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Author Topic: Continental (Colgan)-3407 -8 Crash in Buffalo  (Read 101899 times)
iskyfly
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« Reply #150 on: February 15, 2009, 04:01:09 PM »

>Latest on the Colgan crash is that they were on autopilot when control was lost.<
* * * * * * * * * * *

They also have said the stall warning/stick shaker sounded.  This should have kicked the A/P off.  Some inconsistencies here I think. 
how so? the reports have not said that the AP was on until impact.

AP on
stick shaker / upset
AP off
crash

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Saabeba
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« Reply #151 on: February 15, 2009, 06:17:07 PM »

My condolences and prayers with the families involved.

The press conference mentioned both 31 degrees pitch up and 46 degress pitch down in final minutes.  as well as I believe 46 degree and 105 degree left right turns, and G forces of .75 to 2Gs.

The auto-pilot did not indicate a lot of trim work to fly the plane before the difficulties.

I am also interested that other pilots did not report problems.

Not sure what to conclude as not a pilot.
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danmand
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« Reply #152 on: February 15, 2009, 06:25:01 PM »

On the news I'm now seeing a report that the NTSB has said that pilots should turn autopilot "off" during icy conditions.  Is this correct? 

In really bad weather, I'd think it would be better to have it on, but then again, I'm only a pilot enthusiast and not a real one  smiley
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iskyfly
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« Reply #153 on: February 15, 2009, 06:35:44 PM »

On the news I'm now seeing a report that the NTSB has said that pilots should turn autopilot "off" during icy conditions.  Is this correct? 

In really bad weather, I'd think it would be better to have it on, but then again, I'm only a pilot enthusiast and not a real one  smiley
As far as the FAA / NTSB are concerned, it is just a recommendation.
Airline SOP might be a different story though.
http://www.airdisaster.info/forums/viewtopic.php?f=6&t=2054&start=50#p26750
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kea001
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« Reply #154 on: February 15, 2009, 07:52:22 PM »

Astounding, but not unexpected, that two news outlets have two widely divergent views of the NTSB press conference:

Crash Pilot 'Broke Airline Rules'
8:04pm UK, Sunday February 15, 2009 -  SKYNEWS

A plane that crashed into a house killing 50 people was in autopilot when it went down - violating airline policy, an aviation official has said. 

Pilots are recommended to fly planes manually in icy conditions and required to do so in severe ice, said US National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) investigator Steven Chealander.

The pilot of the doomed plane reported "significant" ice on his wings and windshield just before the crash-landing outside the northern US city of Buffalo.
http://news.sky.com/skynews/Home/World-News/Buffalo-Plane-Crash-Aircraft-In-Autopilot-When-Landing-Violating-Airline-Policy-Rules/Article/200902315223240?lpos=World_News_Carousel_Region_1&lid=ARTICLE_15223240_Buffalo_Plane_Crash:_Aircr


Crash plane 'dropped in seconds'
updated at 00:28 GMT, Monday, 16 February 2009 -  BBC.CO.UK

Air safety official Steve Chealander said the plane fell from 1,800ft to 1,000ft shortly before impact.
He also said investigators had not found that there were "severe icing" conditions, which would have required pilots to fly the plane manually.

The plane's autopilot was on until just before the crash, Mr Chealander said.


But in a press briefing on Sunday he said there was no evidence that the Continental Airlines pilot had done anything wrong.

"The only restriction that they see - the manufacturer of this airplane - and that they write about is that disengage the autopilot in severe icing conditions," Mr Chealander said.

"Thus far we haven't determined that it's severe icing so, so far we see that everything seemed to be normal in using the autopilot."

http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/americas/7891770.stm


The lesson here is that it is fairly easy to libel a dead pilot without the worry of any repercussions.
« Last Edit: February 15, 2009, 08:05:20 PM by kea001 » Logged
wrongway3
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« Reply #155 on: February 15, 2009, 07:56:18 PM »

Danmand, as Iskyfly said, this is a recommendation and individual airlines may have different Standard Operating Procedures.  the reason for recommending flying without an autopilot in icing conditions is because the autopilot may camouflage the effects of icing in its early stages. 
« Last Edit: February 15, 2009, 07:59:56 PM by wrongway3 » Logged
dispatchguy
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« Reply #156 on: February 15, 2009, 07:57:38 PM »

and stalled, and that the very inexperienced FO was flying

No,. if it was her voice on the radio, she was the pilot not flying - handling the radios, checklists, etc. Never once in the recording did I hear the captains voice, so there was never a change in position; the captain was the flying pilot, and the F/O was the nonflying pilot. Never once in her voice did I get any real stress - hell, in one comm she sounds extremely upbeat.

How about this, an ice bridge?  I remember Earnest K Gann's description of an Ice Bridge in Fate is the Hunter - where the boots can pump away all day, BUT the ice has formed outside the max inflation size of the boot. The tail gets an ice bridge form, boots can pump till hell freezes over and not accomplish a thing, then the tail stalls out once the flaps get extended and, well, unfortunately the rest is history and at such a low altitude, there would be nothing the crew couldve done. That's why I hate boots - gimme a warm leading edge anyday...

The reason to kill the A/P, especially when the aircraft has unpowered (read direct) flight controls is so that the crew can feel thru the control forces as to if the aircraft is unbalanced, untrimmed, and possibly be picking up ice. If you require max trim in a direction, that would be an indication that something is amiss.

With the A/P engaged, the trim is feeling that offbalance feel and dialing in the required trim to counterbalance it. Unless the crew (and I dont know the DH8 trim system) was watching the trim system very closely, they may not notice that the trim would be way outside the normal range.

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anewsted
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« Reply #157 on: February 15, 2009, 07:58:59 PM »

Quote
On the news I'm now seeing a report that the NTSB has said that pilots should turn autopilot "off" during icy conditions.  Is this correct?

In really bad weather, I'd think it would be better to have it on, but then again, I'm only a pilot enthusiast and not a real one  smiley

The reason why the pilots are supposed to fly with the auto pilot off is because they can feel what is going on. There has been a number of crashes where the pilot trusted the auto pilot, and while they trusted the auto pilot it was compensating for icing or any other form until the auto pilot hits its limits and then the plane is way out of trim.

Basically if you hand fly in bad weather your since of reality is much greater than if you left auto pilot on. You just dont notice the changes because it is constantly correcting for them... Hope thats clear enough.
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Hollis
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« Reply #158 on: February 15, 2009, 08:08:50 PM »

I think we're all over-speculating here, including myself. I suggest we might wait until the NTSB has all the info and data available to make a decision as to 'probable cause'.
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danmand
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« Reply #159 on: February 15, 2009, 08:10:58 PM »

Yes, that does make sense.  Thanks to you all.  I guess I always thought that autopilot was there to make sure your senses didn't get confused.  I guess it's there more to relieve workload.
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Saabeba
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« Reply #160 on: February 15, 2009, 08:40:09 PM »

and stalled, and that the very inexperienced FO was flying

No,. if it was her voice on the radio, she was the pilot not flying - handling the radios, checklists, etc. Never once in the recording did I hear the captains voice, so there was never a change in position; the captain was the flying pilot, and the F/O was the nonflying pilot. Never once in her voice did I get any real stress - hell, in one comm she sounds extremely upbeat.

How about this, an ice bridge?  I remember Earnest K Gann's description of an Ice Bridge in Fate is the Hunter - where the boots can pump away all day, BUT the ice has formed outside the max inflation size of the boot. The tail gets an ice bridge form, boots can pump till hell freezes over and not accomplish a thing, then the tail stalls out once the flaps get extended and, well, unfortunately the rest is history and at such a low altitude, there would be nothing the crew couldve done. That's why I hate boots - gimme a warm leading edge anyday...

The reason to kill the A/P, especially when the aircraft has unpowered (read direct) flight controls is so that the crew can feel thru the control forces as to if the aircraft is unbalanced, untrimmed, and possibly be picking up ice. If you require max trim in a direction, that would be an indication that something is amiss.

With the A/P engaged, the trim is feeling that offbalance feel and dialing in the required trim to counterbalance it. Unless the crew (and I dont know the DH8 trim system) was watching the trim system very closely, they may not notice that the trim would be way outside the normal range.



Note that in the press conference this afternoon, the NTSB representative noted that the black box indicated that the auto-pilot was NOT making many trim adjustments for ice conditions or for any other reason pre-the final moments, so he appeared to suggest that ice build-up may not have been a major factor.
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joeyb747
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« Reply #161 on: February 15, 2009, 08:53:02 PM »

To answer Tripps post: 99% of the time in airline operations, the pilot not in command of the airplane works the radios. Clearly the co-pilot was working the radios. Not to say it's not possible, it's just not probable. And usually, in poor weather, on autopilot or not, the sr pilot is in command of the aricraft. I think its possible they did get distracted. I'd like to hear the CVR, then we'll know for sure.

I also find it strange that the airplane was 180 degrees to the runway. the only thing that makes sense to me is full flap deployment on one wing, and partial or no flap deployment on the other wing. In effect, sending the airplane into a flat spin. If enough ice builds up on the tops of the wings, it can hinder control movements. Just how much is the question.

Guess we'll know more when they release the FDR and CVR tapes.
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Jason
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« Reply #162 on: February 15, 2009, 09:51:36 PM »

I think we're all over-speculating here, including myself. I suggest we might wait until the NTSB has all the info and data available to make a decision as to 'probable cause'.

This is clearly the best stance to take after any major accident or incident.  Until the NTSB releases official information, all that can be done is to speculate.  You can do this until the cows come home, but we really won't know for sure until the NTSB makes their findings, so we mind as well wait.
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rvg19
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« Reply #163 on: February 15, 2009, 10:35:54 PM »

I'm a local firefighter and I was at the scene of the crash until 2am . What a horrific site!! My prayers go out to all the familes involved.God Bless.
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theweave
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« Reply #164 on: February 16, 2009, 02:26:39 AM »

First of all, I would like to say how sad this story is. 50 people, good people were killed in this tradgedy. Also I think there was nothing that the co-pilot nor pilot could have done to prevent this, simply based on what I have heard about the violent turn of events in the air that started only 26 seconds before impact. That is not much time to save it.

I can not even imagine the terror the passengers and flight crew experienced as they sat in the dark (I am assuming they turn the lights off for landing) and the plane pitched and rolled so much!

Now I have heard so much stuff listening to various airports here on Live ATC (love this site by the way!), but I have never understood what these 2 things are:

1. Localizer
2. Altimeter

Can someone in the know, explain these to me in laymens terms so I will have a better understanding.

Thank you all for the great work!
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