Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Most Pilots Knew What Happened Long Ago


6 weeks ago my close friend who is a retired pilot told me that the crash of flight 3407 was caused by the pilot pulling back not pushing forward on the stick just as the FAA report now shows. I asked my friend tonight how he knew so early when the investigation report had not yet come out and this is what he said:

"Yeah, a real shame. Hard for me to understand why the "stick-pusher" procedure wasn't practiced in the flight simulator. I had training in the procedure for the Lear Jets I flew. We practiced and were trained in all manner of emergencies. Makes me wonder about the state of training these days.

No mystery about my knowledge of the crash when we went to the bead show... I had seen a preliminary report concerning the airplane's flight data recorder and what it revealed about the flight's last few moments. The data showed that the aircraft went into a steep nose-up attitude and then rolled violently past 90 degrees to the horizontal. This is consistent with the control yoke (the "stick") being yanked back suddenly, stalling the aircraft, while simultaneously heavy power was applied aggravating the stall. Since this had happened at a low altitude, during the approach to landing, there was not enough altitude left to recover. Evidently poor training led the pilot to pull back on the yoke when he should have pushed forward at the first indication of the "stick-pusher". As I said, I have practiced that very thing many times in the flight simulators at Flight Safety International in Wichita. The shame of it is that the reports now say the these crews flying the aircraft in question are not required to do this procedure. Without knowing what the "pusher" feels like and sounds like (it is accompanied by a heavy vibrating sound) I guess the flight crew didn't know what was happening and what actions were required. I can see why the report you sent me said that some of the training pilots and check airmen have resigned. Hopefully this tragedy will cause some serious changes in training to be made. Tragedies usually do.

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