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FARmd90
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Swift Air loses part of vertical stabilizer in flight.

Thu May 21, 2020 10:56 pm

Title says it all. A Swift Air 738 lost part of the vertical stabilizer on a flight from VCV-SAN.

https://www.airlive.net/alert-swift-air ... ZiOKkH7lqY

http://avherald.com/h?article=4d79f888&opt=0
 
strfyr51
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Re: Swift Air loses part of vertical stabilizer in flight.

Thu May 21, 2020 11:06 pm

FARmd90 wrote:
Title says it all. A Swift Air 738 lost part of the vertical stabilizer on a flight from VCV-SAN.

https://www.airlive.net/alert-swift-air ... ZiOKkH7lqY

http://avherald.com/h?article=4d79f888&opt=0

they didn't come off! They were never secured ON the airplane!! Somebody Screwed to Pooch and didn't inspect their work!!
 
FlyingElvii
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Re: Swift Air loses part of vertical stabilizer in flight.

Thu May 21, 2020 11:13 pm

“The Crew was unaware of the incident. So much for the post-fight inspection.
“ Don’t worry about it. The next guys will catch anything wrong on the preflight.”
 
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airportugal310
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Re: Swift Air loses part of vertical stabilizer in flight.

Thu May 21, 2020 11:19 pm

Definitely a few dents on the leading edge of the horizontal stab from what I can tell...surprised they didn't feel it, at least
“They bought their tickets, they knew what they were getting into. I say, let 'em crash.”
 
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Acey559
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Re: Swift Air loses part of vertical stabilizer in flight.

Thu May 21, 2020 11:27 pm

FlyingElvii wrote:
“The Crew was unaware of the incident. So much for the post-fight inspection.
“ Don’t worry about it. The next guys will catch anything wrong on the preflight.”


I can’t speak for Swift, but not all airlines do post flight inspections. We don’t at my airline.
In Dixie Land I'll take my stand to live and die in Dixie.
 
Antarius
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Re: Swift Air loses part of vertical stabilizer in flight.

Thu May 21, 2020 11:37 pm

Wow. I don't think I've ever seen anything like this.
2020: SFO DFW IAH HOU CLT MEX BIS MIA GUA ORD DTW LGA BOS LHR DUB BFS BHD STN OAK PHL ISP JFK SJC DEN SJU LAS TXL GDL
 
Planeboy17
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Re: Swift Air loses part of vertical stabilizer in flight.

Fri May 22, 2020 12:16 am

FlyingElvii wrote:
“The Crew was unaware of the incident. So much for the post-fight inspection.
“ Don’t worry about it. The next guys will catch anything wrong on the preflight.”

First of all, the quote about the crew being unaware is in context to the flight, meaning they had no idea this happened while in flight.
Also, my airline only requires a post flight walk around on a RON aircraft, similar to what Acey said.
 
durangomac
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Re: Swift Air loses part of vertical stabilizer in flight.

Fri May 22, 2020 12:30 am

Looking at FlightAware, looks like the plane was only in VCV for just over an hour.

https://flightaware.com/live/flight/N820TJ
 
wjcandee
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Re: Swift Air loses part of vertical stabilizer in flight.

Fri May 22, 2020 12:38 am

FlyingElvii wrote:
“The Crew was unaware of the incident.”


I'm sure the prisoners on board didn't notice, either.
 
F9Animal
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Re: Swift Air loses part of vertical stabilizer in flight.

Fri May 22, 2020 2:19 am

airportugal310 wrote:
Definitely a few dents on the leading edge of the horizontal stab from what I can tell...surprised they didn't feel it, at least


Yep, saw those dents! I wonder if they came off shortly after takeoff or during takeoff? I would expect the damage to be much more extensive had they come off at 500 MPH. Not just that, but I don't think the parts would have drifted down at cruise speed
I Am A Different Animal!!
 
Dalmd88
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Re: Swift Air loses part of vertical stabilizer in flight.

Fri May 22, 2020 2:56 am

That forward fairing is really big and kind of heavy. I always hated installing that. If I recall it has six bolts coming up from inside the cabin and a row of screws at the stab joint maybe?
 
AndoAv8R
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Re: Swift Air loses part of vertical stabilizer in flight.

Tue May 26, 2020 2:44 pm

After doing research on the 737 and talking to a mechanic friend, heres what i believe happened. The panels that are missing as well as the aerodynamic fin are required to be removed in order to inspect the airframe during a C check. For whatever reason (the crash of continental 2574 stick out in my mind) the panels/fin weren't properly reinstalled.
 
Waterbomber2
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Re: Swift Air loses part of vertical stabilizer in flight.

Tue May 26, 2020 2:59 pm

As spectacular as that looks, not flight critical parts.
It just looks more like an A320.
Maintenance error, avoidable and stupid but not a big deal.
 
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KVH68
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Re: Swift Air loses part of vertical stabilizer in flight.

Tue May 26, 2020 3:00 pm

AndoAv8R wrote:
After doing research on the 737 and talking to a mechanic friend, heres what i believe happened. The panels that are missing as well as the aerodynamic fin are required to be removed in order to inspect the airframe during a C check. For whatever reason (the crash of continental 2574 stick out in my mind) the panels/fin weren't properly reinstalled.


Yes, that triangle panel gets removed to allow inspection of the two rudder control cables.
 
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Antaras
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Re: Swift Air loses part of vertical stabilizer in flight.

Tue May 26, 2020 3:01 pm

We almost have the second JL123.
Luckily nothing happen.
If you disagree with my statement, assume that it was just a joke :duck:
 
Etheereal
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Re: Swift Air loses part of vertical stabilizer in flight.

Tue May 26, 2020 3:10 pm

Waterbomber2 wrote:
As spectacular as that looks, not flight critical parts.

This better be satire..
 
YULobserver
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Re: Swift Air loses part of vertical stabilizer in flight.

Tue May 26, 2020 3:31 pm

Etheereal wrote:
Waterbomber2 wrote:
As spectacular as that looks, not flight critical parts.

This better be satire..


It depends what meaning you give to critical. It's critical enough to not depart like that. However they were not a critical component for safety of flight.
The proof is it made no difference on the flight outcome.

I actually think this thread should be renamed to add: Swift Air loses part of vertical stabilizer fairings in flight.

We are far from a stabilizer being lost, and consequently, there was no serious incident, it spite of it looking spectacular.
 
slvrblt
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Re: Swift Air loses part of vertical stabilizer in flight.

Tue May 26, 2020 4:21 pm

Waterbomber2 wrote:
As spectacular as that looks, not flight critical parts.
It just looks more like an A320.
Maintenance error, avoidable and stupid but not a big deal.


Yeah, sure.

ANYTIME you're missing pieces of an aircraft......and vertical stabilizer no less..... it is a HUGE deal.
..everything works out in the end.
 
cschleic
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Re: Swift Air loses part of vertical stabilizer in flight.

Tue May 26, 2020 5:25 pm

slvrblt wrote:
Waterbomber2 wrote:
As spectacular as that looks, not flight critical parts.
It just looks more like an A320.
Maintenance error, avoidable and stupid but not a big deal.


Yeah, sure.

ANYTIME you're missing pieces of an aircraft......and vertical stabilizer no less..... it is a HUGE deal.


Scary as it looks, and certainly careless on someone's part, I think the meaning of some posts is that the missing parts aren't structural, they're more aerodynamic, so flight safety wasn't jeopardized. Now, the dents on the horizontal surfaces, if caused by parts falling off, could be another story.
 
birdup
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Re: Swift Air loses part of vertical stabilizer in flight.

Tue May 26, 2020 5:52 pm

Even if this part is not critical during flight, I wonder if the decreased aerodynamics could have made enough of a difference in fuel burn to exhaust reserves on a sufficiently long flight.
 
drdisque
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Re: Swift Air loses part of vertical stabilizer in flight.

Tue May 26, 2020 6:13 pm

birdup wrote:
Even if this part is not critical during flight, I wonder if the decreased aerodynamics could have made enough of a difference in fuel burn to exhaust reserves on a sufficiently long flight.


Probably.

The crew probably didn't notice in this circumstance because of the short stage length (41 minutes) and low altitude (18000 ft.)

during a long cruise they probably would've noticed that the performance seemed "off".
 
kalvado
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Re: Swift Air loses part of vertical stabilizer in flight.

Tue May 26, 2020 6:21 pm

OK, now lets try to name things what they are.
They lost the dorsal fin of vertical stabilizer, which would mean problems with aircraft control in sideslip flight, e.g. in crosswind landing or in engine out situation.
Now lets discuss how critical that is for the flight
 
peterjohns
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Re: Swift Air loses part of vertical stabilizer in flight.

Tue May 26, 2020 6:35 pm

Probably someone needed some spare parts for a 737 and thought " Oh- here´s one - lets take it of this one"
 
OB1504
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Re: Swift Air loses part of vertical stabilizer in flight.

Tue May 26, 2020 6:39 pm

YULobserver wrote:
Etheereal wrote:
Waterbomber2 wrote:
As spectacular as that looks, not flight critical parts.

This better be satire..


It depends what meaning you give to critical. It's critical enough to not depart like that. However they were not a critical component for safety of flight.
The proof is it made no difference on the flight outcome.

I actually think this thread should be renamed to add: Swift Air loses part of vertical stabilizer fairings in flight.

We are far from a stabilizer being lost, and consequently, there was no serious incident, it spite of it looking spectacular.


While I agree that this isn’t on the same level as losing the entire vertical stabilizer, the fact that the airplane landed safely isn’t “proof” that it’s not critical. If you safely land an A300 with no hydraulics I don’t think anyone would be saying the hydraulics aren’t critical.
 
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AirlineCritic
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Re: Swift Air loses part of vertical stabilizer in flight.

Tue May 26, 2020 7:12 pm

Indeed. Just because parts are not flight critical doesn't mean having them fly off and hit other parts of the aircraft is safe. We don't know how safe/unsafe that is, for all we know this crew might have gotten very lucky or just enjoyed the likely outcome. But I'm 100% certain that there are situations where this could also have caused a serious problem, if the departing parts damaged something else.
 
KlimaBXsst
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Re: Swift Air loses part of vertical stabilizer in flight.

Tue May 26, 2020 8:36 pm

Photo shows damage to the leading edge of the horizontal stabilizer.

Glad there was NO hot Space Shuttle plasma or substantial opening deformations here to cause further damage high velocity air flow upon this flight critical component.
Aesthetically the A 340 got it right!
 
wjcandee
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Re: Swift Air loses part of vertical stabilizer in flight.

Tue May 26, 2020 10:31 pm

YULobserver wrote:
Etheereal wrote:
Waterbomber2 wrote:
As spectacular as that looks, not flight critical parts.

This better be satire..


However they were not a critical component for safety of flight.
The proof is it made no difference on the flight outcome.


Proof that the flight didn't crash is proof of nothing relating to whether they are flight-safety-critical components. Very narrow view you have of what constitutes safety of flight. I don't think most share the same view.

ON THIS FLIGHT, the configuration didn't materially-affect handling, apparently.

However, those hunks of metal aren't on there for beauty. In other circumstances, such as different wind conditions or a lost engine, they darn well would have affected handling and limits, and therefore "safety of flight".
 
strfyr51
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Re: Swift Air loses part of vertical stabilizer in flight.

Tue May 26, 2020 10:39 pm

Acey559 wrote:
FlyingElvii wrote:
“The Crew was unaware of the incident. So much for the post-fight inspection.
“ Don’t worry about it. The next guys will catch anything wrong on the preflight.”


I can’t speak for Swift, but not all airlines do post flight inspections. We don’t at my airline.

they actually don't if the airplane is turning for another flight. There will be another Preflight or turnaround check done before departure,
 
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brianK73
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Re: Swift Air loses part of vertical stabilizer in flight.

Tue May 26, 2020 11:59 pm

If the aircraft had to fly through a known icing condition, and the exposed rudder cables are encased in layers of ice....
It certainly could have caused some safety issues, methinks.
 
n92r03
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Re: Swift Air loses part of vertical stabilizer in flight.

Wed May 27, 2020 12:55 am

wjcandee wrote:
FlyingElvii wrote:
“The Crew was unaware of the incident.”


I'm sure the prisoners on board didn't notice, either.


Is Swift doing JPATS flights?
 
wjcandee
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Re: Swift Air loses part of vertical stabilizer in flight.

Wed May 27, 2020 1:54 am

n92r03 wrote:
wjcandee wrote:
FlyingElvii wrote:
“The Crew was unaware of the incident.”


I'm sure the prisoners on board didn't notice, either.


Is Swift doing JPATS flights?


Well, they're one of the largest air transportation contractors on ICE repatriation flights. At last count, they moved like 35,000 people per year out of IWA alone.

I don't know whether all ICE repatriation flights are subcontracted through the JPATS system or not, so I don't know if Swift is a subcontractor to JPATS or directly to ICE or both. The public stuff on it is a little confusing. JPATS claims to move about 260,000 passengers per year. That would be 365 passengers per day per each of their two 737-400s, every day of the year. I guess that's possible depending on stage length, which is not too-long when moving prisoners between Federal judicial districts. However, I believe that JPATS operates a lot of point to point flights, like Southwest, so not everybody is getting off in Brownsville. (Well, actually, I think a lot of people ARE getting off in Brownsville, but you see my point.) So seems like that number maybe includes some flights handled by subcontractors. In any event, Swift is a major provider of airlift for removal flights, and the itinerary of the flight in question and rotation of that aircraft that day makes clear that that's what it was.
Last edited by wjcandee on Wed May 27, 2020 1:57 am, edited 1 time in total.
 
Wacker1000
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Re: Swift Air loses part of vertical stabilizer in flight.

Wed May 27, 2020 1:56 am

Waterbomber2 wrote:
As spectacular as that looks, not flight critical parts.
It just looks more like an A320.
Maintenance error, avoidable and stupid but not a big deal.


Its not flight critical until it takes out something flight critical during its departure.
 
UA735WL
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Re: Swift Air loses part of vertical stabilizer in flight.

Wed May 27, 2020 3:22 am

As I recall, one of the reasons the -300 and beyond series 737s got the fairing/fillet (whatever you want to call it) that is so conspicuously absent from this airplane was to improve rudder authority in an engine out situation with the more powerful CFM56 vs the JT8Ds on the 100/200. Like other posters mentioned, it's a good thing no other failures decided to occur.
"One test is worth a thousand expert opinions" -Tex Johnston
 
ikramerica
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Re: Swift Air loses part of vertical stabilizer in flight.

Wed May 27, 2020 3:46 am

brianK73 wrote:
If the aircraft had to fly through a known icing condition, and the exposed rudder cables are encased in layers of ice....
It certainly could have caused some safety issues, methinks.

That was my thought.

Any time you lose a fairing, you lose either an aero element or a cover to something that should be covered.

While neither on their own may be dangerous under normal conditions, during other conditions it could mean a crash.
Of all the things to worry about... the Wookie has no pants.
 
tribird1011
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Re: Swift Air loses part of vertical stabilizer in flight.

Wed May 27, 2020 6:07 am

YULobserver wrote:
Etheereal wrote:
Waterbomber2 wrote:
As spectacular as that looks, not flight critical parts.

This better be satire..


It depends what meaning you give to critical. It's critical enough to not depart like that. However they were not a critical component for safety of flight.
The proof is it made no difference on the flight outcome.



That's a rather low standard to determine what is or is not a critical component for safety of flight. Are you saying that if a flight lands safely, it doesn't really matter what falls off??

By that definition, an A310* losing it's rudder in flight at 35,000ft and the flight landing safely means the rudder is not critical for flight, as it landed safely...

*Air Transat A310 C-GPAT TS961 VRA-YQB , March 2005
 
jpiddink
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Re: Swift Air loses part of vertical stabilizer in flight.

Wed May 27, 2020 6:21 am

In my industry, there is a fairly clear definition of ‘safety critical components’, SCC, actually derived from aviation (or so it was presented).

SCC components that in an otherwise normally functioning vehicle, could If they failed, reasonably result in a loss of hull and / or threatened the structural integrity of other objects outside the vehicle.

That is something completely different than the (justified) statement that one would not want to take off in this condition.

The fact that they landed uneventfully gives a hint that these parts may not have been SCC but that’s hardly conclusive.
 
F9Animal
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Re: Swift Air loses part of vertical stabilizer in flight.

Wed May 27, 2020 7:24 am

Did they determine when and where the parts came off? Have the parts been found? Since it's being classified as an accident, it will be interesting to see what the investigation report will be. Just thankful nothing bad happened! Proof these 737's are built like tanks.

What's even more crazy is that the crew didn't notice anything was off. You would think it would feel different to the crew?
I Am A Different Animal!!
 
Dalmd88
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Re: Swift Air loses part of vertical stabilizer in flight.

Wed May 27, 2020 1:29 pm

The fairing is not a critical part. I don't think the plane can be dispatched with out one through the CDL as you can with flap fairings.

Yes, it's a major mistake but not likely to result in hull loss. I believe that is the definition of critical part. I know in our GMM flight critical parts require Inspection buy off. I don't believe this fairing had a Inspection buy off for install in our program, it has been a few years since I put one on though.
 
YULobserver
Posts: 16
Joined: Fri Jan 17, 2020 2:20 pm

Re: Swift Air loses part of vertical stabilizer in flight.

Wed May 27, 2020 5:48 pm

tribird1011 wrote:
YULobserver wrote:
Etheereal wrote:
This better be satire..


It depends what meaning you give to critical. It's critical enough to not depart like that. However they were not a critical component for safety of flight.
The proof is it made no difference on the flight outcome.



That's a rather low standard to determine what is or is not a critical component for safety of flight. Are you saying that if a flight lands safely, it doesn't really matter what falls off??

By that definition, an A310* losing it's rudder in flight at 35,000ft and the flight landing safely means the rudder is not critical for flight, as it landed safely...

*Air Transat A310 C-GPAT TS961 VRA-YQB , March 2005



My comments was not from an airworthiness standards point of view, but commenting on waterbomber2 choice of words that seemed to surprise Etheereal.




The Transat incident, for example, showed that for the primary flight controls, the rudder is indeed the less critical, even though it is still a critical part. However, when you measure the possibilities of a catastrophic flight outcome, this Swift flight was probably way safer than TS961.


If you put together a list of catastrophic failures related to missing parts, fairings and access panels on the vert stab will not come as your highest hitters. And would nowhere be comparable to the Stab itself.

It is, however, spectacular, and from memory it is the fist time I see so many panels departing in flight at the same time.

Here's one official definition of critical component. And even though "landing safely" might seem like a lousy metric, you will notice that catastrophic and hazardous to flight are words that are actually used in the definitions.

https://www.easa.europa.eu/faq/19013
 
ILNFlyer
Posts: 540
Joined: Wed Jun 15, 2016 8:34 pm

Re: Swift Air loses part of vertical stabilizer in flight.

Wed May 27, 2020 8:18 pm

That's got to be a first.
 
asdf
Posts: 705
Joined: Tue Mar 18, 2014 12:03 am

Re: Swift Air loses part of vertical stabilizer in flight.

Wed May 27, 2020 10:06 pm

well, its not on the MEL list, is it?
so its kind puppy stuff and not important ...
;-)
 
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24Whiskey
Posts: 71
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Re: Swift Air loses part of vertical stabilizer in flight.

Wed May 27, 2020 11:08 pm

Given the apparent collateral damage on the LE of the horizontal stabilizer how is there any debate about criticality?

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