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-   -   Airtours C404 crash report (https://www.pprune.org/tech-log/10203-airtours-c404-crash-report.html)

davidgw 7th Aug 2001 03:55

Hello Gaunty and all,
I've put all (I think) the original threads from PPRUNE onto a Freeservers web site.
These include the original first postings and the follow-up topics.
I have a personal interest in this crash and wanted to save the threads at the time for future reference.
I hope Danny doesn't mind me reposting them somewhere else, but I thought it would save his server some.
The Book of Condolence entries I have too if anyone is interested, but not in this webpage format, if you want it up let me know and I'll see what I can do.
The uRL is:-

EDC3W old PPRUNE Threads

NB. You will have to use your browsers back button to go from one to the other at the moment.
I hope that this does not offend anyone, if so please let me know.
May the eight who died rest in peace, and the three who survived have a full and happy life.
Plide Gath

[ 06 August 2001: Message edited by: Plide Gath ]

411A 7th Aug 2001 07:56

Plide Gath---
You are to be commended for saving these comments. These, together with the accident report should be required reading for the more junior pilots who will be flying these aircraft in the future.

Raw Data 7th Aug 2001 15:51

Ptero- quite right, nothing at all to do with Vmca. However, a stall is an even worse lapse, IMHO...

GlueBall 7th Aug 2001 22:25

No matter what respect, abilities and experience the 404 PIC had, the fact is that he shut down the wrong bloody engine and wiped himself and most of his passengers out.

A very elementary blunder. Sorry.

Jonty 8th Aug 2001 00:26

Raw Data,

I would like to point out that when the pilot started the turn back to the airfield, he still thought he had a good left engine.

As a Captian with BE I am sure that you will have practiced engine failures in the turn. But have you practiced them with one engine shut down already and at low altitude (200-300ft) Give it a go and let us know how you get on.

Raw Data 8th Aug 2001 03:28

Jonty, I have practiced all manner of failures in my light twin days, including failures in the final turn, simulated "recovering" engines that can sucker you into trying to stretch the glide, etc. I even had a real one where when you raised the gear, the engine would stop, but it recovered once the gear was up and could be re-started (due to a bizarre hydraulic leak spraying the mags). Having flown a few light twins, I know that if it is heavy, you are often better off closing the throttles and putting it down as safely as possible- the idea that a light twin can always safely survive on one is a myth.

Point is, the most fundamental thing about flying ANY aeroplane is, don't stall. That is the most basic lesson we all learn- if you haven't learned it, you don't get to go solo.

In this case, it wasn't the health (or not) of an engine that killed people, it was simple lack of airspeed. It isn't, as you infer, a matter of skill, but a matter of judgement.

gaunty 8th Aug 2001 14:03

Plide Gath
Thank you that is very much appreciated.

The threads on this should as 411A avers be required reading for wannabe twin drivers.

Raw Data
As usual gets it exactly right.

Attempting to continue flight especially a turn back is the LEAST desirable of ANY of the alternatives, including as RD says closing the throttles and maintaining control landing in the least worse area available in front of you.

Hudson 8th Aug 2001 16:16

Area Juliet. Running up both engines at the same time and/or running up the engines in order to test mags, feather etc while taxying.
Seems awfully complicated procedure on a dry taxiway let alone a wet one.

Once upon a time it was considered good airmanship to set the park brake first. Then run up each engine one at a time, not both at the same time. That way, the pilot could concentrate on the engine being tested.
Is it possible that if this procedure had been followed, a latent fault could have been picked up by an alert pilot during the run-up?

So what has caused these tried and tested run up procedures to change over the years?
And why the blinding rush to get the aircraft airborne when surely it would be more prudent to stop on the taxiway and execute a careful run-up before calling for take off clearance. Any cowboy can do a run-up on the run. In fact that is how you can spot a cowboy.

Bally Heck 8th Aug 2001 16:47


Doing a mag drop and prop test is a simple procedure which becomes second nature. A mag drop is just as apparent in a moving aircraft as in a stationary one. There is no reason not to do it while moving anymore than any other ground procedure like radio calls or setting the transponder.

Expeditious operation is not a "blinding rush".

It was not an issue in this accident and I can't quite understand why it has become an issue in this thread.

To err is human. We have all done it and we will all do it again. Lets just hope that we are not faced with a life or death situation when we do so.

411A 8th Aug 2001 18:28

Bally H----
Cast your mind back a few years and see if you can remember any large piston airliner doing a mag and prop feather check "on the run".
There can be NO good reason to do it today, with a large OR small aircraft. And especially with the TCM GTSIO engines.

Bally Heck 9th Aug 2001 00:02

And any doubts I had were instantly and incontrovertibly dispelled.

davidgw 9th Aug 2001 01:57

Hello all,
I've just found another thread relating to this incident on an old backup, it's only .TXT put on .HTM, ie. not original format, but happens to be very interesting.

What cost cheap package holidays?

I'll try and find more info, or if anyone has anything else they'd like to put up, let me know.

Plide Gath
EDC3W old PPRUNE Threads

twistedenginestarter 9th Aug 2001 12:43

I well remember on my CPL IR, fighting to maintain a positive rate of climb with a one-engine-out C310. And that was only me and the examiner.

If I'd actually had a full load of passengers I believe I would have had to go down. But they never taught you that, so surely in a real situation you would do everything else but that, ie finish up stalling?

That's not the point here though. This is Kegworth all over again.

What they don't teach you is, in an emergency, do nothing . The game is on your checks to move your hands at the speed of light and talk like a 33rpm played at 78. It's wrong. It doesn't work in normal life and it shouldn't be the standard for pilots. I suspect an RAF influence here.

Perhaps we should forget CRM and concentrate on cool, calm decision making techniques.

beatup 9th Aug 2001 17:40

Twistedenginestarter, Must have been a clapped out C310. Either that or you and the examiner weigh a tonne! Different to the C310s that I've driven!
Anyway I agree with your comments regarding the speed at which any shutdown drills are done. Far better to take another 2 seconds and get it right.

FL245 10th Aug 2001 04:52

I know from having flown the C310R, for the company in question, I know it preforms quite well on one engine.

As for doing the run up checks on the taxiway, well thats no different from doing them with the brake on, provided you do them correctly.

Pilot Pete, i need add no more to your post.

Gentlemen, there are loads of views, you all may have have carried out different actions, you all have different experience and skill levels, some of you may even have flown the type in question, but remember this, with the greatest respect, none of you where there.

Our thoughts must remain with the people who lost their life in this terrible accident.

davidgw 11th Aug 2001 16:56

Out of interest, are UK crews still being postioned around in Preformance "C" aircraft ?
Or have things changed since the EAC/AIH incident? ie. are Perf.C still being used but not at MTOW.

Hudson 11th Aug 2001 17:13

Twistedenginestarter. Suggest a shorter user-name which causes me to make less typos.
Re your remark about RAF training influence.
Does that cause you a problem, maybe? Evidence, please...

compressor stall 12th Aug 2001 08:28

What are the legal implications on a pilot should s/he have an engine failure in a similar situation, recognise marginal performance and decide to successfully land straight ahead in a paddock? What if the POH says that the aircraft should climb and therefore make it around to the circuit?

Methinks that the insurer's lawyers would be after the pilot, and in OZ at least CASA would try to blame the pilot to absolve itself of any performance/legislative issues.

Is it any surprise then why pilots would try to struggle around the circuit?

Damned if you do and damned it you don't. I guess that's why they pay us piston twin drivers millions. :rolleyes:

[ 12 August 2001: Message edited by: compressor stall ]

twistedenginestarter 12th Aug 2001 21:57

[/QUOTE]Our thoughts must remain with the people who lost their life in this terrible accident.[/QUOTE]


We keep getting this sentiment. Our thoughts are with analysing what went wrong and how we can avoid it in the future. In doing so we will sometimes inevitably point out our colleagues' mistakes. "How do you know you could have done any better?" etc etc is really not a professional way of approaching air accidents.

411A 13th Aug 2001 01:05

Well guys, lets look at the situation, from a performance perspective. We would agree that these aircraft (and for example CE404) are slow climbers at max weight with one engine inop.
Can we improve HP in the climb....NO. Can we improve performance? Yes, most definately, by DECREASING takeoff weight, and this is the ONLY way performance will be improved. Do not fill all of the available seats and limit the fuel load...this will give you a fighting chance of keeping that all important positive rate of climb in order to be able to REMAIN airborne. IF you value your life, you have NO other choice.
Comments anyone?

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