Re: barrel roll in 727 ?!!

From:         Mark Ingram <markt@mickey.mo-net.com>
Date:         04 Aug 96 16:44:52 
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On 29 Jul 1996, steven tobey wrote:

> > >The crew of a (TWA?) 727 was sort of "playing" with the flaps at cruise
> > >to milk out a little bit better fuel economy.  They did a barrel roll
> > >before recovering, losing 10's of thousands of feet of altitude in the
> > >process.  Not a boring flight at that point.
>
> The story is true although I can no longer vouch for the date and flight
> number of the TWA B727.

Please do more research before calling such a story unequivocally "true."

> I believe the event took place in the late '70s
> and from what little I remember the crew was manipulating the leading
> edge slats (by pulling the circuit breakers???) in an attempt to cruise
> at a higher altitude.

As another "airliners" respondent has said, the crew was ACCUSED of doing
this.  There NEVER was any proof that they actually did so, however, and
in fact, over several months of intense, many-on-one interrogation, the
three pilots stuck by their vehement denial of having manipulated any
controls or circuit breakers in violation of TWA procedures.

So, for you to come along some fifteen or twenty years after the fact, and
blandly "convict" these pilots of absolutely unproven behavior, is
irresponsible in a forum such as this one.

> This failed, the aircraft may have stalled, then
> rolled over and lost several thousand feet of altitude before recovering.
> During the recovery the landing gear was deployed to help slow the
> aircraft's descent damaging the gear doors. The aircraft made an
> emergency landing safely. IIRC the Captain's name was "Hoot" Gibson.

The aircraft's FDR did confirm the roll and subsequent loss of altitude,
as described above.  Captain Gibson's cool-headed response to a
disaster-in-the-making, however, could easily be called heroic.

Likewise, the possibility that the 30-min. CVR tape "rolled over" the
events leading up to the descent is every bit as plausible as the
possibility that it was deliberately erased by the crew - which they also
vehemently denied doing.

Mark E. Ingram

MarkT@Mo-Net.Com (also mingram@mail.orion.org)