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AV52 On National Geographic (Air Crash Invest.)  
User currently offlineACVitale From United States of America, joined Aug 2001, 922 posts, RR: 10
Posted (9 years 8 months 2 weeks 2 days 23 hours ago) and read 7140 times:

As we speak here in Ghana on National Geographic is the Avianca 052 crash in January 1990.

I remember the crash. I was non revenue travelling with Pan Am. We were the ground handler for Avianca. I had my flight to Orlando cancelled due to weather.

As fate would have it I ended up spending the evening volunteering to assist the relatives who were at JFK Pan Am Worldport Terminal 3 waiting on the arriving flight.

I remember the evening vividly but, Even so, I learned somethings I was not aware of.

This accident was avoidable and should never have happened. The language barrier was an excuse. The real cause as correctly identified was the continued holds and the failure to use the word EMERGENCY instead of the word URGENT.

Now I learn that this was an accident that was inevitable with the unrealistic goal of 33 landings an hour in windshear, rain, fog, and with one runway shutdown.

I will not forget the calls and then watching the monitors change to "SEE AGENT".

May the victims of AV052 rest in peace.

12 replies: All unread, jump to last
 
User currently offlineUN_B732 From United States of America, joined Jul 2001, 4289 posts, RR: 4
Reply 1, posted (9 years 8 months 2 weeks 2 days 22 hours ago) and read 7115 times:

It's on here in Serbia also! Keep watching, another flight should beon in 9 minutes.


What now?
User currently offlineOPNLguy From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 2, posted (9 years 8 months 2 weeks 2 days 21 hours ago) and read 7100 times:

Quoting ACVitale (Thread starter):
This accident was avoidable and should never have happened. The language barrier was an excuse. The real cause as correctly identified was the continued holds and the failure to use the word EMERGENCY instead of the word URGENT.

I'll be the first to grant you that the "accident was avoidable and should never have happened" but there is no singular "real cause." There are several, and NTSB determines the "probable cause" as well as items/factors "contributing" to cause the accident. Here's what they said re: Avianca 52:

"The National Transportation Safety Board determines that the probable cause of this accident was the failure of the flightcrew to adequately manage the airplane's fuel load, and their failure to communicate an emergency fuel situation to air traffic control before fuel exhaustion occurred. Contributing to the accident was the flightcrew's failure to use an airline operational control dispatch system to assist them during the international flight into a high-density airport in poor weather. Also contributing to the accident was inadequate traffic flow management by the Federal Aviation Administration and the lack of standardized understandable terminology for pilots and controllers for minimum and emergency fuel states."

While the "holds" you mentioned were covered by NTSB's citing FAA's "inadequate traffic flow management", the number 1 item on the contributing factors list was the lack of an operational control system. The Avianca flight had a dispatcher, and although they did the original flight planning work (with some error in weights and the selection of BOS as the destination alternate), there was no in-flight communication between dispatcher and PIC. The airborne holds at ORF, BOTON, and CAMRN all ate up fuel, and had a MIA-JFK flight on a US Part 121 Domestic/Flag received similar holds at those points, the flight's dispatcher and PIC would have been communicating about contingencies. In reality, the flight should have been diverted to someplace like IAD, PIT, or SYR. Their filed alternate (BOS) was forecasted to be below alternate minimums even before they left Colombia, but it was a moot point, as fuel to have reached it was consumed in the first hold over ORF.

Bottomline was that the rules under which Avianca 52 operated (Part 129) essentially kicked it back to the rules of the airline's home country, and in this case, their's were far less stringent than US Part 121 Domestic/Flag, which I was told they have since adopted.

For the full report, see:

http://www.avsaf.org/reports/US/1990...AviancaAirlines_Boeing707-321B.pdf


User currently offlineACVitale From United States of America, joined Aug 2001, 922 posts, RR: 10
Reply 3, posted (9 years 8 months 2 weeks 2 days 21 hours ago) and read 7077 times:

OPNLGuy,

No disagreement, I remember that night vividly.

Nonetheless, I had no idea of the argument that had taken place between the FAA supervisors on duty at JFK and the FAA traffic management system managers.

Finally, I was aware of the language problem and the failure to use the word emergency.

On the other hand what I note is the failure of the controllers to pass the message between each other with none of the controllers being advised that the previous controller had been told they had no fuel and not enough to divert to the alternate.

Finally, They should have diverted long before that point. IIRC ICAO rules are divert with enough fuel to arrive at alternate with 30 mins of fuel remaining.


User currently offlineTomys From Czech Republic, joined Mar 2005, 88 posts, RR: 0
Reply 4, posted (9 years 8 months 2 weeks 2 days 20 hours ago) and read 7055 times:

It was one of very frustrating stories (as is every other when people lose their lives). I know one of the explanation was that in Spanish 'priority' means 'we request to be first' but I am afraid they had adapt US English wording? Therefore 'We decleare fuel emergency' or something like that?

User currently offlineOPNLguy From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 5, posted (9 years 8 months 2 weeks 2 days 19 hours ago) and read 7028 times:

Quoting Tomys (Reply 4):
I know one of the explanation was that in Spanish 'priority' means 'we request to be first' but I am afraid they had adapt US English wording? Therefore 'We decleare fuel emergency' or something like that?

There doesn't seem to be any doubt that there were some language issues involved, and that something was (literally) "lost in the translation" between PIC (flying), F/O (working the radios) and thus the controllers. In the absence of the "magic" E-word having been spoken, I can't fault the controllers at all.

My main point in bringing up the commonly overlooked operational control aspects of this accident is that the lack thereof "loaded and cocked the gun" that others (crew, language aspects, ATC, etc.) would help pull the trigger on later on.


User currently offlineRICARIZA From United States of America, joined Apr 2005, 2393 posts, RR: 26
Reply 6, posted (9 years 8 months 2 weeks 1 day 17 hours ago) and read 6907 times:

I understand from the results of the investigation that it was a 50/50 responsibility for the pilot and for the air controler.

There is a whole thread about this topic:
http://www.airliners.net/discussions...general_aviation/read.main/1908930



I miss ACES, I am proud of AVIANCA & I am loyal to AMERICAN
User currently offlineOPNLguy From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 7, posted (9 years 8 months 2 weeks 1 day 16 hours ago) and read 6888 times:

Quoting RICARIZA (Reply 6):
I understand from the results of the investigation that it was a 50/50 responsibility for the pilot and for the air controler.

Looking at the NTSB's probable cause and contributing factors that I mentioned back in reply #2, how do you come to this neat 50-50 split?


User currently offlineRICARIZA From United States of America, joined Apr 2005, 2393 posts, RR: 26
Reply 8, posted (9 years 8 months 2 weeks 1 day ago) and read 6826 times:

Quoting OPNLguy (Reply 7):
Looking at the NTSB's probable cause and contributing factors that I mentioned back in reply #2, how do you come to this neat 50-50 split?

Because of the procedure explained at the hearing. They were put in 3 different holding patterns coming up the coast and spend over an hour doing it. Their opportunity was to have diverted the flight somewhere well before it got into a low-fuel situation.



I miss ACES, I am proud of AVIANCA & I am loyal to AMERICAN
User currently offlineOPNLguy From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 9, posted (9 years 8 months 2 weeks 23 hours ago) and read 6791 times:

Quoting OPNLguy (Reply 7):
Looking at the NTSB's probable cause and contributing factors that I mentioned back in reply #2, how do you come to this neat 50-50 split?



Quoting RICARIZA (Reply 8):
Because of the procedure explained at the hearing. They were put in 3 different holding patterns coming up the coast and spend over an hour doing it. Their opportunity was to have diverted the flight somewhere well before it got into a low-fuel situation.

The Hearing and Final Report are two different things. At the time of the Hearing, the official cause had yet to be determined. I attended the Hearings, and don't recall any discussion of a 50/50 apportionment of blame, nor would there have been at that stage.

The Final Report's "cause" section (back in reply #2) mentions a probable cause and three contributing factors, for a total of four items, none of which translates to the 50/50 figure that you mention.

Quoting RICARIZA (Reply 8):
Their opportunity was to have diverted the flight somewhere well before it got into a low-fuel situation.

Just out of curiosity, whose "opportunity" are you referring to?

Cheers


User currently offlineCalAir From United Kingdom, joined Apr 2005, 298 posts, RR: 1
Reply 10, posted (9 years 8 months 2 weeks 17 hours ago) and read 6752 times:

And for those of us in the UK and I guess anyone with National Geographic off the ASTRA satellite or NTL cable, next weeks edition covers the pilot sucked out of the flight deck on the flight to Malaga. They show the graphics of a BA BAC 1-11 but the interior shots were of an EAC cabin. Looks good! 9pm UK time nect Tuesday.


British Caledonian...we never forget, you have a choice
User currently offlineRICARIZA From United States of America, joined Apr 2005, 2393 posts, RR: 26
Reply 11, posted (9 years 8 months 2 weeks 17 hours ago) and read 6739 times:

The 50/50 was my way of talk of shared responsibility not the exact words of the hearing, just read my post.


I miss ACES, I am proud of AVIANCA & I am loyal to AMERICAN
User currently offlineOPNLguy From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 12, posted (9 years 8 months 2 weeks 17 hours ago) and read 6738 times:

Is that 50/50 shared responsibility between the pilot and dispatcher, or the pilot and air traffic controller? If it's the latter, that's not what operational control is all about, nor what the results of the NTSB investigation indicated...

[Edited 2005-04-20 03:27:42]

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