Re: TWA Flight 800 accident

Date:         01 Dec 96 04:08:55 
References:   1 2
Followups:    1 2
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In 36 years of flying I have encountered
1. A weather induced "pitch-up" in visual flight conditions on top.

2. Strong wake turbulence in completely smooth air 45 minutes after the
preceding traffic had passed  the same spot, as indicated by ATC.

3. Crashed a Boeing 707 simulator when given an unofficial  "pitch-up"
exercise during recurrent training

4. A true vertical dive (free fall) in a Navy fighter type aircraft.

If you do not believe that a pilot will instinctively react to a weather
induced nose high attitude and erroneous indications of his flight
instruments even in visual flight conditions read the account of the United
Airlines Boeing 737 accident at Colorado Springs. The final report left out
the sworn statement of the traffic controller handling the flight which I
quote,  "The transition from level flight to vertical flight was an
instantaneous transition."  At the same instant of time of his observation
the co-pilot exclaimed "Oh God  (flip)" ed? Note: She did not say roll!

Also read the classic example of the weather induced "pitch-up" and a pilot
induced  "upset" accident that occurred on February 12, 1963 to a Northwest
Airlines Boeing 720B (8 feet shorter than a Boeing 707) near Miami, Fl. in
visual flight conditions.(CAB report SA-372 File No. 1-0006).  The following
entry appears on page 12  "Examination of the aircraft instruments revealed
that the nose-down rotational pitch stops of both vertical gyros received
severe impact damage as a result of a rapid rotation of the aircraft about
its pitch axis."

NTSB accident investigators were not even aware of this report!  It should be
mandatory reading for all pilots especially those flying swept-wing aircraft.

Ask any gyro engineer about "precession" of a gyro in an abrubt transition
from level flight to an  instantaneous nose-up attitude.

In the USAir Flight 427 accident near Pittsburgh, PA the medical examiner
reported that both pilots left rudder pedals were sheared off at the
supporting structure while
the right pedals were bent they were still attached. He surmized that both
pilots left legs were fully extended at impact. (Correcting for a precessing
directional gyro?)