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SpaceshipDC10
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Swissair 111 crash 20 years ago

Sun Sep 02, 2018 4:33 pm

Tonight at 10:31pm Halifax, N.S. time (AT), 11:31pm at New York and 3:31am tomorrow at Geneva; it will be 20 years since Swissair's flight 111 from JFK to GVA, violently struck and disintagrated when it hit the Atlantic Ocean, a few kilometers away from Nova Scotia's coast, killing all 229 people on board. The flight had departed from JFK at 8:18pm EDT. 56 minutes later, at 10:14pm AT, the pilot declared an emergency after an odor of smoke was detected again in the cockpit, this time with visible smoke. Only 17 minutes later the MD-11 crashed.


TSB's Investigation Report is accessible here: http://www.tsb.gc.ca/eng/rapports-repor ... 8h0003.pdf

Or the Wikipedia page about it: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Swissair_Flight_111
 
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notaxonrotax
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Re: Swissair 111 crash 20 years ago

Sun Sep 02, 2018 5:08 pm

Terrible. The early generation inflight entertainment systems.....
Here`s hoping that it can`t happen again.

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ltbewr
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Re: Swissair 111 crash 20 years ago

Sun Sep 02, 2018 5:54 pm

I had just arrived on a flight EWR-SLC and heard about it on the radio in the rental car as I drove from the airport, When I got to my motel, I turned on CNN and saw more about it. It must have been a terrifying 18-20 minutes for those on the plane.

This terrible loss did leave a legacy in several areas as well as showed lessons learned from previous aircraft losses and crashes.
It led to a changes in rules as to wiring and general insulation to materials with less flammability in future aircraft.
One serious problem with this loss was how the pilots tried to get to BOS instead of just getting to the airport in Halifax. After this pilots were trained or retrained to go to the nearest suitable airport, not just what they think is.
The immediate handling of families and others as to victims, in particular at JFK, took lessons from poor handling of those of TWA 800. There was sound public relations, management of media, privacy to victims families and victim management practices now common.
This crash also meant a lot of very difficult underwater recovery using what was learned from the TWA 800 loss.
I also recall that Swissair and its insurers promptly paid out about US$75,000 to families of victims shortly after the crash that likely blunted some of the major lawsuits that followed but also recognized the need for such money by them for expenses and some compensation for the loss.

This 2009 article from Esquire Magazine (via the Longform.org website) I recall reading at the time is an excellent as to the crash, its lessons, the people lost, the recovery process and how it affected those who lived near Peggy's Cove
https://www.esquire.com/news-politics/a ... eavy-0700/
 
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readytotaxi
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Re: Swissair 111 crash 20 years ago

Sun Sep 02, 2018 6:04 pm

Aside from the terrible loss of life I seem to recall reading that there were several VERY expensive paintings/works of art in the cargo hold. Can anyone confirm that?
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KLDC10
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Re: Swissair 111 crash 20 years ago

Sun Sep 02, 2018 6:24 pm

A truly tragic accident. HB-IWF, the aircraft involved, was filmed extensively in December 1996 during a flight from Seoul to Zürich. As far as I can tell from the video, it was filmed prior to the installation of the business-class IFE system which brought the flight down.

https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=mi452nsBOwA
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ScottishDavie
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Re: Swissair 111 crash 20 years ago

Sun Sep 02, 2018 6:39 pm

ltbewr wrote:
I
One serious problem with this loss was how the pilots tried to get to BOS instead of just getting to the airport in Halifax. After this pilots were trained or retrained to go to the nearest suitable airport, not just what they think is.


I thought that myth had been laid to rest a long time ago. The crew tentatively asked to go to BOS in a transmission beginning at 0114:15 (probably because the captain knew it) but ATC suggested YHZ and at 0115:36, a maximum one minute twenty one seconds later, the captain accepted YHZ. The way the incident developed it made no difference. The aircraft was doomed and would never have reached YHZ.

These issues are fully canvassed in the report which says at paragraph 220.3 "... it is evident that even if the pilots had attempted a minimum-time emergency diversion starting at 0114:18, it would have been impossible for the pilots to continue maintaining control of the aircraft for the amount of time necessary to reach the airport [i.e. YHZ] and complete a safe landing".
 
FlyHossD
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Re: Swissair 111 crash 20 years ago

Sun Sep 02, 2018 6:46 pm

readytotaxi wrote:
Aside from the terrible loss of life I seem to recall reading that there were several VERY expensive paintings/works of art in the cargo hold. Can anyone confirm that?


From the Esquire article linked above:

"There had been a Picasso on board the plane and millions in rubies and diamonds."
My statements do not represent my former employer or my current employer and are my opinions only.
 
SpaceshipDC10
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Re: Swissair 111 crash 20 years ago

Sun Sep 02, 2018 6:53 pm

ScottishDavie wrote:
ltbewr wrote:
I
One serious problem with this loss was how the pilots tried to get to BOS instead of just getting to the airport in Halifax. After this pilots were trained or retrained to go to the nearest suitable airport, not just what they think is.


I thought that myth had been laid to rest a long time ago. The crew tentatively asked to go to BOS in a transmission beginning at 0114:15 (probably because the captain knew it) but ATC suggested YHZ and at 0115:36, a maximum one minute twenty one seconds later, the captain accepted YHZ. The way the incident developed it made no difference. The aircraft was doomed and would never have reached YHZ.


From Wikipedia, which cites the report.

The crew requested a diversion to Logan International Airport in Boston (234 nautical miles/433 km away) before accepting Moncton ATC's offer of radar vectors to the closer Halifax International Airport in Enfield, Nova Scotia (66 nautical miles/104 km away).


In that tragedy, it's for the best of safety knowledge and the people who lost someone that they didn't divert to BOS.
 
dr1980
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Re: Swissair 111 crash 20 years ago

Sun Sep 02, 2018 8:53 pm

It’s hard to believe it’s been 20 years. Living in Halifax, I remember staying up late that night listening to the radio in my bedroom as more information came in. Lots of local media coverage here today including discussion of the long term impacts the recovery effort had on first responders and many others, including local fishermen who were among the first on site.
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Phosphorus
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Re: Swissair 111 crash 20 years ago

Sun Sep 02, 2018 9:05 pm

I worked at a multinational at the time, and a colleague was lost on that plane. She was on vacation, going with her husband and kids to see his parents in south-east France. The entire family was aboard. This horrible story was circulated on the corporate intranet.

One story I seem to remember was that there was a single free seat left on the flight before departure -- a gentleman had two separate first-class reservations -- for this flight, and for a later one. His seat was fully paid, and was held until the door close. He was late for the flight, and thus survived. Anybody can corroborate -- if that story is from SR 111, or am I confusing things?
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B748eye
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Re: Swissair 111 crash 20 years ago

Sun Sep 02, 2018 9:15 pm

SpaceshipDC10 wrote:
Tonight at 10:31pm Halifax, N.S. time (AT), 11:31pm at New York and 3:31am tomorrow at Geneva; it will be 20 years since Swissair's flight 111 from JFK to GVA, violently struck and disintagrated when it hit the Atlantic Ocean

1031pm AT = 931pm ET

Hindsight is 20/20 but IIRC there was some frustration and anger about the Capt peeling off to lose speed and altitude? Was it ever determined if he had enough time and distance to get down (overweight) on the initial approach?

A sad day. Cannot belive it's been 20 yrs
 
idlewild
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Re: Swissair 111 crash 20 years ago

Sun Sep 02, 2018 9:42 pm

If anyone is ever in Nova Scotia, or near the Halifax area in general, pay a visit and your respects to the Swissair 111 Memorial in Peggy's Cove. It's very minimalist and serene grounds. Quite beautiful, actually.
 
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Re: Swissair 111 crash 20 years ago

Sun Sep 02, 2018 9:55 pm

As dr1980 wrote, it's unbelievable that 20 years have past since SR111 crashed. I remember hearing the news on the radio. Time flies... I was still flying in those days and I still flew till 2006. As far as I remember, the pilots did everything "by the book", and that's why they never made it to Halifax. RIP everybody...
 
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Re: Swissair 111 crash 20 years ago

Sun Sep 02, 2018 10:05 pm

One of the items that came out of this from the maintenance side is EWIS cleaning. Dust bunnies are no longer tolerated on electrical wiring. FOD prevention during maintenance is also very critical.
 
runway23
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Re: Swissair 111 crash 20 years ago

Sun Sep 02, 2018 11:19 pm

KLDC10 wrote:
A truly tragic accident. HB-IWF, the aircraft involved, was filmed extensively in December 1996 during a flight from Seoul to Zürich. As far as I can tell from the video, it was filmed prior to the installation of the business-class IFE system which brought the flight down.

https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=mi452nsBOwA


Not quite sure if it was HB-IWF, but there was at least one MD-11 in the SR fleet that had the entire aircraft equipped with in seat IFE in all classes including economy.
 
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jfklganyc
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Re: Swissair 111 crash 20 years ago

Mon Sep 03, 2018 12:23 am

There is a tree and plaque between T4 and T5 adjacent the walkway. Nice memorial

That was the second in a trio of crashes from JFK that led to local media dubbing the JFK Curse...ridiculous as that was
 
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LAX772LR
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Re: Swissair 111 crash 20 years ago

Mon Sep 03, 2018 1:10 am

readytotaxi wrote:
Aside from the terrible loss of life I seem to recall reading that there were several VERY expensive paintings/works of art in the cargo hold. Can anyone confirm that?

Yep, as well as several extremely well-heeled individuals who dealt in that industry.

Some equestrian clients of were unfortunately aboard. It shattered their family. Sent their breeding stock from PBI back to Germany shortly thereafter. Man, can't believe it's been 20yrs.

:(
I myself, suspect a more prosaic motive... ~Thranduil
 
Flightsimboy
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Re: Swissair 111 crash 20 years ago

Mon Sep 03, 2018 1:23 am

There was a Swiss tennis player who was supposed to be on that flight.

http://articles.latimes.com/1998/sep/06/sports/sp-19953
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Flightsimboy
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Re: Swissair 111 crash 20 years ago

Mon Sep 03, 2018 1:31 am

No crash has impacted me more than SR 111. My family had flown recently on the SR MD-11s to North America about a year and a half earlier. At the time my company building had elevator news and while riding up the SR 111 crash was displayed. My thoughts at once went to my family and I went weak in the knees it could have been them. Years later both the MH 777 crashes would impact me directly having flown the MH 777s consecutively over two years in the early 2000s. May those on board all of these and others RIP.
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VC10er
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Re: Swissair 111 crash 20 years ago

Mon Sep 03, 2018 1:41 am

I was working with amfAR at the time. There were many scientists and doctors on that flight doing AIDS vaccine research were giving a yearly seminar on progress in Geneva. They all perished and set back AIDS research years. So tragic I’m so many ways. I was in a top scientist’s home for the eulogy.

I always recalled thinking that Swissair would NEVER fall out of the sky. Thank god these past few years have been the safest ever. God bless them all.
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buzzard302
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Re: Swissair 111 crash 20 years ago

Mon Sep 03, 2018 2:13 am

Man I remember this in the news. What a tragedy. It amazes me that these manufacturers spend millions and billions of dollars in design R&D and things like this still happen. Just goes to show, failures are not always predicted and we as humans are always reacting after the fact. I remember back in the 90's thinking we were at the peak of technology (like I believe now), but there is always room for improvement. Unfortunately, it usually happens after loss of life. RIP to those who were on this flight.
 
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Re: Swissair 111 crash 20 years ago

Mon Sep 03, 2018 2:43 am

VC10er wrote:
I was working with amfAR at the time. There were many scientists and doctors on that flight doing AIDS vaccine research were giving a yearly seminar on progress in Geneva. They all perished and set back AIDS research years. So tragic I’m so many ways. I was in a top scientist’s home for the eulogy.

I always recalled thinking that Swissair would NEVER fall out of the sky. Thank god these past few years have been the safest ever. God bless them all.


That is a very interesting parallel to the MH flight that the Russians shot down. My family is from the east coast, and I heard from friends of theirs that the plane flew over their house and woke them up on the way out towards Peggy's.
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hinckley
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Re: Swissair 111 crash 20 years ago

Mon Sep 03, 2018 10:32 am

idlewild wrote:
If anyone is ever in Nova Scotia, or near the Halifax area in general, pay a visit and your respects to the Swissair 111 Memorial in Peggy's Cove. It's very minimalist and serene grounds. Quite beautiful, actually.


Agreed. The memorial near Peggy's Cove is exceptionally well done and well worth a visit (as is that whole part of Nova Scotia).
 
ghYHZ
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Re: Swissair 111 crash 20 years ago

Mon Sep 03, 2018 3:45 pm

There's actually two Memorials.....both about equal distance from the crash site in St. Margarets Bay. The one at Peggys Cove is near the iconic Lighthouse that's visited by thousands each year. The other is at Bayswater in a quit knoll where Remains are interred.

A Memorial Service was held there yesterday (Sept 2) attended by many of the families and first responders.

https://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/nova-sco ... -1.4808503
 
Georgetown
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Re: Swissair 111 crash 20 years ago

Mon Sep 03, 2018 4:33 pm

I remember this crash like it was yesterday. How could have it been 20 years ago? It always struck me as such an unnecessary crash given that it originated from an entertainment system of all things. Oddly, I was at bar at a restaurant in Carmel by the Sea when the news came on the TV. I was at that same restaurant last night, 20 years later.

I remember following the story of Ian Shaw, who’s daughter was a passenger on that flight. He had been a successful businessman based in Switzerland but after she died he came to Peggy’s Cove and opened what became a fairly well acclaimed restaurant - doing the cooking etc himself - just to be closer to where is daughter died. Apparently he sold it in 2014. Anyone know what’s become of him since?
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Gonzalo
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Re: Swissair 111 crash 20 years ago

Mon Sep 03, 2018 4:51 pm

ltbewr wrote:
I had just arrived on a flight EWR-SLC and heard about it on the radio in the rental car as I drove from the airport, When I got to my motel, I turned on CNN and saw more about it. It must have been a terrifying 18-20 minutes for those on the plane.

This terrible loss did leave a legacy in several areas as well as showed lessons learned from previous aircraft losses and crashes.
It led to a changes in rules as to wiring and general insulation to materials with less flammability in future aircraft.
One serious problem with this loss was how the pilots tried to get to BOS instead of just getting to the airport in Halifax. After this pilots were trained or retrained to go to the nearest suitable airport, not just what they think is.
The immediate handling of families and others as to victims, in particular at JFK, took lessons from poor handling of those of TWA 800. There was sound public relations, management of media, privacy to victims families and victim management practices now common.
This crash also meant a lot of very difficult underwater recovery using what was learned from the TWA 800 loss.
I also recall that Swissair and its insurers promptly paid out about US$75,000 to families of victims shortly after the crash that likely blunted some of the major lawsuits that followed but also recognized the need for such money by them for expenses and some compensation for the loss.

This 2009 article from Esquire Magazine (via the Longform.org website) I recall reading at the time is an excellent as to the crash, its lessons, the people lost, the recovery process and how it affected those who lived near Peggy's Cove
https://www.esquire.com/news-politics/a ... eavy-0700/




That article from Esquire is really touching... a painful reading at some points, but at least is respectful with the affected families... On the other hand, I didn´t know that MD11´s burn "Diesel" to fly, but it is a very heartbreaking article. Thanks for sharing.
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Revelation
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Re: Swissair 111 crash 20 years ago

Mon Sep 03, 2018 4:56 pm

rbrunner wrote:
As far as I remember, the pilots did everything "by the book", and that's why they never made it to Halifax. RIP everybody...

Please read #6. Sadly they could not reach Halifax even if the pilots did everything possible. Let's try to get rid of the incorrect narrative.

Phosphorus wrote:
I worked at a multinational at the time, and a colleague was lost on that plane. She was on vacation, going with her husband and kids to see his parents in south-east France. The entire family was aboard. This horrible story was circulated on the corporate intranet.

Sounds similar to my experience: one gentleman worked in the same facility as myself back in 1998 and was lost on the plane ( ref: https://www.sfgate.com/news/article/Swi ... 991600.php ). There is still a memorial to this gentleman and his family in the entryway to the facility. Apparently there was no one left from the family to pay the settlement to, except the wife's sister. Very sad story.

readytotaxi wrote:
Aside from the terrible loss of life I seem to recall reading that there were several VERY expensive paintings/works of art in the cargo hold. Can anyone confirm that?

https://www.nytimes.com/1998/09/15/nyre ... ables.html says there were two paintings on board, one a Picasso estimated to be worth $1.5M and a second unidentified painting.

Gonzalo wrote:
That article from Esquire is really touching... a painful reading at some points, but at least is respectful with the affected families... On the other hand, I didn´t know that MD11´s burn "Diesel" to fly, but it is a very heartbreaking article. Thanks for sharing.

Jet-A really is close to diesel. https://jalopnik.com/5938552/why-you-re ... n-your-car says:

Jet fuel has more in common with home heating oil than, say premium gasoline. Jet fuel (there's variants, but a very common one is known as Jet A) is really close to regular old diesel fuel. And, for that matter, kerosene. You can even run it straight in your diesel car or truck, though it doesn't lubricate as well so if you do, you'd want to add some sort of lubrication additive.
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adambrau
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Re: Swissair 111 crash 20 years ago

Mon Sep 03, 2018 6:52 pm

I worked for Swissair from June 1998 to December 2000, as a customer service representative. I think nothing ever prepares one for this type of event, and the whole JFK station team (many whom had worked for the airline for years) were shocked. Everyone pulled together for the benefit of our customers, and the Delta team at T3 who handled many SR functions for DL, we're amazingly strong. The Duty Station Manager who signed off on the flight was an amazing beautiful soul from SABENA and I'm not sure she ever really got over the tragedy. There was a long standing tradition of standing on the jetways, pulled back from the plane, and wave off to the pilots in the cockpit as the plane pushed back. After the initial shock, we arranged flights for families of the victims who would come to JFK, and Delta would fly the flights up to Halifax to say a final goodbye. Long days at the airport follow, needless to say.
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Cointrin330
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Re: Swissair 111 crash 20 years ago

Mon Sep 03, 2018 7:40 pm

This tragedy impacted me like no other. I was living in London at the time and remember hearing about it on the early morning news shows and was in complete shock. I grew up flying SR 111/110 two or three times a year from JFK to GVA and back in the 1970's and 1980s and was shaken to the core when seeing what had happened. This flight has always been nicknamed the "UN Shuttle". I remember flying the 747-100 and 747-300s that SR had at the time I flew it and it felt like something very special indeed.
 
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LAX772LR
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Re: Swissair 111 crash 20 years ago

Mon Sep 03, 2018 8:43 pm

Phosphorus wrote:
One story I seem to remember was that there was a single free seat left on the flight before departure -- a gentleman had two separate first-class reservations -- for this flight, and for a later one. His seat was fully paid, and was held until the door close. He was late for the flight, and thus survived. Anybody can corroborate -- if that story is from SR 111, or am I confusing things?

I've always heard similar about PA103.

Probably a mix of truth and urban-legend to both.
I myself, suspect a more prosaic motive... ~Thranduil
 
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longhauler
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Re: Swissair 111 crash 20 years ago

Mon Sep 03, 2018 8:56 pm

If you ever want to read a sobering document, read the TSB final report of this accident.

http://www.tsb.gc.ca/eng/rapports-repor ... 8h0003.pdf

It is a huge document, factual, no opinions or heresay. But it explains a lot of not only this accident itself, but also how the investigation process works. It also shows why we do what we do. Namely today, as a result of this and earlier accidents, line number one of the smoke/fumes checklist is to initiate a diversion to the closest airport. Then after the diversion to the closest airport is started, the checklist continues.

If during the diversion the problem is solved, you still land. Sort it out on the ground. No one will ever second guess your decision. (except maybe on this website). It didn't take very long for things to get very bad very quickly for Swissair 111.

In reading this report, I am reminded of a few items...

As noted above, a theoretical earliest time of landing was calculated. That time assumed a normally functioning aircraft. Control was lost about 3 minutes before that time. So a landing at any airport was not possible.

The fire was assumed to have started in the In Flight Entertainment Network supply wiring. But ... for reasons not stated (remember this is fact only), the IFEN was not on the Cabin Bus, so when Cabin electrics were shut down as a part of the checklist, the IFEN supply wiring was still powered.

The fire was propagated by the (then legal) MPET covered insulation blanket material in the cabin attic area just aft of the cockpit. So even if they had removed power to the IFEN, the fire may have continued.

Had they been able to reach the airport, it is likely that the slats, flaps, auto brakes, anti-skid and spoilers would not work, as they are electically controlled. There is no way they could have kept the aircraft within the runway environment.

But remember ...

The aircraft was legal. The pilots were legal and well trained. They followed the checklist to the T, and did everything "right". Swissair was an extremely well respected airline that complied with and usually exceeded standards.

Sometimes, it's not enough. 20 years, wow!

RIP
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flyabr
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Re: Swissair 111 crash 20 years ago

Mon Sep 03, 2018 9:10 pm

notaxonrotax wrote:
Terrible. The early generation inflight entertainment systems.....
Here`s hoping that it can`t happen again. No Tax On Rotax


I've often wondered if the proliferation of seat back entertainment systems does raise the risk of an in-flight fire, especially as planes and installed systems get older. :worried:
 
QueenoftheSkies
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Re: Swissair 111 crash 20 years ago

Tue Sep 04, 2018 3:11 am

 
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keesje
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Re: Swissair 111 crash 20 years ago

Tue Sep 04, 2018 7:47 am

Working for an airline I /we considered the IFT IFEN inflight entertainment system. We got the specs, visited them, flew on AZ and SR to try it out. They also used it on their M11. The user experience was superior (big touch screens / AVOD). It had basically a PC below every seat.

We didn't shortlist it, mainly because it was too heavy and expensive. In terms of weights, heat dissipation and handling costs IFEN quickly proved unfeasible.

Talking to M11 system engineers later on, I understood SR tapped the power from a main bus with flight critical systems, which they said they would never have considered and avoided with the lighter MAS2000E system we bought instead. I knew some colleagues on the SR site, drama..

Image
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1989worstyear
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Re: Swissair 111 crash 20 years ago

Tue Sep 04, 2018 9:07 am

longhauler wrote:
If you ever want to read a sobering document, read the TSB final report of this accident.

http://www.tsb.gc.ca/eng/rapports-repor ... 8h0003.pdf

It is a huge document, factual, no opinions or heresay. But it explains a lot of not only this accident itself, but also how the investigation process works. It also shows why we do what we do. Namely today, as a result of this and earlier accidents, line number one of the smoke/fumes checklist is to initiate a diversion to the closest airport. Then after the diversion to the closest airport is started, the checklist continues.

If during the diversion the problem is solved, you still land. Sort it out on the ground. No one will ever second guess your decision. (except maybe on this website). It didn't take very long for things to get very bad very quickly for Swissair 111.

In reading this report, I am reminded of a few items...

As noted above, a theoretical earliest time of landing was calculated. That time assumed a normally functioning aircraft. Control was lost about 3 minutes before that time. So a landing at any airport was not possible.

The fire was assumed to have started in the In Flight Entertainment Network supply wiring. But ... for reasons not stated (remember this is fact only), the IFEN was not on the Cabin Bus, so when Cabin electrics were shut down as a part of the checklist, the IFEN supply wiring was still powered.

The fire was propagated by the (then legal) MPET covered insulation blanket material in the cabin attic area just aft of the cockpit. So even if they had removed power to the IFEN, the fire may have continued.

Had they been able to reach the airport, it is likely that the slats, flaps, auto brakes, anti-skid and spoilers would not work, as they are electically controlled. There is no way they could have kept the aircraft within the runway environment.

But remember ...

The aircraft was legal. The pilots were legal and well trained. They followed the checklist to the T, and did everything "right". Swissair was an extremely well respected airline that complied with and usually exceeded standards.

Sometimes, it's not enough. 20 years, wow!

RIP


This accident is one of the ones that terrifies me the most - I can't stop thinking what those pilots had to go through in their final moments.

I will NEVER fly or tell anyone to fly on a Kapton-wired aircraft.
Stuck at age 15 thanks to the certification date of the A320-200 and my parents' decision to postpone having a kid by 3 years. At least there's Dignitas...
 
SpaceshipDC10
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Re: Swissair 111 crash 20 years ago

Tue Sep 04, 2018 11:35 am

longhauler wrote:
The aircraft was legal. The pilots were legal and well trained. They followed the checklist to the T, and did everything "right". Swissair was an extremely well respected airline that complied with and usually exceeded standards.


I guess, besides of the end result of that tragedy, this is what made it even more shoking. The last time the company had lost an aircraft because of the machine itself was the Caravelle that crashed 30+ years earlier.


1989worstyear wrote:
I will NEVER fly or tell anyone to fly on a Kapton-wired aircraft.


Oh, tell us, how would you know that as a passenger waiting to board a flight?
 
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longhauler
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Re: Swissair 111 crash 20 years ago

Tue Sep 04, 2018 1:30 pm

keesje wrote:
Talking to M11 system engineers later on, I understood SR tapped the power from a main bus with flight critical systems, which they said they would never have considered and avoided with the lighter MAS2000E system we bought instead.

That is interesting and answers a question I have pondered. The IFEN was not on the Cabin Bus as the Cabin Bus could not have powered it. Makes sense.

I note that in today's aircraft, the IFE systems may well be powered by a main bus, but there is a separate switch in the cockpit to remove power. (Also one in the Galley for the same reason). Also, Flight Attendants are much more aware of the IFE systems and I have read many occurrences where they have shut down the entire system due to one "warm" screen. Good idea!

SpaceshipDC10 wrote:
I guess, besides of the end result of that tragedy, this is what made it even more shoking. The last time the company had lost an aircraft because of the machine itself was the Caravelle that crashed 30+ years earlier.


And even that was a bizarre incident due to overheating brakes as they taxied with high power to clear fog and improve visibility for take off. Much like the old "turboclaire" system in ORY.

But actually their previous fatality before SR111 was a DC-8 landing at ATH in 1979. Still, a solid safety record.
Just because I stopped arguing, doesn't mean I think you are right. It just means I gave up!
 
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Carlos01
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Re: Swissair 111 crash 20 years ago

Tue Sep 04, 2018 1:52 pm

Personally to me this is also the most horrific and brutal aircrash of all time. I never flew the Swissair MD11s, but other airlines plenty, and it still continues to be one of my absolute favorite planes. I have also lived in Switzerland for 10+ years, so it feels close to home. Business class having modern IFE-systems, sounds modern and cool, nothing wrong with that. And then a rapid and horrible inferno in the cockpit, the brutal highspeed vertical impact, in a remote location somewhere off the coast of Canada. On a dark and misty night. The whole plane along with its passengers literally exploded into millions of pieces. No chance for survivors, absolutely zero.

I was btw also visiting ZRH when Swissair ceased operations, it was an eerie sight to see an airport full of planes, parked all over the place. Just adds to the sadness around the airline.

I can only try to imagine what the relatives of the victims must be going through whenever these round numbers roll by.
 
YYZYYT
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Re: Swissair 111 crash 20 years ago

Tue Sep 04, 2018 2:28 pm

ScottishDavie wrote:
ltbewr wrote:

One serious problem with this loss was how the pilots tried to get to BOS instead of just getting to the airport in Halifax. After this pilots were trained or retrained to go to the nearest suitable
airport, not just what they think is.


I thought that myth had been laid to rest a long time ago. The crew tentatively asked to go to BOS in a transmission beginning at 0114:15 (probably because the captain knew it) but ATC suggested YHZ and at 0115:36, a maximum one minute twenty one seconds later, the captain accepted YHZ. The way the incident developed it made no difference. The aircraft was doomed and would never have reached YHZ.

These issues are fully canvassed in the report which says at paragraph 220.3 "... it is evident that even if the pilots had attempted a minimum-time emergency diversion starting at 0114:18, it would have been impossible for the pilots to continue maintaining control of the aircraft for the amount of time necessary to reach the airport [i.e. YHZ] and complete a safe landing".


:checkmark: :checkmark:

The final report canvassed that issue in great detail - where and when the pilots chose to divert, and whether they should have turned out over the ocean to dump fuel... It's been a few years since I read the report (which I recommend to anyone who still doubts the pilots' decision making) but as I recall: when the decision was made to divert, it was a precaution and not yet an emergency. Dumping fuel was the appropriate decision, rather than attempting an overweight landing at an unfamiliar airport (which create risk of a serious accident in themselves). But the fire and electrical issues progressed VERY quickly from there. The pilots did recognize how serious the problem was, and abandoned their plan to circle and dump fuel, in favour of an immediate emergency landing... but control was lost only a few minutes later, and well before the aircraft could have landed.

The issue was their altitude and speed at the time that the smoke was first detected. What struck me as a non-pilot was the time that it takes to lose speed and altitude, secure the cabin for landing and align for landing on an appropriate runway. They could never have made it to YHZ, or anywhere else, as per the quote from the Report that ScottishDavie cites.

longhauler wrote:
The aircraft was legal. The pilots were legal and well trained. They followed the checklist to the T, and did everything "right". Swissair was an extremely well respected airline that complied with and usually exceeded standards.


:checkmark: :checkmark:
 
StarAC17
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Re: Swissair 111 crash 20 years ago

Tue Sep 04, 2018 3:35 pm

flyabr wrote:
notaxonrotax wrote:
Terrible. The early generation inflight entertainment systems.....
Here`s hoping that it can`t happen again. No Tax On Rotax


I've often wondered if the proliferation of seat back entertainment systems does raise the risk of an in-flight fire, especially as planes and installed systems get older. :worried:


Seat back IFE days are numbered because everyone has a phone or tablet with entertainment on them or it is easier for an airline to rent them out to pax/provide wifi streaming. All people need is essentially a usb or electrical outlet and they are good even the longest of long haul flights.

Saying that the system's today can be shut off easily which in the case of this flight they could not be as well the insulation that spread the fire so quickly is now banned IIRC.
Engineers Rule The World!!!!!
 
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Carlos01
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Re: Swissair 111 crash 20 years ago

Tue Sep 04, 2018 3:35 pm

YYZYYT wrote:
The final report canvassed that issue in great detail - where and when the pilots chose to divert, and whether they should have turned out over the ocean to dump fuel... It's been a few years since I read the report (which I recommend to anyone who still doubts the pilots' decision making) but as I recall: when the decision was made to divert, it was a precaution and not yet an emergency. Dumping fuel was the appropriate decision, rather than attempting an overweight landing at an unfamiliar airport (which create risk of a serious accident in themselves). But the fire and electrical issues progressed VERY quickly from there. The pilots did recognize how serious the problem was, and abandoned their plan to circle and dump fuel, in favour of an immediate emergency landing... but control was lost only a few minutes later, and well before the aircraft could have landed.

The issue was their altitude and speed at the time that the smoke was first detected. What struck me as a non-pilot was the time that it takes to lose speed and altitude, secure the cabin for landing and align for landing on an appropriate runway. They could never have made it to YHZ, or anywhere else, as per the quote from the Report that ScottishDavie cites.


Well there is actually one thing I have thought about a lot. What if at the time when the pilots realized that there is a fire and it's getting worse, they would have done a deep dive followed by a pull-up and a controlled (well as much as possible) ditching into the sea? I guess no pilot would consider that until it's too late, but could that have even theoretically saved a few lives?

And going forward the question could be, would it be possible to build such sensor-systems in the plane's wiring, that the plane could give an indication if it seems likely that the fire is spreading too fast to reach any diversion airport? I guess there has been already a lot of development in this area, as proven by the recent Etihad fire-diversion of which the report just came out. Signs of smoke&fire = immediate landing + apply all possible fire extinguishers. At least worked in that case.
 
SpaceshipDC10
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Re: Swissair 111 crash 20 years ago

Tue Sep 04, 2018 3:40 pm

longhauler wrote:
And even that was a bizarre incident due to overheating brakes as they taxied with high power to clear fog and improve visibility for take off. Much like the old "turboclaire" system in ORY.

Indeed, and then overheated brakes provoked tyres explosion that damaged the hydraulic lines, fluid was set alit by the brakes, and in the end the fire was so intense in the wheelwell that pilots lost controls and the aircraft dived, this is basically what I remember from the report I've read years ago.


longhauler wrote:
But actually their previous fatality before SR111 was a DC-8 landing at ATH in 1979. Still, a solid safety record.


Oh yes, that's right. Sadly the pilots were charged for manslauter by the Greek justice.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Swissair_Flight_316
Last edited by SpaceshipDC10 on Tue Sep 04, 2018 3:49 pm, edited 1 time in total.
 
StarAC17
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Re: Swissair 111 crash 20 years ago

Tue Sep 04, 2018 3:44 pm

Flightsimboy wrote:
There was a Swiss tennis player who was supposed to be on that flight.

http://articles.latimes.com/1998/sep/06/sports/sp-19953


I think this is more common that many think and that people dodge death all the time.

Seth MacFarlane just missed AA flight 11 on 9/11 by minutes because he was hungover and had the wrong departure time from his travel agent. Has he been on that plane we would have been deprived of one of the best satirists and comedians in recent history.

http://wafflesatnoon.com/seth-macfarlan ... 11-flight/

I think the Mayday of this does talk to the tennis player whom missed the flight as she was leaving NY early after being eliminated from the US open.
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longhauler
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Re: Swissair 111 crash 20 years ago

Tue Sep 04, 2018 4:16 pm

Carlos01 wrote:

Well there is actually one thing I have thought about a lot. What if at the time when the pilots realized that there is a fire and it's getting worse, they would have done a deep dive followed by a pull-up and a controlled (well as much as possible) ditching into the sea? I guess no pilot would consider that until it's too late, but could that have even theoretically saved a few lives?

This is an extremely valid point and one that is often included in decision making training with our new Captains. Namely, at what point do you accept that an airport is no longer an option and putting it down on land or water in some semblance of control is better.

But that is a very hard decision to make. We inherently think "I can do it", "we can make it".

Another good example is the loss of a South African Airways 747 Combi with an intense fire in the main deck cargo hold. They weren't far from Mauritius so there was a chance. But as we now know, they would have been better off ditching into the Indian Ocean. Problem is ... there is no way of knowing which would have been better until duing the investigation.
Just because I stopped arguing, doesn't mean I think you are right. It just means I gave up!
 
YYZYYT
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Re: Swissair 111 crash 20 years ago

Tue Sep 04, 2018 4:49 pm

longhauler wrote:
Carlos01 wrote:

Well there is actually one thing I have thought about a lot. What if at the time when the pilots realized that there is a fire and it's getting worse, they would have done a deep dive followed by a pull-up and a controlled (well as much as possible) ditching into the sea? I guess no pilot would consider that until it's too late, but could that have even theoretically saved a few lives?

This is an extremely valid point and one that is often included in decision making training with our new Captains. Namely, at what point do you accept that an airport is no longer an option and putting it down on land or water in some semblance of control is better.

But that is a very hard decision to make. We inherently think "I can do it", "we can make it".

Another good example is the loss of a South African Airways 747 Combi with an intense fire in the main deck cargo hold. They weren't far from Mauritius so there was a chance. But as we now know, they would have been better off ditching into the Indian Ocean. Problem is ... there is no way of knowing which would have been better until duing the investigation.


Yes, I can't begin to imagine how hard that would be - decide to ditch, and likely break up the aircraft and drown passengers? That decision would be very hard to make at the best of times, let alone under extreme stress, in a cockpit full of choking smoke, where you can't even figure out what controls are working or not - all the while knowing that the passengers, crew and your own life will be lost if you decide wrong.

In the specific case of SR 111, I'm thinking that it wouldn't have been possible to possible to ditch and save many (or any) lives... I think that a look at the timeline will show that the aircraft was going too fast, and still too high, and that loss of control was beginning by the time that the pilots realized that the issue was serious enough to consider ditching as a possibility.
 
sgbroimp
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Re: Swissair 111 crash 20 years ago

Tue Sep 04, 2018 5:16 pm

And throw in the fact it was also pitch dark out......would have never been considered by 99.99% of pilots.
 
330lover
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Re: Swissair 111 crash 20 years ago

Tue Sep 04, 2018 7:28 pm

I remember this very well.
Having started my first job at the city office of Sabena / Swissair in Brussels just a few months before. Receiving the telexes about the event, especially the ones with the names of all crew members and passengers on board will never leave my memory.
Britten Norman Islander VP-FBR on Falkland Islands. THAT'S FLYING!
 
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flyingclrs727
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Re: Swissair 111 crash 20 years ago

Tue Sep 04, 2018 8:17 pm

StarAC17 wrote:
flyabr wrote:
notaxonrotax wrote:
Terrible. The early generation inflight entertainment systems.....
Here`s hoping that it can`t happen again. No Tax On Rotax


I've often wondered if the proliferation of seat back entertainment systems does raise the risk of an in-flight fire, especially as planes and installed systems get older. :worried:


Seat back IFE days are numbered because everyone has a phone or tablet with entertainment on them or it is easier for an airline to rent them out to pax/provide wifi streaming. All people need is essentially a usb or electrical outlet and they are good even the longest of long haul flights.

Saying that the system's today can be shut off easily which in the case of this flight they could not be as well the insulation that spread the fire so quickly is now banned IIRC.


Seat back IFE might disappear from domestic flights, but I don't see it going away for international flights.
 
ubeema
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Re: Swissair 111 crash 20 years ago

Wed Sep 05, 2018 2:30 am

longhauler wrote:
Carlos01 wrote:

Well there is actually one thing I have thought about a lot. What if at the time when the pilots realized that there is a fire and it's getting worse, they would have done a deep dive followed by a pull-up and a controlled (well as much as possible) ditching into the sea? I guess no pilot would consider that until it's too late, but could that have even theoretically saved a few lives?

This is an extremely valid point and one that is often included in decision making training with our new Captains. Namely, at what point do you accept that an airport is no longer an option and putting it down on land or water in some semblance of control is better.

But that is a very hard decision to make. We inherently think "I can do it", "we can make it".

US Airways on the Hudson (total engine failure) and Ethiopian 767 off Seychelles coast (fuel starvation due to hijacking) come to mind although the latter had some fatalities. But I agree an onboard fire as sneaky as it can be is another level of danger because it is evidently self destructive.

flyingclrs727 wrote:
StarAC17 wrote:
flyabr wrote:

I've often wondered if the proliferation of seat back entertainment systems does raise the risk of an in-flight fire, especially as planes and installed systems get older. :worried:


Seat back IFE days are numbered because everyone has a phone or tablet with entertainment on them or it is easier for an airline to rent them out to pax/provide wifi streaming. All people need is essentially a usb or electrical outlet and they are good even the longest of long haul flights.

Saying that the system's today can be shut off easily which in the case of this flight they could not be as well the insulation that spread the fire so quickly is now banned IIRC.


Seat back IFE might disappear from domestic flights, but I don't see it going away for international flights.

Being done already. WOW A321/A330 do not carry seat back IFE. Instead they offer iPad for a fee. Would not mind if this becomes a trend.
 
bennett123
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Re: Swissair 111 crash 20 years ago

Wed Sep 05, 2018 6:25 am

Reading the aviation-safety.net record of the ATH crash is quite interesting.

The aircraft finished up 80M beyond the end of the runway and 4M below the airport elevation.

Iirc, there was a drainage ditch just beyond the end of the runway.

So they blamed the pilots.

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