star_world
Posts: 943
Joined: Mon Jun 25, 2001 7:52 am

On Now - BBC2 (UK) - Lake Constance Crash

Mon Aug 18, 2003 5:10 am

Probably worth checking out, Crowded Skies episode looking at the Lake Constance mid-air collision. On right now.

star_world
 
Rick767
Posts: 2613
Joined: Sun Jan 30, 2000 8:11 pm

RE: On Now - BBC2 (UK) - Lake Constance Crash

Mon Aug 18, 2003 7:32 pm

An interesting programme which I'm glad I recorded.

I feel however it failed to address the ultimate cause of the accident, which was the incorrect actions of the Russian crew in response to a conflicting TCAS / ATC instruction.

Whatever failings led up to the scenario occurring, and however much you argue it should never have come to that, that mistake is what caused the collision and I felt the programme did not emphasise this enough.
I used to love the smell of Jet-A in the morning...
 
backfire
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Joined: Fri Oct 06, 2006 8:01 am

RE: On Now - BBC2 (UK) - Lake Constance Crash

Mon Aug 18, 2003 10:29 pm

I feel however it failed to address the ultimate cause of the accident, which was the incorrect actions of the Russian crew in response to a conflicting TCAS / ATC instruction.


As someone who has had frequent contact with those in charge of the investigation, I find this statement quite extraordinary - and with due respect to your pilot experience, Rick767, I'm surprised that you've made it.

The confused response to the TCAS alert was certainly not the "ultimate cause" of the accident.

Separation responsibility for aircraft is assigned to ground-based air traffic controllers, not to pilots. TCAS is not a part of regular operations, it is not a separation tool, and it should never have been needed over Lake Constance. It is a last-resort system designed to save your backside when all the other rules of safe separation have been broken.

The reaction of the crew to TCAS was a small contributor to an event chain which had already allowed the dangerous situation to develop. TCAS did not cause the collision - it just failed to prevent it. That's a big difference.

[Edited 2003-08-18 15:30:48]

[Edited 2003-08-18 15:31:40]
 
DoorsToManual
Posts: 1453
Joined: Sat Apr 19, 2003 12:28 am

RE: On Now - BBC2 (UK) - Lake Constance Crash

Tue Aug 19, 2003 1:12 am

Not much was reported on what happened to the DHL aircraft and its crew after the collision...I felt there could have been more of a balance, if anything out of respect to the deceased DHL crew - and the families left behind.

Nevertheless interesting.

And I feel a great deal of sympathy for the ATC people on duty that night. I am sure they/he did not want this.
 
Trident
Posts: 477
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RE: On Now - BBC2 (UK) - Lake Constance Crash

Tue Aug 19, 2003 2:14 am

Overall an interesting series. However, nowadays too many of these programmes try to personalise the issues too much with emotional in depth interviews with next of kin. These don't really add anything to our understanding as to why the accident happened, or how it a simlar accident might be prevented. It just lends an air of "sensationalism" to the show which is not very edifying. I thought the interviews with the parents of the Russian children killed in the accident were totally gratuitous and added nothing to the programme.




 
Rick767
Posts: 2613
Joined: Sun Jan 30, 2000 8:11 pm

RE: On Now - BBC2 (UK) - Lake Constance Crash

Tue Aug 19, 2003 2:53 am

Backfire,

I don't disagree with anything you have said. My phraseology was perhaps confusing. When I said "ultimate cause", I meant the last safety net which should have prevented this collision. My choice of words was misleading I think, I don't believe there was a single cause for the accident. Certainly a whole chain of events led to this collision, TCAS was the final chain which should have saved the day, that was my point.

Ignoring the events leading up to the TCAS conflict (which I fully appreciate as part of any aviation accident is impossible to do) it boiled down to no controller at a station, and 2 planes flying towards one another at right angles with the same relative bearing at the same height (= collision course).

The reason TCAS then didn't save the day was not the fault of the equipment, but the fault of the Russian flightcrew, who incorrectly responded to the controller's command rather than the (opposing) TCAS command. This has always been something I have been trained not to do. The TCAS must always be followed in these circumstances.

I was amazed at discussions between pilots in the aftermath of this accident, some of whom really weren't certain of the correct action to take in this situation.

There is only one solution, FOLLOW TCAS! And it really is that simple.

Ok so in this case it wasn't that simple. There were several events which led to the TCAS RA which should not have occurred. But if you take the final stages of the flights alone, following the procedure by the book would have saved all those lives.

After this collision, the UK CAA released a reminder to flightcrews of the procedures to follow in this scenario which (paraphrased) reads:

"...If pilots receive simultaneously an instruction to manoeuvre from ATC and an RA, and they conflict, the advice given by ACAS should be followed..."

It's a bit like those pilots over the years who have ignored GPWS warnings below MSA and happily flown their perfectly good airliners, many with hundreds of people on board, into the ground. The technology is there... and it works. If you let it.
I used to love the smell of Jet-A in the morning...
 
gerardo
Posts: 3372
Joined: Sun May 21, 2000 6:22 pm

RE: On Now - BBC2 (UK) - Lake Constance Crash

Tue Aug 19, 2003 3:19 am

I'm kind of confused now, Rick and Backfire. Sure, IF the Russian pilot had followed the TCAS instructions, perhaps we wouldn't talk about this accident now. But as fas as I remember, there are no rules, that the pilots have ultimately to follow the TCAS instructions. As far as I remember, everycountry has their own rules regarding that.

Am I wrong?

Cheers
Gerardo
dominguez(dash)online(dot)ch ... Pushing the limits of my equipment
 
DoorsToManual
Posts: 1453
Joined: Sat Apr 19, 2003 12:28 am

RE: On Now - BBC2 (UK) - Lake Constance Crash

Tue Aug 19, 2003 4:30 am

As far as I remember, everycountry has their own rules regarding that

I'm not going to make a statement I'm not sure of BUT, I do remember hearing or reading in the press, the contention that in some countries (perhaps Russia? and others) pilots are asked to give priority to ATC over TCAS - this may or may not have played a part in other accidents - perhaps the Saudia 747/Cargo accident over Delhi?

rgds
 
PKK
Posts: 180
Joined: Fri Apr 18, 2003 3:03 am

RE: On Now - BBC2 (UK) - Lake Constance Crash

Tue Aug 19, 2003 6:10 am

Hope to see the program one day.

One comment however DoorsToManual. I believe and hope that the reason for the program not dvelling too much on what happened to the DHL crew after the collision, is that simple fact that it's possibly too horrible to show on prime time TV.

I have noted that not even the German BFU are very specific in their preliminary report. But if you look at the facts as presented, then a terrible picture develops.

  • The B757's Vertical tail is ripped of or severely damaged

  • The wreckage of the B757 is within a fairly confined area, compared to the TU154

  • The wreckage is located 7-8 Km away from the TU154, in the direction of flight

  • The B757 engines only departs the airframe 5-7 sec prior to impact

  • Not in any reports, but I've heard that both crew were found in their seats....


  • Of course I don't mean to imply that what happened to those poor souls on the TU154 is not terrible, but for most of them at least, I hope, it was fast.

    Can't find the preliminary report on BFU's webpage anymore, but here's another detailed description http://www.iasa.com.au/folders/Safety_Issues/others/midairdeterminations.html

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