AR385
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CASA, Chilean Air Force, Gone Down In The Pacific

Sat Sep 03, 2011 6:16 am

Details are sketchy still, but apparently a CASA C-212 of the Chilean Air Force crashed in the Pacific Ocean afer two landing attempts in the Chilean "Juan Fernández" island group, which is 823 miles due West from SCL.

There were 21 passengers on board, but the media is focusing on it being a specially sad accident as the prominent TV personality Felipe Camiroaga was aboard the aircraft. Apparently in the last few years he was the personality in charge of conducting the "Viña del Mar" festival.

Some sources say a few wreckage has been found floating in the sea, a door in particular.

My condolences to the families of the victims. It does not look good.

[Edited 2011-09-02 23:25:01]

[Edited 2011-09-02 23:29:48]

[Edited 2011-09-02 23:30:40]
 
sshd
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RE: CASA, Chilean Air Force, Gone Down In The Pacific

Sat Sep 03, 2011 6:27 am

According to spanish news they only had fuel for one more hour and it'd take 3 hours to go back to mainland if no landing is possible :/
Sad news  
 
AR385
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RE: CASA, Chilean Air Force, Gone Down In The Pacific

Sat Sep 03, 2011 6:38 am

 
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acontador
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RE: CASA, Chilean Air Force, Gone Down In The Pacific

Sat Sep 03, 2011 1:20 pm

This is a very sad day for Chilean aviation in general, for the FACH family and for all of us who feel part of this family. More so considering that most civilians on board (21 confirmed total souls on board, 8 FACH personnel and 13 civilians) were heading to the island to help in the reconstruction effort after the strong 8.8 earthquake and tsunami last year.

While there is no official confirmation that the airplane crashed, actually all information available right now points to that (it is still considered as "missing"). So far 4 bodies have been recovered (one male and two female and one unconfirmed), and a lot of debris and small parts were picked up floating...

Just to give a little more information on the usual operations at this airfield, this is an uncontrolled airfield at the western tip of the island, thus SOP is to first overfly the airstrip and then make the actual approach for landing. From witnesses it seems that the aircraft made the first overflight, then made a wide 360° left turn for the actual approach. It looks like the aircraft then made a go-around, and again went on a wide left turn. While it is still unclear if it did another go-around, afterwards contact was lost.

Weather was rather typical of the island at the time, with some strong wind gusts (with some crosswind component of the airstrip), a cloud ceiling of 3.000 feet, and some light rain.

The plane left SCL yesterday at 13:52 LT, with enough fuel for 3:40 hours flying time, with an estimated flying time of 2:30 hours.

It is also not confirmed who was the pilot and who was co-pilot, but both are FACH Lieutenants (one female) with aprox. 6 years flying experience, with many previous flights to the island.

While there is also no official confirmation on the identity of the plane, I strongly suspect that it is one of the two CASA 212-300 in FACH service, either #965 or #966:


View Large View Medium
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Photo © Alejandro Ruiz
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Photo © Andrés Contador - AirTeamImages



It looks like this will be the first mayor air-crash in many years in Chile, and we have been very proud of the high safety standard of both civilian a military aviation in our country.

Due to the scale of the accident and the very prominent civilian on board, there is constant coverage in local media, thus we are being informed very quickly of any development. There is a mayor rescue operation ongoing, with lots of FACH, Navy and civilian assets locally deployed.

All our prayers are with the families and friends of the crew and passengers.

[Edited 2011-09-03 06:25:02]
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avion660
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RE: CASA, Chilean Air Force, Gone Down In The Pacific

Sat Sep 03, 2011 6:40 pm

This is very very sad. However, I nearly had a heart attack when I heard on the BBC that a Chilean plane had crashed in the Pacific .. I feared the even greater loss of a Lan to either Easter Island or New Zealand.

Quoting acontador (Reply 4):
It looks like this will be the first mayor air-crash in many years in Chile, and we have been very proud of the high safety standard of both civilian a military aviation in our country.

I see that the Chilean press are saying that this is the worst crash, in terms of loss of life, in Chile since the Uruguyan FH227 crashed way back in 1972. They've forgotten about the Aeronor crash in '82 in La Serena, and of course there have been several major incidents since then.. Lan in both 1987 and 1991 (complete losses of 737 and Bae146 with 20 deaths in the latter case), as well as the 2005 Don Carlos and 2008 Aerocord and Patagonia crashes. OK, the Don Carlos crashed in Argentina, but it was a Chilean aircraft.
 
Pu752
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RE: CASA, Chilean Air Force, Gone Down In The Pacific

Sun Sep 04, 2011 5:36 am

Indeed terrible, RIP to the victims.

Does anybody knows if the plane actually crashed into the ocean or was in the island itself?

Either way seems like an another CFIT accident.
 
sshd
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RE: CASA, Chilean Air Force, Gone Down In The Pacific

Sun Sep 04, 2011 6:37 am

My question is...why didn't they have enough fuel to go to the alternative?
 
Pu752
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RE: CASA, Chilean Air Force, Gone Down In The Pacific

Sun Sep 04, 2011 7:27 am

Quoting sshd (Reply 6):
My question is...why didn't they have enough fuel to go to the alternative?

How do you know they didn't? we don't have their flight plan to discuss this here, nor the media.

Pilots are not suicidal, they didn't left without checking weather info, possible alternates, performance, fuel, etc.

Were they under IMC or VMC at the time of the accident? A possible failure even under VMC during go around could be a factor. Lets wait until the official reports.
 
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RE: CASA, Chilean Air Force, Gone Down In The Pacific

Sun Sep 04, 2011 8:04 am

Quoting acontador (Reply 3):
It is also not confirmed who was the pilot and who was co-pilot, but both are FACH Lieutenants (one female) with aprox. 6 years flying experience, with many previous flights to the island.

Pilot: Juan Pablo Mallea
Co-pilot: Carolina Fernández

RIP to the crew and passengers. Very very sad.  
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AR385
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RE: CASA, Chilean Air Force, Gone Down In The Pacific

Sun Sep 04, 2011 8:41 am

Quoting Pu752 (Reply 7):
How do you know they didn't? we don't have their flight plan to discuss this here, nor the media.

I know because I´ve been watching TVN all day and I saw a General explain things. He said the total fuel capacity was 3.5 hrs for that plane, and the enroute time was 2.5 hrs. There is no alternate. The only alternate is going back to SCL*.

Why would the FACH dispatch a plane WITH CIVILIANS on board, to an island with the fickle climate known in that region of the world knowing there is no way to return to the Continent if they can´t land, when there is no alternate? Furthermore, why do you dispatch a plane with FIXED landing gear on such a mission? This is negligence.

Given the weather info, this flight should have never taken place. The captains of two planes, one that landed 1.5 hours before the accident and another that landed 1 hr before reported conditions were extremely difficult, with gusting crosswinds in excess of 40 knots, plus fog and rain. At that time, had the info. been passed to the the Captain, she ought to have returned to SCL. I don´t know though if the info. was passed on to her.

But even if it was, she was under very strong pressure to keep going. She had the STARS of a very highly rated Chilean TV program on board, plus a famous Chilean millionaire. All on their way to inaugurate a school rebuilt after the 2010 tsunami. Must have been very difficult for her to say "Sorry, we are going back". She chose to hope that the weather would improve by the time the plane arrived. Unfortunately, it had become worst.

About what happened, I believe that after the second go around, the Captain became disoriented and dove into the ocean. I just saw images of the seat back trays and they are in pieces, so the impact must have been very hard. Easy to understand scenario:

The pilot is distracted and stressed, she knows she can´t land and she knows she is very short on fuel. She´s already performed the procedural runway overflight plus two go arounds. No way to make it anywhere. Then, with no visibility, in clouds, fog and rain, she does not notice she is actually in a dive and the rest we are seeing the results. The moment this flight took off from SCL, it was doomed.

This is CFIT? Sure. But the FACH have a lot of explaining to do, in my opinion. This accident is not simply "pilot error".

What a sad, terrible tragedy. Good, decent people were lost needlessly.

*I am using SCL to point out the flight left from Santiago. I don´t know which airbase they actually took off from.

Quoting CamiloA380 (Reply 8):
Pilot: Juan Pablo Mallea
Co-pilot: Carolina Fernández

It´s the other way around. The Captain was Ms. Carolina Fernández, one of the first three women to reach such rank in the FACH.
 
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RE: CASA, Chilean Air Force, Gone Down In The Pacific

Sun Sep 04, 2011 2:23 pm

There is now a little more information available, although I have to caution any one of speculations; this was a military plane, and the FACH is well known for their reluctance to give information to the public (we still don´t know the exact identity of the plane, and we may never know!), thus we have to be very careful in differentiating speculation from facts.

The facts known so far are:
1. The aircraft left SCL at 13:52 LT, with a flight plan of 2:30 hours and enough fuel for 3:40 hours.
2. There were 21 persons on board: 3 crew members + another 5 FACH personnel, and 13 civilians.
3. Four bodies have been recovered (2 male and 2 female). They already have been flown back to Santiago, the autopsies have been performed and the remains handed over to their respective families.
4. The flight commander was Carolina Fernández, and the copilot was Juan Pablo Mallea (we should bear in mind that task sharing is not exactly the same in a military plane when compared to a civil one). We don't know who was at the controls during the landing attempts.
5. The plane flew with a IMC flight plan all the way until they started their descent, at which point they switched to a VMC flight and landing, as the airfield has no landing aids whatsoever (besides the obligatory windsock).
6. They made their first overflight of the runway to asses winds and have a look for potential conflicting traffic.
7. The aircraft now had about 40-50 minutes worth of fuel remaining, thus many approaches could have been performed before the fuel situation would become critical. At this point there is no viable alternate airport.
8. Afterwards, they made a wide left 360° turn to make a first approach.
9. This first approach to runway 32 was aborted for unknown reasons.
10. Then they went again for a 360° left turn. After about 180°-270° they left the field of view of the few people at the airfield, not to be seen again.
11. Many parts of the aircraft have been recovered floating on the sea, most being rather small and show evidence of a high energy impact.
12. No parts of the airplane have been found on the island itself, everything has been recovered floating on the sea.

Unfortunately, as the airfield has no tower and no permanent personnel assigned, we don't have official records regarding the weather at the time of the landing attempts. There is a webcam available to check for weather before take-off. As the airfield has no landing instruments nor illumination, it is restricted to daylight VMC conditions only.

Some information on the airfield (suggest you have a look with Google Earth with the coordinates, very good quality):
- ISLA ROBINSON CRUSOE/ AD Robinson Crusoe SCIR
- 33 39 57 S 78 55 45 W 10 km W of Camberland Bay
- One paved runway 14/32
- Length/Width: 1007/18 meters
- Max permissible landing weight 7500 kg
- CTN RWY 14/32 cliffs both ends of runway; CTN runway with reduced to 20 meters; CTN airfield is not controlled, before any operation runway status has to be observed, potential presence of animals or persons on runway; every aircraft that flies to Robinson Crusoe airfield without VHF but with satellite phone has to coordinate every flight individually with Oceanic Control.

Now, everything else at this moment is ONLY speculation and not facts.

We know that weather at the island is changing quickly and constantly. This particular aircraft was committed to a landing after they started the descent, as they had not enough fuel to reach any alternate airport. However, this is not uncommon for the flights to this island, thus it is also not uncommon for aircraft to circle the airfield for some time if they expect weather to improve. The biggest problem normally encountered is the wind (gust), as it may vary in intensity and direction very quickly.

From what we can see right know, everything points to an impact on the water somewhere south of the island, not too far from the shore, when they were turning towards the runway after the downwind leg.

Very sad, R.I.P. to those 21 that perished and all our thoughts and prayers for the families and friends.

[Edited 2011-09-04 07:27:40]
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Pu752
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RE: CASA, Chilean Air Force, Gone Down In The Pacific

Mon Sep 05, 2011 1:25 am

Thanks for the information.

It seems that under VMC and day light, CFIT seems unlikely.

The plane could have disintegrated in the air also, for many factors... this should also be considered for the investigators.
 
AR385
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RE: CASA, Chilean Air Force, Gone Down In The Pacific

Mon Sep 05, 2011 4:06 am

Quoting Pu752 (Reply 11):
It seems that under VMC and day light, CFIT seems unlikely.

The FACH authorities have confirmed the plane disintegrated ON IMPACT, not in the air. Heck, the President even went on TV to say that "it might not be possible to recover all the bodies."

They have also asked for the DNA and dental records of the passengers, so that gives you an idea of the state of the latest human remains they have found and have arrived in Santiago.

Now, if you maintain the plane crash was not a result of CFIT, please tell me of a scenario where a rugged plane, like a CASA 212 would disintegrate in the air, after a go around, when it is flying slow. Disintegrate to the point where the bodies are unrecognizable and only pieces of them are being found.

Plus, not to mention that that scenario conflicts with witness statements who saw it disappear below a ridge, intact.

The state of the bodies, human remains rather, found today, indicates trauma. Trauma that does not happen in mid-air disintegration, except when a bomb or another type of explosion takes place.

The almost intact bodies found yesterday were probably seated in the back and thus survided the impact in a way that did not damage them too much. The fact they were found flotaing, also means they died on impact, with their lungs full of air, thus they did not sink. However, do notice that except for a couple of exceptions, coffins are being kept closed and a couple were buried today.

You are misinformed too. Conditions were not VMC WHEN THE CASA ARRIVED in the island. They probably were when it took off, but were not longer so when it got there. Daylight? sure, but it was complete IMC with gusting winds. And those were the conditions 1.5 hrs into the flight. The Captain ought to have turned back.

Those seated in front, unfortunately, disintegrated to a point that their identification if it ever occurs, will take weeks.
 
Pu752
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RE: CASA, Chilean Air Force, Gone Down In The Pacific

Mon Sep 05, 2011 5:50 am

Quoting AR385 (Reply 12):
You are misinformed too

Yes I might, im sorry, I could not retrive much information, for example the METAR at the time of the accident.

Quoting AR385 (Reply 12):
Conditions were not VMC WHEN THE CASA ARRIVED in the island

Can you really confirm this? if so how come the plane was flying in IMC during the approach/landing if the airport doesnt have any instrument procedure?

If the island does not have any navaids, pilot must remain at all times under VMC for the approach and landing phase.

Quoting AR385 (Reply 12):
please tell me of a scenario where a rugged plane, like a CASA 212 would disintegrate in the air

Well, maybe they had some kind of structure failure during the go around procedure, or they exceed the airplanes Gs, normal operation speeds, who knows... but it is certainly possible under many scenarios.

[Edited 2011-09-04 22:51:38]
 
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RE: CASA, Chilean Air Force, Gone Down In The Pacific

Mon Sep 05, 2011 12:07 pm

Quoting acontador (Reply 10):
7. The aircraft now had about 40-50 minutes worth of fuel remaining, thus many approaches could have been performed before the fuel situation would become critical. At this point there is no viable alternate airport.



Just to be very clear here, this aircraft is a military one, and this was a military flight (with civilians on board). Accordingly, it would comply with all military regulations, but not necessarily with all civilian ones. In particular, as with any other flight plan, for any civil aircraft there has to be an alternate airport, thus civilian planes flying to SCIR have enough fuel on board to eventually turn back to the mainland (probably nearest airport would be SCVM).

Quoting AR385 (Reply 12):
The FACH authorities have confirmed the plane disintegrated ON IMPACT, not in the air. Heck, the President even went on TV to say that "it might not be possible to recover all the bodies."



AR385, in the spirit of keeping this thread as much informative as possible, please be so kind and mark your statements clearly as speculation when necessary, as otherwise it might be missunderstood for facts. What everybody is saying locally is that "all indications make it the most probable..", which does not equate to a confirmation. I think you have fallen into the typical journalists trap, they know crap about aviation (you should hear the questions they ask), and their aim is to sell their story.

Quoting AR385 (Reply 12):
Now, if you maintain the plane crash was not a result of CFIT, please tell me of a scenario where a rugged plane, like a CASA 212 would disintegrate in the air, after a go around, when it is flying slow. Disintegrate to the point where the bodies are unrecognizable and only pieces of them are being found.



Sure, no problem, it was hit by a meteor and dissintegrated in flight. Possible? Yes. Probable? No. Again, we have no eye whitnesses of the crash itself, no black boxes, no tower or other air traffic control people, no weather service, no radio transmissions, we have no survivors...in my humble opinion, most probably we will never know what happened. Accordingly, I wouldn't rule out any possible cause at this stage, although of course we can speculate and try to put together the now most probable cause and events. And yes, I agree with you that everything at this moment points to a high energy impact on the water.

Quoting AR385 (Reply 12):
The state of the bodies, human remains rather, found today, indicates trauma.



You seem to be very informed, heck, even have information nobody else in the public has down here! Just to know, what is the state of the human remains found? Don't want to be graphic here in respect of the families, but we don't know yet what the autopsies will say.

Quoting AR385 (Reply 12):
You are misinformed too. Conditions were not VMC WHEN THE CASA ARRIVED in the island. They probably were when it took off, but were not longer so when it got there. Daylight? sure, but it was complete IMC with gusting winds. And those were the conditions 1.5 hrs into the flight. The Captain ought to have turned back.



Could you please give us your source for this information (and I hope it's not the media)? I have read a lot about the weather conditions at the time of the landing attempts (see my first post), but again we have to be very careful in separating facts from speculation.

What I can tell you is that after speaking with a few pilots with experience flying into SCIR, they will al tell you that nobody takes any risks there when landing, as the whole setup is already complicated, considering the location of the runway, its length, the fact that it is rather unlevel, the lack of a tower, the cosntantly changing weather conditions, in particular winds. Since you can only operate VMC, every pilots makes sure that the visibility will be enough upon arrival for meeting the minimum criteria, otherwise they don't take-off. Even so, as the weather does change really quickly, it can happen that upon arrival they don't have enough visual, and then they return. Yes, this particular aircraft did not have enough fuel to do so, but according to all we know they had enough visual for VMC conditions (as the few people on the ground at the airfield said). Again, everything points to the gusty and changing winds as the most probable reason for the first go-around.

Quoting Pu752 (Reply 13):
If the island does not have any navaids, pilot must remain at all times under VMC for the approach and landing phase.



Exactly, bingo!

Quoting Pu752 (Reply 13):
Well, maybe they had some kind of structure failure during the go around procedure, or they exceed the airplanes Gs, normal operation speeds, who knows... but it is certainly possible under many scenarios.



Unfortunately I fully agree with you, there are many scenarios possible...who knows.
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AR385
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RE: CASA, Chilean Air Force, Gone Down In The Pacific

Mon Sep 05, 2011 7:23 pm

Quoting acontador (Reply 14):
You seem to be very informed, heck, even have information nobody else in the public has down here! Just to know, what is the state of the human remains found?
http://www.latercera.com/noticia/nac...n-certeza-lo-que-ocurrio-son.shtml

Excerpt:

"Desde ayer a última hora en la noche estamos entrando en una etapa distinta, donde encontramos cuerpos desmembrados"

http://www.latercera.com/noticia/nac...uncionarios-de-sml-para-toma.shtml

Excerpt:

"El encuentro tiene como objetivo reunir placas dentales, fichas odontológicas, radiografías familiares y de las mismas víctimas, y toda la información como tatuajes, cicatrices etc, que puedan ayudar a identificar los restos, llenando un documento de características de cada uno de los pasajeros del avión."

http://www.elpais.com/articulo/inter.../elpepuint/20110905elpepuint_1/Tes

Quoting Pu752 (Reply 13):
Can you really confirm this? if so how come the plane was flying in IMC during the approach/landing if the airport doesnt have any instrument procedure?

If the island does not have any navaids, pilot must remain at all times under VMC for the approach and landing phase.

Instrument meteorological conditions (IMC) describes weather conditions that require pilots to fly primarily by reference to instruments, and therefore under Instrument Flight Rules (IFR), rather than by outside visual references under Visual Flight Rules (VFR). Typically, this means flying in cloud or bad weather. It has nothing to do with wether the island has or does not have an instrument procedure. The flight was flying in IMC. Otherwise, Ms Fernández would not have made two go-arounds.

Quoting Pu752 (Reply 13):
Well, maybe they had some kind of structure failure during the go around procedure, or they exceed the airplanes Gs, normal operation speeds, who knows... but it is certainly possible under many scenarios.

Sure. That would have mean spatial disorientation and extreme recovery maneuvers. I doubt FACH planes are so badly maintained they have pieces coming off, like a wing or the empennage.

Quoting acontador (Reply 14):
Just to be very clear here, this aircraft is a military one, and this was a military flight (with civilians on board). Accordingly, it would comply with all military regulations, but not necessarily with all civilian ones. In particular, as with any other flight plan, for any civil aircraft there has to be an alternate airport, thus civilian planes flying to SCIR have enough fuel on board to eventually turn back to the mainland (probably nearest airport would be SCVM).

I agree. Thus, a military flight, carrying civilians, ona civilian mission, needs to fly according to civilian regulations. Otherwise you do not bring civilians aboard. I still maintain it was irresponsible for the FACH to let such a flight take place, without an alternate, knowing how the conditions at the island are as fickle, meteorologically speaking, as they are, specially this time of year.

Quoting acontador (Reply 14):
AR385, in the spirit of keeping this thread as much informative as possible, please be so kind and mark your statements clearly as speculation when necessary, as otherwise it might be missunderstood for facts. What everybody is saying locally is that "all indications make it the most probable..", which does not equate to a confirmation. I think you have fallen into the typical journalists trap, they know crap about aviation (you should hear the questions they ask), and their aim is to sell their story.

I HEARD the President say it might not be possible to get all the bodies. He also mentions in so many words the plane disintegrated. So please tell me how that can be speculation?

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1GAkocAogHc

The interesting part starts at minute 4 and 30 secs approx. So, as you can see, I am not focusing in the questions the journalists ask, I am focusing on the anserws the President gives.

Quoting acontador (Reply 14):
You seem to be very informed, heck, even have information nobody else in the public has down here! Just to know, what is the state of the human remains found?
Quoting acontador (Reply 14):
Could you please give us your source for this information (and I hope it's not the media)? I have read a lot about the weather conditions at the time of the landing attempts (see my first post), but again we have to be very careful in separating facts from speculation.

My source are the interviews conducted all through Saturday with military personnel (high rank I assume, seeing the way they were dressed) They particularly spoke of the gusting winds. You can look for the youtube clips. I´ve already offered you one. These are facts.

Quoting acontador (Reply 14):
Exactly, bingo!

Except you cannot be assured that that particular aerodrome will remain VMC throughout the duration of a flight there. Thus, my question, why would the FACH send plane with no capability for returning to the continent if it cannot land for whatever reason, with civilians and with fixed undercarriage?

[Edited 2011-09-05 12:31:12]
 
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RE: CASA, Chilean Air Force, Gone Down In The Pacific

Mon Sep 05, 2011 7:44 pm

Hi AR385,

I know I will not convince you to be a little more cautious on your statements, so let's keep it like that, no problem my side  . We seem to have a different understanding of the meaning of some words in our native language, which is not uncommon at all in Latinamerica.

The only thing I ask you is to please keep in mind that family members or friends of the diseased might be reading this, and they don't need nor want to have every little detail, many thanks for that    .
Just sit back, relax and have a glass of Merlot...enjoy your life!
 
r2rho
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RE: CASA, Chilean Air Force, Gone Down In The Pacific

Mon Sep 05, 2011 8:17 pm

Here is a youtube video that gives an idea of what landing at that airfield looks like:
http://youtu.be/E2d9-UzrnMw

Quoting acontador (Reply 10):
Some information on the airfield (suggest you have a look with Google Earth with the coordinates, very good quality):
- ISLA ROBINSON CRUSOE/ AD Robinson Crusoe SCIR
- 33 39 57 S 78 55 45 W 10 km W of Camberland Bay
- One paved runway 14/32
- Length/Width: 1007/18 meters
- Max permissible landing weight 7500 kg

"Paved" is almost a nice way to put it. The very low max permissible ldg weight (barely above a C212's MTOW) figure reveals that there is not much "pavement", really. Not that the runway itself matters since the accident seems to have happened during circling, but it does explain the seemingly "poor" aircraft choice - not that many a/c out there can land on a semi-paved runway at under 7.5t

Quoting AR385 (Reply 9):
why do you dispatch a plane with FIXED landing gear on such a mission? This is negligence.

What does fixed landing gear have to do with any of this?
 
AR385
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RE: CASA, Chilean Air Force, Gone Down In The Pacific

Mon Sep 05, 2011 8:34 pm

Quoting r2rho (Reply 17):
What does fixed landing gear have to do with any of this?

If you need to ditch, fixed landing gear makes the maneuver very complicated and much more dangerous. It can even be the factor that destroys the plane.
 
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RE: CASA, Chilean Air Force, Gone Down In The Pacific

Mon Sep 05, 2011 8:36 pm

Quoting r2rho (Reply 17):
"Paved" is almost a nice way to put it. The very low max permissible ldg weight (barely above a C212's MTOW) figure reveals that there is not much "pavement", really. Not that the runway itself matters since the accident seems to have happened during circling, but it does explain the seemingly "poor" aircraft choice - not that many a/c out there can land on a semi-paved runway at under 7.5t

Fully agree with you, I was merely quoting the official DGAC airfield description. Nevertheless, we shouldn't forget that the pavement on the runway (be it as thin as it is) is an improvement over the previous dirt strip, which was very tricky when wet (which happens a lot over there). If you look closely at the pics, you can still see the old dirt strip diagonal to the current one.

Incidentally, it is difficult to find an aircraft which fullfils the following requirements at the same time:
- Enough range to cover SCVM-SCIR-SCVM (about 1400 km straight line, no winds)
- Big cargo carrying capacity (equal to 21 persons + luggage)
- Max landing weight of 7500 kg (MTOW is not really interesting here)
- Able to land with max 7500 kg landing weight on a 1000 meter long runway
Add to that that it must be cheap to opperate...

The CASA 212 is probably not the best suited aircraft to fly this route, but it's part of the FACH inventory and has at least the required cargo capacity. You can do the same with the Twin Otter, but you'll need two of them to haul the same cargo.

[Edited 2011-09-05 13:37:07]
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RE: CASA, Chilean Air Force, Gone Down In The Pacific

Mon Sep 05, 2011 8:44 pm

Quoting AR385 (Reply 18):
If you need to ditch, fixed landing gear makes the maneuver very complicated and much more dangerous. It can even be the factor that destroys the plane.

Indeed, you are right. However, most military transport planes have a high wing, and those airplanes should be very difficult to ditch in a controlled manner anyway (at least I have never heard of a successful ditching of a high wing plane, but I never stop learning   ), therefore I would guess that the fixed undercarriage is just a small additional problem for this particular aircraft's potential ditching abbilities.
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AR385
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RE: CASA, Chilean Air Force, Gone Down In The Pacific

Tue Sep 06, 2011 12:24 am

Quoting acontador (Reply 20):
(at least I have never heard of a successful ditching of a high wing plane, but I never stop learning )

I do not know what your definition of successful is, but while this not being any Sullenberg type miracle, the following might be interesting for you to read.

http://aviation-safety.net/database/record.php?id=20050806-0
 
Pu752
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RE: CASA, Chilean Air Force, Gone Down In The Pacific

Tue Sep 06, 2011 12:35 am

Quoting AR385 (Reply 15):
Instrument meteorological conditions (IMC) describes weather conditions that require pilots to fly primarily by reference to instruments, and therefore under Instrument Flight Rules (IFR), rather than by outside visual references under Visual Flight Rules (VFR). Typically, this means flying in cloud or bad weather. It has nothing to do with wether the island has or does not have an instrument procedure. The flight was flying in IMC. Otherwise, Ms Fernández would not have made two go-arounds

The go around is a procedure that has nothing to do with IFR, VFR or whatever, a go around under VFR is normal aswell under many circumstances
Again, I believe the plane was under VMC or at least at VFR minimums, or you belive they were approaching blind to the airport? there are no NAVAIDS there.
They probably were under a "Y" flight plan which means a part of the flight it is under IFR and then VFR for landing, since there are no procedures in the island.
 
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RE: CASA, Chilean Air Force, Gone Down In The Pacific

Tue Sep 06, 2011 12:43 am

Quoting Pu752 (Reply 22):
They probably were under a "Y" flight plan which means a part of the flight it is under IFR and then VFR for landing, since there are no procedures in the island.

Due to respecting acontador´s wishes in post 16, I will refrain from discussing this point any further. As it will involve talking about the flight deck crew. I maintain however that the runway was IMC at the time the plane arrived.

[Edited 2011-09-05 17:56:57]
 
Pu752
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RE: CASA, Chilean Air Force, Gone Down In The Pacific

Tue Sep 06, 2011 1:58 am

Again, do you have the METAR for the time at the accident? Again, how do you know it was under IMC? I repeat, a go around could take place under VMC aswell.
 
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RE: CASA, Chilean Air Force, Gone Down In The Pacific

Tue Sep 06, 2011 2:59 am

The conditions were 3,000 ft overcast, with very strong gusting winds and their corresponding cross wind components.

One hour before that, there was fog and rain.

Sure, she could have performed the Go-Arounds on VMC. Why then did the plane precipitated into the Ocean at a speed and angle that disintegrated it?
 
Pu752
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RE: CASA, Chilean Air Force, Gone Down In The Pacific

Tue Sep 06, 2011 4:06 am

Quoting AR385 (Reply 25):
Why then did the plane precipitated into the Ocean at a speed and angle that disintegrated it?

We dont know if the plane actually ditched into the ocean or desintegrated in the air... there will be an investigation to find this out.

It seems unlikely to me that the plane actually ditched into the sea in vmc and dailylight, but we dont know if any failure could make this happen at the time of the accident.
 
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RE: CASA, Chilean Air Force, Gone Down In The Pacific

Tue Sep 06, 2011 4:18 am

Quoting Pu752 (Reply 26):
We dont know if the plane actually ditched into the ocean or desintegrated in the air... there will be an investigation to find this out.

It has been confirmed that the plane disintegrated on impact. Do a search on the different media, that actually quote sources from the FACH. That is why on post 16 I received and respected the request I got. Please, do not insist on that matter any further. The plane did not ditch.

There is a lot of info. out there, many sources, that if you read them and even listen to youtube clips from the President the Minister of defense and the Interior Secretary, plus the forensic services will support the hypothesis of a high energy impact with the water.

The fact that four bodies were found almost intact, supports that hypothesis, since the biggest piece found so far, has been a (relatively) big piece of empennage. Those 4 souls were sitting in the back.

1. I do not wish to engage on arguing with you giving you info that per post 16 was asked of me to refrain from posting. I CHOSE to respect that request, whatever freedoms this froum gives me.

2. I do not wish to engage on criticism of the flightdeck crew. In respect to their families, as per post 16.

You do that, if you wish.

Had it been a soft maneuver, like a ditching, things would not be as they are.

[Edited 2011-09-05 21:31:16]
 
Pu752
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RE: CASA, Chilean Air Force, Gone Down In The Pacific

Tue Sep 06, 2011 4:44 am

Read this (spanish only), it makes sense, but its too early to make any affirmation.

http://www.latercera.com/noticia/nac...ayo-por-falta-de-combustible.shtml
 
AR385
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RE: CASA, Chilean Air Force, Gone Down In The Pacific

Tue Sep 06, 2011 5:57 am

Quoting Pu752 (Reply 28):
Read this (spanish only), it makes sense, but its too early to make any affirmation.

http://www.latercera.com/noticia/nac...ayo-por-falta-de-combustible.shtml

In this thread I have tried to avoid making it political. What you are saying and the article you are citing makes perfecct sense. I agree with it. That was a flight that should have never taken off. Yes, it was overweight,

The STARS and the Milionaire Cubillas ought to have been delivered by ship to the Robinson Crusoe Archipielago. But they were in a hurry, and the FACH were only too quick to oblige.Negligently

That is another story and a theme I really do not want to get into.

I do agree with you though, subtly, I hope you can discern that you and I are in the same position.
 
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RE: CASA, Chilean Air Force, Gone Down In The Pacific

Tue Sep 06, 2011 12:24 pm

Yesterday night, a few pictures of the people boarding the airplane were released to the public, and you can clearly identify the airplane in these pictures. While there is no official confirmation, I would think it is safe to say that the aircraft involved in the accident was CASA C-212-300 #966:


View Large View Medium
Click here for bigger photo!

Photo © Simón Blaise
View Large View Medium
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Photo © Andrés Contador - AirTeamImages



Unlike the pictures above, this particular aircraft must have been repainted in the (now) standard FACH grey just recently, as confirmed by the pictures and in accordance with the small fuselage pieces shown so far, which show clearly a grey paint.

While no new bodies have been found so far, as well as no big fuselage parts, the search is ongoing, both on and below the sea surface. I would tend to think that even in the worst thinkable impact, both turbines should remain more or less intact, thus it should be possible to locate them on the seabed and thus have a good idea about the approximate impact point.

I just heard a very interesting interview with the pilot that landed (a Beech Super KingAir) about an hour before the CASA arrived, and he confirmed that overall the weather conditions were "what you would usually expect on the island", that there was no problem in making a VFR approach and landing, but that the main issue were the winds. He described the conditions he encountered like "strong, wind gusts, abruptly changing in direction and intensity, of up to 80 knots".

*******Disclaimer: The following is pure speculation*********

While I know that we shouldn't be speculating about the causes of an accident before having much more facts, and in particular before some results are available from the official investigation, my personal feeling is that due to the facts already stated in an earlier post of mine, it is very possible that we might never know what happened. Accordingly, and in light of many speculations circling around, I would like to give my personal view on what might have happened.

The CASA C-212-300 has an empty weight of 3780 kg, MTOW of 7700 kg and cargo capacity of 2700 kg. Accordingly, I would think that max fuel capacity is about 1220 kg.
Cruise speed is about 160 knots, stall speed about 78 knots.
Now, if we consider 21 persons on board, assign to each a weight of 80 kg (average), and consider personal belongings of 10 kg each, we get 1890 kg. Add to that the camera crew's gear, the cargo they were carrying, and that the crew will for sure elect to take as much fuel as possible, and you'll probably end up pretty close to or at MTOW.
Considering an actual flight duration of about 2:50 minutes, and as indicated by the FACH fuel on board for 3:40 hours, this means they had used about 77% of the fuel, or about 920 kg, leaving about 280-300 kg of fuel on board.
Accordingly, landing weight should have been around: 3780 2700 300=6780 kg
So, well within the allowed max landing weight of 7500 kg of the airfield, but nevertheless must have been a quite heavy configuration for a landing.
Now, considering a heavy configuration, the stall speed must have been at least around 80 knots. I suspect that the crew, having already made one go-around, must have been flying with lowered flaps somewhere around 100-110 knots. If you encounter suddenly changing wind gusts of more than 20 knots, you might be getting almost instantly into a stall, more so if it catches you during a turn. The CASA 212 is known to have a rather sluggish power response from the engines (not too much power reserves), and with a sudden drop on one wing when entering a stall.

(For continuation please see next post)
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RE: CASA, Chilean Air Force, Gone Down In The Pacific

Tue Sep 06, 2011 12:29 pm

(Continuation of reply 30)

I can see that it is possible and consistent with everything we have seen so far, that the aircraft was on the downwind leg, entered the final turn for the actual approach a little above 100-110 knots and at maybe 1000 feet height, then the wind direction and intensity changed very quickly by maybe 180º and 40-50 knots, enough to make the lower wing drop even further, which led to to airplane dive nose-down to the ocean, as the crew didn't have enough time to gain enough speed at this height.

Of course there are other possible scenarios, and I cannot rule out anything at this stage, as the information we have is simply not enough. But the above stated at least apparently doesn't conflict with anything we know right now.
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ogre727
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RE: CASA, Chilean Air Force, Gone Down In The Pacific

Tue Sep 06, 2011 2:58 pm

Quoting acontador (Reply 31):
Of course there are other possible scenarios, and I cannot rule out anything at this stage, as the information we have is simply not enough. But the above stated at least apparently doesn't conflict with anything we know right now.

Your theory is very similar to mine. Although I fear that without blackboxes, or witness accounts we will simply never know.
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r2rho
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RE: CASA, Chilean Air Force, Gone Down In The Pacific

Tue Sep 06, 2011 7:12 pm

Quoting acontador (Reply 19):
Nevertheless, we shouldn't forget that the pavement on the runway (be it as thin as it is) is an improvement over the previous dirt strip, which was very tricky when wet

Indeed, I am not criticising the runway, I was just using it to make a point towards the voices criticising the aircraft choice: the number of a/c that can fly that route are very limited, as you very well say:

Quoting acontador (Reply 19):
Incidentally, it is difficult to find an aircraft which fullfils the following requirements at the same time:
- Enough range to cover SCVM-SCIR-SCVM (about 1400 km straight line, no winds)
- Big cargo carrying capacity (equal to 21 persons + luggage)
- Max landing weight of 7500 kg (MTOW is not really interesting here)
- Able to land with max 7500 kg landing weight on a 1000 meter long runway
Add to that that it must be cheap to opperate...

The CASA 212 is probably not the best suited aircraft to fly this route, but it's part of the FACH inventory and has at least the required cargo capacity. You can do the same with the Twin Otter, but you'll need two of them to haul the same cargo.

  
 
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RE: CASA, Chilean Air Force, Gone Down In The Pacific

Tue Sep 06, 2011 7:51 pm

Quoting acontador (Reply 31):

Your theory seems plausible, and could have well ocurred with VMC, no need for IMC for that to happen. Of course IMC would make things worse by reducing situational awareness.

In addition, there can be psychological factors that, while not causing the accident by themselves, may have contributed to worsen the situation (of course all speculation). The significance of the event and the people being transported, the absence of an alternate and obligation to land, the missed approaches, ... all add additional pressure
 
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RE: CASA, Chilean Air Force, Gone Down In The Pacific

Tue Sep 06, 2011 8:45 pm

Quoting r2rho (Reply 34):
In addition, there can be psychological factors that, while not causing the accident by themselves, may have contributed to worsen the situation (of course all speculation). The significance of the event and the people being transported, the absence of an alternate and obligation to land, the missed approaches, ... all add additional pressure



Again, fully agree. There will be a lot of pressure from many sides on the FACH to make an indepth investigation about this fatal flight. While I still think that it will be very difficult to have a clear answer regarding the eventual chain of events and causes behind this crash, there will be more scrutiny on the facts sorrounding the flight, like the psychological pressure, the aircraft chosen, orders, etc.

I'm trying to keep it as rational as possible, but it makes me so sad, as this accident happens so close to me and I can relate to so many people and things involved...I think I probably write so much about it as a sort of "mourning".
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AR385
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RE: CASA, Chilean Air Force, Gone Down In The Pacific

Wed Sep 07, 2011 4:26 am

Quoting acontador (Reply 30):
*******Disclaimer: The following is pure speculation*********

While I know that we shouldn't be speculating about the causes of an accident before having much more facts, and in particular before some results are available from the official investigation, my personal feeling is that due to the facts already stated in an earlier post of mine, it is very possible that we might never know what happened. Accordingly, and in light of many speculations circling around, I would like to give my personal view on what might have happened.

While your theory is very plausible, I believe that things were actually much more simpler. I believe Ms. Fernandez became very stressed, she had a lot of pressure because of the civilians she was carrying, she was quickly running out of fuel and she lost situational awareness. Tunnel vision if you wish. While the CASA is a sluggish plane, its turboprops respond almost instantly to an increase in power. It very well could be that she found herself in a stall due to a gust, however, if she had not been so stressed, she could have probably gotten out of it. I believe that what you are theorizing, plus the combination of the psychological state of mind of the crew at that stage of the flight just as r2rho mentions made the outcome inevitable.

And yes, this is speculation in my part.

I do hope that going on in the future, the FACH refuses to take civilians on non-emergency missions to the archipielago on airplanes that cannot return to the continent due to fuel issues and have fixed landing gear. The ought to go by ship.

In any case, I feel very sorry for the families.
 
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RE: CASA, Chilean Air Force, Gone Down In The Pacific

Wed Sep 07, 2011 8:33 pm

Quoting AR385 (Reply 36):

I do hope that going on in the future, the FACH refuses to take civilians on non-emergency missions to the archipielago on airplanes that cannot return to the continent due to fuel issues and have fixed landing gear

I would agree with that statement, except for the fixed landing gear part? Why the heck does that make a difference? Its of little to no importance to anything.

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AR385
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RE: CASA, Chilean Air Force, Gone Down In The Pacific

Thu Sep 08, 2011 12:21 am

Quoting diamondflyer (Reply 37):
except for the fixed landing gear part? Why the heck does that make a difference? Its of little to no importance to anything.

Because:

Quoting AR385 (Reply 18):
If you need to ditch, fixed landing gear makes the maneuver very complicated and much more dangerous. It can even be the factor that destroys the plane.
 
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RE: CASA, Chilean Air Force, Gone Down In The Pacific

Sat Sep 10, 2011 11:26 am

Quoting acontador (Reply 19):
Incidentally, it is difficult to find an aircraft which fullfils the following requirements at the same time:
- Enough range to cover SCVM-SCIR-SCVM (about 1400 km straight line, no winds)
- Big cargo carrying capacity (equal to 21 persons + luggage)
- Max landing weight of 7500 kg (MTOW is not really interesting here)
- Able to land with max 7500 kg landing weight on a 1000 meter long runway
Add to that that it must be cheap to opperate...

And able to cover the leg back with 7.500 kg. (including that cargo). Otherwise condition 1) is not enough
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RE: CASA, Chilean Air Force, Gone Down In The Pacific

Sat Sep 10, 2011 1:07 pm

Just to give you an update:

So far, 13 victims have been identified, amongst them the three crew members, as well as the very famous TV show host Felipe Camiroaga. The identification of most victims were made using DNA analysis.

Most parts found so far of the aircraft are rather small, and show signs of a high energy impact. The biggest part found is the rear loading ramp, and from what I can see from the pictures it looks pretty intact. The sea bed around the suspected areas has been searched using sonars and other equipment, but nothing has been found (in particular, looking for the engines).

As you would expect in such a case, the local media is all over the place publishing whatever so-called "experts" have to say about the accident - at least no one has blamed aliens for abducting the aircraft!

Unfortunately, we don't have an agency or department dedicated to investigate accidents involving aircraft, as this is done either by the "Air District Attorney" (a FACH officer) or by the normal judicial system. In this case, as a military machine is involved, we also have the military justice in place.

In the meantime, the biggest ever search and rescue operation performed in Chile is going on, with many Air Force, Naval and Army units on the island continuing the search for remains.
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RE: CASA, Chilean Air Force, Gone Down In The Pacific

Mon Sep 12, 2011 6:23 pm

This is another update as some interesting advance has been made in the search for remains:

An area at the sea bottom has been found south of the island (but slightly north of the initially suspected impact point) containing some larger pieces of the fuselage, wings and tail. Now, with the help of robots, the Navy is trying to establish the perimeter in which the suspected debris "field" (if it can be called like that) is located. In any case, we are talking about a rather irregular sea bottom, with an average of 50-100 meters depth.

Also, within the suspected debris field, one male body has been found, still strapped to the seat and wearing a life jacket.

All works are complicated by the wind and weather around the island, with waves up to 6 meters high (at the coast).

[Edited 2011-09-12 11:23:52]
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Gonzalo
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RE: CASA, Chilean Air Force, Gone Down In The Pacific

Mon Sep 12, 2011 7:46 pm

Quoting acontador (Reply 40):
As you would expect in such a case, the local media is all over the place publishing whatever so-called "experts" have to say about the accident

The number of moronic statements we heard in the recent days since this aircraft crashed is way beyond my patience.... a sad show of disrespect with the families and friends of all the victims. Even a pilot of one of the commercial airlines that serve the island, interviewed on TV, called captain Fernandez " esa niñita" ( that little girl ), with a derogatory voice tone, making an implicit judgement about the experience she had in flight. Just despicable. And the worst part is, this "show" will last for a long time in our "beloved" local media.

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RE: CASA, Chilean Air Force, Gone Down In The Pacific

Wed Sep 14, 2011 11:50 am

Yesterday was a very unfortunate and sad day at Juan Fernandez island, as one Air Force corporal was struck by a propeller of a Twin Otter while on the small tarmac at the airfield and was killed instantly, thus increasing the number of fatalties to 22.

There are still 8 missing/unidentified vistims, and the Chilean Navy has requested assistance from the USNavy to better locate and raise the remains of the airplane from the sea bottom.
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r2rho
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RE: CASA, Chilean Air Force, Gone Down In The Pacific

Fri Sep 16, 2011 8:11 pm

Quoting acontador (Reply 41):
still strapped to the seat and wearing a life jacket.

If they had time to put on the life jackets, then perhaps something was already going wrong, and it was not all as sudden as we think..?
 
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RE: CASA, Chilean Air Force, Gone Down In The Pacific

Fri Sep 16, 2011 11:00 pm

Quoting r2rho (Reply 44):
If they had time to put on the life jackets, then perhaps something was already going wrong, and it was not all as sudden as we think..?


Well, usually you would have to wear the life jackets on every military flight over water at all times, but I cannot ascertain that this was enforced for this particular flight. As other people who have flown the same route with the FACH on previous occasions have reported, it was a standard procedure to put the life jacket on before take-off and keep it on during the flight.

The search around the suspected impact area has yielded some results, as the engines and propellers have been located, along with what was described as "some substantial fuselage parts". However, there are still 8 people missing.

A team from the USNavy arrived two days ago with two unmanned small submarines/robots, which are supposed to help better map the area, locate the remains and lift them off the sea bottom.

Again, from the images that have been released to the public, it all points to a high energy impact with the water.
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RE: CASA, Chilean Air Force, Gone Down In The Pacific

Sat Sep 24, 2011 1:59 pm

Still there remains six victims to be identified.

Both engines and propellers have been recovered, and a substantial part of the fuselage has been located. However, the fuselage parts still at the sea bottom are rather fragmented.

From the pictures that have been released, the two propellers seem to have been spinning with power upon impact on the water.
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