Re: First 757 crash (and first AA fatality since 1979)

From:         kls@ohare.Chicago.COM (Karl Swartz)
Organization: Chicago Software Works, Menlo Park, California
Date:         27 Dec 95 21:43:48 
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>On the local news here in Seattle I saw some footage of the wreckage and
>noticed a part of the fuselage that had the registration number on it.
>N651AA

That's confirmed by people at American Airlines.

>My outdated 92/93 issue of JP airline-fleets international says this
>aircraft was manufactured 7/91 and delivered 8/91. c/n 24609, s/n 390.

Correct except 390 is the line number, i.e., it was the 390th 757
built.  The construction number, 24609, is the serial number.

>Does any one have any idea about what happened ?

The Columbian government hasn't made a statement yet.  Presumably they
will do so as soon as they have a hypothesis.  (The NTSB is playing a
major role in the analysis of the crash, however, they are doing so by
invitation of the Columbian authorities and have deferred all comments
to the Columbians.)

Officials *have* said that they do not believe that a bomb or anti-
aircraft fire or other such actions caused the crash.  They are still
running tests to completely rule out terrorism, however.  (Amongst
other tests, they will X-ray the bodies to look for shrapnel from any
in-flight explosions.)

>The news here said that the pilot pulled up when he saw the mountain.

Given that it was dark and there were no lights, it's unlikely they
saw the summit.  The GPWS did go off, however, and the engines were
reportedly at full power at the time of impact.

>I wonder if pilot fatigue was a factor... Maybe the pilots woke up when
>the Ground Proximity Warning System warning horn sounded.

There were routine communications between the pilots and Columbian
controllers up to the time of the crash, so the pilots clearly were
not asleep, and communications were fine.

>I also wonder if there was a problem with the ILS system at the
>airport.  The pilots may have been attempting to intercept the
>localizer, but maybe the localizer was not in operation.

My understanding is that the aircraft crashed about 40 miles from
Cali.  ILS is used for only the last few miles of the approach.

>Hopefully we'll learn something soon...

Undoubtedly we will.  However, it takes time of the investigators who
have the actual evidence to do their work, especially for a crash in
as remote a location as this one.

--
Karl Swartz	|Home	kls@chicago.com
		|Work	kls@slac.stanford.edu
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