New York Plane Crash -- 50 Dead

Discussion in 'Current Events' started by mkrishnan, Feb 13, 2009.

  1. Moderator emeritus

    mkrishnan

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    #1
    http://www.nytimes.com/2009/02/13/nyregion/13crash.html?hp

    A flight out of Newark crashed into a home, killing all passengers / crew and also a person in the home into which it crashed...

    Ironically and sadly, another recent NYT article discussing the rate of fatalities in emergency helicopter medical transportation ("lifeflighting") noted how high the rate of accidents is in comparison to the near elimination of commercial airplane fatalities.

    The crash comes on the heels of the heavily reported emergency landing of a plane in the Hudson River earlier this year. And just this week also, a Southwest airplane had an engine catch on fire and was forced to make an emergency landing -- I met someone in Atlanta at a conference who apparently was on that flight.

    I myself was on an airplane that required a (very mild) evasive maneuver this last week because it was assigned to occupied airspace. That was a total non-issue, and there was no danger, but at the same time, I can't remember the last time that happened while I was on a plane.

    I don't know if this thread is suited for the PRSI or here, but...

    I wanted to express my condolences to everyone who has been affected by this tragedy. And also wonder... what has changed, and why has there been a sudden spike in air traffic issues?
     
  2. macrumors 68000

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    #2
    I know a lot of people in Buffalo, some not so well but they are professional contacts. I'm nervously awaiting news...
     
  3. macrumors G3

    dmr727

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    #3
    With regard to the evasive maneuver - you might be able to blame the FAA for that kind of thing. They've made being an air traffic controller pretty miserable. Most locations are understaffed, the experienced guys are retiring early, and the new contract for the guys coming in is so crummy that they're not exactly attracting the best talent anymore.

    On the whole ATC in the U.S. is very good, but I've definitely noticed a decline in quality over the years. To be fair to ATC, what you experienced might not have been their fault - there are many situations where the responsibility of separation falls on the shoulders of the pilots.

    Nonetheless, the FAA is certainly not doing ATC any favors. I'm not going to say that it's not safe or anything, but it's certainly not going in the right direction, IMO.
     
  4. thread starter Moderator emeritus

    mkrishnan

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    #4
    Yeah, don't get me wrong -- I don't really see evidence so far to blame these problems on personal irresponsibility. Particularly, just the small sampling of various problems I mentioned happened each of them to different airlines. Including Southwest, whom I generally adore. So I think there are some real systemic issues that need to be analyzed before the US aviation safety record experiences further decline.
     
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    SactoGuy18

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    #5
    From what I've read online, accident investigators noted an unusual amount of wing icing on the remains of the wing they found at the crash site. Given the really cold and poor weather last night, it's not surprising the accident happened in the first place. :(
     
  6. macrumors P6

    iJohnHenry

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    #6
    She probably trimmed to the acceptable stall speed for that aircraft, then all hell broke loose. Something like a wind-sheer, but with icing.

    Sad. :(
     
  7. macrumors Core

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    #7
    so sad. my thoughts go out to the families affected by this.
    does seem to be a rash of accidents lately. weird.
     
  8. j26
    macrumors 65816

    j26

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    #8
    True.

    There was a crash landing in London too - fortunately no fatalities
     
  9. macrumors 6502

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    #9
    This was about 10 miles from my home, but I went to bed early and didn't hear about it until this morning. My school's valedictorian lost her father on board.
     
  10. macrumors 65816

    MooneyFlyer

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    #10
    There's been an effort for a while to go to the next gen traffic control system. But, it's tough to get it funded and the airlines can't pony up because they have no money. One of the options they've been trying to force is to get the general aviation community to pay for it -- which is crap.

    In this case, I hadn't heard about the flight crew "picking too short of a runway". I'd be surprised if that ends up being the cause. I suspect based on pure conjecture and some experience that icing was the issue. I have not read much on the subject...

    Icing is a major problem that this plane would have been able to handle easily if everything was in working order.

    In any case, this is a sad day for aviation and the people involved :(
     
  11. macrumors 68000

    Mr. Giver '94

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    #11
    Where was Sully when they needed him??? :confused:

    This is very sad though...:(
     
  12. macrumors 68000

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    #12
    He was extremely lucky that they had a path near the Hudson - and I can imagine that it might have been a different scenario had it been night time. Of course his brain worked at lightning speed to make that decision - which is what saved everyone.

    I have always noticed that plane crashes happen together - one crash will be followed by a couple of crashes within a few weeks - and then there will be relative calm for a few years. Weird coincidence.

    Terrible for the families.. I can't imagine going to the airport, in excitement to receive a friend/family member and hearing that you will never see them again. :(
     
  13. thread starter Moderator emeritus

    mkrishnan

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    #13
    It seems to be a preliminary candidate, with a lot of info still to be gathered. It's interesting to note that there's so much variability in terms of the view of proper management of icing on these small airplanes.

    Link

     
  14. macrumors 68020

    SactoGuy18

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    #14
    From the description of the news article it appears the Dash 8-Q400 suffered the same fate that befell an ATR-72 turboprop back in 1994--the wing had too much ice buildup and any movement of the wing surfaces causes a serious aerodynamic upset, causing the plane to go out of control.

    It should be noted that makes this situation worse is that both the Dash 8-Q400 and ATR72 are T-tail designs, which means the horizontal stabilizers are on top of the vertical tail. This makes the plane VERY susceptible to a condition called deep stall, where the plane violently goes out of control during a high angle of attack stall and the horizontal tail surfaces loses effectiveness, with little to no chance of recovery. The British found this out the hard way when a BAC 111 prototype crashed during a test flight at a high angle of attack, forcing BAC to install a "stick shaker" to warn the pilot of such a condition. That's why I've never heard of a BAe 748 or ATP or a Saab 340 or 2000 go into such a violent stall, given the mounting of the horizontal tail surfaces on the rear of the fuselage of the airplane on these commuter plane models.
     
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    dmr727

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    #15
    Yep, it's complicated by the fact that icing isn't particularly predictable. There are rules of thumb about when it can occur and what to do when there's a lot of ice on the airframe (if I knew I was carrying a substantial amount of ice, the last thing I'd do is touch the flaps), but it can vary greatly in the type of ice that forms as well as how fast it accumulates.

    The Q400, as MooneyFlier noted, should be able to handle icing reasonably well. There are a lot of variables here that could have caused this crash, and as always there'll be lots of speculation until the NTSB releases its findings.

    If I had to *guess*, I'd say that the tail is what stalled, not the wing. How that much ice got on the airframe - who knows?
     
  16. macrumors 604

    Melrose

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    #16
    That's about an hour or so from my house.. Somehow it just seems different being close to home.
     
  17. macrumors G3

    dmr727

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    #17
    Yeah, this is a bummer. It's strange how these things tend to happen in groups.
     
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    sushi

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    #18
    Yes it is. Weird.

    To add, working a crash site is definitely not a pleasant experience -- especially if you know the some of the individuals involved.
     
  19. macrumors G3

    dmr727

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    #19
    Wow - you say that as if you know from experience. That must be very tough.
     
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    sushi

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    #20
    Yep.

    It is.

    Something you never forget.
     
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    sushi

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    #21
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    sushi

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    #23
    Definitely.

    Unfortunately, not all training programs are the same.

    Years ago, a China Airlines plane crashed in Nagoya Japan. As I understand, the cause of the crash was pilot error. The PIC made a pre-solo mistake. Really sad.
     
  24. macrumors G5

    yg17

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    #24
    It'll be a cold day in hell before I get on a Colgan plane, if that's the caliber of pilots they're hiring.

    I don't even know if I'd ever get on a Continental plane after this. I know it wasn't their pilots or plane, but still, they should probably have paid more attention to Colgan's training program, or lack thereof. Plus, any airline who thinks it's a good idea to fly 757s across the Atlantic (which, on several occasions has resulted in the westbound flight needing to land in Canada to refuel since the 757s don't have the range to cross the Atlantic and make it to EWR if they encounter a strong headwing) isn't any carrier I want to fly on.
     
  25. macrumors G4

    Rodimus Prime

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    #25

    I would expand that to industry wide. From what I seen on TV this lack of training on the regional side is very VERY typical. I willing to bet all the major careers are that way.
     

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