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SIA Crash By Pilots Mistake?

Wed Nov 01, 2000 7:21 pm

I read at that the wind was 34knots gusting to 54 and the visibility was 1/4 miles + heavy rain. I think it would be better if the aircraft would stay on ground for a time and then take off don't you?

RE: SIA Crash By Pilots Mistake?

Wed Nov 01, 2000 7:31 pm

Why the captain decided to take off in such bad weather was probably because he did not want the passengers to be delayed and also probably because he did not expect windshears/microbursts to pose a threat to the huge jumbo jet.
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RE: Weather Was Simply Horrible

Wed Nov 01, 2000 7:33 pm

I'm just copying what I wrote under another topic, as I feel it's quite relevant here.

If anything comes out of the investigation that blames the pilot, I think they could have their reputation tarnished.

If you look at the weather (I've translated it), it's shocking. Why they departed is beyond me, it really pushes the performance limits of the 747. IIRC, max xwind is 35kts, but that's in dry conditions. This was in wet and gusting conditions.

"Wnd is from 020 at 28 gusting 58 knots
Vis is 700 metres
Vis runway 05 is 600 metres
Vis runway 06 is 700 metres
Smoke (?)
Broken cloud at 200 feet
Overcast at 500 feet
Windshear on RWY05"
(weather details from a newsgroup post)

I don't think we should simply label SQ as being dangerous, now that it has had one crash. The last incident I know they had was in January this year, when an A310 overran the runway at Kuching, Malaysia.

In Australia, many talkback radio callers have been saying that SQ seems to takeoff when others stay on the ground, I can't confirm that - the locations I fly to have fairly pleasant weather. Some people have even speculated that the aircraft took off on the wrong runway, but in the WRONG DIRECTION?!?! - to me that's absolute crap, just so impossible to do (the latter allergation), IMHO.

In another airtravel forum, it was said that the pilot had apparently tried to abort the takeoff.

If anything is to be learnt from this, in terms of public opinion, new planes, nice airlines are no panacea for crashes. This could well have happened to another other airline.

To me, it's probably not best to speculate and especially lay blame at someone/something at this point in time. But I have to say, after seeing the conditions, I only have one main question.

My simple question is. "Why takeoff?" This certainly is a tragedy, and if there is anything comforting, at least the plane was less than half full and there were survivors. My condolences go out to those affected.


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RE: Windshear/microburts Not A Threat?

Wed Nov 01, 2000 7:42 pm

Aviation lover, with all due respect, I think if he thought that he was invinceble to windshear/microgusts, he is really silly.

Airspeed is the critical factor here, and a huge drop in airspeed in a 744 is going to have catastrophic effects. Especially in the heavy state it was in. However, I'm sure the captain would have compensated for this with the Vspeeds. But with that in consideration, especially with the route, he could really be pushing the aircraft's performance limits on takeoff (eg, runway length & Vspeeds required). I think all the gusts would be added to the Vspeeds (as Vr is only 1.1vs as opposed to Vapp which is usually ~1.3), and that would result in very high speeds, maybe even pushing max tyre speed (I'm not sure what it is on the 747 - maybe 190-200?).

The thing that worries me are those gusts. They are huge. 30knot gust component is no easy thing, esp with a xwind.

I think when safety is a concern (it now almost distresses me that the captain took off in such conditions), who's to care whether the pax are delayed.

What's more important:

A business meeting?
Or your life?



RE: SIA Crash By Pilots Mistake?

Wed Nov 01, 2000 8:30 pm

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RE: SIA Crash By Pilots Mistake?

Wed Nov 01, 2000 8:42 pm

How many of you are pilots? The captain had ~ 11500 hours experience. Other aircraft were taking off before him, some of them not as big as the 744 so why would he not? Flights were running in most of Europe at the weekend, in comparable, and sometimes worse conditions. None of you seem to give any credence to the possibility of the object striking the plane .

RE: SIA Crash By Pilots Mistake?

Wed Nov 01, 2000 9:00 pm

I agree with Kangar, I think the weather conditions and the low visibility might have had an impact in two ways:
a) heavy winds pushed repairing trucks which were on the rwy in maintenance on the open one

b) the plane tried to take off on the wrong rwy, the one that was actually in maintenance, probably due to low visibility. Comments of passenger who said the take off roll was rather bumpy could give credit to this possibility.

Anyway, it's no time yet to set conclusions, I don't want to.
My thoughts are on the victims, their loved ones, and on 9V-SPK itself. It was more than "just another plane", in my opinion.


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Not The Pilot

Wed Nov 01, 2000 9:13 pm

I agree with Kangar and Backstreats.

Dunno if any of you are pilots, but personally, i would trust the decision of a pilot who has been witht he company for 21 yr, and has 11000+ flying hours. He probably knows best, and the SIA pilots are trained well, they aren't hotshots, but smart, guys. Wait for details to come out before you dis this poor guy, think about what he is going through.

and BTW, a plane had just taken off 15 minutes before them, and another one was behind them, moving into position and hold right after SQ began rolling.

SQ 006 RIP.

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RE: SIA Crash By Pilots Mistake?

Wed Nov 01, 2000 9:26 pm

I agree with you folks.
The captain should not have taken off under those weather conditions. SAFETY FIRST. The cockpit crew members did receive a weather report from dispatch, didn't they? Now what remains unclear is what was being said on the radio prior to rolling down the runway. Was SQ OO6 cleared for take off? And on what runway? The airport ATIS gives updates about what is being done at the airport every hour. Yes sure other aircrafts departed without problems but a weather alert can be hazardous to the safety at anytime. Skystar is right. What would you rather do? Missing a business meeting or a wedding, or loosing your life along with a couple hundred of other passengers? Would you put your passengers in danger to stop them from being delayed? I don't think you would. We'll see what the Cockpit Voice Recorder will tell.

Ben Soriano
Brussels Belgium

PS: I went spotting at Brussels National Airport this morning and I saw a Singapore 747-400 departing.
Ben Soriano
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RE: Why Does Everyone Just Think About Size?

Wed Nov 01, 2000 9:35 pm

As I have posted the aircraft did indeed have a plane ready to takeoff afterwards. As a passenger in the plane about to follow, SQ6, how would you feel?

I have not dismissed the fact that an object could have caused the accident, but certainly the weather would have either played a part in that, or made the situation worse.

However, there are performance considerations to take care of. A 744, which would be relatively heavy would not have the same potential to power its way out of a windsheer incident.

Eg, on my last CBR-MEL flight, in an A320 weighing 58-60ton (very light), we had a Vr of 157kts (20+ higher than usual). Why, because of windshear considerations (I don't remember the windshear exactly, but we didn't have very large gusts). But can a 744. Unlikely, because it there isn't the runway length, and you could potentially push max tyre speed. We're talking about a very heavy plane as well (11hr sector ahead + reserves), 30kt gust components, no easy task. Windshear, etc. I'm quite sure the pilot would have taken this all into consideration, but considering all the factors, this does not leave huge margins for error. Vr is only 1.1vs. At say 160kts (my estimate Vr for this, had there been calm conditions), a 30kt gust, potentially can take you back 18.8%, back past stalling speed.

Naturally, the pilots would have increased speeds in anticipation for the windshear & gusts, but you don't have the same potential in the 747-400, you would run out of runway if you wanted to take it to the same level as the A320 situation which I mentioned. Flap 20 is a decent load of drag, especially at high speeds. You don't have the same amount of power to play with, you don't have the same margins - you're not playing with a half empty plane with plenty in reserve (passengers do not make a significant proportion of weight - relative to other things).

In this case, maybe size and weight could be a minus. Remember, the other planes (from what I've heard) are not little Cessnas & Pipers, they're relatively large jets.

I don't want to seem like I'm blaming the pilot, which I'm not, but what I'm saying is, the 744 would have less margin for error than other craft (which are quite reasonably sized, we're not talking about Cessnas.). An object could well have caused this tragedy. My knowledge is more with this type of matter - weather & speeds, where I can say something at least. I'm not a jet pilot, I'm only a amateur pilot, however I have an understanding of jet operations.

But as I've said in other posts, it could've just been very unlucky. More likely, it's a combination of factors - all terribly unlucky. If anything, I would feel for the pilot. Whether it is his fault or not, imagine the emotional rollercoast he must be going through. One can only imagine.



RE: SIA Crash By Pilots Mistake?

Wed Nov 01, 2000 9:41 pm

Please, let's not forget that when the plane takes off the pilot is on there too. His own life is at stake. If he carried on it means he was sure he could lift off safely. Surely not because he wanted to be on time regardless of safety procedures. How can you blame him of something this bad? He said that clear: "We hit something on take off just before rotation"
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RE: SIA Crash By Pilots Mistake?

Thu Nov 02, 2000 2:51 am

I think too we shouldn't blaim the pilot for the tragedy. At least not yet. He could prevent this tradegy by holding the aircraft on ground but right now there are no details what really happened and it will take some time to clear up all this. Until then we should leave the pilot out.

RE: SIA Crash By Pilots Mistake?

Thu Nov 02, 2000 3:28 am

I do not understand why any airline would attempt a take-off in typhoon like conditions at night with 0.25 miles visibility in heavy rain. How can a pilot see what lays in front of him on the runway travelling over 200 km/hr??? How would one see if any debris has been blown onto the runway? It doesn't take a rocket scientist to see that this practice by airlines is adding totally unnecessary high risk to peolples lives. I think it is time for governments to impose new legislation regarding max wind/visibily limitation regarding takeoff. This forces ALL airlines to follow regulation, and relieves flight crew from making "get home itis" decisions. No amount of "experience" will let flight crews see further down the runway and prevent debris from entering its path or avoid microbursts.
God bless all involved.
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RE: SIA Crash By Pilots Mistake?

Thu Nov 02, 2000 3:41 am

I think it is still much too early to say conclusively that this is what went wrong. Right now we can only speculate as to what MIGHT have happened.

I think that a no of things might have happened simultaneously. An object could have been on the runway, which could have caused the pilot to swerve the aircraft and so on... One thing led to another, leading ot the crash.

i think every crash has these series of events occuring, and investigators will have to analyse the sequence of events, and find out the one event that trigerred the rest of the horrifying sequence of events.

As for those of us who think that the pilot should have opted for a no-go: think of it this way: how many times have u been stranded at an airport b'cos of bad weather, and you have thought, "surely we can fly in this weather!". Then u raise hell at the airline counter!

These people work under tremendous pressure. And it goes to SQ's credit that they have managed so well all these years (what 30 now?)
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RE: SIA Crash By Pilots Mistake?

Thu Nov 02, 2000 4:06 am

I agree but those poeple on the discussion board for lauded me for the same hypothesis if you want to read it it's listed under Patrick Taiwan crash poster yesterday
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RE: SIA Crash By Pilots Mistake?

Thu Nov 02, 2000 4:07 am

I agree but those poeple on the discussion board for critisized me for the same hypothesis if you want to read it it's listed under Patrick Taiwan crash posted yesterday
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RE: SIA Crash By Pilots Mistake?

Thu Nov 02, 2000 4:49 am

What comes out of this is the realization that air safety margins are not universal. In south-east Asia, where tropical storms are very common, local airlines get used to operating in conditions that would ground other aircraft of other countries. Those that live in North America or Europe, should be thankful they don't live in that part of the world.

That, I believe, will be the sordid revelation here after all this is said and done. The pilot had the decision to go or not, as pilots always do. And he chose to go. And he chose to go because it was not the first time he had taken off under such conditions. Maybe he had taken off under even worse conditions yesterday, last week, last month, last year.

Does that make it right? No, of course not. It makes it a reality of airline operations in that part of the world. Does it make it bad judgement on the captain's part? In the context of his local peers, probably not. And he will be judged in that context. But the safety margins and the standards with which he is accustomed, may be less that what's ethical.


An optimist robs himself of the joy of being pleasantly surprised
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RE: SIA Crash By Pilots Mistake?

Thu Nov 02, 2000 5:40 am

I believe that all air saftey regulations should be uniform, if the language of the air traffic controllers is uniform as being english, we should as a united WORLD, decide on saftey parameters for weather etc. Pilots cant just "get used to" flying in Typhoons. Thats almost the same as flying in a lower level hurricane with TONS of rain. I believe that saftey comes first ALWAYS, and I dont think that arriving late would be nearly as bad as never arrving at all, let alone dying. (OBVIOUSLY!) but anyhow, is the pressure on a pilot to get somewhere ontime that strong??? when I get into aviation, and become a pilot, I hope I wont have to make these decsisions based on if i am worried about my punctuality, and have to overlook the more important issue, SAFTEY.
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RE: SIA Crash By Pilots Mistake?

Thu Nov 02, 2000 6:00 am

According to latest information on chinatimes as well as FTV.

There were skid mark on runway 5R. They are suspecting that the plane hit a microburst rolling down 5L and crossed over to runway 5R (which was under contruction). They had found that a crane was destroyed with impact mark from SQ006. Probably this is due to a suddne gust and the plane drifted to the right and hit the crane and crashed afterwards.

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Windshear Escape Procedure

Thu Nov 02, 2000 9:36 am

This is an non-verbatim excert from a B747-400 operator's operations manual regarding windshear on take-off:
-Prior to V1 reject take-off.
-After V1 rotate at VR to 15 degrees nose up not later than 2000 feet before the end of the runway. Ensure maximum thrust is set. Flight path deviations may include 15kts IAS, 500fpm vertical speed, 5 degrees pitch or unusual thrust settings.
Don't underestimate the power of the B747-400 or the skill of her crews. This was a comparitively light aircraft with plenty of reserve performance.
There is always the (remote) possibility that the crew response time was insufficient, however Mother Nature has thrown enough twists in her fury at me to realise that sometimes 300 tons of aluminium is no match, with no warning.
Foreign object damage is another kettle of fish. On low visibility operations it is difficult if not impossible to detect something on the runway, be it a piece of DC-10 or some airport equipment, or even another B747. The natural reaction of trying to haul the aircraft off the ground when the object looms through the gloom often worsens the situation.
Just some food for thought.
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RE: SIA Crash By Pilots Mistake?

Thu Nov 02, 2000 10:39 am

That type of aircraft could handel those conditions. Pilot made the best descion with the facts I no.
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RE: Windshear Escape Procedure

Thu Nov 02, 2000 11:37 am

I don't know whether you'd call this a light flight. An 11hr+ sector is still fairly long and in the conditions, the weather would not leave much margin for error. This would result in already quite high Vspeeds.

In such weather conditions, the 744 would already be using full TO power, it is the policy of many airlines to use TO (as opposed to FLEX or D-TO) power when visibility is poor, contaminated runways, etc. More power is possible through the firewalling of the thottles.



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