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crownvic
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MCO Passenger Fatality, Thrown From Tram

Fri May 08, 2015 7:50 pm

An early am passenger was killed approximately at 5:30 at MCO this morning.. He was thrown through the glass windshield of a tram car which connects the main terminal with the airside.. In this case it was airside A JetBlue, AA and a few others.. According to an airport spokesperson a Bombardier engineer was doing a test run at full speed and did an emergency stop half way down the track slamming on the brakes. There was not suppose to be any passengers on board as they do this test every morning, but in this case there was a sole passenger who managed to be onboard.. The passenger went flying over a sitting area behind the windshield smashing through it and falling 15 feet below to a grassy area..
Airport rescue was on the scene but could not revive...

This will be a big lawsuit with multiple defendants.. Sad very sad
 
KELPkid
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RE: MCO Passenger Fatality, Thrown From Tram

Fri May 08, 2015 7:54 pm

What on Earth???

Well, trains can be expected to make emergency stops every now and again...seems like a safety flaw was just exposed (the hard way   ).

Wonder if the pax was seated or standing?
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A332DTW
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RE: MCO Passenger Fatality, Thrown From Tram

Fri May 08, 2015 8:00 pm

I have taken those trams many times on my visits to Orlando. On one particular visit I had an early AM flight out. That morning only one tram was in service for the airside I was going to, and I remember that very well because I almost didn't make my flight. There was an attendant diverting passengers away from one of the stations. I guess there was no attendant this morning?

My condolences to that passenger's family. Horrific accident to say the least.
 
MVAair
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RE: MCO Passenger Fatality, Thrown From Tram

Fri May 08, 2015 8:34 pm

Not just a lawsuit but I bet the Orange County DA will review the case for possible criminal charges.
 
HeeseokKoo
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RE: MCO Passenger Fatality, Thrown From Tram

Fri May 08, 2015 8:40 pm

Quoting KELPkid (Reply 1):
Wonder if the pax was seated or standing?

Very very sad news. Since the tram was in full speed, probably much faster than normal operation, emergency stop would be likely dangerous.
 
ikramerica
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RE: MCO Passenger Fatality, Thrown From Tram

Fri May 08, 2015 8:45 pm

Quoting KELPkid (Reply 1):
What on Earth???

Well, trains can be expected to make emergency stops every now and again...seems like a safety flaw was just exposed (the hard way   ).

Wonder if the pax was seated or standing?

I think the key is that the test is at high speed and full braking. Not a normal operating condition but one used to test safety.
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threeifbyair
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RE: MCO Passenger Fatality, Thrown From Tram

Fri May 08, 2015 8:46 pm

This sounds like a serious design flaw.

An emergency stop that is so sudden that it throws passengers out of the tram is a pretty terrible safety feature. Unless this test was more extreme than the actual emergency stop procedure (in which case, why are you doing it?), something like this could have happened at any time.

The fact that the window didn't stop the passenger seems problematic as well - shouldn't the windows be able to withstand a human impact, considering it is humans that the tram is carrying? Lacking any sort of passenger restraints, it would be prudent for the tram to be designed to keep everyone inside it in event of a sudden stop or crash.
 
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par13del
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RE: MCO Passenger Fatality, Thrown From Tram

Fri May 08, 2015 8:54 pm

Quoting KELPkid (Reply 1):
Well, trains can be expected to make emergency stops every now and again...seems like a safety flaw was just exposed (the hard way   ).
Quoting ikramerica (Reply 5):
I think the key is that the test is at high speed and full braking. Not a normal operating condition but one used to test safety.

Agreed, my question would be what is the max speed of the train and why would it need to be designed to exceed normal operating speeds (with pax onboard), I'm thinking its max speed should be normal operating conditions say 30-40mph
 
AIRWALK
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RE: MCO Passenger Fatality, Thrown From Tram

Fri May 08, 2015 8:55 pm

Quoting threeifbyair (Reply 6):
An emergency stop that is so sudden that it throws passengers out of the tram is a pretty terrible safety feature.

Yeah, but an emergency stop is exactly that. To stop the tram as soon and quickly as possible. If something were to happen to necessitate it, undoubtedly there would be injuries, but it is unavoidable and probably necessary to prevent something worse from happening. If an immediate stop wasn't absolutely necessary, normal braking would be used every time.

Also there might be a difference between a packed tram or at least with other people inside as opposed to just one, less space to move
I'm sure this thread will take off soon
 
flyingcat
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RE: MCO Passenger Fatality, Thrown From Tram

Fri May 08, 2015 8:57 pm

So they conduct a test without checking to see if the car is clear? Yikes someone must already be on the streets as we speak.
 
Bongodog1964
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RE: MCO Passenger Fatality, Thrown From Tram

Fri May 08, 2015 9:06 pm

Quoting par13del (Reply 7):
I'm thinking its max speed should be normal operating conditions say 30-40mph

From recollection they don't appear to move anywhere near that fast.
 
crownvic
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RE: MCO Passenger Fatality, Thrown From Tram

Fri May 08, 2015 9:18 pm

Update: it appears the passenger killed was not an airline passenger heading to the gate but a friend of bombardier employee doing the test run. He let two friends aboard and one sat up front during test..

http://www.orlandosentinel.com/news/...-international-20150508-story.html
 
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lightsaber
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RE: MCO Passenger Fatality, Thrown From Tram

Fri May 08, 2015 9:29 pm

Quoting KELPkid (Reply 1):

I agree with the design flaw.

Quoting crownvic (Reply 11):

What?!? One justified firing coming up.

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vfw614
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RE: MCO Passenger Fatality, Thrown From Tram

Fri May 08, 2015 9:44 pm

Quoting crownvic (Reply 11):

The article says the killed person was actually driving the train manually and caused it to break hard....
 
SPREE34
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RE: MCO Passenger Fatality, Thrown From Tram

Fri May 08, 2015 9:52 pm

Quoting vfw614 (Reply 13):
The article says the killed person was actually driving the train manually and caused it to break hard....

The 13th poster finally brings facts to light. That's probably an a.net record fast time. Nicely done vfw.

http://www.orlandosentinel.com/news/...-international-20150508-story.html
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roseflyer
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RE: MCO Passenger Fatality, Thrown From Tram

Fri May 08, 2015 9:58 pm

From that article

[[Instead, the two-person crew allowed two friends to climb on board and allowed one of them to take control, Brown said. He was operating it manually but pulled his hand away, a decision that proved fatal, Brown said.

"When you take your hand off of it, it's got a kill switch," Brown said. "He took his hand off. That's when it stopped and he was propelled out of the vehicle."


This sounds bad for the person who let his inexperienced friend operate the train if true.
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karadion
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RE: MCO Passenger Fatality, Thrown From Tram

Fri May 08, 2015 10:02 pm

Basically the tram has a maximum speed of 27 MPH which the "driver" or unauthorized party took his hand off the handle which is a kill switch. The sudden stop ejected him through the windshield.
 
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CALTECH
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RE: MCO Passenger Fatality, Thrown From Tram

Fri May 08, 2015 10:20 pm

Hearing about the fatal incident, the passenger who died, was friends with one of the Bombardier maintenance workers. That particular Tram was undergoing safety checks (?) when the passenger showed up and his friend allowed him on the Tram. Supposedly the Tram was being driven under manual control when the Emergency Stop was activated. The Trams do travel at a pretty good clip. The Passenger went through the front windshield, made of plexiglass, fell onto the rail, then fell another 15 feet to the ground. Very tragic event.
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Aesma
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RE: MCO Passenger Fatality, Thrown From Tram

Fri May 08, 2015 10:34 pm

Seems to me it's still a design flaw if just removing your hand has this result.
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bennett123
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RE: MCO Passenger Fatality, Thrown From Tram

Fri May 08, 2015 10:50 pm

IMO, 27 MPH is not that fast.

Would the driver be strapped in.
 
karadion
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RE: MCO Passenger Fatality, Thrown From Tram

Fri May 08, 2015 11:04 pm

Quoting bennett123 (Reply 19):
IMO, 27 MPH is not that fast.

It may not be that fast but even 1 MPH can kill you. Gravity is a b....
 
rcair1
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RE: MCO Passenger Fatality, Thrown From Tram

Fri May 08, 2015 11:06 pm

Quoting KELPkid (Reply 1):
Well, trains can be expected to make emergency stops every now and again...seems like a safety flaw was just

  

Quoting MVAair (Reply 3):
Not just a lawsuit but I bet the Orange County DA will review the case for possible criminal charges.

They may review - but the bar for making this criminal would be pretty high.

Quoting HeeseokKoo (Reply 4):
emergency stop would be likely dangerous.
Quoting ikramerica (Reply 5):
I think the key is that the test is at high speed and full braking. Not a normal operating condition but one used to test safety.
Quoting AIRWALK (Reply 8):
Yeah, but an emergency stop is exactly that. To stop the tram as soon and quickly as possible. If something were to happen to necessitate it, undoubtedly there would be injuries, but it is unavoidable and probably necessary to prevent something worse from happening. If an immediate stop wasn't absolutely necessary, normal braking would be used every time.

NO! I must disagree. Yes - an emergency stop should be conducted to prevent worse - perhaps a crash - but if successful the emergency stop should not, itself, cause harm - or certainly not deadly harm like ejecting a passenger.

So - if we do an emergency stop with 10 people in the tram and 5 are ejected and die - are we okay with that?

Haven't you ever done an emergency stop in your car to avoid a hazard - and been successful in avoiding that hazard?
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CALTECH
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RE: MCO Passenger Fatality, Thrown From Tram

Fri May 08, 2015 11:29 pm

Quoting Aesma (Reply 18):
Seems to me it's still a design flaw if just removing your hand has this result.

It was in manual mode for maintenance checks. The Trams are automated in normal service.

Quoting bennett123 (Reply 19):
IMO, 27 MPH is not that fast.

Would the driver be strapped in.

No drivers. They are automated in normal service. 27 MPH is very fast when the vehicle you are standing in stops and you have no safety devices strapping you in. He hit the windshield hard, it would be like Usain Bolt running full speed into a wall.

Rumored that the deceased was a big guy, 300 LBS plus.
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MVAair
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RE: MCO Passenger Fatality, Thrown From Tram

Fri May 08, 2015 11:34 pm

Quoting rcair1 (Reply 21):

If the person killed was the driver, then the bar is too high.
 
N1120A
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RE: MCO Passenger Fatality, Thrown From Tram

Fri May 08, 2015 11:35 pm

How sad. I usually love sitting in the front of these types of trams. I'm going to think twice now.

Quoting MVAair (Reply 3):
Not just a lawsuit but I bet the Orange County DA will review the case for possible criminal charges.

Almost certainly not.

Quoting crownvic (Thread starter):
This will be a big lawsuit with multiple defendants..

Which makes lots of sense and would be the same anywhere on earth.
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frostyj
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RE: MCO Passenger Fatality, Thrown From Tram

Fri May 08, 2015 11:52 pm

Oh my thats a disgrace! Terrible.
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ikramerica
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RE: MCO Passenger Fatality, Thrown From Tram

Sat May 09, 2015 12:59 am

Criminally negligent manslaughter? Safety regulations are there for a reason. If you are charged with maintaining the standard and you willfully violate it and as a direct result someone dies, you are culpable. The bar may be high, but allowing an untrained, unauthorized person to operate a train has a foreseeable risk of incident.

Trains have had a "dead man's brake" for centuries. The name of the safety mechanism is a tragic irony in this case, but it is not a design flaw. It's a known known. And the friend should have never let this man touch the controls.
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BravoOne
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RE: MCO Passenger Fatality, Thrown From Tram

Sat May 09, 2015 1:05 am

Lets see how many people here have jumped to conclusions..already?
 
crownvic
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RE: MCO Passenger Fatality, Thrown From Tram

Sat May 09, 2015 1:36 am

It will be interesting to see how the defense plays out the physics of what happens to a 300 pd person when one jams the brakes on and the energy created by that person...
 
monorail
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RE: MCO Passenger Fatality, Thrown From Tram

Sat May 09, 2015 2:13 am

Quoting N1120A (Reply 24):
I usually love sitting in the front of these types of trams.

As do I. I wonder if there will be any changes to the MCO trains now. I'll wait for the next train if that front end of the first car fills up before I board.
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solarflyer22
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RE: MCO Passenger Fatality, Thrown From Tram

Sat May 09, 2015 2:33 am

They test this every morning? I am shocked that it can stop so fast that it can throw someone through the glass like that. Very sad.
 
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northwestEWR
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RE: MCO Passenger Fatality, Thrown From Tram

Sat May 09, 2015 2:47 am

Quoting crownvic (Reply 28):
It will be interesting to see how the defense plays out the physics of what happens to a 300 pd person when one jams the brakes on and the energy created by that person...

It's going to be pretty horrifying--somewhere around 2,200 lbs of force.

Certainly a sad incident but it sounds like there were some serious safety violations.
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crownvic
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RE: MCO Passenger Fatality, Thrown From Tram

Sat May 09, 2015 3:09 am

According to local news here in Orlando, the Bombardier employee had 3 friends on board and allowed one of the friends to drive the tram manually and it was only going 5mph when the friend let go of a manual control which automatically applies emergency brakes..They went on to say that even at that slow speed it was enough force to send him tumbling forward and through the glass..This incident occurred inside a secured TSA area in between the main terminal and the airside, one can only hope these were authorized airport employees or the shi* is really gonna hit the fan!
 
RDUDDJI
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RE: MCO Passenger Fatality, Thrown From Tram

Sat May 09, 2015 3:27 am

Wow. That Sentinel story is disturbing. Brings up more questions than answers.

How did randoms end up on an airport tram?
How did they get into the sterile area? (Been years since my last MCO trip, but I thought the trams were on the sterile side)
How did s/he become the *driver* of said tram?
Why does a "dead man" switch immediately go into e-braking? A normal braking would make more sense (especially on a system that is normally automated). Or an alarm to attempt to rouse the "dead man" before applying e-brake.
How does someone get propelled thru the glass??
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ikramerica
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RE: MCO Passenger Fatality, Thrown From Tram

Sat May 09, 2015 4:06 am

Assuming the speed claim is accurate, Bombardier is likely in deep financial doodoo. Employee responsible and a design where you can fly out the front window at 5mph?
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FlyHossD
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RE: MCO Passenger Fatality, Thrown From Tram

Sat May 09, 2015 4:12 am

How tragic.

My thoughts and prayers are with his family and friends.
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Clipper136
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RE: MCO Passenger Fatality, Thrown From Tram

Sat May 09, 2015 12:16 pm

Ok. Just to clear up a few misconceptions about this very tragic incident.

The Tram (Above Ground Trams or AGT) at MCO can be operated in two modes: Automatic or Manual.

In manual mode the AGT is "driven" by a "Dead Man Switch" that powers the tram when engaged and does not power the tram when not engaged. It does not apply emergency brakes. It stops powering the electric motor immediately on release. A tram that is lightly loaded will stop in a very short distance.

The AGT's at MCO are tested in Manual mode whenever the AGT undergoes Preventative Maintenance and is being returned to service as was the case before this accident.

The person tragically injured in this accident was a passenger flying out on a morning flight, so he had passed through the TSA checkpoint like any other passenger. His "friend", the authorized AGT maintenance worker, allowed him on the AGT during the maintenance check run, and allowed him to manipulate the AGT manual driver switch. The switch is located at the very front of the AGT car, behind a secure panel.
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CALTECH
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RE: MCO Passenger Fatality, Thrown From Tram

Sat May 09, 2015 5:18 pm

Quoting ikramerica (Reply 34):
Employee responsible and a design where you can fly out the front window at 5mph?

The speed was more then 5 mph, it was running at top speed when the incident occured. It was just past halfway across when the incident happened.

Quoting FlyHossD (Reply 35):
My thoughts and prayers are with his family and friends.

May he RIP. Sad. Scuttlebutt is that onboard there were 2 Bombardier employees and two passengers that knew one of the Bombardier employees.

Quoting Clipper136 (Reply 36):
The Tram (Above Ground Trams or AGT) at MCO can be operated in two modes: Automatic or Manual.

Correct.

Quoting Clipper136 (Reply 36):
In manual mode the AGT is "driven" by a "Dead Man Switch" that powers the tram when engaged and does not power the tram when not engaged. It does not apply emergency brakes. It stops powering the electric motor immediately on release. A tram that is lightly loaded will stop in a very short distance.

Oh it applies brakes, whether it is through the motors with dynamic braking or brake shoes not completely sure, but it does apply braking. The dead man switch applies maximum braking when let go. Not the typical braking of normal automatic use, which can catch one off guard and does.
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lpdal
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RE: MCO Passenger Fatality, Thrown From Tram

Sat May 09, 2015 5:22 pm

Quoting CALTECH (Reply 17):
Hearing about the fatal incident, the passenger who died, was friends with one of the Bombardier maintenance workers. That particular Tram was undergoing safety checks (?) when the passenger showed up and his friend allowed him on the Tram. Supposedly the Tram was being driven under manual control when the Emergency Stop was activated. The Trams do travel at a pretty good clip. The Passenger went through the front windshield, made of plexiglass, fell onto the rail, then fell another 15 feet to the ground. Very tragic event.
Quoting RDUDDJI (Reply 33):
How did s/he become the *driver* of said tram?

Yes, CALTECH, please answer this: where is the manuel control panel within the Bombardier Innovia APM-100 (tram model that MCO uses). On this panel, is the throttle control lever the one he was holding onto? Must be a very simplistic control panel, just a throttle lever and a brake button probably?

-LPDAL
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phlwok
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RE: MCO Passenger Fatality, Thrown From Tram

Sat May 09, 2015 5:43 pm

Quoting Aesma (Reply 18):
Seems to me it's still a design flaw if just removing your hand has this result.

Most trains, as well as other heavy machinery, have a "dead man's pedal" (or "switch") to stop use when the operator is not actively working with the controls. The objective is to reduce the chance that an operator who has become incapacitated continues to operate the vehicle(s) at speed, potentially ramming other trains, taking curves too fast and risking a derailment, ramming a barrier at the end of a track (applicable to airport trains in places like ATL, MCO, PIT, TPA and others when operated manually) etc. Triggering the switch generally puts the train into emergency braking, which may be a regulatory requirement in most cases. See https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dead_man%27s_switch for some more.

The question here I think really is more about how the deceased was in a position to go through the glass and fall than whether the existence of a dead man's switch putting the train into emergency braking should be present on this train.
 
crownvic
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RE: MCO Passenger Fatality, Thrown From Tram

Sat May 09, 2015 6:27 pm

Ok the plot thickens and changes...the latest news now is the victim was a paying passenger along with another paying passenger who both went through proper TSA screening. The tram was at the station and the bombardier driver along with a second technician invited the two innocent passengers aboard for the ride to Airside 1. One of the airline passengers was invited to sit at the controls and half way into the short run he let go of the controls and because the tram was in manual mode it cut all power off and the rest is history.

[Edited 2015-05-09 11:34:54]
 
lpdal
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RE: MCO Passenger Fatality, Thrown From Tram

Sat May 09, 2015 6:34 pm

I have to say, I've heard of kill switches, but I've never heard of one that would be engaged by removing your hand from a control. On the ones I've seen, it's a wrist-worn wire with a metal rod at the end that you insert into the control panel to start the vehicle. If the metal rod disconnects out of the socket, IE by the driver being thrown off the vehicle, the vehicle's engine shuts down and maximum braking is applied.

I'm still waiting for someone to tell me where the manual control panel in an APM-100 is.

-LPDAL
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Cubsrule
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RE: MCO Passenger Fatality, Thrown From Tram

Sat May 09, 2015 6:41 pm

Quoting ikramerica (Reply 34):
Assuming the speed claim is accurate, Bombardier is likely in deep financial doodoo.

I expect not. Unless the tram qualifies as an escalator or elevator--and I think it does not, although I admittedly have not examined the question in depth--it is likely old enough that Florida's statutes of repose would bar a lawsuit against Bombardier for alleged defects in it.
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readytotaxi
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RE: MCO Passenger Fatality, Thrown From Tram

Sat May 09, 2015 6:48 pm

Does anyone have a picture of this control panel in the tram?
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AIRWALK
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RE: MCO Passenger Fatality, Thrown From Tram

Sat May 09, 2015 6:59 pm

Quoting rcair1 (Reply 21):
Haven't you ever done an emergency stop in your car to avoid a hazard - and been successful in avoiding that hazard?

Yeah but the difference in a car is that you're strapped in, without a seatbelt and unprepared the outcome wouldn't be as positive. In a tram where seatbelts aren't feasible, an emergency stop would most likely result in injuries.

Also, an emergency stop is really a worst case scenario, of course it would be better if injuries were avoided but it sort of is the lesser of two evils if not doing it would result in something much worse.

Quoting LPDAL (Reply 41):
I'm still waiting for someone to tell me where the manual control panel in an APM-100 is.

People don't work for you
I'm sure this thread will take off soon
 
cloudboy
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RE: MCO Passenger Fatality, Thrown From Tram

Sat May 09, 2015 8:10 pm

Isn't there already a lot of criticism about the MCO people mover? Typical mover, but in this case it operates elevated outside, and there are no side rails to the track,

Quoting LPDAL (Reply 41):
I have to say, I've heard of kill switches, but I've never heard of one that would be engaged by removing your hand from a control. On the ones I've seen, it's a wrist-worn wire with a metal rod at the end that you insert into the control panel to start the vehicle. If the metal rod disconnects out of the socket, IE by the driver being thrown off the vehicle, the vehicle's engine shuts down and maximum braking is applied.

I'm still waiting for someone to tell me where the manual control panel in an APM-100 is.

-LPDAL

I believe that it is in that little keyed panel in the post at the end of the tram. I am not %100 certain, however. There are a couple of switches in there, anyways. There is also a small panel by the door, but that simply has a ripcord that you pull to open the door when they wont automatically. I know this because I have been stuck on the bloody thing before!

I have to say, if this is in fact what happened (I am waiting for the investigation) then there are some serious problems. An emergency stop is there in case there is an emergency. If something happens on a crowded tram and it comes to an emergency stop, then that is going to be much, much more force going through the window. First, that window should be able to withstand that kind of force. I know it is a lot, but those things make quick stops all the time. Think about a car. Are people always ejected when they have a crash at 30 miles an hour? Second, even if they were ejected, they should have at least been contained on the track.

So what does this mean for airport trams? Are all of them suddenly going to have blocked windows? Do they have to put seats in all of them now? Do they eliminate elevated trams?
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lpdal
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RE: MCO Passenger Fatality, Thrown From Tram

Sat May 09, 2015 10:03 pm

I forgot to mention, I didn't know the windows on APM-100s are glass and not plastic. Wouldn't plastic be cheaper and more durable? In the most general sense, plastic does not shatter like glass does. Having a big glass window on the front of the train where the crumple zone is, if there is one, sounds like a recipe for shrapnel disaster.

Quoting cloudboy (Reply 45):
I believe that it is in that little keyed panel in the post at the end of the tram. I am not %100 certain, however. There are a couple of switches in there, anyways.

Now I remember. However this seems a bit a dangerous, as to manually drive the APM-100 you would have to stand up as the benches on either end are blocked off by the gigantic windshield, so yes, it is quiet dangerous.

-LPDAL
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scbriml
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RE: MCO Passenger Fatality, Thrown From Tram

Sat May 09, 2015 10:42 pm

Quoting LPDAL (Reply 41):
I have to say, I've heard of kill switches, but I've never heard of one that would be engaged by removing your hand from a control.

They're very common on UK trains and called a "dead man's handle". The driver has to hold the spring-loaded handle in the active position for the train to move. As soon as the handle is released, the train will slow to a stop. However, it's certainly not an emergency stop.
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HPRamper
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RE: MCO Passenger Fatality, Thrown From Tram

Sat May 09, 2015 10:57 pm

Quoting rcair1 (Reply 21):
NO! I must disagree. Yes - an emergency stop should be conducted to prevent worse - perhaps a crash - but if successful the emergency stop should not, itself, cause harm - or certainly not deadly harm like ejecting a passenger.

So - if we do an emergency stop with 10 people in the tram and 5 are ejected and die - are we okay with that?

I don't think it would be dangerous in this way to people riding in the actual passenger section of the device which here, wasn't the case. It's common for there to be injuries in emergency stop situations however - up to and including broken bones and concussions.

Quoting monorail (Reply 29):
As do I. I wonder if there will be any changes to the MCO trains now. I'll wait for the next train if that front end of the first car fills up before I board.

There would be close to zero difference in effect between cars in an emergency stop situation.

Quoting ikramerica (Reply 34):
Assuming the speed claim is accurate, Bombardier is likely in deep financial doodoo. Employee responsible and a design where you can fly out the front window at 5mph?

These people clearly bypassed procedures which likely negates much of BBDs liability. It's almost a certainty that operator procedure involves being buckled in and having no passengers up front. A judgement against the employee in question seems much more likely at this point. I smell negligent manslaughter.

Quoting LPDAL (Reply 41):
I have to say, I've heard of kill switches, but I've never heard of one that would be engaged by removing your hand from a control. On the ones I've seen, it's a wrist-worn wire with a metal rod at the end that you insert into the control panel to start the vehicle. If the metal rod disconnects out of the socket, IE by the driver being thrown off the vehicle, the vehicle's engine shuts down and maximum braking is applied.

On a small vehicle yes. On a train it's normally a hand or foot switch.
 
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XAM2175
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RE: MCO Passenger Fatality, Thrown From Tram

Sat May 09, 2015 11:45 pm

Quoting LPDAL (Reply 41):
I have to say, I've heard of kill switches, but I've never heard of one that would be engaged by removing your hand from a control. On the ones I've seen, it's a wrist-worn wire with a metal rod at the end that you insert into the control panel to start the vehicle. If the metal rod disconnects out of the socket, IE by the driver being thrown off the vehicle, the vehicle's engine shuts down and maximum braking is applied.

You're looking at two slightly different purposes there. Kill switches like the ones you describe are intended mainly for smaller vehicles or equipment where the operator is intended to be onboard, but where there exists a risk of the operator becoming dismounted. Obviously you're more likely to see a kill switch like this on vehicles that have locking throttles or power take-off equipment, since in an ordinary car leaving the controls will result in the cessation of throttle inputs (but no brake application). Alternatives to the control rod include in-seat pressure switches, which give more freedom in where you can use your hands.

In railway applications this falls into a greater field known nowadays as Vigilance Control, which also seeks to guard against the driver becoming distracted or incapacitated while still physically present in the control position. In many older systems this was done with the traditional "dead man's pedal", but over time that has been found to be problematic - a recent example being the Waterfall Disaster in 2003 (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Waterfall_rail_accident), where a train driver had a heart attack while driving and it was found that his dead weight was sufficient to keep the pedal depressed and traction power applied.

More modern systems will often use, depending on the exact application, a continuous positive application system like apparently used on the MCO AGTs, or an alerter system that requires the driver to make a certain number of vigilance actions (change of throttle setting, use of horn, etc etc) in a given time span to avoid a VC alarm and preventative brake application.

Since the AGTs are designed for automatic operation the use of a full VC system is unnecessary, so the use of the continuous control application system - in a way which can't be easy interfered with, such as by wedging the control in place - is suitable and similar systems are in use on much larger tramways worldwide.

Quoting LPDAL (Reply 46):
I forgot to mention, I didn't know the windows on APM-100s are glass and not plastic. Wouldn't plastic be cheaper and more durable? In the most general sense, plastic does not shatter like glass does. Having a big glass window on the front of the train where the crumple zone is, if there is one, sounds like a recipe for shrapnel disaster.
Quoting CALTECH (Reply 17):
The Passenger went through the front windshield, made of plexiglass

Plexiglass is a corruption of PLEXIGLAS, a trade name for a transparent acrylic sheeting also sold as Perspex  

In any case had actual glass been used it would be automotive glass, tempered and laminated, which when shattered would break into small cubes with few sharp edges that would be held together by the laminate.

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