Re: AA 757 Crash

From: (Robert Dorsett)
Organization: Netcom Online Communications Services (408-241-9760 login: guest)
Date:         08 Jan 96 01:35:20 
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In article <airliners.1995.2059@ohare.Chicago.COM> Jennings Heilig <> writes:
>using the checklists???  Egad...I don't even fly a Cessna 152 without
>using a checklist!

Here we go again.  "I'm not an expert, BUT..." (sigh)

It is normally up to the captain's discretion when, precisely, a checklist
(which, includentally, is not a do-list) is called.

The omission of a checklist has not been indicated as a causal factor in
this crash, nor has it been stated whether such an omission
would have had anything to do with the crash.

Speed brakes are what most people are currently focusing on, but apart from
arming them for automatic deployment on landing, the in-flight use of them
is "as required."  Their use is not scripted, any more than manipulation of
the control column is.

We don't know squat about the crash.  Just the vague media reports.   And
clearly, from the media reports, the checklist issue is being mentioned only
as another factor in the direction of presenting pilot error as the cause
of this crash.

>This is very disturbing if it's all true.  To be sure, there is a long
>way to go in the investigation, but when Robert Crandall is issuing
>statements appologizing for the apparent human error involved at this
>early stage, it doesn't bode well for AA...

When the CEO of any organization is quick to make very public comments
agreeing with the very preliminary findings of any accident investigation, it
generally means they just want to get a scapegoat assigned, get the issue
out of the news, pay off the lawsuits, and move on.  Remember, for example,
that the Colombians were saying that terrorism couldn't *possibly* have been
a factor--before the CVR or DFDR were recovered!  The NTSB could certainly
use some of their accident investigators: they're *good*!

Complex crashes aren't fun for anyone: much easier to write it off as a
pilot screw-up.  We certainly wouldn't want airline training, duty time
limitations, local controller competence, the viability of the destination,
security, or other systems issues discussed in scrutiny, would we?  The
scapegoat concept is very attractive, and one which a lot of pilots will
eagerly buy into ("he fucked up"), but unfortunately, it's also a concept
which does almost nothing about obtaining the truth.  Whatever it may turn
out to be.

Robert Dorsett                         Moderator, sci.aeronautics.simulation