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jannyk Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Feb-15-09 01:45 PM
Original message
Crashed Plane was NOT on Autopilot
Source: CNN

No Link - Just announced on CNN-

NTSB spokesperson denying AP report that plane was on autopilot. 'Incorrect Information' as per CNN's Whitfield.

No link yet.



I'll post a link as soon as I see one.
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babylonsister Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Feb-15-09 01:46 PM
Response to Original message
1. AP sucks so bad. How did they come to their conclusion? How
Edited on Sun Feb-15-09 01:51 PM by babylonsister
irresponsible.

Edit to add: my DH thinks he heard an NTSB spokesperson say that, so now I'm confused. :crazy:
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Historic NY Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Feb-15-09 01:52 PM
Response to Original message
2. Journalism today, going with sensationalized news w/o checking the facts.
I guess its all about ratings.
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glowing Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Feb-15-09 01:54 PM
Response to Reply #2
3. AND I bet they had about a dozen analysts on explaining how bad
auto-pilot is in this type of a scenario.. only to find out they have bad info? actually unverified info.. These people want answers like yesterday.. and those investigations take a lot of time.. as they should.
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av8rdave Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Feb-15-09 01:57 PM
Response to Reply #3
5. Have they actually been calling autopilot use bad/inappropriate in that situation?
If so, they're clueless as usual. Autopilot isn't bad or good. It just is. Can be very helpful in high workload situations.

If you don't like what it's doing, it can be immediately overridden or disengaged.

Sigh....the press and their aviation "experts."
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progdonkey Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Feb-15-09 02:54 PM
Response to Reply #5
8. yesterday on CNN...
They had an pilot on saying that it could've been a problem with the autopilot, because the autopilot is too good, and in a situation like that, it's possible that upon disengaging the autopilot, all these warnings, etc., that were being handled by the autopilot can suddenly jump out at you and overwhelm you.

Does that sound plausible?
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maseman Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Feb-15-09 03:02 PM
Response to Reply #8
10. That is correct
Autopilot can mask problems that are occuring with flight controls and in icing situations. It is highly recommended to NOT use autopilot in icing situations.
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mn9driver Donating Member (877 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Feb-15-09 02:59 PM
Response to Reply #5
9. The FAA requires that these types of aircraft be hand flown
when in icing conditions, so that a dangerous ice buildup is less likely to go undetected. This procedure was mandated after the Roselawn crash, I think.
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PatrynXX Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Feb-15-09 04:26 PM
Response to Reply #3
13. the media looked to be blaming the crew
earlier when I was watching about auto pilot being on. it's against the law or something.

at least I can cheat in a video game, try it in real life...
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elocs Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Feb-15-09 01:55 PM
Response to Reply #2
4. Posting Latest Breaking News here at DU is about being first, no necessarily right.
Anybody's "facts" get posted as gospel unless they are corrected.
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The Velveteen Ocelot Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Feb-15-09 02:04 PM
Response to Original message
6. So what? Doesn't mean the pilots did anything wrong -- quite the opposite, probably.
Edited on Sun Feb-15-09 02:10 PM by The Velveteen Ocelot
If the crew thought they were stalling, which is what can happen as a result of airfoil icing, the procedure for stall recovery in any airplane normally includes disconnecting the autopilot.
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theoldman Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Feb-15-09 02:53 PM
Response to Original message
7. Whether the plane was on autopilot or not is not the issue.
Somewhere down the line we will find out that the pilot made a mistake. Airplane crashes are rarely the result of a failure of the airplane, most are pilot error. We should all wait until the investigation is over.
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The Velveteen Ocelot Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Feb-15-09 03:47 PM
Response to Reply #7
11. Don't be in too big a hurry to blame the pilots.
It might be pilot error, but it might also have been an aircraft malfunction. A number of very bad accidents have been the result of a failure of an aircraft system or component. I get tired of seeing pilots get blamed all the time.
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Dr.Phool Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Feb-15-09 04:24 PM
Response to Reply #7
12. In the past, the NTSB has gone out of it's way to interject "pilot error".
I used to subscribe to Aviation Safety. AS is a bi-weekly magazine that publishes and analyzes all NTSB investigations of accidents, fatal or not.

Some of their findings of "pilot error" leave you saying, :wtf: I can't give you any specifics, because I just tossed about 10 years of them.

Some modern auto-pilot capabilities will boggle your mind, they're so good. However I can't see any experienced pilot leaving the AP engaged in icing conditions. It seems, from the cockpit voice recorders, that they knew about icing at 16,000 feet, and flew down to 2300 MSL, and turned to final approach when they lost control.

I can't believe, in that scenario, that they were still on auto-pilot at that stage of the flight.
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santamargarita Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Feb-15-09 04:58 PM
Response to Original message
14. Once again the goddamn fascist media lying to us!
Edited on Sun Feb-15-09 04:58 PM by santamargarita
I hate these people!
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RamboLiberal Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Feb-16-09 09:57 AM
Response to Reply #14
26. The media reports on the autopilot is based on what NTSB
is saying. Media can be real dummies when it comes to these kind of incidents but you jumped off the deep end in this case.
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elocs Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Feb-15-09 05:00 PM
Response to Original message
15. The amusing thing is that here, on DU's front page, we have contradicting stories
one above the other.
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CLANG Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Feb-15-09 05:36 PM
Response to Original message
16. MSNBC still says it was on autopilot
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Muttocracy Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Feb-15-09 06:44 PM
Response to Original message
17. Buffalo News has lots of good stories - including on the autopilot engaged then disengaged
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Lex Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Feb-15-09 06:49 PM
Response to Original message
18. It *had been* on autopilot but returned to manual just before the crash
Edited on Sun Feb-15-09 06:49 PM by Lex
is what I read.

It wasn't supposed to be switched to auto-pilot while there was a chance of serious icing, which that night there was.
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Muttocracy Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Feb-15-09 06:53 PM
Response to Reply #18
19. yes - from the link I posted above:
"He said the crew turned on the de-icing system 11 minutes after departure, and that it stayed on the entire flight.

He also said that autopilot was engaged at some point into the flight, and it remained on until 26 seconds before the crew lost contact with air traffic controllers.

When the plane crashed, landed, autopilot was not engaged, he said.

When autopilot engaged, the airplane's system was attempting to push the nose of the plane down.

At some point, the crew then disengaged the autopilot, he said."
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spanone Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Feb-15-09 06:57 PM
Response to Original message
20. well, which was it??????
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CHIMO Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Feb-15-09 09:14 PM
Response to Original message
21. Plane dropped 800 feet in seconds
WASHINGTON For passengers on Continental's ill-fated Flight 3407, the first inkling of looming disaster came scarcely 26 seconds before impact, when the nose of the Bombardier Q400 suddenly jolted skyward, accident investigators reported Sunday.

In the next few seconds, the ice-encrusted aircraft reared and plunged wildly, its nose first rising uncontrollably upward to 31 degrees upward, then diving through a huge arc to 45 degrees downward a terrifying angle airline passengers never normally experience. The out-of-off control Bombardier was also rolling, first to the left so its right wing pointed skyward at a 45 degree angle and then rapidly back in the opposite direction until the left wing was pointing straight up. That nightmarish roll continued until the wing swept beyond vertical. The roll wasn't stopped until it reached 105 degrees.

Details of the gut-wrenching rolling and pitching come from readings stored in the aircraft's flight data recorder and released Sunday by Steven Chealander, the National Transportation Safety Board member leading the investigation team into the crash.

Mr. Chealander also confirmed that the autopilot disengaged when the upset started, ending more than a day of media confusion during which many news outlets reported that the autopilot remained flying the aircraft until impact. Autopilots like the much-less-sophisticated cruise control devices in cars automatically disengage if there the pilots grab the controls or if the aircraft suddenly jolts.

http://www.theglobeandmail.com/servlet/story/RTGAM.2009...

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JustJeking Donating Member (92 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Feb-15-09 09:39 PM
Response to Reply #21
22. *wince* I just pray it was fast
and that the passengers were too disoriented to realize what was going on. *shudders*
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Medusa Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Feb-16-09 10:19 AM
Response to Reply #22
29. It was pitching back and forth as well
I hope they passed out or something before impact.
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carlyhippy Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Feb-16-09 07:15 AM
Response to Original message
23. Astronomical possibility, but
Edited on Mon Feb-16-09 07:17 AM by carlyhippy
maybe the plane was hit by a piece of whatever was left of those satellites that collided in space? Probably not, it's just so bizarre how the plane fell so quickly.
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TNOE Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Feb-16-09 08:20 AM
Response to Reply #23
24. Yes
Especially given the fact that a 9/11 Widow was on that flight - who was one of the women who had pushed Lil George for the 9/11 Commission - and had just met with President Obama the week before.
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DemoTex Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Feb-16-09 09:18 AM
Response to Original message
25. Study the American Eagle 4184 crash (Oct. 31, 1994) well.
NARRATIVE: American Eagle Flight 4184 was scheduled to depart the gate in Indianapolis at 14:10; however, due to a change in the traffic flow because of deteriorating weather conditions at destination Chicago-O'Hare, the flight left the gate at 14:14 and was held on the ground for 42 minutes before receiving an IFR clearance to O'Hare. At 14:55, the controller cleared flight 4184 for takeoff. The aircraft climbed to an en-route altitude of 16,300 feet. At 15:13, flight 4184 began the descent to 10,000 feet. During the descent, the FDR recorded the activation of the Level III airframe deicing system. At 15:18, shortly after flight 4184 leveled off at 10,000 feet, the crew received a clearance to enter a holding pattern near the LUCIT intersection and they were told to expect further clearance at 15:45, which was revised to 16:00 at 15:38. Three minutes later the Level III airframe deicing system activated again. At 15:56, the controller contacted flight 4184 and instructed the flight crew to descend to 8,000 feet. The engine power was reduced to the flight idle position, the propeller speed was 86 percent, and the autopilot remained engaged in the vertical speed (VS) and heading select (HDG SEL) modes. At 15:57:21, as the airplane was descending in a 15-degree right-wing-down attitude at 186 KIAS, the sound of the flap over-speed warning was recorded on the CVR. The crew selected flaps from 15 to zero degrees and the AOA and pitch attitude began to increase. At 15:57:33, as the airplane was descending through 9,130 feet, the AOA increased through 5 degrees, and the ailerons began deflecting to a right-wing-down position. About 1/2 second later, the ailerons rapidly deflected to 13:43 degrees right-wing-down, the autopilot disconnected. The airplane rolled rapidly to the right, and the pitch attitude and AOA began to decrease. Within several seconds of the initial aileron and roll excursion, the AOA decreased through 3.5 degrees, the ailerons moved to a nearly neutral position, and the airplane stopped rolling at 77 degrees right-wing-down. The airplane then began to roll to the left toward a wings-level attitude, the elevator began moving in a nose-up direction, the AOA began increasing, and the pitch attitude stopped at approximately 15 degrees nose down. At 15:57:38, as the airplane rolled back to the left through 59 degrees right-wing-down (toward wings level), the AOA increased again through 5 degrees and the ailerons again deflected rapidly to a right-wing-down position. The captain's nose-up control column force exceeded 22 pounds, and the airplane rolled rapidly to the right, at a rate in excess of 50 degrees per second. The captain's nose-up control column force decreased below 22 pounds as the airplane rolled through 120 degrees, and the first officer's nose-up control column force exceeded 22 pounds just after the airplane rolled through the inverted position (180 degrees). Nose-up elevator inputs were indicated on the FDR throughout the roll, and the AOA increased when nose-up elevator increased. At 15:57:45 the airplane rolled through the wings-level attitude (completion of first full roll). The nose-up elevator and AOA then decreased rapidly, the ailerons immediately deflected to 6 degrees left-wing-down and then stabilized at about 1 degree right-wing-down, and the airplane stopped rolling at 144 degrees right wing down. At 15:57:48, as the airplane began rolling left, back toward wings level, the airspeed increased through 260 knots, the pitch attitude decreased through 60 degrees nose down, normal acceleration fluctuated between 2.0 and 2.5 G, and the altitude decreased through 6,000 feet. At 15:57:51, as the roll attitude passed through 90 degrees, continuing toward wings level, the captain applied more than 22 pounds of nose-up control column force, the elevator position increased to about 3 degrees nose up, pitch attitude stopped decreasing at 73 degrees nose down, the airspeed increased through 300 KIAS, normal acceleration remained above 2 G, and the altitude decreased through 4,900 feet. At 15:57:53, as the captain's nose-up control column force decreased below 22 pounds, the first officer's nose-up control column force again exceeded 22 pounds and the captain made the statement "nice and easy." At 15:57:55, the normal acceleration increased to over 3.0 G. Approximately 1.7 seconds later, as the altitude decreased through 1,700 feet, the elevator position and vertical acceleration began to increase rapidly. The last recorded data on the FDR occurred at an altitude of 1,682 feet (vertical speed of approximately 500 feet per second), and indicated that the airplane was at an airspeed of 375 KIAS, a pitch attitude of 38 degrees nose down with 5 degrees of nose-up elevator, and was experiencing a vertical acceleration of 3.6 G. The airplane impacted a wet soybean field partially inverted, in a nose down, left-wing-low attitude.
Based on petitions filed for reconsideration of the probable cause, the NTSB on September 2002 updated it's findings.


PROBABLE CAUSE: "The loss of control, attributed to a sudden and unexpected aileron hinge moment reversal, that occurred after a ridge of ice accreted beyond the deice boots while the airplane was in a holding pattern during which it intermittently encountered supercooled cloud and drizzle/rain drops, the size and water content of which exceeded those described in the icing certification envelope. The airplane was susceptible to this loss of control, and the crew was unable to recover. Contributing to the accident were 1) the French Directorate General for Civil Aviations (DGACs) inadequate oversight of the ATR 42 and 72, and its failure to take the necessary corrective action to ensure continued airworthiness in icing conditions; 2) the DGACs failure to provide the FAA with timely airworthiness information developed from previous ATR incidents and accidents in icing conditions, 3) the Federal Aviation Administrations (FAAs) failure to ensure that aircraft icing certification requirements, operational requirements for flight into icing conditions, and FAA published aircraft icing information adequately accounted for the hazards that can result from flight in freezing rain, 4) the FAAs inadequate oversight of the ATR 42 and 72 to ensure continued airworthiness in icing conditions; and 5) ATRs inadequate response to the continued occurrence of ATR 42 icing/roll upsets which, in conjunction with information learned about aileron control difficulties during the certification and development of the ATR 42 and 72, should have prompted additional research, and the creation of updated airplane flight manuals, flight-crew operating manuals and training programs related to operation of the ATR 42 and 72 in such icing conditions."

(Emphasis mine)


Fatalities: 68 / Occupants: 68

http://aviation-safety.net/database/record.php?id=19941...


In-flight icing can be an inscrutable motherf*cker. I will be posting a de-icing/anti-icing primer in the next day or so (maybe in parts).

So many misconceptions .. so little time.
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RamboLiberal Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Feb-16-09 10:04 AM
Response to Reply #25
28. I thought the book Unheeded Warning: The Inside Story of American Eagle Flight 4184
was a very good read on this accident and how that particular turboprop was probably inadequate for flying in weather conditions where icing occurs.
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RamboLiberal Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Feb-16-09 10:00 AM
Response to Original message
27. What Buffalo News is reporting as of 8:42 am
Edited on Mon Feb-16-09 10:01 AM by RamboLiberal
Everything seemed normal for the first 59 minutes and 34 seconds of Flight 3407 from Newark to Buffalo.

But the last 26 seconds launched a terrifying descent in which the crew tried to regain control of the plummeting plane as it was rolling and twisting, according to information retrieved from the two black box recorders of the ill-fated plane and released Sunday.

A minute before the plane crashed, nothing appeared amiss. The autopilot was controlling the descent at 154 mph, the landing gear and flaps were lowered, and, at 1,650 feet above the ground, the plane was on course for landing on Runway 23 at Buffalo Niagara International Airport.

But 34 seconds later, the plane suddenly went out of control and began a deadly roller-coaster descent that ended at 10:20 Thursday night.

The pilot and first officer heard a warning tone, signaling that the autopilot had automatically disengaged.

http://www.buffalonews.com/home/story/580853.html

I don't know if NTSB has found something that says autopilot wasn't engaged or you misheard.
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Piewhacket Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Feb-16-09 12:44 PM
Response to Original message
30. OK , I've got enough... I'm calling it.... Vortex
Cause of Crash: Vortex (from a preceding heavy aircrraft).

Figures it out days ago, but held my tongue. Because
You don't pre-judge matters, you investigate, eliminate alternatives. Yet its pretty obvious.
Vortex is the only effect severe enough to explain this crash. Ice may have been
a contributing cause. Pilots are well aware of these things.

I have a pretty good track record on this stuff. On Feb 3, 2003 Space Shuttle Columbia was reported lost
on re-entry. While the media idiots and "experts" blathered, I had the cause immediately, five minutes actually,
heat shield failure. Its not the only possibility, but its the overwhelmingly most likely cause of
such a sudden catastrophic loss on reentry... yet no bleeping "expert" seem to have a bleeping CLUE?
Puleeeze.

Maybe I'm smarter, and sure the media "experts" are def full of shit... but there seem to be more
going on. So I'm seriously wondering to what extent the media manipulates these stories to suppress
relevant sensible information in an effort to sensationalize, slander, promote outrage, and extend the
life of these stories. Just wondering.



http://www.ukppg.com/dangerofvortexs.htm
Every aircraft in flight generates a wake.
Historically, when pilots encountered this wake in flight, the
disturbance was attributed to "prop wash." It is known, however,
that this disturbance is caused by a pair of counter rotating
vortices trailing from the wing tips. The vortices from large
aircraft pose problems to encountering aircraft. For instance,
the wake of these aircraft can impose rolling moments exceeding
the roll control capability of some aircraft. Further,
turbulence generated within the vortices, if encountered at close
range, can damage aircraft components and equipment and cause
personal injuries. The pilot must learn to envision the location
of the vortex wake generated by large aircraft and adjust his
flight path accordingly.


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WePurrsevere Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Feb-16-09 01:58 PM
Response to Original message
31. Locking...
No link provided to verify story per LBN rules.

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