3 Links I Love: The Reason Air Asia Crashed, Delta Defends New York Slots, CEO of the Year

Accidents/Incidents, Air Asia, Delta, JFK - New York/JFK, LGA - New York/La Guardia

Today’s featured link:
Circuit-board solder crack cited in Indonesia AirAsia crash probeATW
They say it’s never just one thing that leads to an aircraft accident, and this is a textbook example. Remember when the Air Asia flight went down in stormy skies? People just assumed it was bad weather that brought the airplane down. Not so much.

It turns out a crack caused a fault in the rudder limiting system. Did that bring the airplane down? No. But it distracted the crew long enough that they kept trying to reset things. And at one point, the efforts to fix the problem let to the auto-pilot being shut off. The first officer was flying the airplane while the captain tried to fix the problem. Apparently the captain said to “pull down” which led the first officer to actually pull down on the joystick. That made the airplane climb, not what should have been going on. One thing led to another and the flight was doomed.

So we had maintenance problems that led to a distracted flight crew. We had CRM problems since the captain and first officer couldn’t effectively communicate. I’m guessing there are training and standards issues here too. And the weather? Well that appears to have a minor player if that.

Links I Love

Two for the road:
Delta to Rivals: Stop Whining, We Spent Years Acquiring Our N.Y. SlotsTheStreet.com
Delta is apparently hitting back at new entrant carriers who want access to New York. According to Delta, these carriers just need to suck it up and act like Delta has over the years – be patient and take opportunities as they come.

CEO of the Year: Doug ParkerD Magazine
Apparently CEOs in Dallas have decided that American CEO Doug Parker did the best job this year.

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8 comments on “3 Links I Love: The Reason Air Asia Crashed, Delta Defends New York Slots, CEO of the Year

  1. The AirAsia crash report reminds me of the accident that forms the plotline of the hokey Michael Chrighton book “Airframe”. In the book, a bad, cracked, sensor leads the airplane to report the slats have deployed when they haven’t. The inexperienced pilot (the captain’s son) deployed the slats and lost control of the airplane. (It didn’t crash, it just porpised like a dolphin until the pilot passed out and the AP took over.)

    It’s remarkable how many fairly recent aviation accidents have been simple, easily-preventable, stalls. I took flying lessons (long enough to solo), and we did stall practice beginning with the very first lesson. While I know stall recovery is VERY different (and MUCH more difficult) in a passenger jet vs. a Cessna 152, the basic process of recognizing an impending stall remains the same (the stall alarm is always a good hint, as is the flight controls feeling a bit limp.)

    And why were the pilots so intent on fixing that overlimit control right away? It would virtually never be needed during the cruise phase of flight unless you want to do some dogfighting while piloting an airliner. I would have thought that that would be something that could wait while communicating with the maintenance folks on the ground.

    I thought the BAPA quote at the bottom of the article was pretty baldly self-serving; obviously glossing over the fact that the pilot screwed up royally. The basic instrumentation was working just fine; there was no excuse for stalling that aircraft.

    1. I only took flight lessons long enough to know I am pretty sure I could recover any plane from a stall and that a monkey can take it off. Landing would be bumpy, though. I read this report and the Air France one and wonder how a plane that can glide at least 30-50 miles without engines can ever crash from a basic stall. Baffling. Either way, I am getting on a steel tube yet again tomorrow. Hopefully the pilot learned from my instructor. Nose down, but not too hard.

  2. I have heard it said that airline crashes are like all of the holes in swiss cheese lining up. The above case is certainly like that.

  3. Anybody who can’t recover from an aerodynamic stall and has to be told to push the nose down has no business in the cockpit.

    1. I agree. It seems that at least some Asian pilots appear to be button pushers rather than real pilots. Very sad and troubling.

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