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Air Crash Investigation watch online
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Air Crash Investigation watch online.


Honolulu 1989.


Modern airliners are considered the most serious and reliable vehicles for transporting people. But sometimes known defects deferred maintenance can lead to disaster, which could have been avoided.


Honolulu Airport. February 24 1989 years. The case of the known defects in the design of aircraft ignored for several years, until the tragedy occurred on board Being 747 airline "United Airlines"Flying from Honolulu to Auckland (New Zealand). During the preparation for the flight 811 no one on board did not know about the serious malfunctions in the aircraft. The crew made every precaution and checked baggage for suspicious parcels. Just a few months ago a bomb exploded in a passenger plane in the sky over Scotland. It can be said that the crew was extremely cautious.


          811 flight was overloaded. On board were 337 passengers. The luggage compartment was filled to capacity. The fuel tanks are filled completely. The plane rose into the sky about two o'clock in the morning, making a regular eight-hour flight. Aircraft managed highly captain David Krunin. It was only two months before retirement. The second pilot and the first officer was Al Sleytor.


Captain: At that time I worked in the "United Airlines" nearly 35 years. swoop 30000 hours as a pilot and as a passenger. I knew Al Sleytora already 20 years. A second officer Mark Thomassen then I flew for the first time. But I knew him before. The crew we had worked.


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            The pilots were going to fly at an altitude of 10000 meters above the Pacific Ocean, in order to avoid turbulence due to bad weather.


Captain: We have noticed that the south straight ahead in 500 kilometers away storm broke. This phenomenon is quite unusual for this time of day. So I gave the order to fasten your seat belts.


Order Captain Krunina fasten your seat belts in the subsequently saved the lives of many passengers. The plane gained altitude. The flight attendants were preparing serving drinks and dinner, for a flight to New Zealand is quite long. They flew from Honolulu to several hundred kilometers, and up to a height of 7000 meters. At this altitude, the difference in air pressure on board and overboard - huge. Suddenly the passengers sitting next to the cargo door We heard a strange sound.


Passenger: We suddenly heard some grinding. Then a thud. And in the next split second I began hell.


Cargo doors flew, carrying a significant portion of the outer skin of the fuselage. The air on board is under high pressure, issued a blast.


Captain: I immediately thought of the tragedy in Lockerbie. I thought that a bomb exploded on board.


         The plane was shaking. All that was not fastened, tied or taken away flew out. The noise at the same time was enormous. The tightness of the aircraft was broken. Due to a lack of oxygen on board at a height of meters 7000 passengers and on-board team began to choke. In this case it was necessary to wear an oxygen mask, but all the masks carried away by the wind.


Passenger: All that was in front of us disappeared. We were just a few centimeters away from the gaping hole. The right side of the plane seemed to drift. It was also a hole under his feet. It seemed there was no hope.


811 board crew contacted the manager and said that they go to an emergency landing. The plane rapidly lost altitude. His right-hand side has been breached, the right wing and engines are broken. However, on board the problems were just beginning.


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         Two minutes after decompression, as a result of the explosion, the plane dropped quickly to a height of 4500 meters. It was a safe height, and all on board could breathe normally. The real problem remained ruined the engine, which was closest to the explosion. Pilots made his trip, after which the vibration is stopped.


One flight attendant severely wounded metal debris. Helping her another flight attendant realized the seriousness of their situation.


Waitress: I saw an incredible hole in the right side of the aircraft. Just empty space. Propane and passenger seats. I realized that we had lost some of the passengers.


As a result of decompression disappeared 5 rows of seats. 9 passengers killed. The pilots turned the plane back to Honolulu, but the city was about 130 km. Problems continue to worsen. The fourth engine is too damaged debris, and it worked intermittently.


Captain: It is very difficult to conduct aircraft weighing more than 300 tonnes on two engines. Two engines are not able to keep the aircraft in the air. The fall would be inevitable.


To keep the plane and endure to the airport, the pilots began to drain the fuel from the main tanks. Also, they had no connection with the flight attendants. Flight engineer passed from the cockpit into the cabin to see what had happened. He immediately saw a hole in the plane and turned white like a sheet. Also through the hole it was obvious that the fourth engine was burning. The pilots followed the instructions, and choked it. They will not know whether to hold on to the land and prepared to land the plane in the water. Flight attendants have started to prepare passengers for an emergency landing.


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Steward: We walked through the cabin, handing out life jackets. And I always thought that all end well vryatli. After the plane landed on the water, just be smashed to pieces.


     -After some time, the pilots saw the lights of the coast. Before the band was 33 km, and the height was only 1200 m. The alert was declared in the Honolulu airport. Fire prepared for a crowded airliner crash. Pilots also prepared the aircraft for landing. They needed to slow down. However, the explosion jammed flaps, and they could not work completely. This meant only one thing - the plane came in to land too fast.


Heavily damaged aircraft 811 flight, with mangled fuselage, losing altitude, flying just two engines, he began to approach the runway. Despite the fact that the pilots leaked fuel, the plane was still congested. Damaged flaps could not reduce the speed of the aircraft, so it is rapidly approaching the Earth. The risk was also in the fact that the chassis could give way. Fortunately, the chassis have not been damaged, and they have successfully reached. Prilozhiv enormous efforts, the pilots successfully landed the plane.


Captain: I think it was the most successful landing in my life. We stopped within the runway. 10 opened all the doors, and the flight attendants began to withdraw passengers.


In In In In In In In InAll were extremely happy that we were able to cheat death itself. However, only nine starts for the families of dead passengers tests. One of the dead was Lee Campbell - a young man flying home to parents.


Father Lee: We got a call and was told that sorry. Our son is missing and must be presumed dead. It was a terrible day.


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Lee's body was found. Nevertheless, his parents went to Honolulu to take a look at the damaged aircraft. Campbell desire to find the cause of death of his son put them face to face with the horrific details. It became clear that Lee's body was never found, and the desire of parents to find out the cause of the accident is becoming stronger.


Father Lee: Our son was killed, however, we could not leave it at that. We had to find those responsible for his death.


            Campbells decided to conduct its own investigation. It lasted about two years. Through 2 months after the accident on board the flight 811 National Transportation Safety Committee (NTSB) held a preliminary hearing. Campbell attended the hearing and realized that NTSB is still many months will make its report. Therefore, they decided to take matters into their own hands. After the hearing, they took all the documents from the meeting, the Chairman of the table. Even those who have not been taken.


Mother Lee: We just realized that we were in a very serious documents. The contents of these papers are not disclosed publicly. We could immediately start an investigation.


In In In In In In In InUnpublished documents represented a long list of defects of the loading door, as well as other deficiencies in the aircraft structure. cargo bay doors opened outward, not inward. It was not safe. However, Boeing's thought that this construction is quite reliable.


Campbell soon got to the bottom of truth itself. It was all about blocking mechanism. The cargo door on board the Boeing 747 closed as follows. Electric motors closed-shaped locks "C" on a metal pin located on the door frame. Then, outer handle resulted in the movement of the levers in the form of the Latin letter «L», who blocked the castle. But 1975 year in blocking mechanism having trouble. Boeing engineers concluded that the aluminum alloy locks are not too strong. They raised the aluminum content of the alloy to make them stronger, but better for it was no more. Many airlines and does not have to change the locks on the more durable. The fragility of aluminum increased the risk of spontaneous opening of the loading door. 20 years 747 the Boeing planes flew with such malfunctions on board.


         After this discovery, Campbell redoubled their efforts to uncover the truth about the incident. To do this, they went to the United States. They learned that similar cases have already been. For example, in 1987, the Boeing 747, taking off from Heathrow Airport depressurized at an altitude of 6000 meters. The pilots had to return to the airport. They found that blocking the loading door locks were broken or bent. Fortunately, while there were no casualties. The Boeing Company did not recognize his guilt and blame the ground team, which according to them is not properly maintained aircraft.


Examining the problem of Campbell found that All this was in the main switch lock «S-2». He had to stop the voltage that was lowered when the outer door handle. However, even with a small short circuit in the wiring of the old aircraft, the door would open spontaneously. In turn, the blocking locks can not hold a massive cargo door. Campbell believed that the culprit was the structure of the castle «S-2» on Boeing aircraft.


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A year after the NTSB accident unveiled his version of what happened. Campbell expects serious shock.


Father Lee: I was shocked. In the report it was stated that a door tightly closed. And not a word about the structural defects of the aircraft.


Campbell was unhappy that the committee does not have a statement of negligence and failures in electrical engineering. Again taking up their investigation, they found a way that could prevent the accident.


In 1987 year, Boeing issued a directive according to which it was necessary to replace the aluminum locks on more solid - steel. Installation of steel locks - cheap and easy process. But it has not started up. Price modification was penny - 2000 dollars per aircraft. However, the process would take about 10 hours. That was the rub. Stop work on aircraft 10 hours worth millions of dollars. The company continues to risk the lives of people by releasing defective aircraft in the sky.


Thanks to the efforts Kemblellov investigators revised their conclusions, and agreed to their release. All airlines are required to immediately remedy the defect in its Boeing 747. The tragedy of the board 811 became a vivid illustration of the fact that in this world of financial gain often put up the price of human life.

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