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Captain Van Zanten  
User currently offline747400sp From United States of America, joined Aug 2003, 3477 posts, RR: 2
Posted (5 years 6 months 4 weeks 5 hours ago) and read 38724 times:

A lot of people may know Captain Van Zanten as the person who caused the world worst plane crash. Would you have put all the blame on Van Zanten, or could you find other mistake that if not happen, could have prevented the deadly collision at Tenerife Airport. Now I will say Van Zantem seems to have let his success go to his head, from documentaries on this crash, it seems that he was a bully to his crew, and he did not want to take any advice from them, (LIKE DO NOT TAKE OFF UNLESS YOU ARE CLEARED TO DO SO), he was even hard on his flight attendants. So was there any other mistake that other people made witch if not made, could have prevented this horrible crash, or would you put all the blame on Captain Van Zanten?

163 replies: All unread, showing first 25:
 
User currently offlineSkyyKat From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 1, posted (5 years 6 months 4 weeks 5 hours ago) and read 38711 times:



Quoting 747400sp (Thread starter):
could have prevented this horrible crash, or would you put all the blame on Captain Van Zanten?

Well, you can blame it on the weather, on the 747 not having good enough take-off performance and so on. Maybe the FO should knocked out his Capitain?

Van Zanten from what I read and watched was an ego maniac, and an old school of pilots that are a dying breed thank god. The cockpit is to be crewed by a team, not by a captain and his little helpers.

Van Zanten made a bad call and over 500 people died because he was in a rush.

My vote is 100% blame on Van Zanten not waiting for take off clearance. If the KL FO did not pull back the throttles the first time, then there probably would not have been any survivors on the Pan Am 747.


User currently offlineSpacecadet From United States of America, joined Sep 2001, 3603 posts, RR: 12
Reply 2, posted (5 years 6 months 4 weeks 5 hours ago) and read 38706 times:

Bottom line is taking off without clearance is what directly led to this crash. While there may have been contributing factors, you always look for that one link in the chain that, if broken, would have prevented the crash. That link is Van Zanten's decision to take off without clearance.


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User currently offlineJAGflyer From Canada, joined Aug 2004, 3494 posts, RR: 4
Reply 3, posted (5 years 6 months 4 weeks 5 hours ago) and read 38698 times:

Van Zanten's choice to initiate the take-off prior to being granted clearance by ATC was the reason for the crash. Had he held like instructed, there would not have been a crash which killed over 400 people. The golden rule of aviation is pay attention to ATC and do not do anything without their advice.


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User currently offlineLongHauler From Canada, joined Mar 2004, 4910 posts, RR: 43
Reply 4, posted (5 years 6 months 4 weeks 5 hours ago) and read 38669 times:

Like every crash it is not one factor, but many factors, ending with the one factor that caused the crash.

Had the weather been CAVU ... had Las Palmas airport not been bombed ... had Pan American been allowed to hold for Las Palmas (they had the fuel) ... had Pan American exited on the correct taxiway ... had maximum duty day not been a factor ...had had had

Without all of those things, the one final fatal error of the KLM Captain would have been a non-issue.

This crash however, has been the start and continued push of CRM, and while he may not have been a model crew-member, he HAS made better Captains of all of us!



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User currently offlineJamake1 From United States of America, joined May 2004, 1005 posts, RR: 2
Reply 5, posted (5 years 6 months 4 weeks 4 hours ago) and read 38658 times:

Like most aircraft accidents, there is rarely just one single factor. While Captain Van Zanten may have been eager to get back to Amsterdam after a long duty day; other contributing factors to the accident included the fact that a bomb scare at the neighboring airport caused all flights to be diverted to Tenerife; the heavy ground fog was a contributing factor; the fact that Tenerife lacked adequate radar equipment; the language barrier between the Spanish air traffic controllers and the Pan Am pilots; the fact that the Pan Am aircraft missed an awkward taxiway turn-off that kept the 747 on the same runway as the KLM 747 was also a contributing factor. Furthermore, the transmission between both aircraft and the tower was bungled.

Fortunately, as a result of the Tenerife accident, crew resource management procedures have been developed, implemented, and improved upon during the past thirty years so that advocacy and input of other crew members create a (hopefully) better working environment for all pilots as well as cabin crew members...



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User currently offline747buff From United States of America, joined Jan 2001, 741 posts, RR: 0
Reply 6, posted (5 years 6 months 4 weeks 4 hours ago) and read 38653 times:

Quoting SkyyKat (Reply 1):
was an ego maniac, and an old school of pilots


I saw on a documentary that he was so well known and regarded by KLM management, that when they heard about the accident they were frantically trying to reach him (to send him to TFN as a KL representative) not knowing the man himself was flying the plane and was already dead.

[Edited 2008-12-27 18:28:17]


At Eastern, we earn our wings every day!
User currently offlineAirPortugal310 From Palau, joined Apr 2004, 3573 posts, RR: 2
Reply 7, posted (5 years 6 months 4 weeks 4 hours ago) and read 38538 times:



Quoting JAGflyer (Reply 3):
Had he held like instructed, there would not have been a crash which killed over 400 people

Well, a slight point of contention in that the clearance given to Van Zanten was a clearance to a fix while he was already on the runway. He misinterpreted that as a take off clearance (of course the words "cleared for takeoff" were not said directly. Obviously he was in the wrong, and the CVR transcripts show this after the roll commenced because even he was doubting himself, questioning if Pan Am was still on the runway.

Quoting 747buff (Reply 6):
I saw on a documentary that he was so well known and regarded by KLM management, that when they heard about the accident they were frantically trying to reach him (to send him to TFN as a KL representative) not knowing the man himself was flying the plane and was already dead.

Was this the one on PBS? That was a well-down documentary IMO



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User currently offlineKlwright69 From Saudi Arabia, joined Jan 2000, 2015 posts, RR: 3
Reply 8, posted (5 years 6 months 4 weeks 3 hours ago) and read 38470 times:

Funny you brought up this topic today...

I just got finished watching the Crash of the Century documentary, all 9 segments, all 90 minutes of it, on YOUTUBE.com, which painstakingly deconstructs all elements of this accident. They even talk to the survivors. All I can say is OMIGOD. It is a nightmare come to life. Imagine jumping off the wing of a burning 747 with clothes on fire.

As some of already stated, there are many, many, many coincidences, choices, and miscommunications involved in this terrible event. But it boils down to Van Zanten. He pulled the trigger that took everyone's life. If he had used his conservative caution and common sense that all pilots have, no accident would have happened. All the other factors would have caused no incident, no nothing! PERIOD.

On the documentary they even say that the Dutch investigators refused to cast blame on Van Zanten out of national pride. They chose to live in denial. Also after hearing word of the accident, Dutch/KLM officials try and reach Van Zanten to ask his opinion of the accident. Little did they know that he WAS the captain of that bird!

Some have tried to pin blame on the overwhelmed, understaffed Spanish controllers. But the bottom line was they did NOT give take off clearance. They only gave the post-take off course, no actual go ahead!

He also chose to fuel up in Tenerife making the plane very heavy. Otherwise some have speculated it might have cleared PA 1736 had he been much lighter. The tail might not have struck the runway, slowing their acceleration. Also the poor KLM F/O was afraid to challenge him. Too bad too.

Also there was one person on the KLM ship that got off at Tenerife, and therefore lived. They interviewed her too.

By the way, check out the crash documentaries and reenactments on youtube. They exist for practically all accidents known to have happened in modern commerical aviation.

It certainly helps any investigation when all the flight crew of a crash survives (PA 1736). Come to think of it, I do not believe Captain Vic Grubbs has ever spoken publicly about the accident, unlike FO Bragg. I have also read that captain Vic Grubbs is still alive. Imagine living with that, even if it wasn't your fault.

Canary Island locals even drove up in their cars taking people to the hospital, saving lives. Hats off to those everyday heroes.


User currently offlineANITIX87 From United States of America, joined Mar 2005, 3299 posts, RR: 13
Reply 9, posted (5 years 6 months 4 weeks 2 hours ago) and read 38275 times:
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Quoting SkyyKat (Reply 1):
My vote is 100% blame on Van Zanten not waiting for take off clearance. If the KL FO did not pull back the throttles the first time, then there probably would not have been any survivors on the Pan Am 747.

I thought the Pan Am plane was taxiing TOWARDS the KLM aircraft. Doesn't that mean that if the FO hadn't pulled back the throttles, the planes would have been further apart and the KLM plane may have had a larger chance of getting airborne??

TIS



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User currently offlineSkyyKat From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 10, posted (5 years 6 months 4 weeks 2 hours ago) and read 38241 times:



Quoting ANITIX87 (Reply 12):
I thought the Pan Am plane was taxiing TOWARDS the KLM aircraft. Doesn't that mean that if the FO hadn't pulled back the throttles, the planes would have been further apart and the KLM plane may have had a larger chance of getting airborne??

Pan Am was turning off of the runway when they mad visual contact with the KL jumbo. If the FO did not retard the throttles when he did, it would have been a diagonal/head on collision, they pilots would have been goners and the Pan Am would have a much smaller chance of any survivors.

I got this from an NTSB investigator interview I watched a while back. I'll try to find it.


User currently offlineTrijetsRMissed From United States of America, joined Oct 2006, 2321 posts, RR: 7
Reply 11, posted (5 years 6 months 4 weeks 1 hour ago) and read 38094 times:



Quoting LongHauler (Reply 4):
had Pan American exited on the correct taxiway ...



Quoting Jamake1 (Reply 5):
the fact that the Pan Am aircraft missed an awkward taxiway turn-off that kept the 747 on the same runway as the KLM 747 was also a contributing factor

Keep in mind the taxiway missed was angled for aircraft coming in the opposite direction on the runway. ATC were unfamiliar with 747s, the type was not a frequent visitor at TEN. The pilots wouldn't be able to manuver the aircraft onto that taxiway, hence they passed it up. A smaller aircraft, perhaps, but not a 747.



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User currently offlineMax Q From United States of America, joined May 2001, 4357 posts, RR: 19
Reply 12, posted (5 years 6 months 3 weeks 6 days 23 hours ago) and read 37691 times:

As in all crashes there were contributing factors but Van allowed himself to be backed into a corner, extensive delays had pushed him and his crew to their very limit on crew duty day.

If he did not get airborne soon, they would be illegal to make the flight and inconvenience hundreds of passengers, not to mention the cost of putting them all up for the night.

And, of course, like most of us, I am sure that he wanted to 'get home'

This, self impose pressure, unfortunately meant he was more than a touch Myopic, perhaps he convinced himself they were cleared for take off.

In any event, he should have listened to his crew, in the end, there is no doubt, he was responsible.

He paid the ultimate price, perhaps blessedly so for his conscience.



The best contribution to safety is a competent Pilot.
User currently offlineKaitak From Ireland, joined Aug 1999, 12407 posts, RR: 37
Reply 13, posted (5 years 6 months 3 weeks 6 days 22 hours ago) and read 37581 times:

There is a theory of accident causation which is widely used today, called the Reason model (after its developer, Prof. James Reason, of Manchester University); it's more commonly known as the Swiss Cheese model, whereby you have a number of different causes of failure, recognising of course that in any organisational failure, there are multiple causes. One or two of these causal factors won't cause the crash, but when you get several lined up - the holes in the Swiss cheese lining up - you get a crash.

In the case of the KL/PA accident, you have the following contributory factors:

- Terrorist attack at LPA
- Small airport at TFN, not designed for holding a large number of aircraft
- Fog
- Confusion over taxiways; controllers didn't realise that PA 747 couldn't use the exit they had been asked to take
- Language issues ("at takeoff")
- Dutch flight time limits, which were known to be weighing on the crew's mind (see transcript)
- and finally, Capt Van Zanten's decision to depart without clearance.

Now, the final factor is, of course, the one which resulted in the crash, but without the others, this would not have been sufficient to cause an accident, so it's not fair to place 100% of the blame on Capt. Van Zanten.

Quoting Klwright69 (Reply 8):
Also there was one person on the KLM ship that got off at Tenerife, and therefore lived. They interviewed her too.

All 248 passengers and crew on board 'BUF were killed. There were no survivors.


User currently offlineCpd From Australia, joined Jun 2008, 4879 posts, RR: 38
Reply 14, posted (5 years 6 months 3 weeks 6 days 22 hours ago) and read 37553 times:

If he has to ask "Is the Pan American still on the runway", then he should have had time to ask ATC the same thing before putting the throttle levers forward and causing one of the worst air disasters until 9/11.

I'm no pilot - but my own instincts would tell me, if I'm not sure about something, then ask before taking further action.


User currently offlineBlueShamu330s From UK - England, joined Sep 2001, 2853 posts, RR: 25
Reply 15, posted (5 years 6 months 3 weeks 6 days 21 hours ago) and read 37055 times:



Quoting Kaitak (Reply 16):
In the case of the KL/PA accident, you have the following contributory factors:

- Terrorist attack at LPA
- Small airport at TFN, not designed for holding a large number of aircraft
- Fog
- Confusion over taxiways; controllers didn't realise that PA 747 couldn't use the exit they had been asked to take
- Language issues ("at takeoff")
- Dutch flight time limits, which were known to be weighing on the crew's mind (see transcript)
- and finally, Capt Van Zanten's decision to depart without clearance.

Now, the final factor is, of course, the one which resulted in the crash, but without the others, this would not have been sufficient to cause an accident, so it's not fair to place 100% of the blame on Capt. Van Zanten.

The factors you list were merely situational contributors. Van Zantem's decision to roll without clearance was the only absolute cause of the accident.

Quoting Kaitak (Reply 16):
it's not fair to place 100% of the blame on Capt. Van Zanten.

Try telling the relatives of all who perished that day it wasn't Van Zantem's fault.

Van Zantem was the commander of his aircraft and ultimately responsible for the safety of all onboard. He made the decision to roll, causing and resulting in a collision and tragic loss of life.

Rgds



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User currently offlineJoemugg From United States of America, joined Aug 2007, 61 posts, RR: 0
Reply 16, posted (5 years 6 months 3 weeks 6 days 20 hours ago) and read 36739 times:

It was the perfect storm. A string of unusual occurences. An unusually rash decision from a seasoned pilot. Two unusually large aircraft. Life is sometimes this way.

User currently offlineHAWK21M From India, joined Jan 2001, 31667 posts, RR: 56
Reply 17, posted (5 years 6 months 3 weeks 6 days 20 hours ago) and read 36573 times:

This Accident had a series of events which led to its end......Each event added the pressure & contributed to the crash.although the P1 not adhering to ATC instructions was the final straw.
regds
MEL



Think of the brighter side!
User currently offlineKoosi From Czech Republic, joined May 2005, 90 posts, RR: 0
Reply 18, posted (5 years 6 months 3 weeks 6 days 20 hours ago) and read 36500 times:



Quoting Kaitak (Reply 16):
All 248 passengers and crew on board 'BUF were killed. There were no survivors.

There were originally 235 pax and 14 crew members. However, one of the passengers didn't board the aircraft at Tenerife, leaving 234 pax and 14 crew onboard.


User currently offlineBoeingdotcom From Singapore, joined Nov 2008, 89 posts, RR: 0
Reply 19, posted (5 years 6 months 3 weeks 6 days 19 hours ago) and read 36290 times:

I think Captain Van Zanten should be blamed and not to be blamed.

Why blame him?
Yes, it was his mistake for not being attentive and being so eager to reach amestdam. He was in the simulator more than his flying.
Why NOT to blame him?
It wasn't his fault due to the bad weather at the airport.
IF there wasn't a bomb at the origin of the airport, flights won't have to be diverted to Tenerife.
Pan Am flight should play a part of why the flight was diverted to Tenerife.
Had they have a modern Cockpit and TCAS, the accident won't happen in the first place.
Had Tenerife infracture been like the JFK, LAX type, the accident won't happen.
Had the pilots of both KLM and Pan Am been to Tenerife, the accident won't happen.
Had the ATC been at the better place at the runway, the accident won't happen.

So you guys out there blaming Cap. Van Zanten, DON'T BLAME ALL AT HIM, blame the factors. Why do some of you blame him and not the ATC, pan am flight crews, KLM flight crews, the terrorist, the weather, mother nature, infracture of Tenerife ?



Never forget to be yourself.
User currently offlineLarSPL From Netherlands, joined Apr 2002, 473 posts, RR: 0
Reply 20, posted (5 years 6 months 3 weeks 6 days 19 hours ago) and read 36240 times:

this accident has been discussed so many times that none of us at airliners.net can bring any new light on the situation.

in aviation accident investigation is and should not be focussed on who is to blame, but rather how to prevent this from happening again.
That crash is long long ago, and aviation is not what is was that day.
We can try to blame whoever we want, but keep in mind that crm, cockpit hierarchy, rt phraseology, airport procedures and basically everything was different. And everytime people try to focus on 1 single cause or person they do that reflecting present day aviation rules on him.

So i would suggest to stop blaming people, and see what has changed since then, and the lessons learned.

one last thing; the swiss cheese model is they only way you can look at this and try to avoid situations like this. If you don't use such a model your conclusion might well be: it was van zanten's fault. However, doing that you can not prevent this from happening again. "it was solely van zanten, so now he's goon it will not happen again".



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User currently offlineLijnden From Netherlands, joined Apr 2003, 562 posts, RR: 1
Reply 21, posted (5 years 6 months 3 weeks 6 days 18 hours ago) and read 35773 times:
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Cockpit crew details:

KLM cockpit crew:
The KLM cpt.'s name is Jacob Louis Veldhuyzen van Zanten
His last name Veldhuyzen van Zanten. (not only van Zanten)
Born 1927
He was with KLM for 27 years and had around 11700 flight hours / 1545 on a B747.

Klaas Meurs
Born 1935
1960 to KLM he had around 9200 flight hours / 95 on a B747.

Willem Schreuder
Born 1928
1948 to KLM he had 17031 flight hours / 543 on a B747.


Pan Am cockpit crew (all survived the crash):
Victor F. Grubbs
Born 1920
21043 flight hours / 564 on a B747.

Robert L. Bragg
Born 1937
3968 flight hours / 2796 on a B747.

George W. Warns
Born 1930
15210 flight hours / 559 on a B747.



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User currently offline1stfl94 From United Kingdom, joined May 2006, 1455 posts, RR: 0
Reply 22, posted (5 years 6 months 3 weeks 6 days 18 hours ago) and read 35649 times:

I think the main problem for Van Zanten was that whilst he was a highly experienced and well regarded pilot, most of his flying was training and in the simulator. When he flew to Tenerife that day he faced an unusual situation which demanded a great deal of awareness of aircraft around you. His lack of awareness became clear when he decided to refuel his aircraft even though the Pan Am was behind him and had just got takeoff clearance and needed to get past him to get to the runway and would have taken off well before him. Van Zanten seemed almost fixed on his own aircraft and hours to the detriment of the other aircraft. In addition, Van Zanten had recently given his F/O 747 certification who therefore felt he was in less of a position to question van Zanten

User currently offlineNrcnyc From United States of America, joined Apr 2005, 111 posts, RR: 0
Reply 23, posted (5 years 6 months 3 weeks 6 days 16 hours ago) and read 34911 times:



Quoting JAGflyer (Reply 3):
The golden rule of aviation is pay attention to ATC and do not do anything without their advice.

That implies that ATC is infallible. I'm sure that's not what you meant JAGflyer and I'm not saying that ATC is mistake prone. However just the other day I was flying IFR, VNY-SMO, and the controller kept making the same mistake. The clearance controller kept forgetting that I was in a /U aircraft and could not determine a turn in the DP using DME. After reminding him of that several times, he finally issued a clearance that did not require DME.

Generally speaking, I have found controllers in the USA to be helpful and professional, but we all make mistakes. My attitude is to always listen to ATC, but to be mindful that they could be issuing an instruction that is either incorrect or potentially dangerous. I hope controllers have the same attitude when it comes to watching over me.


User currently offlineBlueShamu330s From UK - England, joined Sep 2001, 2853 posts, RR: 25
Reply 24, posted (5 years 6 months 3 weeks 6 days 16 hours ago) and read 34661 times:



Quoting Boeingdotcom (Reply 19):
Why NOT to blame him?
It wasn't his fault due to the bad weather at the airport.

You're suggesting it's inherently dangerous to fly in weather less than CAVOK. Crews are trained to fly in all types of weather, and even at night if required  Yeah sure

Quoting Boeingdotcom (Reply 19):
IF there wasn't a bomb at the origin of the airport, flights won't have to be diverted to Tenerife.

That's a spurious variable. Diversions happen multiple times, every day. It's no big deal.

Quoting Boeingdotcom (Reply 19):
Pan Am flight should play a part of why the flight was diverted to Tenerife.

You want to blame the Pan Am crew for diverting away from their destination which was closed? What should they have done instead; ditch in the Atlantic?

Quoting Boeingdotcom (Reply 19):
Had they have a modern Cockpit and TCAS, the accident won't happen in the first place.

A modern cockpit won't help anyone with no CRM training and who is hell bent on getting home before going out of hours.
How do you think TCAS would have helped? I'm intriuged; perhaps there is a function of it I'm unfamiliar with.  banghead 

Quoting Boeingdotcom (Reply 19):
Had Tenerife infracture been like the JFK, LAX type, the accident won't happen.

 redflag   redflag 
Remind me. Many years AFTER the Tenerife disaster, exactly where in 1991 did a US Air 737 land on top of a Metro ?
http://aviation-safety.net/database/record.php?id=19910201-0
http://www.lafire.com/famous_fires/9...201_B737Crash/020191_B737Crash.htm

Quoting Boeingdotcom (Reply 19):
Had the pilots of both KLM and Pan Am been to Tenerife, the accident won't happen.

 redflag 
Familiarity often leads to complacency, not the other way round. In fact, flying into an unfamiliar airfild in bad weather makes you 110% more attentive and cautious, as were the Pan Am crew. The fact they were unfamiliar with the airfield therefore has less to do with it than you suggest.

Quoting Boeingdotcom (Reply 19):
Had the ATC been at the better place at the runway, the accident won't happen.

 thumbsdown  What do you mean by this? It makes no sense.

Rgds



So I drive a 4x4. So what?! Tax the a$$ off me for it...oh, you already have... :-(
25 RussianJet : All of those other factors are things that can be and basically were being managed, but taking off without clearance is always going to be a disaster
26 Buddys747 : Let's get one thing straight. No one can say for sure the Pan-Am Crew missed the turn off. To this day there is still confusion as too whether or not
27 BuyantUkhaa : Correct, one woman working for the travel agency that chartered this flight actually had to go to Tenerife; she was originally expected to fly to Las
28 Plairbus : In this years when the accident happen person were still more important than now, of course they are still important but much more tecnology is avabil
29 RussianJet : We know he was not cleared for takeoff.
30 Post contains links BlueShamu330s : Perhaps it is time to put this thread to bed, but not without including the final conclusion of the official investigation, which was eventually endor
31 JRadier : Perhaps not dangerous, but it is more dangerous. Crews are trained for it, but bad weather does set you back as opposed to CAVOK weather. The trainin
32 Post contains links DL747400 : Captain van Zanten was so well thought of by KLM management that he was featured in a KLM magazine ad (part of a series) at around the times of the cr
33 Birdbrainz : This is exactly correct. If "Captain Van" hadn't been such a cowboy, this would have never happened. In fact, it's fair to say that had the co-pilot
34 EPA001 : This is imho the best post in this thread. In the end, after a long series of events the KLM captain made crucial mistakes. Which would usually proba
35 Astuteman : Today I suspect a Quality System investigation would conclude that the root cause was inadequate/improper training. I don't think industry was quite
36 NA : I think that when the situation is very bad, foul weather that prevents you from seeing whats going on, language problems, tiredness, then its even wo
37 RussianJet : Exactly, is that not precisely what an experienced, highly-trained captain is there for?
38 EPA001 : And that was his mistake, like I pointed out. But surely, how many times do individual things in a chain of events go wrong without leading to such a
39 SSTsomeday : I believe these are all factors that have to be taken into consideration with regard to what happened, and speak to a pilot's judgment and communicat
40 Boeing4ever : You know what they say about the benefit of hindsight.. IMO, the problem was systemic. Van Zanten in the end was the one who pulled the trigger...but
41 David L : Further to the posts by BlueShamu330s (and a couple of others), while it's clearly unfair to place 100% of the blame on van Zanten, he had the inform
42 RussianJet : I don't agree there. The other reasons you quoted there were all either unrelated to the actual accident or were things that an experienced captain s
43 Brick : Somebody can correct me if I am wrong... I believe as a result of this accident that the words "take-off" are only used between ATC and the crew when
44 SXDFC : Had Captain Van Zanten survived this ordeal, I wonder what would have been the circumstances surrounding that, it is certainly an interesting thing to
45 Pylon101 : I guess the National Geographic documentary has covered all the issues. While on Tenerife I spent a few hours walking around the Los Rodeos airport. I
46 Mir : The very definition of a chain is that any of the links, if broken, will prevent the crash. Had the visibility been good, the crash would not have ha
47 Post contains images Pylon101 : I found a couple of pictures I had made at the spot where Captain Van Zanten was making his decision. Those are not of good quality - but give imrpess
48 NA : I disagree. The very fact of the bad situation, especially being unable to see, should have even more forced the captain NOT to rush than in better s
49 Iberiadc852 : In my opinion you are VERY right. Hadn't he been corrected by his FO the first time, and had he gone ahead with that takeoff, he probably hadn't cras
50 Post contains links Nbgskygod : After that incident there was a push to standardize ATC communications around the world. One major change to ATC communications was to make English t
51 BeechNut : English is not the official language of aviation. It is the agreed upon common language in areas of multi-lingual operation, but other languages are
52 David L : OK, bad choice of words. It's unfair to say that nothing else contributed.
53 AirPortugal310 : Reading this statement, and then reading your signature right after...haha very nice way out of things!
54 Klwright69 : I knew someone respond, reading what I had written incorrectly.... Yes, I said one passenger got off the KLM flight at Tenerife. The only "survivor"
55 THEENGINEER : I watched the documentary on youtube after reading everything in this forum and I really liked it. Does anyone know what happened to the tower control
56 Super Em : We can all blame Cpt Van Zanten but which one of us here would have questioned his seniority and experience had we been in that situation. It is safe
57 DUALRATED : Wrong ! While I agree it happens, (the AA crash in Little rock comes to mind as the most recent.) you can fire me if you want to but I am going home
58 ACDC8 : While I agree with you, you have to realize that this happened back in 1977 when CRM was still in its infant stages. You can't use todays mentality a
59 Airvan00 : In that era very few people would have questioned him. But as a result of this accident, which is always featured in CRM training, I would hope that
60 Boeing4ever : That's the irony of this thread. We're judging Van Zanten by the standards that arose as a result of his very actions. Almost like the group that mad
61 AirPortugal310 : Sadly, isnt this the way most recommendations occur? Something heinous has to happen first...
62 Boeing4ever : Unfortunately. A lot of safety regulations are written in blood as they say. B4e-Forever New Frontiers
63 Post contains links Jc2354 : What would have happened if Captain Van Zanten survived the crash? Would he be in prison? Reading through all the comments regarding weather, controll
64 Post contains links Aviateur : There were numerous contributing factors in the Tenerife disaster. Not the least of which was an overlapping radio transmission -- the so called "hete
65 DUALRATED : Agreed. IMO today in the interest of safety a pilot can no longer afford to keep their mouth shut. That was my point. What took place then I know was
66 747400sp : He would have been crucified!
67 RussianJet : Again, I don't agree. All the other factors mentioned were things that should be either expected or fully trained for. Look at them in isolation - di
68 ACDC8 : Fact is that they all contributed to the accident, if any one of those factors were different, chances are very likely that this would never have hap
69 David L : I'm "judging" him by the fact that there was doubt about whether or not he was cleared for take-off and whether or not the runway was clear. He was q
70 EDICHC : Regrettably the Los Rodeos accident was not the first instance of deficient CRM being a significant factor in a fatal air accident at take-off. In 19
71 BlueShamu330s : I'm sorry, but from an investigative perspective, you are wrong. The sole cause of the accident was Van Zanten commencing his take-off run. That was
72 David L : OK, yes, as I indicated right from the outset, van Zanten was the only person responsible for the accident. I guess looking at the possible reasons he
73 EDICHC : All other factors mentioned carried a degree of risk, which contributed to a situation of potential danger. Capt Van Zanten's action in (attempting)
74 David L : Oops, hit "Post" instead of "Edit"... And that's all I said. Agreed and I didn't say otherwise. My point is that, while it's obvious that the accident
75 NA : Very well written. Thanks for posting. Actually an experienced pilot should have been worried deeply. Better ask twice in such situation. The circums
76 David L : There seems to be a lot of confusion between "justification" and "contributing factors". At no point have I suggested van Zanten had any justificatio
77 Orlando666 : the aircraft commander is undoubtedly responsible (unless incapacitated) for the aircraft/flight without doubt. he/she can make or break an emergency
78 LongHauler : I think you are right, that is the big issue. There is no doubt that the cause of the crash was a takeoff without a takeoff clearance ...... however,
79 RussianJet : Whilst that maybe likely, we cannot know that. Recordings etc. would seem to support that view, but one can't say with total certainty that he was no
80 EPA001 : Very well sad! As much as Van Zanten carries most of the guilt to this accident happening, anyone stating he was the only factor which caused this ho
81 David L : I think it's pretty clear he mistook the departure clearance for a take-off clearance. He'd already stopped one take-off attempt when the FO question
82 SEPilot : If they had tried to exit the "correct" taxiway the accident would probably still happened, as they would have been stuck on the runway trying to mak
83 Boeing4ever : That's my point...back then the captain was regarded as the be all and end all in the flight crew. The junior pilots didn't speak up. This accident,
84 FrmrCAPCADET : I I think this is the only point which removes any fault from the pilot. It is also interesting to me that from a theoretical and legal point of view
85 LongHauler : This is very well stated! And, is one of the main results of this accident. Were it not for this accident, CRM might never have evolved. Were it not
86 Wolbo : I don't see it that way at all. Among other things you are overlooking that the PAN AM did not take the exit they were ordered to and should not have
87 Klwright69 : This is one those threads that has gone out of control, completely. I apologize for the words in CAPS but this is driving me batty.... Umm, No one is
88 BlueShamu330s : I say it again, The sole cause of the accident was Van Zanten commencing his take-off run. That was the cause. That is what put two B747s in the same
89 EDICHC : It is highly doubtful whether or not the taxiway exit factor made any difference whatsoever, as the two taxiways concerned were almost right next to
90 Buddys747 : See my post #26. Your comments are speculations, not facts.
91 SSTsomeday : Thank you for this post. It is another example of completely unacceptable judgment and communication skills in the cockpit. A bully or abuser is neve
92 David L : I did get your point but I think there's a subtle difference. By the standards of those days, perhaps the FO and FE might not have questioned the Cap
93 Bennett123 : IMO, it is clear that Van Zanten thought that the runway was clear. The alternative is that he was suicidal. AFAIK there has been no evidence to suppo
94 SEPilot : This really has no bearing on it at all. It is the responsibility of the captain of the aircraft taking off to be sure that the runway is clear BEFOR
95 Bennett123 : EDICHC The name of the PIC was Captain (Geoffry?) Key. The attached report of the Papa India crash may be of interest. As EDICHC says, it was also pre
96 David L : Yes, on the CRM issue, I think you're right. However, taking off without clearance and without double-checking that runway was clear in poor visibili
97 Bennett123 : Yes I entirely agree. However, in those days the Captain did NOT listen to the crew. Sometimes, when I read about flights pre CRM, I wonder what the F
98 David L : But the thing is that, in this case, he did listen to the FO when he stopped his first attempt at starting to take-off. Yet, a few seconds later, he
99 MEA-707 : Veldhuyzen van Zanten indeed made the worst mistake, but paid the highest price. His family, apart from loosing a father and husband, still feel haunt
100 SEPilot : Precisely. But in this case when that is so clearly the cause it has had the very positive effect of spurring CRM, which has undoubtedly prevented ma
101 Boeing4ever : It wasn't so much that they did question him, but the attitude of the Captain. Either way there was a systemic problem back then where the Captain wa
102 Airtechy : It's seems pretty obvious that he ignored several warnings and took off without clearance. What I find hard to understand is what caused him to believ
103 Klwright69 : Here Here to that... Of course that was the case! I say of course because that is often the reality when flying into airports in other, often less de
104 FlyASAGuy2005 : I first saw the thread name yesterday and didn't even bother to open because I thought it was of some superstar airline pilot that everyone knew abou
105 David L : But my point, which seems to be too subltle, is that he didn't overrule his crew just for the hell of it. He actually thought they were wrong. That's
106 MD88Captain : I did not have time to view the whole thread, but in the first half I did not see the most obvious additional causal factor mentioned. It is very pain
107 FlyASAGuy2005 : One thing that I can say in the defense (well not really) is that when Meurs "radioed we're now uh..taking off" they heard "O.K.". They did not hear
108 Post contains links BCAL : An interesting thread and some good replies but some important factors are missing. Captain Van Zanten did make the final fatal decision but to attrib
109 Boeing4ever : Ahh, but then we open up the question of why he did so. Was it because he genuinely thought they were wrong, inspite of the FE raising a very good po
110 FlyASAGuy2005 : That's my only argument. That is not disputed. It's also believed that he was NOT in a suicidal state of mind at the time either. But then again, he
111 747400sp : I am glad to see that he is still alive to tell the story.
112 Klwright69 : Yes, last I knew Capt. Grubbs was also alive. But of the three, Bragg seems to speak openly about it. How about fact checking the part about the foot
113 B727LVR : I agree. There is enough evidence on the voice recorder, and from those that knew him, to prove what kind of control he demanded while he was in the
114 EDICHC : And it was only within the context of that CRM similarity that I raised the subject of G-ARPI, no other direct comparison was made. I disagree with y
115 BCAL : You are welcome to agree or disagree. After all this is a discussion forum and it would be a tad boring if we all agreed on everything. I shall attem
116 FlyASAGuy2005 : And i've heard people say that by doing this, he blocked PanAm's path on push-back. I don't think the man would have intentionally blocked their path
117 Viscount724 : I've forgotten the details, but I think at least 2 of the 3 (maybe all 3) Pan Am cockpit crew continued flying for Pan Am.
118 Post contains links Aviateur : They all flew again, though the captain and engineer passed away several years ago. Bob Bragg is very much alive and well. He retired from UAL as a 7
119 Reltney : I am not picking on you or others who think like this but you have it backwards. You can tell you are not a pilot and it dosn't matter either. First
120 Aviateur : I have to stick up for JAGflyer on this one. There were several influencing factors at Tenerife, it's true, but at the end of the day, Van Zanten too
121 B727LVR : That may be true... You tell them where you want to go, BUT they will tell you how to get there! How many times have pilots taken off, landed, descen
122 Reltney : This is not a mean reply but I am trying to help you understand ATCs function correctly. You missed the point of my response. A person who was not a
123 Airvan00 : We were discussing an accident that occurred it what would now be called Class B Airspace. Your examples are what happens in Class E or F. The person
124 Post contains links Reltney : You are correct of course but look at the incident in PVD where the woman controller screwed up and issued clearence to a US Air plane to take off in
125 F27 : The Capt of the KLM aircraft should have stayed where he belonged in a simulator.
126 FlyASAGuy2005 : Also seen pilots land at the wrong airport ...hopefully the training he provided di not resemble his last flight. Why did I get a flashback of youTub
127 Airvan00 : Yes I understand what you are saying as a fellow pilot. As an ATC, I commenced a program for ATC's to be included in airline CRM training in this coun
128 Bennett123 : I referred to Papa India primarily in terms of CRM. Whilst not discribing Captain as a aerial Captain Bligh, it is doubtful that he would have welcome
129 NA : Captain Bligh was not the evil man Hollywood made out of him. Especially the Marlon Brando movie, but also the one with Mel Gibson (Anthony Perkins a
130 Bennett123 : It is only an expression. I do know that he was not as bad in reality as in the film. If he was, then why would so many of the crew have got into the
131 Bmacleod : How long did it take before KLM finally accepted that it was Van Zanten's fault and not the control tower at Tenerife? KLM heavilly defended Van Zanet
132 BCAL : Your recollection is correct. Prior to the ill-fated flight there was an ugly mood in the BEA Pilots crewroom with some pilots very much for industri
133 Reltney : I agree! I knew we were trying to say the same thing.. Cheers
134 Post contains links BuyantUkhaa : "There was disagreement between the various investigative bodies, with the Dutch investigators suggesting that during the incident the Spanish contro
135 SEPilot : Unfortunately, most advances in airline safety have come at the cost of a lot of lives. The one bright spot of this accident is that it was so clear
136 Kaitak : He was; don't forget that he was a Royal Navy officer (a lieutenant, rather than a captain; he was just called "capt" because he was the CO of the Bo
137 SEPilot : A bit off topic; but I have a much different assessment of Bligh. His primary problem was that he was a very poor leader of people, but had very impr
138 Klwright69 : Yes, read again carefully because that is exactly what I said, you just elaborated more! I was responding to someone else in another post that said w
139 KC135TopBoom : Well, if the terrorist had not detonated a bomb at las Palmas, the accident would never have happened. I guess you can have them share the blame with
140 B727LVR : Wasn't trying to put any spin on it just placing facts with either a controllable or not controllablepoint of view. And as you said, he cannot be exc
141 Airvan00 : If the control tower and the crews of each plane could not see each other, it is irrelevant from an ATC point of view, what taxiway the PA aircraft to
142 FlyASAGuy2005 : EXACTLY! I pointed that out in my first response. Obviously the KLM crew were not too vigilant because they, at some point, heard ATC to instruct PA
143 EDICHC : Absolutely! This is the critical point. Regardless of poor visibility, possible missed taxiway etc. Until PA reported clear of the runway ATC was not
144 EDICHC : Not a problem, as you say it would be a dull forum if we all agreed on everything! That was the point I was trying to make in my original reference,
145 Charlem : I few months ago I saw a documentary on that topic. Even if Van Zanten seem to be the ultimate reason of that accident, it's fascinating to see how a
146 LTBEWR : There are still accidents of a much smaller scale of loss of life and injuries occurring because of some of the elements of the Tenerief disaster. Num
147 EDICHC : Sorry but I have to disagree strongly with that. ATC told PanAm to report when clear of the runway, they had not reported clear, ATC therefore did no
148 SEPilot : Quite correct; I was agreeing with you. Sorry if it didn't come across that way. The terrorists could have bombed every airport in the world and the
149 B727LVR : It is quite sad that the passengers of today get so bent out of shape over being just a few minutes late. I laugh every time I am flying and see peop
150 FrmrCAPCADET : I have assumed that it is up to a pilot to determine whether or no he can take the first available/requested exit from a runway. And that a pilot woul
151 Airvan00 : In a word Yes. It would be unusual for ATC in this country to nominate an exit taxiway. ATC may say however "request you expedite clearance of the ru
152 P3Orion : At ORD, the controller will say "United Three twenty one turn left at Alpha One and contact Ground point niner." If the pilot feels he/she cannot mak
153 Klwright69 : SEpilot, thank you, thank you, thank you... Some say that they are not really defending Van Zanten, then try and deflect attention from Van Zanten to
154 EDICHC : Couldn't agree more with the above. It was the breach of that fundamental part of airmanship on the part of Capt Van Zanten that caused this tragedy.
155 LongHauler : I don't think anyone here is "defending" Van Zanten, as I don't think anyone on here would argue that the final sole cause of the crash was taking of
156 SEPilot : But the other two crewmembers believed that they had NOT received clearance and PA WAS still on the runway. Because of CRM if that situation arose ag
157 LongHauler : That is exactly what we are all saying. As a result of this accident, and the then new concept of looking beyond "pilot error" CRM has been developed
158 FrmrCAPCADET : CRM: would it be possible that in this case it is shorthand for telling a really arrogant mistaken pilot (and note, I suspect at worst they are signif
159 SEPilot : Excellent point; it could also be said that the captain will not be the sole determinator of the facts.
160 FlyASAGuy2005 : I would say not necessarily. The simple fact that he let the Captain proceed with the take-off tells me that he didn't know for SURE. I don't car how
161 SEPilot : Granted he wasn't sure, but he certainly indicated that in his opinion they weren't cleared for takeoff. He let the captain continue because of the c
162 GFFgold : Perhaps a question of semantics but, if you put it that way, yes I WOULD argue that there was only one pull on the trigger in the end and that was at
163 B727LVR : Agreed! And besides who wouldn't want to stay in a place like Las Palmas? I have heard its beautiful there! Stupid pride....
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