Sunday, October 26, 2014

Series of events caused plane crash

OTTAWA—The Transportation Safety Board says a deadly plane crash in Nunavut was an unfortunate combination of technical and human factors.
The board blames an undetected autopilot change, a faulty compass reading, and disagreement between the pilots about whether to abort the landing.

“This accident was the product of a complex series of events, all of them lining up together,” said lead investigator Brian MacDonald.
“The fact that the autopilot changed modes when it did was one element; the busy cockpit environment and the compass error were also factors,” he noted.
“But what ultimately tied all these things together was that as the flight progressed, each pilot developed a different understanding of the situation and they were unable to reconcile that difference,” MacDonald added.
The crash of First Air flight 6550 in August, 2011 killed eight passengers and four crew members.
Three passengers miraculously survived when the Boeing 737 slammed into a hill while pilots were trying to land the plane at the Resolute airport.
The board said the co-pilot twice suggested the landing be called off but the pilot didn’t believe that was necessary.
It wasn’t until alarms sounded seconds before the crash that the pilot decided to pull up, but it was too late.
The crash split the plane into three pieces and flung flaming wreckage across the rugged tundra.
Several lawsuits already have been filed over the disaster.
The suits cast partial blame on the Canadian Forces, which had taken control over the small airport on the day of the crash.
The transportation board said today that the military’s presence was not a contributing factor in the crash.
The military was holding an annual manoeuvre—one that ironically included a mock plane crash—and had established a temporary air traffic control tower to guide in all planes.
The airport was normally an uncontrolled airspace and pilots navigated themselves onto the runway.
The suits claim the military did not have enough people on duty to handle the air traffic, and those working the tower were not briefed or properly trained to navigate civilian planes.
The suits further detail how soldiers gave the First Air crew permission to land.
None of the allegations has been proven in court.

More stories