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Crash Of SwissAir 111 On PBS

Wed Feb 18, 2004 2:41 pm

The smart-men airline program, showing now on your PBS channel (no drunks on this program).

Forensic investigation into the 1998 SwissAir crash off Nova Scotia.
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RE: Crash Of SwissAir 111 On PBS

Thu Feb 19, 2004 12:32 am

That was one of the worst tragedy in the Switzerland aviation story!!!

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RE: Crash Of SwissAir 111 On PBS

Thu Feb 19, 2004 1:50 am

I thought this was an excellent documentary.

I knew the wiring was a factor in the fire, but I must admit to being shocked to find that the insulation played a role too. This same insulation is still being used today by airlines in the US. The FAA has given them until 2005 to replace it.

I've seen several PBS documentaries on plane crashes. They were all good - but this one by far was the best.
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RE: Crash Of SwissAir 111 On PBS

Thu Feb 19, 2004 5:07 am

interesting that they never said anything at all about the IFE.....
Faire du ciel le plus bel endroit de la terre c'est impossible sans Concorde!
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RE: Crash Of SwissAir 111 On PBS

Thu Feb 19, 2004 5:08 am

I guess that ConcordeBoy wasn't watching the same Nova show I was, as they referred to the IFE numerous times...although they called it the "IFEN"...there was even a brief clip of the J-Class on SR -11s with passengers navigating the menus on PTVs.
I mean, for the right price I’ll fight a lion. - Mike Tyson
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RE: Crash Of SwissAir 111 On PBS

Thu Feb 19, 2004 10:51 am

They did mention the IFE as a possible source of the problem, in that the wires for this system may have contributed to the fire, perhaps by an "arcing" on short circuit. What was most shocking and revealing of the program was the theory that the co-pilot, in the final moments of flight, may have been leaning against the window in order to get a visual of the Halifax Airport as the cockpit instrument panel failed, as a result of the fire and that the backup instruments were not helpful. The theory goes that the co-pilot may have put the plane into a steep bank to the right, causing it to plunge into the North Atlantic, although the narrator made more than one reference to the fact that this was just a theory and impossible to prove. The narrator said the cockpit crew may have been disoriented and trying to visual the airport approach as a last resort. This was tied back to the fact that the aircraft instruments failed in the six or so minutes before SR 111 plunged into the water.

What was also quite disturbing is the thought that passengers, particularly those at the rear, or Economy section, might not have been aware of what was happening, although I wonder if the lights in the cabin flickered at all or simply cut out, as the electrical power failed.

Very sad story. I flew SR 110 (GVA-JFK) and SR 111 (JFK-GVA) numerous times during the 1970's and 1980's on SR's B747-100/200 and 747-300 aircraft (but never on the MD11).

Last month, I flew to Zurich from JFK on HB-IWN, the ex-Swissair Asia MD11, which is one of three or four MD11's left in the fleet. It was very hard not to reflect on those who perished Sept. 2, 1998 on the doomed HB-IWF. May their souls rest in peace.

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RE: Crash Of SwissAir 111 On PBS

Thu Feb 19, 2004 11:46 pm

That was a very good documentary. I remember when it happened, my friends dad was on that flight.  Sad  Sad
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RE: Crash Of SwissAir 111 On PBS

Fri Feb 20, 2004 1:12 am

I read in a Swiss magazine that the documentary was nominated for a prize!

Can anybody confirm that?
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RE: Crash Of SwissAir 111 On PBS

Fri Feb 20, 2004 2:19 am

It was a very excellent documentary. NOVA definately does quality stuff.

What I found most disturbing was the inaction of the aviation authorities to the findings of the Canadian TSB. Perhaps what makes it worse is that there is a continued trend in this regard.

Honestly it would be a shame to all those lives lost that nothing good could come from this tragedy.
Stop drop and roll will not save you in hell. --- seen on a church marque in rural Virginia
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RE: Crash Of SwissAir 111 On PBS

Fri Feb 20, 2004 2:36 am

After the crash of Swissair 111, The San Francisco Chronicle published a heartbreaking interview with two local women whose parents were on the ill-fated flight. The women's father was terrified of flying, and before buying airline tickets to Europe, researched the safety record of various transatlantic carriers. He chose to travel with Swissair, based on the airline's excellent safety record and worldwide reputation for excellence. How terrible to think that ALL of that man's worst fears about flying were ultimately realized in the last minutes of his life...
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RE: Crash Of SwissAir 111 On PBS

Fri Feb 20, 2004 2:40 am

The point about IFE is a good one: during the major part of the investigation, the IFE system was taking all the arrows (and blame)...too new; untested; made by second-rate company, etc. Last night's show did in fact mention the IFE, but the blame was MUCH more on the shoulders of the insulation, which was supposed to be fire resistant...and clearly wasn't. So I think the point about IFE is a good one: Yes it was mentioned, but it wasn't 'blamed' for the fire the way the insulation was.

Chris in NH
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RE: Crash Of SwissAir 111 On PBS

Fri Feb 20, 2004 4:41 am

I am including a link to the TSB of Canada report and if you take the time to read it, you will find the IFE was not at fault but it's installation was a major cause.
It's an awful lot of reading, I just hope that the recommendations are actually followed. Personally the sooner the better, but economics will drive most of the corrective action.

Yours in Aviation WrenchBender
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