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Crash watch online
Crash watch online

Crash watch online. Bridge over the Potomac River (Washington).


January 13 1982 years. Planes can not leave Washington Airport due to snow. On that day, weather conditions in Washington, especially at the airport, were very difficult. It was snowing, it was very cold. Rainy day, the snow was getting more and more. In 14: 15 74 passenger flight 90 «Air Florida» had to be in the sky, but their plane was still at the terminal. Chances to take off from the airport were, 50 / 50. Airport staff engaged in snow removal. There was no possibility to fly or to land.


Expert: The Washington National Airport is only one lane. And they have not had a chance to clean the snow on a lane and use the other, and then change them, as in many other airports. If the band is closed - closed the entire airport.


The captain of the side is 90 Larry Whit. The co-pilot - Roger Petit. Florida - home state for both.


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In 14: 45 aircraft cleared of ice. If you do not allow the build-up of snow and ice on the wings of pilots will be able to take off as soon as the airport opens.

After an hour and a quarter, finally, the airport opens. Before dispatchers daunting task. More than 20 aircraft awaiting permission to take off or landing. Undoubtedly, this contributed to an increase excitement among dispatchers.


Whit captain to take off after the board «New York Air» DC-9. Finally, the board 90 receives permission to take off. This time, the second pilot Patit will lead the plane. Captain Whitan will monitor the instruments. The engines quickly unwind and the aircraft gain enough power to set speed on the lane. The airplane can not take off until it reaches the detachment speed - 257 km / h. Then there is a separation from the ground, but almost immediately it becomes clear that the plane is not flying normally. Everything in the kitchen is starting to rattle and make a loud noise. The whole plane starts to shake. The rifle shaker is activated, warning pilots of stalling. Captain Whitan encourages Patit to lower the nose of the aircraft, which is a key step to increase the lift. Passengers are preparing for the worst. Less than a minute after take-off, the 90 board "Air Florida" falls to the ground. The crew was too late to increase engine power. The plane touches the bridge over the Potomac River and then falls into the water.


Bridge over the Potomac River (Washington) disaster


From 79 people who were on board, only 6 were able to get out of the aircraft and swim to the surface. The plane left the trail of destruction on the bridge, on 14-th street. 4 people dead in their cars. More 4 were seriously injured when Boeing 737 Fell from the bridge into the river. The fate of the rest of the passengers and crew members became known later. The journalists quickly learn about the disaster and come to the crash site. By the time they arrive there are already working rescuers. There was also a police helicopter. Journalists see how the first rescued passenger is loaded from an airplane into an ambulance. This is Byrd Hemilton - the manager from Maryland. The rest of the survivors are still in ice water. Stewardess Cayley Dante grabs a lifeline. Behind her is Secretary Nicky Falch in the lifejacket. There Joe Stylie is a businessman and a private pilot. He is clinging to Priscila Terado - another passenger.


By that time, almost the entire plane disappeared in the water, except for the part for which the survivors were kept. On cameras of reporters barely seen the last surviving Arlonda Williams. He was stuck in the wreckage and persuades others to swim to the rescue rope. The helicopter begins to raise the second person from the river. This stewardess Cayley Dante. Soon it is delivered to the shore. STYLE numb Joe tries to help the two remaining passenger Nicky Felchiu and Priscila Terada.


Joe STYLE: Priscila I held with one hand, and Nicky, on the other. The helicopter dropped a rope. We took him, and he began to drag us through the water. I lost Nicky almost immediately, because the hand is not functioning. Priscila We were in the middle of the river and began to move straight on the broken ice from hitting the aircraft. I ran across the ice blocks, and finally broke my ribs. At some point, I let Priscila and she was lying in the water, on a block of ice.


Joe is pulled out of the water, but Priscila remains lying on a block of ice. From the helicopter, they throw a life ring attached to the cable. She began to be dragged, but exhausted, she lets go of the cable. Everyone understood that she was going to drown. She was in the water, and she was pushed into the water by a stream of air, from the helicopter. And then one of the onlookers rushes to the rescue! He did not think about how cold the water is and how it might turn out for him. It was an employee of Leni Skatnik. He had the courage not to think about the consequences. A real hero! He saves the life of Priscila. Unfortunately her husband and child died in this disaster. At this time, the helicopter descends to Nicky Felch. The rescuer lowers his hand and grabs it and drags it onto the runners. He himself without insurance, just balances. Simply amazing!

Leni Skatnik - Hero

Leni Skatnik - Hero


45 minutes have passed since the collapse. For too long, to survive in cold water. Nikki Felch was the last one out of the water. In live only five people left.


A few hours later, investigators National Transportation Safety Committee begin work. 90 board crashed just over a mile from the runway. Place drop indicates that the aircraft did not gain altitude.


Expert: We only know that he hit the ground horizontally, that talked about the problems with the management. But we did not know exactly what caused it.


At the airport, they gather as much information as possible.


Expert: The first thing that we have begun to consider - is the weather. Weather conditions are always one of the important factors in the beginning of the investigation of the crash.               


Investigators learn that 90 board has been detained for more than an hour before the airport was closed. If the delay time on the wings of the aircraft narosli ice and snow, they could prevent the climb.


Expert: Deicing treatment is of paramount importance. Even a small amount of ice and snow can affect the characteristics of the wing.


Investigators are studying icing data that day. They were interested to know how effective it was. And records show that nrotivoobledenitelnaya fluid has a lower concentration than needed. The liquid should be prepared in accordance with the temperature. If it was a lack of concentration, ice could accumulate again on the wings. Investigators are studying the temperature recorded at the time of the suspension of the airport. The liquid was how to act. Although it has been diluted it is suitable for temperatures recorded on the day of the crash.


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Investigators need reliable evidence that would clarify the reasons for the fall board 90 «Air Florida». However, most of it is under water. Due to the weather conditions lifting the wreckage was difficult. Parts of the crashed plane were scattered around the bottom of the river. A week later, investigators smiling luck. Black boxes side 90 raised from the bottom of the river. They do not look damaged. In 1982, the flight data recorders were recorded only some of the characteristics of operation of the aircraft. But it was enough, that would be an important clue has been found. They found that the board took 90 45 seconds to take off - on 15 seconds longer than usual.

It took a lot of time that would be dispersed. There was something with traction. It is enough to take off, but it was not enough to climb. However, flight data recorder does not give information about the engines. Neither of revolutions or modes. The investigator hopes that something will clear voice recorder. He could hear the pilots commented winter conditions during taxiing for DC-9. They discuss the removal of snow and ice from the wings of the aircraft. They know that the return for re-refining is another long delay. In this case, they would have to be the end of the queue to take off. It is this effect on the captain decision not to go to re-start cleaning with the executive. Instead, it takes the unusual decision to clean up without losing their place in the queue. It moves the plane under the exhaust stream side DC-9 before them. So they thought that they could warm the surface of his plane and clean it. It is a pity, but it was a misconception.


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Continuing to listen to recorded voice recorder, an investigator hears something terrible. As long as the aircraft accelerates on the band co-pilot says his suspicions: "It should not be! Is not it?". But the captain convinces him that everything is all right. The co-pilot felt that they did not gain speed as it should. Investigators check whether drivers have correctly set the target value of EPR, for the take-off weight of the aircraft. If it were too low, this would explain the slow set speed and that was not sufficient thrust for climb. Careful inspection showed that there was no advantage.

To get accurate data on power engines investigator has resorted to unusual methods. He hopes to find out how much power the engines developed through analysis of sound they produce. The sound of engines was heard on the voice recorder. After careful analysis of records opened shocking data. The engine runs on providing 70% power turns. It means that The plane takes off like a half engines, rather than twoAs it should be. Investigators found that the engines did not develop the necessary capacity, but did not know why.


Potomac disaster 1


The key to the answer could be one of the devices. This indication device pressure ratio (EPR), connected to the sensor on the front of the engine. It measures the pressure increase of the air passing through the engine thrust calculation. The device informs pilots of power enough to climb. If he was not working properly, the pilots received incorrect values. The study of the device detects something strange. The instrument pointer stopped in the end position and shows an incredible value.


Expert: instrument It showed that the engine delivers more power than they can.


It is likely that he showed incorrect values ​​throughout the short flight. What was the reason? Investigators began to suspect that the weather still played a role in the crash. After a series of experiments, they found that increasing the pressure sensor was blocked by ice and snow. Investigators believe: the pilots did not increase engine power because they iced sensor reported that enough power. When they realized their mistake, to prevent the collapse was impossible. Boeing 737 equipped system prevents icing of engines and sensors by heating. However, the pilots, whose home state was Florida, during a pre-flight check disabled anti-icing system.


Expert: Pilots thought of Florida. They did not think about the cold in on time. They worked out a sheet of mandatory inspections for warm weather.


Despite the results, the head of the investigation was still one question. Boeing 737 is designed to take off from a running engine. He had to take off, after dialing a certain speed, which is what happened. So it was something else besides the power of engines.


Potomac disaster 1 device


Examining Whit captain maneuver while taxiing, the investigators found that the snow and ice on the wings of an airplane to melt and moved back. Then again, the ice formed, further exacerbating the situation. Ice worsened and takeoff capabilities, combined with low power engines this was enough to make the aircraft was unable to gain altitude.


Why did the crew take such a risk? Inexperienced pilots could underestimate the danger arose. They were from Florida and are not used to flying in a storm. The captain was 8 ups in such conditions. The second pilot - just 2. They did not understand all the nuances of the weather conditions on the day. Although the captain and realized that something was wrong, he did not want to stay in Washington. The collapse was due to a number of decisions taken on this particular crew.


Catastrophe «Air Florida» became an occasion to improve safety in winter conditions of flight. After this accident aircraft is simply not allowed to take off, if there's something on the wings. It can not even be considered. Northern Airports improved icing equipment that pilots would be able to carry out cleaning right before takeoff. After a disaster, «Air Florida» pilots and controllers a better understanding of the risk of flight in the winter. Unfortunately it took the collapse that would have paid attention this aspect.


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