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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 6th Dec 2016, 09:38
  #721 (permalink)  
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Don't you suppose that the accident flight crew did not have a Plan B? Plan A probably was to arrive in a critically low fuel state, get cleared for a straight-in approach, and land with just enough fuel to taxi to the stand on two engines. Sorted!

Plan B would have meant figuring out how to cope with being put Number Three for the approach with instructions to hold: an unforeseen yet easily foreseeable situation.

There were various options available, but none seem to have been thought of, let alone used. Most basically, to have just told ATC what the problem was, declaring an emergency in good time, would probably have worked just fine in terms of landing safely.

The ironic thing is that Plan A must have been highly illegal, although it probably would have avoided trouble for the flight crew. Plan B, on the other hand, would have been perfectly legal: to declare an emergency because of a critically low fuel state, to get cleared for a straight-in approach, and to land, but with trouble almost sure to follow.

From that point, having landed safely, the flight crew might have been in a whole lot of trouble, since it might have been quite clear that the flight had been using Plan A, an arrival with almost no fuel.

Something I have seen and experienced is an escalation of risk bringing a feeling, a false one, of increased safety. That is because of what might happen becoming catastrophic, becoming literally unimaginable.

In this situation there would have been the imaginable risk to the crew of being ramp-checked, interrogated about how they came to arrive with far too little fuel, compared to the unimaginable risk of crashing the aircraft and killing themselves and most of those aboard. The imaginable risk was being avoided by courting the unimaginable risk, so to speak.

It's sort of like running from the cops by crossing six lanes of motorway traffic. If you stand there, they've surely got you; if you run you might get away with doing that. Some people go for the unimaginable risk over the imaginable risk then; it's human nature to do so, but something a pilot is supposedly trained to avoid doing.
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Old 6th Dec 2016, 11:47
  #722 (permalink)  
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Vivacolombia (FC8170) was given priority to land although he had not declared an emergency. Lamia was delayed 13 minutes in the hold while he and Avianca (AV 9356) beneath him, waited for 8170 (beneath both aircraft) to arrive at RNG VOR and continue on the ILS to land. No radar control seems to have occurred which might have reduced the waiting time.
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Old 6th Dec 2016, 12:49
  #723 (permalink)  
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Don't you suppose that the accident flight crew did not have a Plan B? Plan A probably was to arrive in a critically low fuel state, get cleared for a straight-in approach, and land with just enough fuel to taxi to the stand on two engines. Sorted!
My guess is that Plan A was to attempt the flight non-stop, and "re-evaluate" the situation (fuel, weather, delays) as they passed overhead the alternate. This is perhaps how the deal was "sold" to the co-pilot.

It will be interesting to learn what was discussed as they reached this critical point, and how much fuel was remaining. Clearly though the Captain thought there was enough. Judging by his actions he must of thought he had more than enough, or otherwise why would he have accepted a hold rather than simply make a direct to the threshold?

For sure there's gonna be a lot of human factors explained in the report. One can only guess at this stage but mine is that the Captain thought there was enough - maybe "only just enough" - as he passed his alternate. Having "convinced" his crew that to continue was okay, he kept a brave face because he didn't want to look stupid - even though he must have seen that the situation was turning dire.

The bit I simply can't get my head around is why he didn't head direct for the RW as soon as he announced the "electric problems" which surely MUST have been the result of loss of gen due to fuel starvation on one side.
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Old 6th Dec 2016, 12:51
  #724 (permalink)  
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The thing is, though, someone with that level of skill probably would not have put himself in a situation where he needed to do that!

Ah; the definition of a skilful pilot emerges. Using your skill to avoid putting yourself in a scenario where you need you skill to survive.

What surprises me is the lack of survival instinct in both pilots. I wonder if the dispatcher was in the flight deck as well. If so then he would have been privy to the discussion about landing for fuel or not. That 'put your neck in a noose' behaviour in a pilot is a astonishing. To then pull it tight is disturbing; to then jump is suicidal.
I had missed what Portmanteau says about so many other a/c being involved and a 13 min delay. I'd only noted the Avianca previously. That 13mins is for Murphy, but should never have been that short.
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Old 6th Dec 2016, 12:52
  #725 (permalink)  
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Update 3 - Impact and break-up sequence based on publicly available photo and video material – based on material available to me by midday December 5th. The available photo/video material was limited and the quality low. Medium quality photo and video material is now available.


On the high ridge. One elevator half. The tail-mounted-speedbrake with part of the structure with hatch in front of it, plus part of the vertical tail.
Half way down the middle of the high ridge one MLG plus MLG-door. The other MLG is near the fuselage below.

In the hollow below. Identified components (high probability) are the almost complete left and right wing plus engine number2 (completely stripped of the cowling). The left hand aft pax door with 5 ½ windows in front of it. The right hand aft pax door with 6-7 windows in front. Both pax doors still closed. One loose forward pax door. One engine nacelle. A large part of the fuselage belly.
At this moment in time still no trace of the other 3 engines. No trace of the cockpit section except for the loose almost intact main instrument panel of the captain (probably recovered and repositioned). No trace of the forward fuselage section. No trace of cargo hatches. No trace of any avionics 'boxes'. Limited wiring. Multiple galley carts but original position in the plane unknown.

Which means 3 of the 4 corners can be identified.


At this stage a very very premature guesstimate of a more probable impact and break-up sequence could have been:

a. Plane in a slightly pitch up attitude, pointing approximately in the direction of the VOR, at a relatively low forward speed, and a low vertical speed. Not known if the plane was on either an ‘aerodynamic glide path’ or by then following a ‘ballistic trajectory’. You need someone who connects the LKP and altitude with the impact location.
b. The intact and complete plane hits the high ridge. The impact breaks off the tail section behind the aft pax door, and leaves the tail and elevator with the (closed?) tailspeedbrake on top of the high ridge.
c. The plane shoots over the top. The impact banks and yaws the plane.
d. The plane pitches forward and starts contacting trees and ground. This breaks off the MLG’s and impacts the lower fuselage. Not clear if (one or more) engines already break off here.
e. The wing breaks off and takes part of the top of the center fuselage section with it. Complete wing plus engines and part of the associated torn fuselage structure flips over forward and starts the slide down. Cutting and flattening trees and uprooting and flattening a tall tree with an about 50cm diameter trunk in the last third.
f. The aft fuselage section continues the movement forward, rotates, and partially rolls over, during the slide down. The left hand aft door pointing down. At the end it slides on top of the wing and comes to a halt.

The question with this scenario is, how did anyone survive? One thing to do is comparing the actual seating arrangement with the scenario above. One seating arrangement shows players in front, journalists in the middle, and staff at the back. That layout though shows most cabin crew in passenger seats.

In Update2 I said that at least two different answers might be applicable.
The first is - pure luck - there are a number of possible explanations that improve chances. That would mean (with that seating arrangement) that the three players and the journalist were very lucky.
The second is - based on a maximum energy dissipation and lowest G's scenario - people sitting (probably on the left hand side) in the fuselage section aft of the wing and before the aft doorframe. Cabin crew having taken a passenger seat aft or in aft facing folding crew seat inclusive. That would mean that the stewardess and technician may have been seated there.

Finding photo's of the cockpit section would be priority1 if you would want to reduce the number of possible scenario's.

Sorry for the long post.
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Old 6th Dec 2016, 14:04
  #726 (permalink)  
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Interesting article from Fox News Latino Lamia pilot was facing trial, had arrest warrant issued for him in Bolivia | Fox News Latino

The Bolivian Defense Minister - Reymi Ferreira, contends that the pilot (Quiroga) had received military training from the Bolivian air force after enlisting, then - a significant way through his training, he bailed and "retired" from service, even though his enlistment terms stated he would need to stay for a predetermined amount of time in exchange for the training.

So he bailed after (what they say amount to ~$100k USD) in training, then had enough legal stuff scheduled in the pipeline to keep him out of jail - though the article says there was indeed an active arrest warrant out for him!

ALSO - other articles released yesterday clearly outline corruption and manipulation tactics by LaMia. For example, the two aircraft that were out "on loan" and/or in for "heavy maintenance" were actually IMPOUNDED in 2014 along with the 3rd / crash aircraft, at a Bolivian air force facility after they refused to pay for maintenance which had been conducted there, and apparently they were able to get one aircraft out of there. Five months ago, the pilot in the crash flight (again, Quiroga) was actually detained in connection with the unpaid repairs and impounded aircraft and had been awaiting trail.
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Old 6th Dec 2016, 14:49
  #727 (permalink)  
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AND this outfit had an AOC? How is that possible? There might be some nervous people twitching on hot seats in local CAA. Brazil my suddenly become crowded.
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Old 6th Dec 2016, 14:56
  #728 (permalink)  
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The folks at CONMEBOL seem not to have minded working with this outfit. Due diligence: how does one say that in Spanish?

Corporate culture / company culture / command culture: how does one graph that for this company, and will the investigators make an attempt to do that?
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Old 6th Dec 2016, 14:58
  #729 (permalink)  
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I like this news report on how apparently they transported the argentinean football team on November the 11th, Leonel Messi et al, from brazil to B.A. and it took 4hrs and 4 minutes. Looks like they were cutting that one a bit close as well, I would say this looks like a case of normalization of deviance. The pilot had done it so many times, it was just waiting for the one time things didn't work out as planned.

La aerolínea LaMia, operadora boliviana del avión que se accidentó en Colombia la semana pasada y que transportaba a los jugadores del club de fútbol brasileño Chapecoense, ya había incumplido la normativa aérea de disponibilidad de combustible en un vuelo previo con la selección argentina. Según consigna el diario brasileño "Folha de Sao Paulo", la empresa dueña del avión que se estrelló dejando a 71 personas fallecidas cerca de Medellín, había trasladado a los jugadores trasandinos el pasado 11 de noviembre, incluyendo a Lionel Messi, desde Brasil hacia Buenos Aires y había llegado casi sin combustible a su destino. Ello, luego de que las selecciones de ambos países disputaran un partido por las clasificatorias al Mundial 2018 en la ciudad de Belo Horizonte. De acuerdo con la información de Folha, el sistema de supervisión de vuelo FlightRadar 24 detectó que el trayecto realizado ese día duró 4 horas y 4 minutos, solo 18 minutos menos que la capacidad de vuelo declarada por el avión.

Source (you can google translate): Emol.com - Aerolínea del avión siniestrado en Colombia habría infringido la normativa en viaje con la selección argentina | Emol.com
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Old 6th Dec 2016, 15:37
  #730 (permalink)  
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Originally Posted by Lonewolf_50 View Post
Due diligence: how does one say that in Spanish?
Que Ching?
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Old 6th Dec 2016, 15:47
  #731 (permalink)  
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Do we have any posters familiar with this airport?
Would LAM have had to clear that ridge by the VOR prior to finding the ILS localizer?
It would appear he never did that, and I'm curious because the Avianca pilot related that the LAM pilot kept saying "I can't remember the f*cking code!"
So I wonder if at least one person in the cockpit was still trying to get established on ILS....
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Old 6th Dec 2016, 16:36
  #732 (permalink)  
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If you were to read through the entire thread you'd find that quite a few posters are professionally familiar with all the airports involved.

The lack of due diligence on the part of Chapecoense's directors bothers many people here as well. They're not - at least not yet - suspected of taking kickbacks from LaMia. I think they may just have taken Conmebol's lead; if that was the case and a paper trail can be established to show that Conmebol actively recommended LaMia in spite of their dodgy past and illegal operating practices, I can see the lawyers rubbing their hands in glee.
As for the translation of "due diligence" the phrase more commonly used here is Gobernanza (SP)/Governança (Pt) Corporativa".
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Old 6th Dec 2016, 17:00
  #733 (permalink)  
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Broadreach apologies for not being clear ....I was hoping we had posters familiar enough to comment on the ILS availability while S of VOR, and also the crew comments re not remembering "the code" - and if that might mean there was someone trying to establish ILS.

I have read every page of this thread to the best of my understanding and remain confused by the apparent descent to VOR 9 nm short, and how that might interplay w need to establish ILS.
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Old 6th Dec 2016, 17:56
  #734 (permalink)  
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The alleged links between LaMia & both Conmebol (and even President Morales ) have already been floated on this forum.

Eldeber has since reported that, two months ago, LaMia Bolivia was worth $16,516 and "And its declared initial capital would be $ 21,551, both figures "very low for an expensive and dangerous activity such as commercial aviation," according to the testimony collected by the former president of the Bolivian Economists Association Waldo López."

This article from ElPais explores the Conmebol in further detail, via a logistics company called Off Side.
"In the case of CONMEBOL, suspicions of corruption exceed the speed of light. The posthumous confession of one of the dead pilots adds another indication that confirms the close relationship with Lamia: "Proud to be the official carrier of the Copa Sudamericana 2016," said minutes before leaving for Medellin,"
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Old 6th Dec 2016, 18:11
  #735 (permalink)  
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I was thinking about contributory factors and it seems to me that football team are not average passengers. They travel with a lot of baggage, and journalist equipment was also on board. What if the plane was heavier than usual? Within legal regulation but enough to eat that10 minutes they was hoping for.
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Old 7th Dec 2016, 00:43
  #736 (permalink)  
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BBC World Service news reported at 01:00 UTC that the 'head' of Lamia, 'Gustavo Vargas', has been arrested by the Bolivian Authorities.

Listen here at 01:50:

Interesting that the concerns of Celia Castedo (mentioned by name) appear to be being taken seriously.

(When the deaths of many prominent nationals of another country are concerned, perhaps punishing the innocent really is not an option . . )

Last edited by SStreeter; 7th Dec 2016 at 02:40. Reason: more info - link to news item - correct name to 'Vargas'
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Old 7th Dec 2016, 02:14
  #737 (permalink)  
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Gustavo Vargas Arrested

Chapecoense plane crash: Bolivia arrests LaMia airline boss - BBC News

Vargas, the chief of LaMia, is also a former pilot for Bolivian President Evo Morales:


Last edited by thcrozier; 7th Dec 2016 at 02:56.
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Old 7th Dec 2016, 03:16
  #738 (permalink)  
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Who was PIC?

I am quite confused. In the video there is a lady in the left seat with 3 stripes and a gent in the cabin with 2 stripes.
Who was PIC? Are there any other crew member with 4 stripes on that flight?
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Old 7th Dec 2016, 03:17
  #739 (permalink)  
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Pardon me for a really dumb question from a non pilot, but how did this outfit get insurance? With two planes in hock for nonpayment of maintenance, an outstanding arrest warrant, and a very low balance sheet this would look like a commercial operation that would be extremely high risk. I assume that you cannot take off with passengers for hire without current insurance, even in Bolivia or am I missing something?
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Old 7th Dec 2016, 03:35
  #740 (permalink)  
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Originally Posted by G-V View Post
I am quite confused. In the video there is a lady in the left seat with 3 stripes and a gent in the cabin with 2 stripes.
Who was PIC? Are there any other crew member with 4 stripes on that flight?
That would be Miguel Quiroga, whose remains received a hero's welcome upon being returned to Bolivia.

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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