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ET 409 Crash And Why It Happend

Sun Apr 28, 2013 4:03 am

On 1/25/10, Ethiopian Airlines flight 409 (ET 409) crashed shortly after takeoff from Beirut, Lebanon to Abbas Abaatha, Ethopia. The result of that investigation still, as when it happened, is clouded by politics, claims of bombs, possible fatigue of the pilots and other issues. Even here, we saw posts at the time and shortly thereafter questioning what caused this flight's crash. What is the latest thinking of why this deadly crash happened ?
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RE: ET 409 Crash And Why It Happend

Sun Apr 28, 2013 8:20 am

Well, it would seem that the aircraft's crew became disorientated in a storm. They didn't follow ATC's instructions on departure. ATC were trying to steer them around heavy turbulence after the aircraft had departed Beirut and the crew were turning too late or at times in the wrong direction (at times towards the fast rising mountains East of Beirut) It wasn't a bomb that brought down that aircraft- no explosive materials were found anywhere on the wreckage and initial reports by eye witnesses of explosions were later put down to lightning.

The CVR also didn't pick up any evidence of inflight break up or explosion.

The reports from ATC clearly show that the crew didn't (or couldn't) follow heading directions and they were performing erratic altitude changes. It all boils down to pilot error and/or fatigue. Ethiopian clearly didn't want to accept the facts because it puts their training and crew in a bad light despite the overwhelming evidence of flight crew mismanagement and inexperience.

Two aircraft left just before ET's doomed flight, both completing the manoeuvre to avoid the storm and both arrived at their destination.

Lastly, conspiracy theories exist about every major event. Look at the conspiracies for 9/11 for instance.
In a politically charged country like Lebanon it wouldn't take long for these false allegations and rumours to start, especially if it's in one group's interest to stir trouble. Unfortunately, this tragedy could have easily been avoided by proper airmanship.

[Edited 2013-04-28 01:29:49]
- Alec
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RE: ET 409 Crash And Why It Happend

Sun Apr 28, 2013 8:35 am

The latest series of Mayday/ Air Crash Investigation has an excellent episode on this accident, and how it happened.
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RE: ET 409 Crash And Why It Happend

Sun Apr 28, 2013 9:09 am

Subtle incapacitation of the crew came out of the Air Crash Investigation episode. The Captain in particular seemed to have had a busy flight schedule which could have caused some fatigue & neither crew had a good nights sleep after apparently having enjoyed a heavy meal. Some of their responses were slow and not all checklists were completed.

Also the trim setting was somewhat off, not enough to cause serious problems but it would have added to the workload of the pilot flying. All in all it seemed like a crew who as a result of all of this had lost situational awareness.

Check out the Air Crash Investigation episode. Having seen less follow up on this particular crash myself i found it quite intresting to watch.
I believe in coincidences. Coincidences happen every day. But I don't trust coincidences.
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RE: ET 409 Crash And Why It Happend

Mon Apr 29, 2013 3:42 am

Quoting ltbewr (Thread starter):
Abbas Abaatha, Ethopia.

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RE: ET 409 Crash And Why It Happend

Mon Apr 29, 2013 3:41 pm

This is - in its sad dry administrationese - the ET409 accident report, including the Ethiopian government disagreement reasons.
ET409 final report
The chapters that are most relevant are 2.2 and 3: Conclusions ; they would lead to other parts if you're interested.
The reason why there wasn't any meaningful follow-up of this accident on is that prettuy mùuch identified the accident factors : Spatial disorientation and slack procedures. What we didn't know was about some contributing factors : Captain's fatigue / two rather new pilots on that flight deck / the mistrim situation which increased the Captain's workload... where we disagreed with the investigation was that the ATC change of clearance was probably the onset of the disorientation.

PS : I found the NG invesdtigation TV series. Simplistic and sensationalistic. Can't accuse them of bias, but this was a rather straitforward flight into terrain... dozens have been documented : Bahrain and Sotchi would immediately come into mind.
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RE: ET 409 Crash And Why It Happend

Mon Apr 29, 2013 4:04 pm

IMHO, the darkest day in ET's history. What is most frustrating is that ET's management and the Ethiopian government have not accepted the findings of the report and were trying to re-litigate the case in public with sensationalist probable causes.

Pinhero and others were spot on years ago with their own analysis which the final report concurred with. I hope ET has learnt from this tragic event and has/is working to address the recommendations of the report.

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