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'[OT] Airline Safety (was: TWA 800 and Airline Safe'
On Sep 25, 2004, at 4:55 AM, Russell McMahon wrote:
>> Flying through it during an approach in a jet (like the Delta flight
>> in Dallas) can be deadly because right at the time you need the power
>> the turbines are spun down
> I recall an account of the situation when "wind shear" was first being
> recognised after a commercial crash. The results from the flight
> recorder was used to programme a simulator with equivalent conditions.
> Experienced pilots were asked to fly a simulator approach and only
> told "save the aircraft at all costs, land if you can". Thus warned
> that something "unusual" was going to happen, but with no warning
> about what it was, about 80% crashed.
Hi Russell, I wondered if you'd jump in here. ;-) How's your flying
That was the Delta crash - same one. The microburst that hit the
aircraft during final approach caused speed excursions in excess of 40
knots if I remember correctly. One of the major indications that this
is happening (without outside wind references) is major changes in
airspeed (and groundspeed if you have something like GPS on board)
during the approach with no changes in pitch or power (angle of
Crews now train to immediately engage TOGA (Takeoff-Go Around) if the
aircraft is equipped and execute a go-around during wind-shear events,
and most of the data that supports that procedural change can be tied
directly back to the Delta crash in Dallas.
The only solace for me is that statistically now that I've had it
happen once to me directly, I'm not statistically likely to have it
happen again. On the other hand, Dr. Fujita (his name is where the
name of the "F-scale" like "F-5 Tornado" comes from) did much of his
study for his insightful wind-shear, microburst, and severe weather
studies about 20 miles from my home in an open field. That open field
is less than a mile from where Denver International Airport sits today.
Gotta love bureaucrats - picked a lovely place for an airport! Oh,
that's also why DIA gets all of the high-tech wind-shear warning
gadgets very early in their test-cycles too! Modifications to
controller procedures now include required callouts on the tower's
arrival and departure frequencies of wind-shear events as measured by
those tools. You hear "Attention all aircraft: Wind Shear Alert in
progress. Wind at north airport boundary 350 @ 10, Mid-runway 270 @
15..." etc, quite often when listening to DIA's tower. The engineer
that created those tools for the controllers has probably saved a few
You guys are making me want to get away from this computer and go over
to APA for a little zooooomin'! (Keep it up! Heh!) I love flying
from an airport where the ATIS includes "Check Density Altitude" on hot
Speaking of TOGA, I was reading in ASRS about a number of incidents
where the TOGA switch was inadvertently toggled during taxi
operations... whoooooosh! Heh. Amazing how something designed to take
workload off the pilot like TOGA, where one just pushes a button and
proper takeoff power is set automagically, can also be a royal pain in
the hind-end when not wanted.
Hmmm... you guys have me wondering if any of the current crop of PC
flight sims can simulate a windshear or even cooler, a microburst
event. Probably not, but that'd be fun to code up the WX data to have
people try to shoot an approach in one in a light aircraft. Could be
used as an eye-opener for new instrument pilots.
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