American Airlines; Crash: Nov. 12, 2001
It seems there were not many comments to the AA crash of November 2001, as soon as it was ruled an accident instead of an attack the media stopped the reports and the story disappeared. The years following have been the safest years in Airline Industry History. What if the terrorists stole an Airbus instead of an easy to fly and reliable Boeing aircraft during 9-11? They may have had the tail fall off and crash it on the way to its destination and their attack would have failed. Maybe Airbus wants US airlines to buy more of their aircraft which fall apart in the air and that will be their contribution to US anti-terrorist policy? In my humble opinion; that Airbus which crashed was a flying hunk of junk anyway.
We need better standards on new airliners, which are made of composites because we now know more than we did previously about these new modern materials. We know more composites and their life cycles and airworthiness. We know more about their durability related to strength over time and after years of ultraviolet rays, heat expansion and contraction, fatigue, and sheer strength. Go read the book Airframe by Michael Creighton. It seems this episode in American Air Disasters History is a chapter that we did not have to see to fruition.
Remember Chicago O hare disaster with the DC-10, engines are not suppose to fall off airplanes and aircraft should not be born with defects, airlines should maintain aircraft, and pylons which attach powerful engines to wings. These pylons and engine attachments should never be so rigid as to break off at the first sign of wind shear, adverse yaw at slow speeds or wake turbulence. If American Airlines thinks that it has inspected all its aircraft and that makes them okay to fly they are on drugs, the only way to test them is to put a lateral force on each vertical stabilizer at similar to prevailing pressures per square inch as that thought to be caused by the turbulence of the KLM 747 cargo plane at a ninety second interval with full flaps and fully loaded for a fourteen hour non-stop flight climbing out and requiring the sufficient lift to get the airplane out of the way of the NIMBY whistle blowers for airport noise abatement.
Airports make noise deal with it. If you want International Trade, you will have more noise from less complying aircraft, get use to it. If you ask those aircraft to do a maximum climb out which slows the aircraft down on departure then do not take off another aircraft with a fast closing speed directly behind them at a three-minute interval, which may soon be 90 seconds or less. And for sure do not allow a pilot to jerk the controls in the most sensitive time during any flight; V-2 to 5,000 AGL. And for Pete's sake check the technology of yesterday against the knowledge of today. We know composite material is not the end all for weight reduction and strength. We know more today about this stuff than ever before. It is time to check all military aircraft too for possible fatigue and in flight failures.
There was a 747 that lost a tail a few years back and it took them 27 minutes to crash that one, there have sense been several airliners land safely after losing a vertical stabilizer. A real experienced crew not using the two-axis auto-pilot for take off and actually had their hands on the controls would have had a much better chance of feeling the aircraft out of its situation and with regards to the shift in weight, loss of control, loss of two of the three hydraulic systems and been able to straighten the aircraft using minimal use of thrust differential on each engine to fly the plane and keep the airspeed. No body needed to die that day.
It is high time that all Airbus aircraft with composite tails be tested for strength by pushing on the tails sideways to an appropriate PSI. Only then can you guarantee a non-repeat situation. Also any aircraft, which is built and has had its structural integrity compromised by a miss manufactured or additional hole being drilled in an integral part of the aircrafts component accidentally, ought to not be allowed to be used; scrap it, build another tail. We have performance and strict engineering principles mandated by natural laws governed by Mother Nature who could really give a darn what you do. If you jeopardize or disavow these known quantities you will get to visit Murphy much more often than originally anticipated. Shame on Airbus, Shame on AMR, shame on the pilots; shame on us; are we so stupid as to think that the characteristics of flight do not apply to those who manage AMR or build the planes at Airbus? Can they arbitrarily make decisions based on money and profits over the truth of flight characteristics which allow for maximizing time speed and distance above and beyond those natural laws relating to the truth and knowledge know the World over as Gravity, weight, thrust and lift? On this three dimensional plain called Earth, we have givens, they do not change, why do we assume? This crash was not as if it were the original Comet which crashed due to circumstances not yet known such as harmonics, no this crash was due to negligence of AMR management putting short term profitability over safety and consumer expectations. Some industry analysts say that Airbus builders are working for the laziest Union in the World selling to mostly government subsidized airlines.
The aircraft involved in that crash was an old Eastern Airlines plane, which was probably not too sturdy anyway for lack of maintenance back when that airline was falling apart. Three pilots sitting in a cockpit who make way over the average standard of living and negated the reason they are so highly paid. They should not have been that close to the KLM, as the pilot in command should have moved away from the problem and when problems did occur should have flown the plane first.
Composite preventative maintenance has been discussed for years and an article I saved from May 1999 in Aviation Maintenance entitled; Sharing Solutions on Composite Repair Issues will help some people understand that this accident was avoidable. Also in the article was a reference to CACRCs guidebook;
ISBN # 0-7680-0020-3, Order # AE-27.
After the O'Hare crash they put all DC-10 pilots through the same scenario, half survived in the simulator, thus that American Airlines flight and crash was also preventable totally. How many times are we to allow one airline with an abundance of political clout to get away with this stuff? How quickly we forget. Think about it.