Posts: 9150
Joined: Wed Aug 18, 1999 5:49 am

An Old, But Important, Accident Report

Thu Nov 04, 1999 4:20 am

I was just visiting the site of the British Air Accident Board, the AAIB. In 1972, a Trident aircraft belonging to BEA (British European Airlines, which later merged with BOAC to form BA) crashed very shortly after takeoff from Heathrow, killing all 118 on board. The accident report highlighted, among other issues, two vital points.
1) The importance of the relationship between the crew, particularly if it was a senior captain and (as in this case), junior co pilots. Captain Key was 51 and the co pilots were 22 and 24. Capt. Key had been witnessed by the junior co pilot (who was the flying pilot on the sector) having a violent row in the crew room and having been shown from his records to have been an underconfident pilot likely to be affected by stressful situations (although still a very good pilot), this MAY have had an effect. Captain Key apparently had a heart attack during the climb, possibly as a result of the row in the crew room, and the young crew were unable to recover and the plane crashed.

2) We will never know exactly what happened, because G-ARPI was not equipped with a CVR, a fact much criticised in the report.

The report is obviously too detailed to go into here, but it's well worth having a look at it and visiting the site.
Posts: 983
Joined: Sun Oct 24, 1999 8:28 am

RE: An Old, But Important, Accident Report

Thu Nov 04, 1999 5:40 am

The 'Staines' accident was a tragic one (as are all crashes) because the flight was packed due to a threatened strike the following day by BEA pilots. The fact about the Captain having a Heart attack can never be proven however because, as you said, there was no cockpit voice recorder. I did see a programme last year about the crash however, and it did highlight the possible domainace he had over his fellow crew members. The aircraft retracted it slats far to early in the take off, and subsquently stalled and crashed. The investigation concluded that the slats were most likely raised by the cockpit crew, and the subsequent alarms alerting them to this fact were ignored. The question about the heart attack theory was then brought up because it was felt, may be under extreme pain, the captain barked out a wrong order to retract the slats, and because the crew were too frightened to question him they obeyed instantly. If true, it is tragic, and goes to highlight the importance that cockpit resource management plays today in preventing such needless accidents.
Aircraft I've flown: A300/A310/A320/A321/A330/A340/B727/B732/B733/B734/B735/B738/B741/B742/B744/DC10/MD80/IL62/Bae146/AR
Posts: 290
Joined: Wed Oct 13, 1999 12:20 am

RE: An Old, But Important, Accident Report

Thu Nov 04, 1999 5:48 am

The cause of the confrontaion was the strike at the time by the junior pilots who wanted more, And the fdr had told investigators that the front end slats or in english equivlent "droops" were not deployed. Which brought theory number one, a fight in the cockpit which they forgot to deploy the droops

The corenor had also found some of capt. key's arteries were clogged. Which brought theory number 2, Key was having a heart attack and the two pilots tried to fly the plane and attend to Captain Key

They also found Notes (the one you would pass around the classroom behind your teachers back) saying that all the senior pilots should either die or be killed.
Theory three is self explanatory. I hope this one never happened.


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