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Why Did Capt Van Zanten Kill 583 With His KLM 747?

Sun May 27, 2001 11:48 pm

Some 24 years after the horrific event of March 27, 1977, at Tenerife in the Canary Islands, does anyone have a clue as to WHY Captain van Zanten of KLM Royal Dutch Airlines started his takeoff roll before getting the proper ATC clearance?

From what I've read, Capt. van Zanten KNEW HIMSELF the official "cleared for takeoff" transmission had not been issued by the tower! His F/O certainly knew something was amiss with the somewhat garbled radio calls that day, and, in fact, tried to alert van Zanten that "possibly" the clearance had not, in fact, been issued.

But, what with many delays already experienced that day by the KLM 747 crew, the Captain decided it was time to go.

Disaster was a mere 40 seconds away.....in the form of another Boeing 747, PanAm's "Clipper Victor", which was taxiing on the runway itself and had not yet cleared the runway.

Isn't it amazing how just a second or two can make such a difference. If van Zanten had only waited another few precious seconds to start his takeoff run, then 583 people would not have suffered their awful fate!

Anyone else have any insight into this crash.......which is still to this day THE worst loss-of-life accident in aviation history.

Any comments of the event would be appreciated.

Thank You.
 
Silverstreak
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RE: Why Did Capt Van Zanten Kill 583 With His KLM 747?

Sun May 27, 2001 11:54 pm

This is the first time I've heard this angle about the tragedy. I've always thought the problem was with the airports' control tower,outdated runways, and the weather. Wow this would be horrible if this is true.
 
Silverstreak
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RE: Why Did Capt Van Zanten Kill 583 With His KLM 747?

Mon May 28, 2001 12:07 am

This is the first time I've heard this angle about the tragedy. I've always thought the problem was with the airports' control tower,outdated runways, and the weather. Wow this would be horrible if this is true.
 
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RE: Why Did Capt Van Zanten Kill 583 With His KLM 747?

Mon May 28, 2001 12:14 am

Well......I get most of the info regarding this awful event from Macarthur Job's sensational series of books "Air Disaster". Each chapter is riveting!

According to the CVR tapes, there was indeed some radio communication mix-ups that day between not only KLM & the tower, but also between PanAM & the tower! PanAm got lost in the thick fog and couldn't find the correct taxiway.

KLM was 6 seconds into its takeoff roll when they radioed this rather odd transmission....."We are now at takeoff". He didn't say: "Roger tower, cleared for takeoff", or something similar that would normally be said when "confirming" an ATC "cleared for T/O" instruction.

The tower, after this call from KLM, then says....."OK...standby for takeoff....I will call you."

PanAm is now alarmed upon hearing KLM's last radio call. "We are still taxiing down the runway," shouts PanAm!!

Apparently, both PanAm & KLM were radioing at the same time.....and thus KLM only heard the "OK" of the previous call. They evidently did NOT hear "standby for takeoff...".

But this still doesn't answer the question of why KLM began to roll AFTER then hearing PanAm's cry .... "We're still on the runway!"

This should have stopped KLM in its tracks!!

There's no evidence of anyone "stepping on" PanAm's "We're on the runway" transmission. So, why did KLM roll?

The Air Disaster book hints that van Zanten "was concerned that he and his crew were running out of time as far as their permitted period of duty was concerned". And therefore he was in too big a hurry to get to his destination that day.

Scary stuff.

The chapters in the Job books give you chills when you read them!!
 
VirginA340
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RE: Why Did Capt Van Zanten Kill 583 With His KLM 747?

Mon May 28, 2001 12:18 am

The Captain did take off without proper clearance. The Tower was partially to blame because there was only three ATC members on duty and only one spoke english. The mrkings and the fog also played a role. The PAN AM captain missed a taxiway to get of of due to poor markings and thick fog. He was supposed to get of at the 3rd taxiway but missed it and went for # 4. I hope I got this right. The KLM captain was too impatient and wanted to take off because their time was almost up because then they'd have to stay at Los Rodeos for antoher crew to arrive. The PA crew kept telling ATC that they were not clear but the KLM pilot misunderstood and took off. When the KLM plane hit the PA 747 all 4 engines ripped off hit the runway twice and then exploded. Not one was seen exitting the KLM 747. The PA 747 caught fire later on The crew of the PA plane escaped as well as 1st class but a little less than half of Y class pax escaped the flames. all others were trapped or crushed on the right side of Y. The tail section to the PA 747 was ripped off on impact. Hope this helps.
 
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RE: Why Did Capt Van Zanten Kill 583 With His KLM 747?

Mon May 28, 2001 12:29 am

Hi Virgin.............

Yes, I believe you have it correct. (Did you just happen to remember all that; I've got the book in front of me??)

Yes....PanAm was confused between #3 and #4 taxiway. They're heard to say...."Is this one #3?" and "He did say #3, right......well maybe he considers THIS #3" (which was incorrect).

So, some may place the blame on Pan Am for missing the assigned turnoff. But consider the awfully thick fog that day at Tenerife. It was "pea-soup" time! The tower could not see either of the planes whatever! And this of course only made matters worse.

But, I still cannot understand V. Zanten pushing on those throttles after hearing...."We're on the runway!".

And I know for sure that the flight engineer was a bit nervous about the impending takeoff. He is heard saying with doubt .... "Did that Pan Am clear the runway?" So, obviously, there WAS some doubt in the KLM cockpit.

A MAN IN A HURRY NEVER GETS WHERE HE'S GOING! Van Zanten certainly didn't.
 
blink182
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RE: Why Did Capt Van Zanten Kill 583 With His KLM 747?

Mon May 28, 2001 12:32 am

Whether what I am about to say is irrevelent or relevent, I don't know.
But anyway Airways Magazine interviewed a PanAm FA a few months ago and she was in the Tenerif crash. Also, she normally was willing to sub for FA's if they needed her to, but she had an obligation to spend christmas with her family back in the states(she was based in London) and she declined to work on another flight. That flight that she declined to work on was Pan Am 103 which crashed over Lockerbie Scotland.
If you are curious, she is currently an FA for United Airlines.
rgds,
blink182
 
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RE: Why Did Capt Van Zanten Kill 583 With His KLM 747?

Mon May 28, 2001 12:36 am

I've researched Tenerife extensively and my personal take on the accident is that it was a result of miscommunication on the part of BOTH crews. However, Grubbs and Bragg survived while Van Zanten and Meurs did not - which definitely helps to divert the blame toward the Dutch crew.

CRM was a major issue here with Van Zanten's seniority and position. Neither Meurs nor Schreuder wanted to call him on his decisions, especially when he seemed so sure that everything was fine. By the time Schreuder actually questioned him, Meurs had committed firmly to Van Zanten's camp and the disaster was inevitable.

On the Pan Am side however, Grubbs should have informed the Tower as soon as he became disoriented with the airport layout in the fog, rather than just request clarification of instructions. If you compare this incident with the NWA runway incursion at Detroit, I find it strange how a similar situation was turned around to blame the NWA crew who didn't report position while the Pan Am crew did a very similar thing. Undoubtedly, the availability of an easy (and definitely not blameless) scapegoat in the KLM crew played a role in that.

No aircraft accident is ever the result of a single problem. Our engineers, pilots and crew are trained well enough to avoid a *simple* situation like that. When a whole range of problems all converge on a single point, thats when things begin to go wrong and fatalities happen.

Alas, that seemed to be the case at Tenerife.
 
Guest

RE: What Happened

Mon May 28, 2001 1:52 am

I heard that the KLM Captain saw the Pan Am 747 a few seconds before he hit it, so he pulled the KLM 747 up as hard as it could go, and they almost made it. But the landing gear and engines struck the fuselage of the PA 747, killing about 200 instantly, then the KLM 747 crashed back down killing all on board.


Is this correct? I think i saw it on a crash show or something.
 
Guest

RE: Why Did Capt Van Zanten Kill 583 With His KLM 747?

Mon May 28, 2001 1:53 am

Just a couple things, I know when Air France are talking to French controllers they read back things like 'We are landing runway 24' insetad of the normal cleared to land, I am not sure exactly why they do this, however I think in France it is paramount to show respect to the controller!
Another thing I remember the controller on one of the Pan Am calls called him Papa Alpha. This could be quite confusing in those conditions!
Iain
 
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RE: Why Did Capt Van Zanten Kill 583 With His KLM 747?

Mon May 28, 2001 2:01 am

Boeing747-400

You are correct. Van Zanten was the pilot flying the take off and he saw the Pan Am aircraft on the runway about 6 seconds before impact. However his speed was well below optimum Vr at the time and his rotation was intended more to *jump* the other aircraft rather than to actually fly.

He almost succeeded however. The actual impact was made by the undercarriage of the KLM aircraft with the UPPER fuselage section of the Pan Am aircraft, which means that rotation even a single second earlier might have avoided a collision.

Another interesting (though irrelevant) question to be asked is whether the KLM aircraft would have been capable of flying at that speed, or would she have stalled and crashed anyway? There is the absence of any stall warning on the CVR, but then again with the cacophony of sound following the impact, it's pretty easy to see how it may have been overlooked.
 
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RE: B747-437B

Mon May 28, 2001 2:08 am

Thnaks for the info!

What I don't understand is how all people got killed on the KLM 747. How? The plane couldn't have gone that high, and it just came down and hit the runway again after hitting the PA 747 with the undercarriage, so how was the crash of the KLM 747 so bad?
 
Flaps
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RE: Why Did Capt Van Zanten Kill 583 With His KLM 747?

Mon May 28, 2001 2:17 am

As stated above, few accidents are the result of a single factor. The crews of both aircraft were tired and well behind schedule. The tower controllers had also had a difficult day. They were handling more than triple their normal volume of traffic as a bomb explosion at Las Palmas had diverted all traffic to Los Rodeos. Add to the mix heavy ramp/taxiway congestion caused by the diversions, the rapidly deteriorating weather and three different native languages and the recipe for disaster was set.
Everyone involved made some type of error, each of which formed a link in the chain. It could also be said that had a gift shop in the Las Palmas airport not been blown up by Algerian terrorists that day, none of this would have happened. But that I guess is another story.
 
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RE: Why Did Capt Van Zanten Kill 583 With His KLM 747?

Mon May 28, 2001 2:21 am

The KLM aircraft lost the #4 engine in the impact causing a fuel leak that ignited. The aircraft was consumed in flames and most passengers died from smoke inhalation and the fire, rather than from the actual impact with the runway.
 
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RE: Why Did Capt Van Zanten Kill 583 With His KLM 747?

Mon May 28, 2001 2:28 am

Again, thanks for the info!

 Big thumbs up
 
philb
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RE: Why Did Capt Van Zanten Kill 583 With His KLM 747?

Mon May 28, 2001 3:14 am

Van Zanten was KLM's senior training Captain and should have known that, if there was doubt, wait it out. He was featured widely in KLM ads prior to the crash and the whole event became a total disaster for the airline.

Los Rodeos was hopelessly at sea due to fog, diverted traffic and the blocking of taxiways with parked aircraft.

The key question regarding the radio calls is not just what was heard by the three parties (KL, PA and the tower) but what was understood.

I have always doubted that a man as experienced as van Zanten would have deliberately imperilled his aircraft to save time - that's normally the preserve of the inexperienced or those under financial pressures from management. Neither applied to van Zanten.

I think in the confusion of radio calls, handling the aircraft as pilot in charge and confirming he was properly lined up in the fog, he believed he had heard the clearance to go and, by the time the crew were expressing doubt, the engines were spooled up and he was rolling too fast to stop.

Pulling back was the only option and to the question of could KLM have survived, having missed Pan Am, the evidence shows this to be extremely unlikely as a positive rate of climb at the speed and angle of attack was unattainable.

In the event, Pan Am had the effect of "tripping up" the KLM aircraft, suffering massive damage from the KLM undercarriage assemblies whose weight was multiplied by a factor of the speed they were travelling at, making them extremely destructive weapons.
 
GOT
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RE: Why Did Capt Van Zanten Kill 583 With His KLM 747?

Mon May 28, 2001 3:21 am

The reason that I've heard, but I'm not sure if it's true, is that the captain was in a hurry to get home and of duty. Therefore he didn't want to wait.

GOT
 
Guest

RE: Why Did Capt Van Zanten Kill 583 With His KLM 747?

Mon May 28, 2001 3:31 am

Couldnt you have picked a better title?
 
Canada Mike
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RE: Why Did Capt Van Zanten Kill 583 With His KLM 747?

Mon May 28, 2001 3:41 am

I have heard that the only reason the Pan Am flight deck crew survived was because they could see the oncoming KLM aircraft and actually ducked, while the FA and all the passengers in the lounge area behind them (who couldn't see KLM) did not duck and were all killed. Apparently, it was so close that this few inches of extra protection saved the pilots' lives.

For a good personal accounting of the experience, pick up "Fasten Your Seat Belts!" (I think the author's name is Valerie Lester-Brown) and one of the FAs who was in the Tenerife crash and survived describes her experience in detail.

Cheers
Canada Mike
 
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RE: Why Did Capt Van Zanten Kill 583 With His KLM 747?

Mon May 28, 2001 3:48 am

well, this is a very interesting discussion.
however, i´ve got quite a simple question and i hope someone of you guys could share some info.
i´ve always been wondering what a KLM 747 and Pan Am 747 were doing in Tenerife, especially PA.
i could imagine that the KLM 747 was making a technical stop on a route from AMS to perhaps GRU, EZE... or vv.
if anyone knows some background about this or on which routes these 747s were utilized that day, i´d highly appreciate that.

thanks in advance
daniel
 
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RE: Why Did Capt Van Zanten Kill 583 With His KLM 747?

Mon May 28, 2001 4:10 am

I read the CVR's a couple of years ago and the KLM pilot was indeed in a hurry (he said "WERE GOING" eventhough he wasn't cleared). The co-pilot (I think it was the co pilot) even questioned some of the pilots decisions and the pilot basically shut him up. Plus, it was extremely foggy that day. What's ironic is that this pilot, Mr. Van Zanten was one of KLM's top pilots, very well respected. In fact he was so respected that shortly after the incident happened, they wanted to get him involved in the investigation. They were shocked to discover that he was the pilot on the KLM. I think KLM and Pan Am were diverted to Tenerif from another airport, but I don't remeber why. I also remember the PanAm was a charterd flight. Yes, the KLM ripped the top of the Pan Am off, and actually climb a bit more before falling back to the ground and bursting into planes. Before the collision, the pilot of the PanAm said something to the effect of "what is this bastard doing" referring to the KLM coming towards him. He, the PanAm pilot, tried to steer the monstrous 747 off the runnway, but it was too late. The CVR's are chilling. The pilot of the KLM screamed right before the collision.
 
hisham
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RE: Why Did Capt Van Zanten Kill 583 With His KLM

Mon May 28, 2001 4:27 am

The captain didn't kill anybody. Is that title supposed to attract readers?

Hisham.
 
philb
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RE: Why Did Capt Van Zanten Kill 583 With His KLM 747?

Mon May 28, 2001 4:31 am

The Pan Am was a fly/cruise charter, the KLM was a regular KLM charter to Teneriffe, both diverted to Los Rodeos because of the bomb at Las Palmas.

An interesting sidelight is that, for many years, the board game Trivial Pursuit had a question asking the two airlines involved. Their answer? Pan Am and TWA!!

When I pointed this out to the UK publishers, they assured me that they had the information from a well known aviation publication!
 
jwenting
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RE: Why Did Capt Van Zanten Kill 583 With His KLM 747?

Mon May 28, 2001 4:38 am

The title is meant as a way to place blame where blame does not belong.
The accident was a sad tragedy caused by an unfortunate combination of events that neither the ATC crew nor the aircraft crews involved had been trained for and that had not been anticipated in either the design of the airport facilities nor in the aircraft design.

The tower crew did not speak English well, causing their commands to be misunderstood by either or both aircraft and vice versa. Normally this might lead to confusion but without the limited visibility both crews would have seen each other before the KLM Jumbo started its roll or the PA jet became comitted to landing. They could then easily have avoided each other.
Fatigue on the part of any or all parties involved probably also played a role, plus the fact that both aircraft and the airport were running delays.

What I refuse to believe is that a captain of a major airline, an instructor pilot at that, would willfully and deliberately risk the lives of 600 people to get home in time for diner. That is just to sick a statement to believe and shows the contempt the poster has for a group of people who are entrusted with the lives of hundreds of people and hundreds of millions of dollars in equipment as part of their regular jobs.
It also shows contempt of the dead to place blame squarely on them in order to clear the living (though I know this is a common practice as the dead are unlikely to disagree with your statements publicly).
 
bacardi182
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RE: Why Did Capt Van Zanten Kill 583 With His KLM 747?

Mon May 28, 2001 4:40 am

i have also heard that after the collision, the pan am pilots heard the engine fire alarms and reached up to pull the extinguishers that would normally be above them to find that there was nothing but clear sky! Also, many people died or were severly injured trying to jump from the airplane to the ground. I don't know why they couldn't use the emergency exits!
 
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RE: Why Did Capt Van Zanten Kill 583 With His KLM 747?

Mon May 28, 2001 4:42 am

Climbout - It was actually William Schreuder (the Flight Engineer) who questioned Van Zanten, but the problem was that Klaus Meurs (the co-pilot) backed up Van Zanten's judgement at the end, with fatal consequences.

Van Zanten was KLM's chief of training and was the designated lead accident investigator for them. He had plenty of experience and I don't think he made a bad decision. I DO however believe that he misunderstood the facts though, and that lack of complete information created a false circumstance which prompted his decision to take off.

Hindsight is always 20-20, but the situation was very different on a foggy runway in the Azores.
 
baec777
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RE: Ambasaid

Mon May 28, 2001 4:46 am

There is nothing absolutely wrong with the topic or title of this incident, If you cant read, why read....??

Baec777  Sad
 
G-CIVP
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RE: Why Did Capt Van Zanten Kill 583 With His KLM 747?

Mon May 28, 2001 4:55 am

Wasn't Van Zanten ex-military?
 
Guest

RE: Why Did Capt Van Zanten Kill 583 With His KLM 747?

Mon May 28, 2001 4:59 am

Bacardi182- The people were in such a panic that they just exited the aircraft the best way they could, considering the circumstances. They didn't think in terms of "finding the emergency exit", their only thoughts were "I gotta get out of here". Unfortunetly, many of the perished.

B747-437B-I stand corrected, thank you. It's been a while since I read the CVR's and I couldn't remember who said what. Too bad they didn't listen to Mr. Schreuder.
 
b744
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RE: Why Did Capt Van Zanten Kill 583 With His KLM 747?

Mon May 28, 2001 5:11 am

Anyone know if there are some on-line photos of the aircraft post-accident?

 
Guest

RE: Why Did Capt Van Zanten Kill 583 With His KLM 747?

Mon May 28, 2001 5:13 am

Quite, after seeing the wreckage in various documentaries, I doubt any "Emergency exits" would have remained!

Rgds,
CP
 
Guest

RE: Why Did Capt Van Zanten Kill 583 With His KLM 747?

Mon May 28, 2001 5:15 am

Well, if you don't find them here try: www.airdisasters.com

They have a data base that shows the aircrafts before their accident. The last I checked the website was under construction, but it's a very good website.

Cheers...
Climbout
 
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RE: Why Did Capt Van Zanten Kill 583 With His KLM 747?

Mon May 28, 2001 5:17 am

Sorry, B744, I just realized that you said "post accident". Still airdisasters is your best bet!
 
Ned Kelly
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RE: Why Did Capt Van Zanten Kill 583 With His KLM 747?

Mon May 28, 2001 5:54 am


Click for large version
Click here for full size photo!

Photo © Stefan Sjögren



This picture of N736PA was taken 1 month before the accident. There are two other photos on the database of this aircraft, photo # 125536 & # 98420. There are no pictures on a.net of the KLM 747 PH-BUF. Incidentally the PA 747 operated the 1st ever 747 flight to the UK.
If anyone is able to see one of the series of "Black Box" there is a very good portrayal of this accident, including a simulation as well as an interview with the PA captain & a PA F/A. It answers a lot of the questions that has been asked here.

Ned..
 
B-HOP
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RE: Why Did Capt Van Zanten Kill 583 With His KLM 747?

Mon May 28, 2001 5:57 am

I heard that the KLM Captain were in a rush in order not to exceed its legal maximum hours, which could get him into prison. Therefore, he tried to go as quick as possible
 
airsicknessbag
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RE: Why Did Capt Van Zanten Kill 583 With His KLM 747?

Mon May 28, 2001 6:54 am


I´m going to summarize a chapter from a German book called "Flugzeugkatastrophen"; much of this information has already been said here, but there are some "new" things:

TFN is badly situated, very prone to bad weather and fog. It has a history of weather related accidents. There´s the following anecdote: The people who planned to build the first Tenerife a/p made an X on a map to mark the place at which no airport ever must be built - this X was mistaken for the opposite.

That morning, at LPA a separatist group´s bomb had exploded (no Algerians, but rather some loonies wanting the Canaries to be an independent African state...), all traffic was diverted to TFN, then the Canaries´ second a/p.

Consequently, the PA 747, carrying pax from the US to their cruise ship on Gran Canaria and the KL 747, carrying pax from the Netherlands to LPA ended up at TFN. KL arrived at 1338, PA at 1408. A total of 11 a/c waited at TFN at that time for LPA to reopen.

KL did not have enough fuel for the flight to LPA and back to AMS, so they decided to get fuel at TFN. PA still had 37,500 lbs. They would have left around 1530 but were blocked by the refuelling KL.

At 1653 the 2 planes started rolling. KL rolled in front of PA. Because part of the apron and taxiway was blocked by other planes (TFN was operating at 200% of its capacity), KL was to roll all the way down the runway, do a 180 degree turn there. PA was to exit the runway via the 3rd of 4 exits, then continue parallel to the runway and t/o behind KL. Visibility was about 100 m (the runway is 3500 m long).

Using exit 3 would have involved 2 148 degree turns, plus the PA would have rolled over gras. Therefore, and because exit 1 was closed, PA mistook "exit 3" for "3rd open exit", which was exit 4. The exits where not marked, so crews had to count them to know which was which. No r/w lights were available (even on request by KL) - I guess it was rather easy to get lost in the fog (remember the 100 m visibility).

KL communicated exclusively with approach control, while PA´s clearance to roll on the runway had been issued by ground control. KL was not aware PA was rolling behind them on the runway as well. The tower was not manned at that time because of lack of staff.

Well, and then came this mix up about the t/o clearance, KL understood they had it (partly because of the controller´s bad English), asked for a confirmation, and the reply "OK...standby for take off. I will call you." was understood as a mere "K". I understood that as a result of this accident the word "take off" is used exclusively when t/o clearance is actually granted.

Visibility had increased to 900 m, but the a/c were about 1500 m apart.
At 1705:41 KL started her take off roll, the impact occurred at 1706:50. PA had begun to turn into exit 4 meanwhile, hence no head on collision. There were 7 firefighters on duty at the a/p at that moment.

Daniel Smile
 
jet_guy
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RE: Why Did Capt Van Zanten Kill 583 With His KLM 747?

Mon May 28, 2001 7:10 am

I read somewhere, that Tenerife asked Pan Am to report when clear of runway, then Pan Am recited "roger, report when clear of runway" or there abouts. The KLM pilots must have seen this as that the Pan Am 747 HAD left the runway, when in fact he was just reporting instructions.........but its a sad state of affairs........

Sam
 
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LAX
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RE: Why Did Capt Van Zanten Kill 583 With His KLM 747?

Mon May 28, 2001 4:40 pm

Hi again.........

Thanks for all these great replies and insights into this terrible event.

Sorry if my title offended some of you. I suppose some of you are indeed correct......it does seem unlikely that such an experienced pilot like van Zanten would purposely endanger the lives of hundreds. Obviously, the radio transmissions were confusing at best. He MUST have THOUGHT he heard "cleared for takeoff".
But, still, does anyone know WHY he continued to roll AFTER hearing Pan Am scream...."We're on the runway!"? Can't understand it!

I really do not think that KLM was moving so fast when they SHOULD have heard this cry from Pan Am that they would not have been able to stop in time. It was just seconds after van Zanten pushed the throttles forward!

An alternate title for my post could be ....... "WHY DID VAN ZANTEN START HIS TAKEOFF ROLL WITHOUT CLEARANCE?" ..... This won't offend anybody and IS factually correct.

Thanks you guys for a great forum!

And I'd love to hear more from you on this fascinating accident.



 
sushka
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RE: Why Did Capt Van Zanten Kill 583 With His KLM 747?

Mon May 28, 2001 4:47 pm

Man that is sad. Must of been scary for the crew to see that PanAm 747!
 
mriihi
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RE: Why Did Capt Van Zanten Kill 583 With His KLM 747?

Mon May 28, 2001 5:21 pm

It is said that the Captain was in hurry not because he was about to exceed Cockpitcrew's maximum hours, but because there was a possibility to exceed cabincrew's maximum hours which were at that time shorter than cockpitcrews. I think the prison was not the first thing in his mind in that day rather than avoiding to get into troubles with Cabincrewunion which was very difficult opponent at that time.

M
 
jwenting
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RE: Why Did Capt Van Zanten Kill 583 With His KLM 747?

Mon May 28, 2001 6:07 pm

If KLM was indeed speaking with Departure and PA with Ground, it is quite possible they never heard PA screaming he was on the runway when KLM reported starting their roll. Even if they were listening in on Ground, it is still possible the warning did not reach them in time.
What was the separation at the time the warning was shouted and what was the speed of KLM at that moment?
If KLM was going fast already and distance was short (as stated before, visibility was 100m or less) it is unlikely even an emergency braking maneouvre could have avoided impact.
As it is, KLM tried to avoid impact by making an emergency climb over PA, which almost worked. Maybe a turn on the ground (off the runway) in combination with maximum braking power could have avoided disaster, but as the airport was crowded with diverted traffic this may not have been possible without hitting something else.
 
Guest

RE: Why Did Capt Van Zanten Kill 583 With His KLM 747?

Mon May 28, 2001 6:17 pm

Baec777,

Every time that I fly an aircraft, I endeavor to perform to the best of my abilities and training. I most certainly do not set out to kill myself or other people. I therefore find it extremely insulting to the memory of Capt Van Zanten and his family to suggest that he set out to take peoples lives.

There is nothing wrong with this topic, it features strongly in our CRM training, but the title could be a lot more sensible…………………..
 
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LAX
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RE: Why Did Capt Van Zanten Kill 583 With His KLM 747?

Mon May 28, 2001 6:44 pm

What about today's radio standards?

It's obviously possible to still "walk" all over someone else's radio calls.....but doesn't the crew member doing the "walking" receive some kind of warning (squeal/feedback, or something) that he/she is doing so?

Otherwise, I would think many, many communication blunders (similar to Pan Am/KLM) would be occurring every day. Especially during rush periods at major airports, when the radio calls are literally NON-STOP!!

ATTN. ALL PILOTS ON HERE ...... What happens with the radio when you step on another transmission?
 
wing
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RE: Why Did Capt Van Zanten Kill 583 With His KLM 747?

Mon May 28, 2001 8:07 pm

It gets blocked.The sound of both parties who are speaking turns ununderstandable.Ends up with the controller gets pissed.
 
cfalk
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RE: Why Did Capt Van Zanten Kill 583 With His KLM 747?

Mon May 28, 2001 10:34 pm

I understand that nowadays it is considered a big no-no to say the words "take off" unless you are giving permission to take off or (if you are a pilot) reading back authorization to take off. Any other infor, requests, or instructions must use other lingo, like "Line up for Departure", "Ready for departure", etc. This is a direct result of the Tenerife accident, when a garbled transmission included the words "take off" and may have been misconstrued as clearance.

Anyone know if ATC and Pilots hold themselves to this standard? Or does "Take Off" pop up in transmissions still?

Charles
 
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LAX
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RE: Why Did Capt Van Zanten Kill 583 With His KLM 747?

Mon May 28, 2001 11:13 pm

IF ONLY HE'D WAITED A FEW MORE SECONDS...........








 
VirginA340
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RE: Why Did Capt Van Zanten Kill 583 With His KLM 747?

Tue May 29, 2001 1:30 am

True; The nose section of the KLM plane made it but the ceter hit the midsection of the PA 747. But from what I was hearing that even thought the PA 747 would have made it. The KLM would have not. I think both planes would have made it because all 4 engine would not have been ripped off the the KLM 747 would still have it's undercarrage intact. Both planes would have survived if Vanzanten took off 2 second later as speculated. I pray that there is no repet of this happening anywhere else. With the bigger A380s coming off within 10 years I pray that we've learned on what to do and what not to do.
 
B-HOP
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RE: Why Did Capt Van Zanten Kill 583 With His KLM 747?

Tue May 29, 2001 4:25 am

Mirihi, thank you, but I have read a book in Britian about the crew could get illegal, but I am prepare to be corrected.
 
Guest

RE: Why Did Capt Van Zanten Kill 583 With His KLM 747?

Tue May 29, 2001 8:08 am

Lot's of factors at work in this one. It all boils down to that proverbial safety chain with a lot of weak links.

(1). Language barrier
(2). Scheduling issues
(3). Crew rest
(4). Weather
(5). Crew unfamiliarity
(6). Stress due to possible terrorism
(7). Non-existent CRM

It all boils down to two things: (1). Never hesitate to clarify instructions with ATC. Yes, they can be intimidating, but it's better to be humbled and breathing than proud and dead. (2). Every member of the cockpit is responsible for safety. If it don't feel right, call an abort and sort it out later.

This title makes the KLM Captain sound like he used his aircraft as a murder weapon. Yeah, he f-ed up....but, there were a plethora of contributing factors. This is a classic case to be studied, and unfortunately, a lot of the same shit is still happening out there
 
Critter_592
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RE: Why Did Capt Van Zanten Kill 583 With His KLM 747?

Tue May 29, 2001 12:16 pm

Does the radios in any cockpits have some type of equipment that will let them know when they are transmitting the same time as someone else. I don't think too many have anything like this becuase most controllers don't even know when they are being stepped on. Maybe this would have helped at the time the pilots were trying to stop KLM.

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