Early 727 Crashes

Date:         03 Dec 99 02:10:07 
From:         Tim Pearson <tpearson@procrustes.com>
Organization: Running With Scissors, Inc.
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I recall that there was a series of crashes early in the
Boeing 727's service life.  I remember one in particular,
a United airplane crashing at Salt Lake City in 1965; the
plane hit the ground flat, short of the runway threshold.

As I understand it, these crashes were the result of pilots'
flying the airplane like a recip, kiting them in over the
fence with low power...and then not being able to correct a
high sink rate in time because of the engines' spool-up
interval.  The solution (again, IIRC) was to train pilots
to maintain a high power setting on final while keeping the
airspeed down with flaps and speed brakes.  Perhaps someone
can elaborate on this and correct me if necessary.

I've always wondered why there wasn't an earlier series of
similar accidents involving the 707 and DC-8.  The pilots for
all three types were drawn from the same general pool of former
recip drivers, and the engines of all three planes had the same
general response characteristics.  What was new and unique about
the 727 that made low power on final such a deadly pitfall?

-Tim