Do you think the Brazil plane crash is pilot, mechanical or controller error?

Even though the runway is short planes land there properly everyday. How do we prevent this type of accident from happening there again and elsewhere?

12 Answers

  • 1 decade ago
    Favourite answer

    To answer a question such as this can only be answered by trained aviation disaster investigators and only then when they have painstaking looked into the multitude of conditions and circumstances surrounding this crash. Was it one thing or was it many things that all added up. What were the real weather conditions - at what rate was the rain falling, what was the wind speed, what was the wind direction, was the wind gusting, what was the mile, one-half mile, two miles. How many hours had the crew logged in this type aircraft. How many hours had this crew been on duty. Were the speed brakes set prior to landing (the pilot of a American Airlines MD-80 landed at night in a heavy thunderstorm in Little Rock, Arkansas, some years ago. He applied full brake, he applied full reverse thrust, but like the Energizer bunny, he just kept going and going and going, until he went off the end of the runway, slammed into an approach light structure and cascaded down a river bank, killing himself and, I think, eleven passengers...the long investigation showed that he failed to set his speed brakes.) Did the crew go through their full approach check list. How familiar was the crew with this airport. How many times had they landed there before. How many times had they landed there at night and in rain at night. Did the crew know that the runway had been recently repaved, but not yet been re-grooved. Maybe the tires didn't "grab-hold" like they had in the past and it startled the crew and it cast them into a panic. (The crew of the Air Florida crash into the Potomac River in Washington, D.C. were fairly seasoned pilots, but they had done their flying for Air Florida on warm routes and had very little experience in extremely cold weather. They made some costly mistakes in this strange environment, which added up to poor lift and improper airspeed indication on take-off, so they, their cabin crew and passengers bought the farm, with the exception of one crew member and three passengers.) Yes, the runway is quite short, but planes of this size had safely stopped on it before. So why didn't this one. Leave this one up to the professionals. They are looking into all the things I have mentioned along with a "gazillion" more...hopely, they can solve the riddle and the why. (NOTE: I made seven approaches, using Microsoft's Flight Simulator 2002, into this airport prior to writing all of this, four in daylight and in good conditions and three in darkness with rain and two mile visibility, using a Boeing 737-400. In the daylight landings, I got the aircraft stopped in pretty good order by touching down "on the numbers", In the other two, I settled to the runway about 1,000 feet long, stopping one flight about 12 feet short of going off the runway and "pouring the coal" to the other flight and going around. The night landings and the reduced visiblity were, of course, much more difficult. I let the aircraft settle "on down the runway" in all three night landings, barely stopping the first two and "going off the end" on the third.) Which brings me to several more points about the real crash...1) how far down the runway did the pilots let the Airbus settle, 2) when the pilot decided to go around, did his engines "spool-up" to full thrust for take-off and 3) if he did have his speed brakes deployed, did he fail to retract them, prior to trying to take-off again. So, you see...right now it is to early to play guessing games as to how and why this terrible accident happened! Leave it to the professionals.

  • 1 decade ago

    You don't "go around" once you are on the ground. A "go around" is performed prior to touchdown. I just happened to be describing a totally unrelated accident from 20+ years ago to a paralegal in an aviation law firm just prior to this most recent Brazilian crash. The crash I described involved a private jet which, mistakenly thinking less runway was remaining than actually was remaining (because of an optical illusion caused by a midfield "hump") had landed pretty much okay and was rolling out, but then advanced the throttles to take off power and ended up running off the runway at takeoff thrust. I have not read about this Brazilian crash. I have read quite a bit about the 2006 Gol 737--Embraer Legacy mid air. However, if the crew attempted to begin a takeoff from a position well down the runway (after landing on the runway), that is generally a very bad choice in a jet. If you are going to run off the runway, much better to do it in a deceleration mode than at takeoff power, accelerating. Every takeoff is planned in a jet for V speeds and runway requirements. Once again, a "go around" is not a maneuver that is commenced during landing rollout. As for what actually happened and an analysis of the causes, etc., that will take a while.

    Source(s): Jet-rated ATP, current in jets, instructor, attorney
  • 1 decade ago

    There is never a single reason.

    Wait until the investigation is done and actual facts published. News media needs fire and blood and will say anything just to make it more newsworthy.

    Facts so far are:

    The judge closed the runway because he thought (with no technical advise) that the runway was too short. This was based on the planes at maximum weight, which nobody uses out of that airport. It was overturned.

    Planes have been using that airport and shorter ones for years without incident.

    The runway was repaved and grooving (which makes it less slippery when wet) was pending.

    The Airbus had it's thrust reversers inoperative. It is legal to fly like that, but is one less tool to slow down.

    The approach seems to have been flown at a higher than normal speed.

    For the time being let's just concentrate on the families that lost a loved one.

    Source(s): pilot
  • 1 decade ago

    They've got a zillion tons of coffee in Brazil.....I love that song.

    I heard that Airbus declares their landing distances to be less than the Boeing 737, even though they are similarly sized aircraft. This resulted in the A320s being allowed to land while the 737s couldn't. Another factor was the wet runway and the lack of grooves to improve wet traction.

    Also, if the plane was under control, the pilots could have picked a better spot to put it rather than the cargo terminal.

    The problem with the thrust reverser hasn't been confirmed. The aircraft touched down normally but appeared to abandon the landing after touching down, something that would have increased the damage and is most likely against company SOPs.

    But this is my opinion based on limited facts. We will have to see what the investigation reveals.

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  • 1 decade ago

    While previous posters are right that this incident needs to be investigated before definitive conclusions can be reached, Brazil has been criticized before for not investing enough in it's aviation infrastructure. What we know is that a modern Airbus A320 landed on a short runway in bad weather and over ran the space limit.

    To quote the linked article "On July 16, a Pantanal Airlines ATR-42 turboprop with 21 aboard skidded off the same runway while landing. In March 2006, a BRA Airlines Boeing 737 flight with 115 aboard almost slid off the end of the runway; a similar near-miss occurred with a Gol Boeing 737 in October."

    The specifics of what happened here need to be nailed down to the second, but it is hard not to make assumptions given the history of the runway in question.

  • 1 decade ago

    I think we should wait until the investigation is complete before passing judgment on anyone. It COULD have been any or all of the above reasons.

    I don't want to speculate but here's a fact that I find interesting (source: MSNBC):

    "A federal court in February of this year briefly banned takeoffs and landings of three types of large jets at the airport because of safety concerns at Congonhas airport, which handles huge volumes of flights for the massive domestic Brazilian air travel market.

    But an appeals court overruled the ban, saying it was too harsh because it would have severe economic ramifications, and that there were not enough safety concerns to prevent the planes from landing and taking off the airport."

    So, whose fault is it? Is it the appeals court for overruling the ban? Are the airlines themselves to blame for choosing to fly into an airport with a reduced margin of safety? Is it the captain's fault for continuing the approach into marginal conditions? Or was there some sort of mechanical discrepancy that nobody yet knows about?

    The sad thing is that when the probable cause does become known it won't be on any news channel because by then it just won't be "news" any more will it?

    Source(s): airline pilot
  • 1 decade ago

    From the latest reports it seems like the main fault was with the aircraft itself. The plane was attempting to land at a very difficult airport, at night, and in bad conditions with one of it's thrust reversers not operating. That airport needs upgrading. Aircraft routinely have to do abort take off do a go around if they don't touch down withing the first one thousand feet of the runway. It averages around two per day. Far too much for any modern airport.

  • jim bo
    Lv 6
    1 decade ago

    . You've probably seen all this info @ ; "...The 6,362-foot runway at Sao Paulo’s Congonhas airport has been repeatedly criticized as dangerously short. Two planes slipped off it in rainy weather just a day earlier. Pilots call it the “aircraft carrier” — it’s so short ..."

    So it's a combination of weather, pilot error and short runway. $$ to lenghten it would probably solve everything, well, 99% since humans can always make mistakes. .

  • Anonymous
    1 decade ago

    You folks will never learn. The highly professional and experienced investigators, including our NTSB, will require at least a year to determine the probable cause of this accident. Watch your local news if you want for your information but be ready to be dead wrong by believing what you hear this close after the accident.

  • Pilot

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