Nwafflyer From United States of America, joined Jul 2004, 1050 posts, RR: 2 Posted (8 years 1 month 3 weeks 23 hours ago) and read 9548 times:
Any updates on the crash last fall? Also, any thoughts on how this may have contributed to NWA's money loss/bankruptcy? Apparently, Pinnacle is making money, while their parent, NWA is in bankruptcy, and the other partner for NWA, Mesaba is also in bankruptcy
FlyMIA From United States of America, joined Jun 2001, 6768 posts, RR: 6 Reply 1, posted (8 years 1 month 3 weeks 23 hours ago) and read 9348 times:
Quoting Nwafflyer (Thread starter): Also, any thoughts on how this may have contributed to NWA's money loss/bankruptcy
That crash has not effected NW at all.
The crash was due to Pilot error as the pilots were the only ones aboard and thought it would be fun to take the plane to its limit altitude of FL410. Just complete pilot error.
"It was just four of us on the flight deck, trying to do our job" (Captain Al Haynes)
DLKAPA From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR: Reply 2, posted (8 years 1 month 3 weeks 22 hours ago) and read 9255 times:
Quoting FlyMIA (Reply 3): The crash was due to Pilot error as the pilots were the only ones aboard and thought it would be fun to take the plane to its limit altitude of FL410. Just complete pilot error.
I guess that's why the CRJ is certified (meaning it can LEGALLY fly with PAX) to FL410? Ok.
FlyMIA From United States of America, joined Jun 2001, 6768 posts, RR: 6 Reply 4, posted (8 years 1 month 3 weeks 21 hours ago) and read 9075 times:
Quoting DLKAPA (Reply 6):
I guess that's why the CRJ is certified (meaning it can LEGALLY fly with PAX) to FL410? Ok.
True it can fly at FL410 but it rarely does. The pilots did not know how to fly the plane at that altitude. The engines failed. I remember reading a NTSB report or something a little while back. The engines were set wrong and the pilots were messing around for no reason.
"It was just four of us on the flight deck, trying to do our job" (Captain Al Haynes)
Wjcandee From United States of America, joined Jun 2000, 4787 posts, RR: 17 Reply 8, posted (8 years 1 month 3 weeks 20 hours ago) and read 8909 times:
Quoting DLKAPA (Reply 6): I guess that's why the CRJ is certified (meaning it can LEGALLY fly with PAX) to FL410? Ok.
The gentleman's proof was wrong, in that the thing can indeed fly under certain conditions at FL410, but his premise was right. The evidence adduced at the NTSB hearing, in sum, showed a degree of recklessness in conduct almost from the moment of takeoff. Putting that aside, they greased it to FL410 using the autopilot set in an inappropriate mode, arrived way, way behind the power curve, couldn't maintain the altitude because of that and didn't recognize a wide variety of indications (nose pitched way way up, engines at max and declining airspeed) that they were about to stall, got all the way into the stick PUSHER before taking action, ended up in a dutch roll with both engines out. Even after all of that, they would have lived if they had just made for the nearest airfield for a deadstick landing rather than lying to ATC about what was going on and ineptly attempting to relight the engines (a procedure that, unfortunately, Pinnacle and the manufacturer really didn't have a great checklist on and they clearly didn't have adequate systems knowledge about -- e.g. the fact that because of the engine design, you need to have a remarkably high airspeed in order to accomplish a windmill relight and are going to lose a lot of altitude trying to accomplish it; they never attained sufficient airspeed to make it work, and, unfortunately for them, there appears to have been some other engine problem that made their efforts at an APU restart ineffective; by then they had bled off so much altitude that they were too far from any suitable airfield). Even then, they almost made it.
Anyway, there's plenty about this on other threads.
Just a minor correction, Pinnacle was spun off from NWA in 2003...
"In order to more accurately reflect our mission as an airline, Express Airlines I changed its name to Pinnacle Airlines, Inc., effective May 8, 2002. In November, 2003, Pinnacle Airlines became a publically traded company, using the symbol PNCL on the NASDAQ. Pinnacle has been contracted to fly 129 CRJ's on behalf of Northwest Airlines. On July 18, 2004, the 100th CRJ was christened the 'Spirit of Beale Street,' in honor of a WWII bomber that was paid for with funds raised by the African-American community in Memphis."
TT737FO From United States of America, joined Jun 2001, 472 posts, RR: 9 Reply 11, posted (8 years 1 month 3 weeks 10 hours ago) and read 8559 times:
"I guess that's why the CRJ is certified (meaning it can LEGALLY fly with PAX) to FL410? Ok."
No, not okay, Dumbass.
Consult your charts first.
The aircraft weight was 37,600 pounds. The temp was ISA + 10. The maximum climb ceiling at that weight and temp combo is FL 40,400 (out of FCOM2) for 300 fpm climb. Max altitude for LRC (lightest possible weight) is also 40,400. The aircraft should never have been taken that high.
"...and ineptly attempting to relight the engines"
Not sure I'd agree with the inept part.
The transcripts show that THE CREW DID THE DUAL ENGINE FLAMEOUT CHECKLIST IMMEDIATELY. THE CREW DID THE RELIGHT ATTEMPTS PROPERLY! They did just about everything by the numbers once they got in that position. To the FO's credit, he seemed to have his head on straight and it might be argued that he was the most useful member of the crew once the event began. The windmill restart checklist was started, but halfway through it the crew realized they had no N2 rotation so that start was abandoned. THAT is why the aircraft never accelerated to the 300 kts required.
The engines never re-started because they were core locked.
That aside, you are correct about the goofing off, unsafe manner, etc. And yes they probably could have dead-sticked in had they acted earlier on.
Okie From United States of America, joined Jul 2003, 2714 posts, RR: 3 Reply 12, posted (8 years 1 month 3 weeks 9 hours ago) and read 8520 times:
Quoting UAL Bagsmasher (Reply 14): I heard that "core lock" was the reason behind no relights. Something about the N2 spool frozen due to uneven rates of metal contraction after the flameout. Anyone more familiar with this phenomenon?
Apparently the engine manufacturer was familiar enough with the problem. Some engines were suffering from the phenomena at ground temps much less at high altitude temps especially when new or rebuilt.
The manufacturer indicated that the clearances were so tight with the engine design that an APU start with compressed air was the only alternative to have enough torque to over come the locked core effectively grinding away enough material from the blades and stators to provide clearance for rotation.
Those procedures for using the APU for restart were not listed in the QRH at the time of the Pinnacle accident.
Supa7e7 From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR: Reply 13, posted (8 years 1 month 3 weeks 9 hours ago) and read 8499 times:
At the time it appeared as if the Pinnacle pilots lacked relatively basic knowledge about flying the CR2. Not just experience, but knowledge (power curve). The transcript shows no sign they had any idea about the power curve and why it made it inevitable that they would destoy their engines and fall out of the sky.
This seems to be either a training deficiency or a brain defiency. Both of which call the airline into question.
I trust that Pinnacle came down hard and offered re-training to all pilots who needed it regarding flying their planes correctly at altitude. Dishonesty to the ATC tower was a cowboy move and I expect those pilots would have behaved differently if they had pax in the plane... one would hope.
Wjcandee From United States of America, joined Jun 2000, 4787 posts, RR: 17 Reply 14, posted (8 years 1 month 3 weeks 7 hours ago) and read 8423 times:
I appreciate your posts. I did have a look at the entire NTSB hearing when it was taking place, as well as the evidence released to the public. And it probably doesn't make any difference, and there may be some areas of disagreement, but...
Quoting TT737FO (Reply 15): The windmill restart checklist was started, but halfway through it the crew realized they had no N2 rotation so that start was abandoned
There is no indication that they did the windmill restart correctly, or that they abandoned it because of their observations as to N2. Indeed, they tried the windmill restart more than once but never pitched the nose over enough to get enough airspeed; remember, they were lying to ATC at the time about their situation and didn't want to lose too much altitude or create suspicion. The testimony seemed pretty clear that they shouldn't have expected rotation until they actually got to the proper airspeed. Of course, that they were starting off trying to do a relight with absolutely no N2 rotation makes things more challenging and requires more airflow through the first stage. I agree that they were neither properly trained nor was there as clear a checklist as would have been optimal regarding how to accomplish this procedure.
Quoting TT737FO (Reply 15): The engines never re-started because they were core locked
The starboard engine was totally fried -- nothing to do with core lock but rather just toasted, as I recall, and never would have relit under any circumstances. The port engine was more problematic; nobody seems to understand why it couldn't be relit. "Core lock" isn't a condition under which the engine just won't spin ever; it's a condition where once the engine has gone to zero N2, it takes extra force to get it rotating again, and GE never had an experience by which the air from the APU was insufficient to get it rotating. In fact, that's how they do the "grind in" procedure: take it to zero N2 and turn it with bleed air. And the port engine had been through that procedure and passed the manufacturer's delivery test, which involves taking the engine to zero N2 and seeing if it can windmill relight. My own feeling is that the substantial overheat these guys induced may have created an "extra sticky" situation with the core, and there needed to be some cooling before the thing would spin again (it did spin freely when removed from the wreckage). It's conceivable that if they had divided up the labor and the one guy continued to try the APU restart while the other flew to the nearest airport that they would have identified right at the beginning of the emergency, towards the end of the emergency the engine could have cooled enough to permit rotation. But with the minimal understanding that these guys had of this aspect of the systems of their aircraft, they couldn't be expected to deduce that and keep trying.
Quoting Okie (Reply 16): Those procedures for using the APU for restart were not listed in the QRH
Yes they were. Indeed, they tried to do an APU restart and for some reason it didn't work.
RedFlyer From United States of America, joined Feb 2005, 4214 posts, RR: 29 Reply 16, posted (8 years 1 month 3 weeks 5 hours ago) and read 8185 times:
Quoting CaptOveur (Reply 15): Sounds like inadequate training, not pilot error. But the NTSB finds it easy to blame the dead guys all too often.
I just read an article earlier this week that ALPA (?) had written a letter to the NTSB saying it too often relied on assessing probable cause to pilot error rather than looking extensively enough at other factors. I'll have to see if I can find it and post the link on here.
Go read the thread where an actual DL captain made very clear that these guys' actions were indefensible, and their lack of knowledge of their machine incomprehensible.
As to the NTSB "blaming the pilots too much", everybody who has ever been in the military knows that reviewing authorities virtually always find pilot error. Why? Because in the accident sequence, there usually is something that the pilot could have done that would have interrupted the sequence. Sometimes not, but usually. Those true professionals who actually do this for a living -- rather than play and talk about it on the Internet -- accept that fact, just as they accept complete responsibility for what happens aboard their aircraft.
CaptOveur From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR: Reply 21, posted (8 years 1 month 3 weeks 2 hours ago) and read 7569 times:
Quoting Wjcandee (Reply 19): Those true professionals who actually do this for a living -- rather than play and talk about it on the Internet -- accept that fact, just as they accept complete responsibility for what happens aboard their aircraft.
Someone said they had no idea how to fly at FL410 in spite of the aircraft being certified for that altitude. Sounds to me like the training program let them down. I know that really gives me a warm fuzzy to know an airplane I might be riding on is being piloted by a crew that was given the bare minimum of training. I guess it is more fun for some to just say we are all stupid.
I guess the needed procedures were glossed over in the Pinnacle training manual.. AKA CRJ-200s for Dummies.
The reason the NTSB blames the crews is it preserves consumer confidence in the airline industry. If they said Pinnacle's training was FUBAR it might be bad for business. Blaming the pilots makes the travelling public say "oh gee, those guys were stupid, and now they are dead." While that may be partially true, I think the other side of this argument certainly needs a look.
Yes they performed an unnecessary action, yes that action resulted in a crash. However, they did not leave the known parameters for the airplane (as far as they knew). Saying there is always SOMETHING the crew could do to prevent a wreck, while technically correct, is sort of monday morning quarterbacking. If the crew knew what they were doing was going to result in a crash, or even an unsafe situation, they would have certainly not done it. The fact they did not know they were creating an unsafe situation, and the fact they missed all the clues as they climbed, like being behind the power curve, shows they were poorly trained.
Remember the Alaska Airlines MD-80 crash. The crew was blamed because the captain tried to adjust the trim of the airplane or something to determine if he could control the airplane enough land safely, which resulted in the loss of control that put them into the pacific ocean. Nevermind the fact the jackscrew in the tail was stripped smooth, something totally beyond the crew's control.
RedFlyer From United States of America, joined Feb 2005, 4214 posts, RR: 29 Reply 22, posted (8 years 1 month 3 weeks 2 hours ago) and read 7552 times:
Ok, I found the article and it's from the Monday, October 17, edition of the Wall Street Journal. You can view it on the online edition; however, you'll need to be a registered ($$) user.
In any event, I didn't realize the letter was prompted by the very crash of the Pinnacle jet discussed in this thread.
ALPA's beef, according to the article, was that "the union was 'increasingly concerned' about what it called a 'shortsighted and troubling' trend to 'favor the easy route of citing' crew error". It also went on to say the union's president stated in his letter to the NTSB, "I urge you in the strongest possible terms to expand the NTSB's focus to always investigate the 'why' behind every identified problem, not just those that are mechanical in nature."
Quoting Wjcandee (Reply 19): Because in the accident sequence, there usually is something that the pilot could have done that would have interrupted the sequence.
I don't necessarily disagree with what you're saying, because for the most part it is true. But blind adherence to that philosophy could ultimately attribute ANY accident to pilot error.
One need only look at the Swissair MD-11 accident. Had the pilots not wasted precious minutes loitering over the ocean dumping fuel they may have made it to the safety of an airport. Does that mean the accident was the result of "pilot error"?
Of course, I'm splitting hairs here but my point is: at what point do you stop the cause-and-affect analysis of the pilots' actions?
Wjcandee From United States of America, joined Jun 2000, 4787 posts, RR: 17 Reply 23, posted (8 years 1 month 3 weeks 1 hour ago) and read 7430 times:
Quoting CaptOveur (Reply 21): However, they did not leave the known parameters for the airplane (as far as they knew).
This is the wrong accident to try to push too much blame onto the airline and its training program. That said, I'm sure that the NTSB report will implicate both. These guys were embarassingly unaware of very basic stuff relating to their aircraft, and to principles of physics and jet operations.
Although the aircraft may have been "certified" to FL410, that doesn't mean that it's regularly able to fly at that altitude. And on that day, as has been pointed out here, it couldn't fly that high. One thing is for sure: the airline never ever expected that its pilots would take the a/c that high. Why? Because with pax, luggage and a decent amount of fuel aboard, there are very, very few times that the thing can in fact fly at that altitude. It's one thing to say that they should have been better trained, which they should have been, but most of the mainline pilots that I know have an innate curiosity about their machines, and take great pride in learning all the nooks and crannies of its systems. These guys evinced a lack of understanding of jet aircraft operation IN GENERAL, much less as regards the CRJ. Whose fault is that? It the pilots' fault. It's the airline's fault. It's the FAA's fault. And I suspect that they'll all get blamed in the report.