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

From: (Robert Dorsett)
Organization: Netcom Online Communications Services (408-241-9760 login: guest)
Date:         08 Feb 96 03:21:02 
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In article <airliners.1996.142@ohare.Chicago.COM> sandee@Think.COM (Daan Sandee) writes:
>The WSJ for 1/8 had a front page article about the crash, specifically
>addressing this point.  Most of what they say confirms other reports, then
>they claim
>- they only needed 200 ft for safety
>- with spoilers retracted, they would probably have made this

What's remarkable is that the story occurred so soon after the crash that
there couldn't possibly have been an adequate topographical or flight
path analysis.

>- Airbus jets (A320, A330, A340) have computer-controlled protection
>   that would have retracted the spoilers when near stalling speed (i.e.,
>   when other planes have the stick shaker activated - and AA965 has the
>   stick shaker going in the last few seconds).

Saying that speed brake position was a major contributing factor is
baseless.  We still don't know that to be the case.  The airplane flew
into the side of a mountain.  It wasn't where it was supposed to be: that
is the proximal cause of the crash, not whether a whiz-bang protection
might have worked on an airplane which wouldn't even have been flying that
route to begin with, due to performance limitations.

>The main point the reporter wanted to make that an Airbus jet might not
>have crashed, and he went on about how Airbus elects to let the computer fly
>the plane, while Boeing prefers the pilot.

I don't remember--did they mention how many of these computer-controlled
Airbus aircraft have bit the dust, vs. how many 757s have bit the dust?
(5 in five years  and 1 in 13 years, respectively).

>I don't want to start another battle in the Airbus vs. Boeing wars, but I
>found this viewpoint, emanating as it did from the mouthpiece of American
>capitalism, noteworthy.

The WSJ article was thoroughly debunked in  Most of its
claims are groundless, and obviously stem from the same sort of safety
analyses which Airbus uses to justify the presence of protective systems
to begin with.

Just my ever so humble opinion.

Robert Dorsett                         Moderator, sci.aeronautics.simulation