Air Crash Investigation online
Air Crash Investigation online. Little Rock. 1999 of

Air Crash Investigation online. Little Rock. 1999 of


            Despite the latest aircraft and excellent training of pilots, the airlines and their staff are always a lot of problems. Tough competition forces them to work quickly and efficiently. Just this fact played a significant role in the tragedy of the 1420 flight. For a big company like “American Airlines», Even the observance of the flight schedule is a difficulty. Their planes fly all over the world, and the efficiency of the company depends on adherence to the flight schedule. In this episode of "Disaster Investigation Online", the case takes place in Little Rock.


Expert: The last time the competition is incredibly high. And all the dispatchers, pilots, the entire infrastructure of the last forces trying to earn a buck.


            To ensure that the already fragile schedule is not violated, all efforts are being made. But one factor cannot be foreseen by any airline. This weather. In the US southern states storm happen very often. They are not only the reason for the delay, but also a huge threat to passenger flights.


            1 June 1999 of the year. Departure of flight 1420 "American Airlines" was delayed. Because of this, the pilots began to worry even before takeoff. The aircraft has a tight schedule, and the co-pilot told the controller that they could break it. Either the plane will take off within an hour, or the flight will have to be canceled. Also, the pilots were informed about the deterioration of weather conditions at their destination.


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Expert: transferred to the airport a detailed weather forecast and storm warnings Before leaving Dallas weather service. Manager and captain watched reports and decided that they will have time to land the plane in Little Rock before there was a storm.


            139 passengers really wanted to go home. But it soon became clear that the 1420 flight would be racing with the storm. Passengers were called in for boarding and asked them to rushed. With a delay of almost two hours the plane flew from Dallas. However, the pilots did not know that the storm had already walked to Little Rock. The co-pilot Michael Origeyl was a rookie. He has just recently finished training. Captain Buschmann, on the other hand, was a very experienced pilot.


            When the plane was approaching the airport of Little Rock, the pilots were calm. Airborne radar scanned a portion of the sky directly in front of the plane. They saw that a large thundercloud was ahead and a little to the left of the aircraft’s course. The pilots understood that it was necessary to quickly slip through this place.


Expert: Manager gave pilots the latest information. He said that between the two gap thunderclouds, and the plane could have time to slip through the clouds until two thunderstorms are not closed.


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            The plane began to decline into the lumen. His pilots did not understand that they should not bear the thunderstorm in speed. Thunderclouds have already begun to close. When the pilots contacted the dispatcher in Little Rock, he informed them about the bad weather. The plane still continued to decline. Wind gusts reached 23 m / s - enough to tear tiles from the roof of a house. The wind was a great threat to the aircraft, and the pilots had to quickly decide whether it was safe to land.

According to their calculations, the strength and direction of the wind allowed them to sit down. However, the manager told them about another problem - the wind shifts. This sudden change of wind on a small area of ​​the sky. To cope with the changeable wind, pilots needed more time. They decided to go to the landing strip on the other side and sits against the wind. This is a prudent decision. But what would make such a setting, the pilots were forced to circle over the airport. In this they spent precious minutes 10. The situation was aggravated the fact that the radar located in the nose of the aircraft. This means that he does not see the storm clouds when the plane takes place on them. At that time, the storm intensified over the airport. Tension grew in the cockpit. The crew tried to make out the airport. They had to abandon the visual approach, and they have requested assistance in Little Rock for landing blind. This delayed them further. Around shining lightning and pouring rain.


Passenger: The plane was shaking so that I thought he would collapse in the air. I was sitting on pins and needles.


            The plane began to land again. In the meantime, visibility fell far below the minimum: total 480 m. By reducing just before the strip, the plane tossed from side to side. When planting, he had hit on the strip. At a speed of more than 160 km / h the plane reached the end of the runway, struck eight-meter embankment and brought down a steel bridge. His severed into several parts. Finally, he settled on the debris muddy banks of the river. Passengers tried to quickly leave the plane until it was in flames.


Passenger: I had a fractured shoulder blade, a dislocated shoulder, cracked ribs and so on. But I do not feel anything. It was only the desire to get out of there. I was not going there to die.


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            However, not everyone managed to survive. The crash killed passenger 10. Captain Bushman also perished when the cockpit crashed into a steel bridge.


            The National Transport Safety Committee (NTSB) was immediately notified of the incident. For the next 18 months, they investigated the causes that led to the tragedy.


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Expert: At first, we were just about what happened. We knew that the plane went off the runway and the pilots were not able to stop him. We were told that the plane broke when crashed into a steel bridge. However, we do not know the cause of the tragedy.


            The first thing that interested investigators: why the pilots could not stop the plane? Analysis of the tracks on the runway showed that the pilots lost control as soon as they touched the ground. The plane did not go straight. He was thrown all over the strip. Thus, a large aircraft that weighed more than 60 tons sped along the runway spontaneously. Investigators interviewed the surviving passengers, who provided very important information.


Investigator: We are particularly interested in the testimony of passengers, who sat next to the wings. They could look out and see Is brake spoilers graduated.


            The spoilers are large flaps that reduce wing lift. This is necessary to shorten the run. None of the passengers did not see that they were issued. By checking these data, the investigators turned to flight recorders. They confirmed that the spoilers really not released. Because of this, and there was a tragedy. No spoilers in the aircraft had no chance to stay within a band.


            To find out why they did not graduate, the investigators listened to the voice recorders of the aircraft. They were not noted that the pilots involved them. The pilots had not touched the handle is released spoilers. They made a fatal mistake.


            Also, the investigators wanted to know what role the weather played in the crash. Are pilots fully aware of the danger?


Investigator: On this flight there were restrictions imposed by the company. They forbade sits on a wet runway crosswind greater 5 m / s.


            Restrictions on the transverse wind were clearly indicated in the instructions. Pilots 1420 flight to land the plane in violation of all manuals. Approaching Little Rock, they could observe the storm, not only on the radar. Lightning, pouring rain and hail. At that time, experienced captain, the incident 10000 hours, had to turn to another airport or come back to Dallas. Fly blindly into the center of the storm was a suicide.


            But pilots weren't the only ones that deserved criticism. In the course of the investigation, the entire policy of American Airlines came under attack. A scandal broke out at the level of the entire aviation industry. After months of investigations, investigators increasingly delved into the circumstances of the tragedy. Who was to blame? American Airlines refused to admit that their pilots deliberately chose to land in a violent storm. They chose to blame the Little Rock dispatcher. The court case began. Lawyers for American Airlines argued that Flight 1420 did not receive all the weather reports. However, NTSB investigators were not convinced.


Investigator: It is unlikely that the pilots of the aircraft is not fully understood how dangerous the storm.


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            Eight months later, a public hearing was held in Little Rock in the 8 crash case. The co-pilot testified. He said that in the last minutes of the flight, he suggested that the captain refuse to board and fly to another airport. However, after listening to the recordings of the speech recorder, the investigators were unable to confirm his words. The manager of the American Airlines company also testified at the trial. He said that his company's pilots are simply prohibited from flying in thunderstorm conditions. Investigators considered these statements to be insufficiently clear.


Investigator: This is too subjective a statement to the pilots. They need limits and boundaries. What to do in terms of wind, and what to do in a thunderstorm.


            The further the investigation progressed, the clearer it became that landing in a thunderstorm was a common occurrence. Research has shown this to be a pervasive problem. Massachusetts Institute of Technology employees tracked planes departing from Dallas for several weeks. Waiting for a thunderstorm, they waited for the reaction of the pilots. Of the cases 2000 2 / 3 pilots flew straight into the storm and tried to land.


Investigator: I was struck by the data. With the latest equipment and seeing the seriousness of the situation, they still continued to risk their lives and the lives of passengers.


            Also, studies have shown that pilots, losing the schedule, risked more often. It became clear that Little Rock is just the tip of the iceberg. Pilots of all airlines went to undue risk. Causes of the crash of Flight 1420 were found in Dallas. Investigators learned that often tired pilots want to reach your destination at any cost.


Investigator: Pilots often do not see alternatives. They have the end of a long working day. They are tired, and the airport is right below them. Why not try; suddenly succeed. Sometimes it all ends well. But sometimes they go too far and can not fix anything. This is the cause of the disaster. 


            This behavior led to a number of fatal mistakes. At the end of their working day, the pilots of the 1420 flight started a race with the storm. They also forgot to release spoilers, braking without which was not effective. As a result, their mistakes took the lives of 11 people.


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