Accident: Flight 006. China Airlines. 1985 year.
The incident with 006 flight. China Airlines. 1985 year.

Accident: Flight 006. China Airlines. 1985 year. 


            19 February 1985 of the year. The China Airlines airplane flew over the Pacific Ocean towards Los Angeles. At the height of 12000 meters, he rushed to the destination. It was the first hour of the night, and everyone was asleep. For the plane, which was flying on autopilot, watched the crew on duty. Captain Ho could not sleep. Although his shift had not yet begun, he returned to the cabin. Some passengers did not sleep either.


Passenger: I have had the longest day of birth. We drank champagne at altitudes 12000 meters.


Passenger: There was nothing unusual. It was everyday business flight.


            The plane has already flown to the coast of California. After a five-hour break, the main crew took a seat in the cabin. A few minutes after that Boeing 747 I got into a zone of turbulence. Its beginning to shake, so the captain asked the passengers to fasten the straps. Suddenly, the shaking began to bring more harm. The fourth engine slowed cravings. Onboard engineer began to accelerate it, but he did not react. A few minutes later the situation in the cabin is even worse. The fourth engine is completely stalled. For Captain Ho this was not a surprise. At the preflight briefing, he was warned that this engine was repaired before the flight. Therefore, the captain began climbing for a safe flight on three engines. However, it was not possible to gain altitude. Just did not have enough traction. Realizing this, the crew contacted the control center in Oakland and requested permission to fly at a lower altitude. While the crew tried to start the engine, the plane began to slowly turn to the right due to imbalance of thrust. In order not to lose speed, the captain tried to tilt the nose of the plane down. But he did not succeed. Boeing 747 more and more turned to the right. The crew decided to switch to manual control. It did not help. The aircraft tilted even more, entered the clouds, and the pilots lost their visual reference points. After only a few minutes as the fourth engine refused, the flight of "China Airlines" lost speed and began to fall with a stone.

Flight 006. China Airlines. 1

Passenger: People are bouncing like popcorn. From luggage compartment crashed. It was impossible to understand where the top and where the bottom. They could hear the crackling of the aircraft rivets.


 Flight 006 became completely unmanageable and fell into the ocean. The crew was shocked by the strange behavior of the aircraft. The first, second and third engines also lost their cravings. But because of the fall, the speed of the aircraft only increased. The force of gravity was so great that the flight engineer was forced into the panel. Controllers in Auckland watched all this helplessly. All their attempts to contact the plane were unsuccessful. Ground staff only noted a rapid decrease in the height of the aircraft. In a matter of seconds, the plane fell on 3000 meters. Gravity forces simply drained the crew.


Passenger: I closed my eyes. It seems as if the plane exploded in the air.


            Finally, the efforts of the pilots were crowned with success, and the huge airliner began to gradually emerge from the peak. Because of this, the force of gravity shifts and people pinned to the floor, increasing their normal weight by five times. While the crew was fighting for control of the aircraft, he began to slow down. However, it is still falling. Onboard engineer desperately reaching for the ignition engines, but they did not respond. The plane went back into freefall.


Passenger: We seem to be on the ship with a broken control. We bore the cabin back and forth.


            As the plane sped toward the ocean in a spin, its speed grew rapidly. The crew was busy and did not respond to constant requests from dispatchers. The pressure from the dive began to tear off pieces of the aircraft skin and mechanical doors. In less than a minute, the plane fell to 6000 meters. Not seeing the horizon line, Captain Ho did not know where the top was. The plane reached the speed of sound, but the pilots could not take him out of the corkscrew.


            After an uncontrolled fall of thousands of meters, the plane finally broke out of the clouds. The crew had 30 seconds before the plane crashed. At an altitude of 3000 meters, for the first time since the fall, Captain Ho could use the horizon line to level the plane.


Passenger: The gravitational force was very large. We squeezed into the chair. My weight 91 kilos, so because of the gravity at the time I weighed almost a kilo 550.


            It was a time trial, and the airliner began to win it. When the plane began to level off, the relationship indicators began to work normally. But more importantly, three engines have earned. The pilots tried to start the fourth engine, and this time he earned in normal mode. For the first time in several minutes, the plane was controlled.


Expert: Pilots rescued the plane. They pulled him out of this acrobatic maneuver at an altitude of 3000 meters. It is a masterpiece of piloting.


Flight 006. China Airlines. 3


            Inside, passengers began to provide first aid. Many of them were injured and bloodied. At this time, the dispatcher finally contacted the 006 flight and took it under control. Less than 10 minutes after the problems started, everything was in order. The air traffic control instructed pilots to rise to an altitude of 9500 meters, but new problems arose. Chassis stuck in the extended position. All hydraulic fluid flowed out of the system, and the pilots could not lift them. Therefore, they declared a state of emergency and asked for a direct route to San Francisco.


Manager: We have removed all the other planes out of the way. They did not have to wait for anyone. Flight 006 went straight to the gate.


            Captain Ho was not only wounded on board. The plane itself was badly damaged. Devices in the tail of the aircraft, which were responsible for the flight altitude, did not work. To land the plane without them was very difficult.


Expert: The problem is that this is a very big plane, and he responds very slowly. Pilots had to keep cool.


            To land the captain changed the engine power. The crew had no margin for error. A few minutes later, the plane touched the runway and stopped.


Passenger: It was the perfect fit! I thought the pilot was a hero. He saved our lives. 


            On the ground one could see the extent of the damage. From the tail of the plane pieces were broken, as if a tornado walked on it. They are torn or pressure at a dive, or when the door came off arrangements for a touchdown. It was a sobering sight. It became clear why the crew was so hard to land the plane. If the damage was slightly more than the pilots could not regain control of the aircraft. In 20 people had minor injuries. Only one needed hospitalization, but he was able to recover soon. Disaster was avoided. But what was the problem?


Flight 006. China Airlines. disaster prevention


            The National Transport Safety Committee (NTSB) launched an investigation on the same day. The voice recorder from the cockpit was removed and sent to Washington. But his device provided for self-recording every half hour. Therefore, it was not possible to listen to the recordings during the crash of the aircraft.


Investigator: We did our best, placing the material that was available to us.


            Technical actions during the flight were recorded by a device that recorded all the data. But here, too, investigators faced a problem. The recorder was subjected to unprecedented dive pressure. Also failures in electricity led to empty recording intervals. The remaining information from the black boxes began to be extracted in a painstaking way. Such an initiation of the investigation was very discouraging.


            Pilots reported that the plane flew in a zone of turbulence before the fall. Could this be the reason for the breakdown of the fourth engine and the subsequent dive? Meteorological maps have shown that there really were turbulent air currents. But they were not strong enough to disable the engine. All engines were removed and subjected to rigorous testing. Even after a terrible dive, they were in working condition. Over time, investigators found that at the height of 12000 meters the fourth engine worked less well. The logbook also noted that problems had previously occurred with this engine. NTSB delved into the history of engine maintenance. A week later, the commission concluded that the engine did not need to be replaced. All repairs were carried out according to the instructions. A damaged engine was not the cause of the crash.


Expert: For aircraft with four engines lost thrust one of them is not dangerous. The aircraft is easily aligned, and it can fly farther.


            Experts have noticed errors in the actions of the pilots. There are standard actions in case of failure of one engine. The crew did not follow them. They immediately tried to restart the engine, instead of going down. The engine can be restarted only at the height of 9000 meters. Captain Ho did it on 12000 meters. At the same time, such an error could lead to an uncontrolled dive.


            To understand, the investigators began to interrogate the pilots. The crew reported: their AIN (device indicating the horizon line) failed. The device showed such implausible values ​​that the pilots thought about its malfunction. But in fact, when the direction indicators were studied, it turned out that they were in excellent condition. The investigators were even more puzzled when the crew said that three serviceable engines had failed after the start of the crash. In turn, the data "black boxes" said that the engines, with the exception of the fourth, worked properly. If the engines actually failed, it would cause a lot of other problems. For example, depressurization of the cabin and cabin. However, this did not happen.


Flight 006. China Airlines. scheme


            As a result, the investigators had a lot of inconsistencies. The readings of the instruments and pilots were different. Only months later, experts began to understand what happened over the Pacific Ocean. They concluded that with the exception of the small valve in the fourth engine, the plane was in perfect order. It was the crew who made a series of fatal mistakes that almost led to the crash.


            First, the flight engineer left the air vent open when the engine restarted. In order for the faulty engine to start, it had to shut it off. As a result, the engine, which already starts slowly, did not work at all.


            Secondly, to prevent the roll, the captain had to push the steering wheel to the side. This would compensate for the imbalance of traction. Instead, the pilots continued to lead the aircraft on autopilot. The autopilot itself could not overcome this imbalance. Without the help of the helm, the plane was spinning more and more.


Expert: It seems that the pilot forgot that the autopilot can not use the wheel. They believed that the autopilot controls the aircraft as well as people.


            As it turned out, after the engine failed, Captain Ho didn’t turn off the autopilot and didn’t fly the plane. The crew focused on the problem with the engine and forget about management. This has led to disastrous consequences. Airplane more roll and was on the verge to go into a nosedive.


            NTSB investigators believed that Captain concentrated on display flight speed, but forgot about the position indicator. At that time he had already warned that the plane fills up on one side. Also during the fall pilots should trust his instruments. They did not see the horizon, but the devices are functioning properly.


            When the plane crashed, another critical misstep was made. In a panic of falling, the flight engineer saw that all engines lost thrust. However, he did not notice that the captain himself did this in order to reduce the speed of the fall.


Judge: If a flight engineer had not seen the captain reduced power, it is possible to understand why he was confused. He concluded that the reduction in power - a failure, rather than a deliberate act of the captain.


In a stressful situation, the crew restarted

running engines, thereby

denying the thrust plane.


            After months of painstaking investigations, the investigators realized what had happened on board the 006 flight. However, they did not understand why this happened. Were revised medical records of the crew. But nothing was discovered. The plane was flown by a trained, highly skilled crew. Why did they make so many mistakes?


Expert: the first time the daily biorhythms were considered as a possible explanation of why a qualified crew did not notice such obvious things. In fact, the aircraft rolled over on his back until the pilot decides a problem with the engine stalled.


            Although before the departure, Captain Ho rested 15 hours, the investigators looked at his schedule until that fateful night. During six flights in six days, Captain Ho crossed the 18 time zones! He was exhausted. This greatly influenced the behavior of the captain. Due to fatigue, he did not turn off the autopilot for too long and allowed the aircraft to tip over.


            After this incident, the principles of the autopilot were re-examined and appropriate adjustments were made in the instructions of the pilots. And whatever mistakes the 006 flight crew made, they succeeded in their last mission. They saved the plane and passengers!


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