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Crash Of SR111, What Happened?  
User currently offlinePanther From Bahamas, joined Jun 2000, 223 posts, RR: 0
Posted (14 years 2 months 4 days 13 hours ago) and read 1689 times:

Does anyone know the cause of the Swissair MD-11 that crashed off of Nova Scotia? Some reports stated there was smoke in the cockpit, is there any more information on this tragedy?

16 replies: All unread, jump to last
 
User currently offlineLOTVIRTUAL From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 1, posted (14 years 2 months 4 days 13 hours ago) and read 1582 times:

From what I know they don't have yet released cause of the crash. They were thinking actually about co-pilots reading light as the cause of the crash because they couldn't locate that part, but not too long ago they found it. I had try to locate every info. about all Atlantic crashes because I fly this route a lot, but it is hard to find anything that will give you any good ideas.

User currently offlineBacardi182 From United States of America, joined Jan 2000, 1088 posts, RR: 1
Reply 2, posted (14 years 2 months 4 days 13 hours ago) and read 1570 times:

from what i remember, the new "biggest ptv in the sky" caused a fire. then, when the pilot initialized the fuel dump so he could make an emergency landing.... I will say no more  

but i coul be wrong, my mind ain't what it used to be  


User currently offlineCarioca Canuck From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 3, posted (14 years 2 months 4 days 13 hours ago) and read 1574 times:

"Transport Canada" is the governing body that is responsible under international law for the investigation of the crash, as it took place in Canadian territory.

They have not yet released their findings in this matter. Expect it to take a few more years in my opinion.

Personally, I lean towards electrical arcing from frayed "Kapton" wiring which ignited flammable insulation.

Regardless of the cause, it was a tragedy as all air disasters are, and I will leave it at that.


User currently offlineZRH From Switzerland, joined Nov 1999, 5566 posts, RR: 36
Reply 4, posted (14 years 2 months 4 days 10 hours ago) and read 1553 times:

The only fact which is official is that there was heavy smoke in the cockpit and perhaps a very hot fire. It is at the moment still unknown what caused the smoke and the fire. There is a rumour that perhaps the cables from the PTV system had a short cicuit and began to burn, but this is NO fact.

User currently offlineVirgin744 From United States of America, joined Nov 1999, 919 posts, RR: 4
Reply 5, posted (14 years 2 months 4 days 10 hours ago) and read 1544 times:

On my way back from Hong Kong last month, I was lucky enough to visit the flight deck of a 744 & was speaking to the 1st officer re: the swissair crash & he told me that they (pilots) had heard that the fire seemed to have started from the overhead spotlight in the cockpit....

this is only SPECULATION mind you.

believe what you will!


User currently offlineZRH From Switzerland, joined Nov 1999, 5566 posts, RR: 36
Reply 6, posted (14 years 2 months 4 days 9 hours ago) and read 1540 times:

No that is not true. There was a suspicion that the fire came from the overhead spotlight. Meanwhile the investigators found out that the fire did NOT start there. A few weeks ago it was reported in swiss newspapers.

User currently offlineSlappy From United States of America, joined Apr 2007, 0 posts, RR: 0
Reply 7, posted (14 years 2 months 4 days 7 hours ago) and read 1532 times:

I watched a documentary on TV last year about this accident. They stated it was due to the plastic Kapton covering the wiring in the plane. Somehow it heated up and began to melt (shorting the wiring), thus causing the smoke in the cockpit. The melting continued, eventually knocking out all the plane's systems and causing it to crash. Well that's what I can remember anyway.

User currently offlineVirginA340 From United States of America, joined Jul 2005, 15 posts, RR: 0
Reply 8, posted (14 years 2 months 4 days 4 hours ago) and read 1499 times:

I saw the same documentary. There was a man working for TWA who told them not to buy the L-1011 because of Kapton wiring on the plane and on how dangerous it could be if something were to go terribly wrong. TWA had 2 L-1011s destroyed by fire in JFK in the early 90s and one in BOS during the 1970s. I'm not sure if the problem was related to Kapton wiring but thank god no one was killed or seriously injured in the two fire. The military's planes doesn't have kapton wiring because they made it clear that the tpe of wiring will not be used. The got rid of it on all military planes including on Air Forces 1 and 2


"FUIMUS"
User currently offlineSamurai 777 From Canada, joined Jan 2000, 2458 posts, RR: 4
Reply 9, posted (14 years 2 months 4 days 2 hours ago) and read 1491 times:

I think the probable cause was the kapton covering for the wires aboard the MD-11 catching fire, perhaps near where the overhead spotlight was in the cockpit. I'm really only guessing from what I've read in the media. The true cause may not be found for at least a year or two, as the tragic accident is still under investigation.

Evidently, about 80-90 minutes after the MD-11 took off from BOS, the pilots noticed thick smoke and probably a fire in the cockpit. They decided it was best to try to make an emergency landing at YHZ, but before the plane reached Nova Scotia, the smoke was probably so thick that the pilots may have lost consciousness, as I don't think were any more transmissions made to the ATCs in YHZ or BOS, several minutes prior to the crash. Yes, I'm sorry to bring this up, and it's a terrible incident that no crew member or passenger should have to go through.

The US military was already aware of the dangers of Kapton, as they did get rid of it on a lot of their a/c. But the McDonnell Douglas company apparently didn't heed the warnings by the military not to put Kapton in commercial a/c. This is all I can really say.


User currently offlineA330 From Belgium, joined May 1999, 649 posts, RR: 7
Reply 10, posted (14 years 2 months 3 days 9 hours ago) and read 1463 times:

If you examine the CVR transcripts, you'll notice that the pilots smelled "something" and that they eventually saw a little smoke. They elected to land, sending a PAN PAN PAN and began their smoke in the cockpit checklist. Decisions by the crew were accurate and correct for the circumstances, they WERE too heavy and so they simply HAD to dump fuel first. The situation was not so bad to risk an overweight landing that might result in a crash with casualties. As a pilot you are drilled not to take hastly and panic decisions, yes, you like to land as soon as possible, but only when you can do this safely, without the risk of a crash. Proof for the not so bad situation is the "pan" callout, only used for priority calls without any immediate danger for pax. and/or crew.
At the beginning of the dump, the situation suddnly became a lot worse, maybe, the melting (smoke) resulted then in an actual fire, and the crew became increasingly nervous due to the change. They announced an emergency and wanted to land immediately, stopping the dump. At this stage, all avionics blacked out, thick smoke filled the cockpit, and temperatures began the rise.
The crew stuggled to keep control, but temperatures went up and reached a level where the composite materials melted (around 300°). It is possible that at some stage the grew elected to ditch in the ocean, leaving the cockpit which was already on fire after putting the plane on a gentle glide towards the sea. Rumours are (I can not confirm this) that all passengers had to go to the rear of the plane, where the chances of survival are the best in case of a ditch.
The pilots, under command of Capt. Zimmermann did everything in their powers to prevent this tragedy, and I am appalled of some media, mostly in the US who critisise their actions. Simulator exersises show thet an overweight landing would have resulted in a crash at Halifax.
Let us never forget the tragedy that happened thtat day, I certainly will never, just for the fact that I was supposed to be on SR111, was it not for a spare seat on Sabena's flight from ORD a day earlier. Let us also not forget the role of the CABIN CREW, who are often forgotten but who had the impossible task to calm down passengers and keep cool in this hot situation.

Tino



Shiek!
User currently offlineGerardo From Spain, joined May 2000, 3481 posts, RR: 31
Reply 11, posted (14 years 2 months 3 days 8 hours ago) and read 1452 times:

A330: I don't know why exactly, but I have to thank you for your comment.

Kind regards
Gerardo



dominguez(dash)online(dot)ch ... Pushing the limits of my equipment
User currently offlineReno_air From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 12, posted (14 years 2 months 3 days 7 hours ago) and read 1448 times:


I believe Swissair has now replaced all Mylar insulation in the MD-11s.

reno


User currently offlineCedarjet From United Kingdom, joined May 1999, 8088 posts, RR: 54
Reply 13, posted (14 years 2 months 3 days 5 hours ago) and read 1437 times:

I was in the air the same night, flying from Maui to San Francisco, and from SFO to London the night after. I will never forget looking down over the icy wastes of the east coast of Canada and thinking what had happened there the previous evening. I think about SR111 often and I'll never be so blase about air travel again, after hearing that a Swissair (Swissair!) scheduled trans-Atlantic flight had crashed with the pax and crew hiding in the smoke-filled rear cabin as an electrical fire raged in the cockpit.

My info is that the fire started because the power supply for the IFE overheated and set the Mylar insulation on fire. My first flight with Swissair was a few weeks after the crash (thinking the whole time: those poor bastards had the same inflight magazine in their seat pockets as I do) and all the IFE equipment was disconnected.

It's true that the situation was not considered immediately serious for a while (the crew were waiting until they crossed the coast for the fuel dump), hence the Pan Pan call. Things got much worse in a hurry and then it was too late. The aircraft was trimmed for a gentle descent (the autopilot, along with the rest of the electrics including the CVR and DFDR were out for the last six minutes) but struck the sea with one wing down.

I don't know why but this is my second post today where I mention the big guy in the sky (I'm an atheist), but may God bless the 229 who died that night.



fly Saha Air 707s daily from Tehran's downtown Mehrabad to Mashhad, Kish Island and Ahwaz
User currently offlineBacardi182 From United States of America, joined Jan 2000, 1088 posts, RR: 1
Reply 14, posted (14 years 2 months 1 day 13 hours ago) and read 1401 times:

was it not possible to open the wondows to suck out the smoke and maybe extinguish the fire? were there no fire extinguishers?

User currently offlineSamurai 777 From Canada, joined Jan 2000, 2458 posts, RR: 4
Reply 15, posted (14 years 2 months 1 day 12 hours ago) and read 1399 times:

I have to thank A330 for the details, actually, so I know now what really happened, and that he really has to count his lucky stars that he escaped this terrible fate of SR111.

May the 229 who lost their lives find peace for all eternity.


User currently offlineCedarjet From United Kingdom, joined May 1999, 8088 posts, RR: 54
Reply 16, posted (14 years 2 months 1 day 7 hours ago) and read 1379 times:

Bacardi182, all the fire extinguishers were found in the wreckage, all completely used up. I think it was 15 or so extinguishers. Thing is, once Mylar starts to burn, it doesn't go out. BTW, the info A330 gave was absolutely spot on - the perceived danger was low for most of the emergency, since there was a small amount of smoke and some fumes as the IFE power supply cooked itself. It only got bad at the end, and quite quickly. The plane finally crashed only a few miles (like, 8 or 12 or something) from the field, within earshot of houses on the shore.


fly Saha Air 707s daily from Tehran's downtown Mehrabad to Mashhad, Kish Island and Ahwaz
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