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Mechanics May Be Charged For Spanair Crash  
User currently offlineAustrianZRH From Austria, joined Aug 2007, 1358 posts, RR: 0
Posted (5 years 8 months 4 weeks 1 day 5 hours ago) and read 7684 times:

Just found the following on the homepage of Austrian television:

http://orf.at/ticker/305315.html

Quoting orf.at:
(...) Nach Informationen der Zeitung "El Mundo" und des Rundfunksenders Cadena SER von heute legt Richter Juan Javier Perez den beiden Mechanikern sowie dem Wartungschef der Gesellschaft Spanair auf dem Madrider Flughafen fahrlässige Tötung in 154 Fällen zur Last. Die drei seien für den 12. November als Beschuldigte zur Vernehmung vorgeladen worden. Ob es zu einer Anklage kommt, steht noch nicht fest. (...)



Quoting orf.at translation:
(...) According to information recieved today by "El Mundo" and the broadcasting station Cadena SER judge Juan Javier Perez charges two mechanics and the chief of maintenance with negligent manslaughter in 154 cases. The three accused are under subpoena for questioning on November 12th. If the charge comes to court is not sure yet. (...)

Reason for the charge is that the mechanics have disabled the temperature sensor by removing a circuit breaker without taking into account that this removal also sets the flaps/slats alarm inoperable.

Looked for it but haven't found it. If already posted, please delete!


WARNING! The post above should be taken with a grain of salt! Furthermore, it may be slightly biased towards A.
34 replies: All unread, showing first 25:
 
User currently offlinePGNCS From United States of America, joined Apr 2007, 2816 posts, RR: 45
Reply 1, posted (5 years 8 months 4 weeks 1 day 4 hours ago) and read 7641 times:



Quoting AustrianZRH (Thread starter):
Quoting orf.at translation:
(...) According to information recieved today by "El Mundo" and the broadcasting station Cadena SER judge Juan Javier Perez charges two mechanics and the chief of maintenance with negligent manslaughter in 154 cases. The three accused are under subpoena for questioning on November 12th. If the charge comes to court is not sure yet. (...)

Reason for the charge is that the mechanics have disabled the temperature sensor by removing a circuit breaker without taking into account that this removal also sets the flaps/slats alarm inoperable.

Criminal prosecution in no way helps the cause of air safety. Provided these mechanics weren't intentionally trying to sabotage the system (which I am confident they weren't), this is a place for the court to grandstand rather than a place to further actual justice. I am sure the mechanics are extremely distressed at the turn of events, but this can't possibly be a good development either in this specific case or as general precedent.

I am wondering what the Spanair MEL and MM guidance is on this specific issue. Does anyone here actually know?


User currently offlineAlessandro From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 2, posted (5 years 8 months 4 weeks 1 day 4 hours ago) and read 7609 times:

More important is what the instructions manual from McDonnell-Douglas or Boeing said?
Is this a recommended procedure?


User currently offlinePGNCS From United States of America, joined Apr 2007, 2816 posts, RR: 45
Reply 3, posted (5 years 8 months 4 weeks 1 day 4 hours ago) and read 7591 times:



Quoting Alessandro (Reply 2):
More important is what the instructions manual from McDonnell-Douglas or Boeing said?
Is this a recommended procedure?

Spanair's manual system would be based on manufacturer guidance and additional regulatory requirements. My point was, essentially, that if the mechanics were doing the job the way they were instructed to do it, they are in the clear; that's why I asked about the Spanair manuals.


User currently offlineBabybus From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 4, posted (5 years 8 months 4 weeks 1 day 4 hours ago) and read 7608 times:

Like most accidents this was obviously the result of a snowball of errors, from the mechanics to the pilots and beyond.

We'd all like it that it was some mechanical failure but if someone is the cause of that problem then they have to carry the can.


User currently offlineCdekoe From United States of America, joined Nov 2006, 57 posts, RR: 0
Reply 5, posted (5 years 8 months 4 weeks 1 day 4 hours ago) and read 7550 times:

The take-off warning receives input from the FLT-GND ground sensing relay.
This same relay (at least on the MD-90) switches the TAT probe heat.
It's a long shot, but one could speculate that the FLT-GND was deactivated, in stead of the TAT probe heater.



We can't solve problems by using the same kind of thinking we used when we created them.
User currently offlineBennett123 From United Kingdom, joined Aug 2004, 7379 posts, RR: 3
Reply 6, posted (5 years 8 months 4 weeks 1 day 2 hours ago) and read 7329 times:

Until we know if the approved procedure was followed, then it hard to know who was at fault.

My hunch is that this was not an approved procedure, I doubt that a procedure that would mask such a serious warning would be allowed.


User currently offlineAA737-823 From United States of America, joined Mar 2000, 5721 posts, RR: 11
Reply 7, posted (5 years 8 months 4 weeks 1 day 1 hour ago) and read 7237 times:



Quoting Bennett123 (Reply 6):
I doubt that a procedure that would mask such a serious warning would be allowed.

Don't be surprised, then, when it's turns out to be the recommended procedure.

This sounds like a witch hunt to me. ANY WAY YOU LOOK AT IT, the guys in the office didn't put the flaps down, which is an action any pilot in training knows to do.
I'm not saying they were idiots; I'm saying they DIDN'T PUT THE FLAPS DOWN. How can you blame someone who wasn't even IN the cockpit for that?
You can't, unless you're doing a witch hunt.


User currently offlineDfwRevolution From United States of America, joined Jan 2010, 957 posts, RR: 51
Reply 8, posted (5 years 8 months 4 weeks 1 day 1 hour ago) and read 7236 times:



Quoting PGNCS (Reply 1):
Criminal prosecution in no way helps the cause of air safety. Provided these mechanics weren't intentionally trying to sabotage the system (which I am confident they weren't), this is a place for the court to grandstand rather than a place to further actual justice

What, so the mechanics shouldn't be punished for their mistake?


User currently offlineBennett123 From United Kingdom, joined Aug 2004, 7379 posts, RR: 3
Reply 9, posted (5 years 8 months 4 weeks 1 day 1 hour ago) and read 7182 times:

AA737-823

Are you saying that it is the approved procedure?.


User currently offlineAM744 From Mexico, joined Jun 2001, 1770 posts, RR: 0
Reply 10, posted (5 years 8 months 4 weeks 1 day 1 hour ago) and read 7155 times:



Quoting AA737-823 (Reply 7):
ANY WAY YOU LOOK AT IT, the guys in the office didn't put the flaps down, which is an action any pilot in training knows to do.

Exactly. If this is the case, it wouldn't be the first time a crew runs the check list by heart rather than actually reading it.


User currently offlineBennett123 From United Kingdom, joined Aug 2004, 7379 posts, RR: 3
Reply 11, posted (5 years 8 months 4 weeks 23 hours ago) and read 7019 times:

http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/europe/7673316.stm

Are they being questioned or have they been charged?.


User currently offlineType-Rated From United States of America, joined Sep 1999, 4924 posts, RR: 19
Reply 12, posted (5 years 8 months 4 weeks 22 hours ago) and read 6920 times:



Quoting AA737-823 (Reply 7):
This sounds like a witch hunt to me. ANY WAY YOU LOOK AT IT, the guys in the office didn't put the flaps down, which is an action any pilot in training knows to do.
I'm not saying they were idiots; I'm saying they DIDN'T PUT THE FLAPS DOWN. How can you blame someone who wasn't even IN the cockpit for that?
You can't, unless you're doing a witch hunt.

]
Unless they DID select for flaps down and the flaps didn't move because there wasn't any power to that system. I don't think you can see the flaps from the flight deck on the MD 8X series of aircraft for a visual confirmation. If this was the case, the pilots would be in the clear and the mechanics at fault.



Fly North Central Airlines..The route of the Northliners!
User currently offlineBennett123 From United Kingdom, joined Aug 2004, 7379 posts, RR: 3
Reply 13, posted (5 years 8 months 4 weeks 22 hours ago) and read 6908 times:

Can you hear the flaps operating.

User currently offlineRscaife1682 From United States of America, joined Feb 2008, 332 posts, RR: 0
Reply 14, posted (5 years 8 months 4 weeks 22 hours ago) and read 6841 times:



Quoting Type-Rated (Reply 12):
Unless they DID select for flaps down and the flaps didn't move because there wasn't any power to that system. I don't think you can see the flaps from the flight deck on the MD 8X series of aircraft for a visual confirmation. If this was the case, the pilots would be in the clear and the mechanics at fault.

Even if you can see the slats and flaps from the cockpit it is not part of the check list to visually check them that it is done in the pre flight

RYAN
FLTOPS


User currently offline413X3 From United States of America, joined Jul 2008, 1983 posts, RR: 0
Reply 15, posted (5 years 8 months 4 weeks 22 hours ago) and read 6837 times:

did the flight recorder pick up the pilots run through the checklist and say "flaps XX"?

User currently offlineJetMech From Australia, joined Mar 2006, 2684 posts, RR: 53
Reply 16, posted (5 years 8 months 4 weeks 17 hours ago) and read 6584 times:



Quoting AustrianZRH (Thread starter):

I'm a mechanic myself, so I really feel for these unfortunate colleagues of mine. No mechanic in their right mind would ever do anything to harm the safety of an aircraft.

Quoting Babybus (Reply 4):
We'd all like it that it was some mechanical failure but if someone is the cause of that problem then they have to carry the can.



Quoting AA737-823 (Reply 7):
How can you blame someone who wasn't even IN the cockpit for that? You can't, unless you're doing a witch hunt.

This is really a tough one. On the one hand, I can understand the need of the families who lost loved ones to have something or someone to blame for the accident. On the other hand, it seems reasonably certain that there was not malice or intentional rule breaking on the part of the mechanics. I'm sure those mechanics feel just as low, if not lower than the families who lost loved ones.

Quoting DfwRevolution (Reply 8):
What, so the mechanics shouldn't be punished for their mistake?

It depends if you define the mistake as being on the hands of the mechanics alone. Unfortunately, the law in the strictest sense may say so, but what about mitigating circumstances? What about external pressure to not delay the plane? What about lack of spares on hand to fix the problem without needed to deactivate of defer things? What about the design of the electrical system in the first place? There is no law against such external circumstances, even though they may contribute greatly to the final outcome of the situation.

Regards, JetMech



JetMech split the back of his pants. He can feel the wind in his hair.
User currently offlineAA737-823 From United States of America, joined Mar 2000, 5721 posts, RR: 11
Reply 17, posted (5 years 8 months 4 weeks 10 hours ago) and read 6109 times:



Quoting Bennett123 (Reply 9):
Are you saying that it is the approved procedure?.

No- I am saying that IF what they did IS the approved procedure, which we have no evidence (thus far publicly stated) against, THEN the mechanics should not be given any fear and torture beyond the tragedy that has already occurred.
I've reread your original statement to which I originally was responding... let me clarify. I am saying that it would not surprise ME if it's in the MEL to pull the breaker that also cancels audible config warning. I wouldn't be surprised one way or the other.
I WOULD be surprised if the mechanics simply yanked a breaker that fixed the problem and released the aircraft. That would be both dumb and unlikely.

Quoting Type-Rated (Reply 12):
Unless they DID select for flaps down and the flaps didn't move because there wasn't any power to that system. I don't think you can see the flaps from the flight deck on the MD 8X series of aircraft for a visual confirmation.

Sure you can see them- it's called the "FLAP POSITION INDICATOR" and as part of the challenge-response system of checklist reading, one of the two men in the cockpit would have to have looked at it... unless...

Quoting Bennett123 (Reply 13):
Can you hear the flaps operating.

Not from the cockpit, I don't believe. The MD-80s leading edges don't slam downward like the DC-9-30s did, I don't believe.


User currently offlineAA737-823 From United States of America, joined Mar 2000, 5721 posts, RR: 11
Reply 18, posted (5 years 8 months 4 weeks 10 hours ago) and read 6088 times:



Quoting Type-Rated (Reply 12):
Unless they DID select for flaps down and the flaps didn't move because there wasn't any power to that system.

Flaps are hydraulic, not electric. There are some circuit breakers that will affect the action of the flaps, but they would NOT be the same circuit breaker as the one for probe heat or TAT sensor operation. Those systems are very separate, schematically, and wouldn't even be on the same section of the CCB panel.


User currently offlineConcordeBoy From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 19, posted (5 years 8 months 4 weeks 9 hours ago) and read 6027 times:



Quoting Bennett123 (Reply 13):
Can you hear the flaps operating.

From the cabin, yes; the cockpit, no.

Quoting AA737-823 (Reply 17):
Sure you can see them- it's called the "FLAP POSITION INDICATOR"

...do you have enough information, at this point, to confidently state that even that system was in proper working/indicative condition?

This could be a case similar to the cargo door indicator on TK981.


User currently offlinePar13del From Bahamas, joined Dec 2005, 6981 posts, RR: 8
Reply 20, posted (5 years 8 months 4 weeks 9 hours ago) and read 5838 times:



Quoting ConcordeBoy (Reply 19):
...do you have enough information, at this point, to confidently state that even that system was in proper working/indicative condition?

This could be a case similar to the cargo door indicator on TK981.

Unfortunately for us, someone technical has provided information to the legal system which they have not made public, if they are going after the mechanic's logic would say they have something which in spite of all the technical info, they can lay at the feet of the mechs. Hopefully, we are not also looking at something political, in that someone on board was a society big wig whose family exerts major influence over the govt. and legal systems. This happens also, may sound harsh but it happens all the time, best wishes to all involved, this will play out over time, unfortunately, lives will be put on hold and some ruined by speculation during the interim.


User currently offlineBobnwa From United States of America, joined Dec 2000, 6432 posts, RR: 9
Reply 21, posted (5 years 8 months 4 weeks 8 hours ago) and read 5616 times:



Quoting Type-Rated (Reply 12):
Unless they DID select for flaps down and the flaps didn't move because there wasn't any power to that system. I don't think you can see the flaps from the flight deck on the MD 8X series of aircraft for a visual confirmation. If this was the case, the pilots would be in the clear and the mechanics at fault.

The flaps not working and the sensors not working are two different things.


User currently offlineYWG747 From Canada, joined Feb 2008, 251 posts, RR: 0
Reply 22, posted (5 years 8 months 4 weeks 8 hours ago) and read 5479 times:

If they followed procedures as provided in all applicable manuals, this will get thrown out of court faster then you could blink.
How ever, if they were found to be negligent by not following their manual procedures... they are in some serious trouble.


User currently offlineBabybus From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 23, posted (5 years 8 months 4 weeks 8 hours ago) and read 5434 times:



Quoting Bennett123 (Reply 13):
Can you hear the flaps operating.

On an MD8X you can't even hear the engines operating from the flight deck. It is completely silent till the windrush on the runway. The pilots really do have to rely on their instruments for confirmation of events.


User currently offlineBennett123 From United Kingdom, joined Aug 2004, 7379 posts, RR: 3
Reply 24, posted (5 years 8 months 4 weeks 8 hours ago) and read 5408 times:

AA737-823

Sorry, my understanding.

I agree totally.

Concordeboy

Thanks for clarifying re noise on operating flaps.


25 Kellmark : These criminal prosecutions do no one any good for aviation safety. It prevents people from talking about what happened. What they should do is go aft
26 AndrewUber : So you don't believe in accountability then? Not from the flight deck of a Mad Dog.
27 AirframeAS : Actually, you would want to look at the McDD manuals... That proves nothing with the voice recorder. With the FDR, it will.
28 AA737-823 : I don't have any information about whether or not the coffee makers in the aft galley were functioning, either, but let's stick to failures that are
29 LTBEWR : Don't forget that in some countries, including in the EC and some other non-British Common Law based jurisdictions, Judges may be the lead investigato
30 BuyantUkhaa : It picked up that they said "flaps OK", not specifying the flap setting.
31 Post contains links R2rho : I am very concerned about the way the Spanair investigation is being led; there is a considerable amount of political pressure. I want to believe that
32 MD11Engineer : Disclaimer: I don't have workimng experience on the MD-80 series of aircraft I have been following the discussion and from what I understand on the MD
33 BuyantUkhaa : MD11Engineer, that is exactly what I think happened as well. Good summary.
34 Avek00 : It depends.
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