Tag Archives: accident

Swiftair MD-83 EC-LTV, BEA interim report

Some weeks ago I read the first interim report from the “Bureau d’Enquêtes et d’Analyses” (BEA) on the accident suffered by the Swiftair MD-83 matriculated EC-LTV on July 24th in Mali (find the report here, PDF 5.2MB). The last 1’30” of that flight must have been scary.

Take a look at the records of altitude, attitude, bank angle:

EC-LTV parametres

MD-83 EC-LTV parameters (2014, Mali).

Probably you are familiar with this other graphic that has appeared in the press:

EC-LTV trajectory worked out by BEA from FDR.

EC-LTV trajectory worked out by BEA from FDR.

Today, at lunch while on a training course, I had the chance to discuss about the accident with the course instructor (a retired former Airbus senior vice president in customer services) who pointed me at a similar accident undergone by a MD-82 HK-4374X in Venezuela in August 2005.

I went to the BEA website to check for the report of that other accident (here, PDF 20MB, in Spanish). While the investigation of the EC-LTV will most probably reach to the conclusions of the root causes of the accident, the are many similarities between the cases:

  • Hot weather conditions (ISA+10 or above, that is temperatures not below -30 degrees at FL31),
  • proximity of thunderstorms,
  • use of anti ice (inducing a penalty measured in about 3,000ft penalty for available engine thrust),
  • autopilot engaged in “Speed on Thrust” mode in “Altitude Hold” (making the aircraft pitch upwards when losing speed due to the lack of available power at FL310 due to hot weather and use of anti ice),
  • engine EPR close to maximum values for both engines (followed by a oscillations when the airplane starts to lose speed),
HK-4374X parametres.

MD-82 HK-4374X parameters (2005, Venezuela).

The report of the 2005 accident included a study from NASA and a presentation by Boeing then chief pilot covering similar incidents and showing a 2002 Boeing Flight Operations Bulletin warning flight crews of this kind of situations.

Boeing Flight Operations Bulletin MD-82-02-02A.

Boeing Flight Operations Bulletin MD-82-02-02A.

I’m looking forward for future reports from the BEA to see what are the findings they reach.

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Reconstruction of AF447 accident

The accident of the flight Air France 447 was deadliest in the history of the airline and, since it happened almost 3 years ago, has appeared every now and then in the media. Today, while having lunch with two colleagues I learnt about a documentary about it that was shown in French TV channel France 5 last Wednesday.

The documentary, produced by Bernard Vaillot, is titled “Vol Rio-Paris, les raisons d’un crash“,  lasts about 50 minutes, and the programme in which it was emitted included an interview afterwards (complete programme duration 1h08′).

The documentary includes as main attraction a reconstruction of the last 4 minutes of the flight. This reconstruction is built from the cockpit voice recorder (CVR) and the flight data recorder (FDR), often referred as black box. A complete transcription, with comments, interpretation and an exhaustive description of the events can be found in the different interim reports, briefings and releases made by the French BEA (Bureau d’Enquêtes et d’Analyses), the body in charge of the accident investigation.

In the BEA reports [PDF, 10.3MB, New Findings, pgs. 77-78] some facts were established: such as the loss of correct speed indication due to the icing of the pitot probes, the disconnection of the autopilot and the subsequent reaction from the pilot, pulling the stick towards him nosing up the aircraft, increasing the angle of attack until the aircraft enters in stall.

Other interesting features of the documentary are the testimonies of different pilots, including a real stall exercise performed by a flight instructor (from minute 25). He first shows how to recover from a stall, then he simulates the wrong reaction from the AF447 pilot, pulling the stick towards him, pitching up, while the stall alarm was still sounding.

You may see the following trailer below before venturing to see the whole programme.

EDIT: The trailer video has been deleted from Youtube, however, now the full video is available:

Unfortunately, I haven’t yet seen a subtitled or doubled version of it.


Filed under Aerospace & Defence