and who has NOT called a Mayday.
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Old 5th Dec 2016, 02:49
  #662 (permalink)  
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The following is an excerpt from an Associated Press article. Obviously I can't certify everything reported is accurate, but many consider the AP among the more reputable news sources. Whether "low bidder" actually was the sole reason for hiring LaMia (or whether there was a "recommendation" or "other consideration") is beyond the scope of the article.

AFA hired firm to fly Argentine team without knowing plane

Associated Press

Dec 2, 2016

BUENOS AIRES, Argentina (AP) -- Argentina's Football Association hired a company that charters flights to transport superstar Lionel Messi and the rest of the national team for a World Cup qualifying game without knowing the name of the airline or the model of the plane, an official said Friday.

The plane was the same British Aerospace 146 Avro RJ85 jet operated by Bolivia-based charter company LaMia that later crashed in Colombia, killing 71 people, including most of a Brazilian soccer team.

Argentine Football Association spokesman Miguel Hirsch said Friday the AFA was forced to look for options for a roundtrip Buenos Aires-Belo Horizonte flight after the plane they often use from the Andes airline was sent for technical revisions.

The Associated Press had access to offer sheets that six companies presented.

None mentioned the name of the airline.

But the one that the AFA's national team department chose for $99,000 was the cheapest one and the only one that did not provide the model of the plane.

The second least expensive offer was about $3,000 less. [Note: that probably should read "$3,000 more"]

"I suppose that since the AFA is going through financial troubles, it was a question of costs," Hirsch said in an interview with The AP.
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Old 5th Dec 2016, 03:54
  #663 (permalink)  
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Water residue in tanks?

Originally Posted by RoyHudd View Post
There is usually a lot of water residue in the tanks; it is never a good idea to fly on low fuel anyhow. My guess is that Lamia never drained their tanks routinely. That would be good engineering practice, so unlikely to have been performed with this company.
If there were any water in the tank, wouldn't it be pretty much the first thing out as you started drawing from the tank, rather than the last thing you'd get as you got towards empty?
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Old 5th Dec 2016, 04:36
  #664 (permalink)  
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Originally Posted by Gauges and Dials View Post
If there were any water in the tank, wouldn't it be pretty much the first thing out as you started drawing from the tank, rather than the last thing you'd get as you got towards empty?
Not necessarily. I'm not familiar with the RJ fuel system, but on just about every aircraft I've flown fuel is normally drawn from the top of a standpipe with sits above the bottom of the tank. When the fuel level drops below the standpipe, fuel is then drawn from the bottom of the tank.
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Old 5th Dec 2016, 05:17
  #665 (permalink)  
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Originally Posted by Melax View Post
...like in some West African states ?
(ETE 4:22 / Endurance 4:22)

Like in some Western Europe, North America, South America, Russia....no doubt you've seen them all!
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Old 5th Dec 2016, 05:54
  #666 (permalink)  
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Originally Posted by Bleve View Post
Not necessarily. I'm not familiar with the RJ fuel system, but on just about every aircraft I've flown fuel is normally drawn from the top of a standpipe with sits above the bottom of the tank. When the fuel level drops below the standpipe, fuel is then drawn from the bottom of the tank.
I don't believe this is EVER true. When the fuel level drops below the level of the "standpipe", the fuel STOPS FLOWING! There is no switch-over to another, lower feed. That's the definition of "unusable fuel".
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Old 5th Dec 2016, 06:00
  #667 (permalink)  
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Originally Posted by AtomKraft View Post
I think that macho culture, found so often in Latin America,....
Indeed....so very rarely found on PPRuNe!
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Old 5th Dec 2016, 07:41
  #668 (permalink)  
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I'm still waiting to hear the details of the F/O. Rank & experience. The CVR could be mind blowing, either way. Much screaming/pleading from RHS or silence.
Lt. Colonel Ovar Goytia graduated from the College of Military Aviation in 1993. From 2004 to 2010 he was employed as a pilot by TAM, the transport wing of the Bolivian airforce, which operates as a domestic airline Bienvenido a TAM | TAM

It was he who was in contact with the controller at Medellin.
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Old 5th Dec 2016, 08:06
  #669 (permalink)  
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Originally Posted by 1ifixjts View Post
Bolivian president Evo Morales said in a news conference that he didn't know that LaMia had authorization nor that it was a Bolivian registered carrier, then a video shows him boarding the same plane 15 days earlier.

I take a lot of private flights similar in nature to this one. Mostly they've been on Cello's (coincidentally) RJ85, and more recently it's 737.

However, I'm racking my brain and can't think of a single other operator I've flown with, and there have been *many* of them.

I just get on the plane, sit back and relax or do some work, and wait to arrive at my destination.
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Old 5th Dec 2016, 09:37
  #670 (permalink)  
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CONTACT APPROACH ; don't wonder. Of course they are journos looking for a headline grab & swiping hard at anyone who dares criticise their, so called, profession. Loads of trolls & armchair wanabees too. Good buddy of mine was flamed by all sorts of pseudonyms when he made recent comments on a different site, Apalling.

Steering back towards thread though ; there are loads of trashy cowboy operators out there who will try & convince you that you can land with more fuel than you left with ! Crafty paperwork & "play the game" scenarios will have you departing with less than reasonable fuel & fiddling all the way en-route to make things look better than the are. Stick your hand up and suggest a more professional attitude will have the big boys and brown nosed careerists ganging up on you, big time.

Colleague of mine had the misfortune to work for such an outfit ( no, not even a cowboy outfit) who tried to convince him that on the ETOPS, it was an ERA operation and thus, contingency reduce to 5% of the last hour was acceptable. That was the last straw in a B I G haystack & he left. Never looked back. I recall him telling me that there were two things he would never do; endanger the lives of people in his care AND, knowingly, break the law. He suggested that the outfit he worked for expected him to do both ! I quite admire him for his professional stance and avoidance of the carnage we see today, possibly by poor , pressured decisions at the vital fuel planning stage. Oh, but c'mon trolls, let's here it, altogether now.........." But you weren't there !!!!!".
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Old 5th Dec 2016, 09:39
  #671 (permalink)  
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Fuel ranks & incentives for less fuel burn is sadly not a phenomenon of the past. It is very much alive today in Europe's "favourite" airline - ranking its pilots monthly.
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Old 5th Dec 2016, 10:31
  #672 (permalink)  
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noflynomore - thanks for the explanation of "autonomy" - I couldn't work it out before - makes sense now.
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Old 5th Dec 2016, 11:09
  #673 (permalink)  
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Originally Posted by Tankertrashnav View Post
noflynomore - thanks for the explanation of "autonomy" - I couldn't work it out before - makes sense now.
Since this thread may have attracted more Spanish-speaking people than usual, I'd add that "autonomía" is the layman term for endurance of cars, at least in Spain. I don't know what pilots use.
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Old 5th Dec 2016, 12:56
  #674 (permalink)  
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Bolivia Files a Criminal Complaint in Fatal Colombia Crash
Airport employee accused of ‘failing to carry out her duties as a public official’ for letting plane depart

Updated Dec. 4, 2016 9:52 p.m. ET

SANTA CRUZ, Bolivia—Bolivian authorities filed a criminal complaint against an airport official here for allowing a charter plane to depart for Colombia even though its flight plan was in violation of international aviation safety standards.

The LaMia airline plane, which was carrying a Brazilian soccer team, ran out of fuel hours later and crashed at about 10 p.m. near Medellín on Nov. 28, killing 71 people aboard.

Bolivia’s airport authority, Aasana, filed the complaint against Celia Castedo, an Aasana employee who reviewed the LaMia flight plan. That plan, as well as a written transcript that Ms. Castedo prepared after the crash recalling her conversation with the plane’s onboard dispatcher, Alex Quispe, appear to indicate that the flight’s pilot and co-owner, Miguel Quiroga, knowingly put the lives of those aboard at risk by flying directly to Medellín without stopping to refuel.

Investigators say it appears the flight departed from the Viru Viru International Airport without the necessary amount of fuel, violating international regulations. The regulations, based on standards set by the International Civil Aviation Organization, require commercial flights to have sufficient fuel for reaching their destination as well an additional amount for reaching an alternative airport and for a variety of other contingencies.

According to a transcript of events, Ms. Castedo said she initially objected to the LaMia flight plan. She allegedly urged Mr. Quispe to change it. The plane’s maximum flight range was about 41/2 hours—just barely enough to reach Medellín, the document said.

“That’s not OK. Go back and check. Change your flight plan,” Ms. Castedo told Mr. Quispe, according to her written version of events. But Mr. Quispe, who died in the crash, allegedly brushed off her concerns.

“Let it go,” Mr. Quispe allegedly told Ms. Castedo. “Don’t worry, Ms. Celia, that’s the range they gave me. We’ll do it in less time.”

Ms. Castedo said in the transcript that “too often flight dispatchers do not take our observations seriously.” Ultimately, though, she allowed the plane to depart.

Ms. Castedo, who couldn’t be reached for comment, faces up to four years in jail, accused of “failing to carry out her duties as a public official.”

The transcript was published by Bolivian daily El Deber, on Dec. 1 then reviewed and independently verified by The Wall Street Journal. A Bolivian prosecutor declined to comment on the transcript.

LaMia couldn’t be reached for comment and Aasana declined to comment.

An initial flight plan, drawn up the morning of the crash, included a refueling stop in the northern Bolivian city of Cobija, Freddy Bonilla, Colombia’s air safety secretary and crash investigator, said Sunday.

That plan was presented by the airline, LaMia, to the Bolivian authorities, who approved it along with other commercial paperwork required for international flights. LaMia then presented its approved paperwork to Colombian authorities who authorized the flight to enter Colombian air space, Mr. Bonilla said.

A different and final flight plan, however, was drawn up later that day, at about 4:30 p.m., by the LaMia crew at the Santa Cruz airport in Bolivia, Mr. Bonilla said. This one didn’t include a stop in Cobija, which aviation officials have said lacks lighting after dark. The direct-flight plan, which pushed the aircraft nearly to the limit of its fuel range, was approved by Aasana, the airport authority, over the apparent initital objections of Ms. Castedo, investigators said.

LaMia has flown from Santa Cruz to Medellin in the past, officials said, but as far as they have learned, such flights always included a refueling stop in Cobija. They are trying to determine why the doomed plane’s final flight plan didn’t include that stop, and have said it may have been because of the late hour.

Mr. Bonilla said investigators are looking into whether the ill-fated Avro RJ85 could have had a fuel leak that might have contributed to the crash.

Jorge Cabrera, head of the Aasana employees union, said the labor group stands by Ms. Castedo. The union will present its view of the accident on Monday, he said.

Roberto Curilovic, head of International programming at Corporación America, an Argentine conglomerate that operates 53 airports around the world, said “there’s no way that flight plan should have been approved.”

“Accidents don’t just happen. There was bad intent there,” Mr. Curilovic said, referring to the decision to make the flight despite the risks.

Bolivia’s defense minister, Reymi Ferreira, said Friday that the country itself could face aviation sanctions, potentially making it more difficult for airlines to operate here.

Bolivian President Evo Morales has called for an aggressive investigation into the crash, and the government has laid off several officials, including the son of one of the charter plan’s directors who was supposed to oversee its operations.

This Google translated from a Bolivian newspaper reads "Cobija receives his pilot as a hero and Santa Cruz grief seizes Viru Viru"
Cobija recibe a su piloto como héroe y en Santa Cruz la congoja se apodera de Viru Viru | Diario Correo del Sur: Noticias de Sucre, Bolivia y el Mundo
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Old 5th Dec 2016, 13:02
  #675 (permalink)  
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For those talking about water in the fuel tanks -- the bae146 fuel system is designed to pick up water , mix it with fuel and send it to the engines --- it does this by using jetpumps in the output of the boost pumps -- these jet pumps are a small venturi devices sucking fuel from the lowest point in the fuel tanks , sending that small amount of fuel and water to the highest part of the fuel tanks ,to a header tank - thus keeping any minute amount of water in the fuel mixing all the time with the fuel and when it reaches the engines is safely expelled = licence lame on 146
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Old 5th Dec 2016, 13:25
  #676 (permalink)  
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Poor Celia. She did her best, more I daresay than many would do and gets hung out to dry simply for being the lowest ranking pèon still standing.
What an uncivilised way to behave, eh?
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Old 5th Dec 2016, 13:37
  #677 (permalink)  
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Given that we already know not to depart with less fuel that it might take to complete a planned trip, meaning not even to cover the straight-line distance flown, there's not a lot to learn from this one.

If you are the sort of jerk who wants to really, really push his luck, push it really hard, then you will just think that the accident crew made a mess of that one, something you would never do, somehow.

If you have any sense at all, you will just wonder, "What were they thinking?"

I must have a criminal mind, but I can think of a way to have got away with that, probably:

A. Make up a story inbound to destination about a fuel leak of my own. Even declare an emergency if I have to, but get cleared for a priority landing in good time. Being put into the hold, Number Three for the approach with just minutes of fuel remaining ... not an option, no matter what.

B. After landing, fix the imaginary problem. Just a leaking quick drain. "Tap-tap-tap .... See? It's fine now. No problem."

C. Refuel, refile, and depart soonest for some friendly jurisdiction where sympathetic people can deal with any lingering questions from back at your destination! The sheer mind-boggling notion that someone just flew a trip with less fuel than the book says he needed ... who thinks of that explanation right away?

Of course there are always unforeseen things that can come up to scupper finely-worked schemes that might see you arriving running on fumes yet still managing to land safely. This is the reason why we have all those boring rules about having an alternate and contingency fuel and all that sort of stuff that takes all the fun and adventure out of aviation. You'd be a fool and some sort of criminal to try this in the first place, but it's still easy to think of a way to behave in such a damned risky manner yet still hope to survive your own folly.

With this one, it really reads as if the accident crew, having already put themselves in a situation of grave danger, finally tamely followed orders that were bound to kill them. That suggests that the crew had finally got themselves into so much trouble that they were not able to think things through any further.

I remember once asking our dispatcher, who had survived a crash while sat on the jumpseat of a BAC 1-11, a crash that killed both flight crew, what was going on during the last few minutes of the flight, when they had to shoot multiple approaches in a sandstorm to a destination out in the middle of the Sahara. He told me that the Captain had to do it all by himself, shooting those approaches, so that I asked him what the FO was doing then.

"Ah, he was praying."

The big disappointment was wanting to be told what happened when they hit the fire station, after they made that last approach followed by a more-or-less blind landing. "I had my eyes closed then," he told me. "I do not know what happened."

When he opened his eyes, there he was in the wreckage of the cockpit, one dead Captain to his left, one dead FO to his right, and no rush to evacuate because there was no fire.
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Old 5th Dec 2016, 13:39
  #678 (permalink)  
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Poor Celia. She did her best,

How high up the greasy pole did she voice her concerns for the flight plan?

Ms. Castedo said in the transcript that “too often flight dispatchers do not take our observations seriously.” Ultimately, though, she allowed the plane to depart.
Not high enough it would seem.

The sad fact is that this individual had some authority which would have preventing the flight from taking place. Why did she just buckle and allow the flight to take off. Hopefully we will find out in the fullness of time
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Old 5th Dec 2016, 13:44
  #679 (permalink)  
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I saw a comment that said the swiss cheese model didn't apply here. I think it is still relevant even if this is a tad outside what it was intended for. It attempts to minimise the possibility of a hole through the cheese by using actors, systems and processes. In this case the bloke pitched up with a piece of cheese with a hole he had bored all the way through it and made no attempt to hide it. Poor old Celia held it up to the light and looked through it "Oi mate, you've got a hole through your cheese" she said, or something similar. More than once. But there were no errors in the flight plan in that it was correctly filled out. The numbers were in the right places. Then apparently it is no-one's job in our safety conscious industry to stop the cheesemonger from taking off ! Not for the first time it seems the industry is saying "hmm - we never thought of that". It's difficult to put ourselves in the position of someone with no sense of self preservation - never mind the preservation of all the souls under their command. I'm not saying I know what can be done either - that will have to be decided by all the clever folk in the industry bodies that put the regulations together - but this was way too easy !
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Old 5th Dec 2016, 13:52
  #680 (permalink)  
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Well now, how high might that be? From my reading of this whole thread and the power factors involved the choices she had were (a) ... refuse to allow the plane to depart ... result (potential) loss of job. (b) allow plane to depart, plane doesn't make it ... result, (potential) loss of job. (c) allow plane to depart, hope as in the past they make it ... result keep job .... This sounds like an aggressive intent to make the flight by people with connections and power ... she wasn't in a nice position ...
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