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Old 10-12-2005, 09:16 AM   #1  
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Default Fatigue: factor in 747 crash in Halifax

Fatigue, training may have played role in Halifax plane crash

(CBC) - Investigators looking into the crash of a Boeing 747 cargo plane at Halifax Airport almost a year ago say fatigue and insufficient training may have been factors in the incident.

Transportation Safety Board investigator Bill Fowler says his team believes there was not adequate training on the software used to determine the throttle setting for the MK Airlines aircraft.

Fowler says his team also believes fatigue may have been an issue. The seven crew members who died had been on a 19-hour shift, and were set to work 10 more hours before a scheduled landing in Spain.

All seven died when the cargo-laden plane crashed while taking off on the morning of Oct. 14, 2004. Investigators and eyewitnesses said the plane's tail hit the runway twice before plowing into nearby woodlands.

A representative of MK, a British-owned cargo firm based in Ghana, says there had been no indications of problems using the equipment before the crash and that the staff had normal breaks.
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Old 10-12-2005, 10:10 AM   #2  
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Default is that normal?

20+ hours of work before scheduled rest?

-LA
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Old 10-12-2005, 11:11 AM   #3  
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121 Supplemental regs don't have a duty time limit for international flying. We have an 18-hour duty day by contract. Fatigue is an everpresent commodity flying long-haul freight.
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Old 10-12-2005, 12:23 PM   #4  
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Rama
Fatigue is an everpresent commodity flying long-haul freight.
Being tired at work isn't just for Freighter Pilots anymore!

My company's operation allows 16 hour flight times which translate into about 18 hour duty days. Of course that IS double augmented, but I think we all know the quality of rest on the jet.

My last 6 day trip was four legs, with the only three sleep opportunities, and a 19 hour time zone change everytime I released the brakes. I'm not crying "poor me", but just echoing Rama in that fatigue is a huge problem in any international operation. If it was so bad, I'd go fly domestic, although I think that's even worse (for other reasons).

Last edited by HSLD; 10-12-2005 at 05:16 PM.
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Old 10-12-2005, 04:43 PM   #5  
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Resting my eyelids, looking at the circuit breaker panel, putting my head back on a fully reclined chair, placing a u-shaped air pillow behind my head, telling my first officers I'm getting a sinker, taking turns resting, complaining about the rising sun in my eyes as my body goes on 20 hours awake, asking my first officer Was that for us?, downing my 3rd coffee in one hour, looking at the progress page and seeing 9 hours to go, fatigue settling into every part of this body,

Just another night in the life of a Freighter Captain.
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Old 10-12-2005, 08:58 PM   #6  
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Rama
121 Supplemental regs don't have a duty time limit for international flying. We have an 18-hour duty day by contract. Fatigue is an everpresent commodity flying long-haul freight.
Actually your contract has a 18 hour duty limit for a single crew. 24 hours for heavy crew and 30 hours for a double crew. The double crew flights are real bal busters! I was always the last to fly. But really the company would fire you if you refused to fly beyond the 18 hour limit on a single crew. The guys who would tail-end fairy part 91 another 10 hours plus after already being on 18 were giving special treatment by crewscheduling. I got involved in a couple of these flights and could not believe how much these guys would risk for the old mighty dollar. Flying that fatiuged is like flying drunk. Just plain stupid. I witnessed some of the worst flying I have ever seen on these flights. Hopefully the next one wont go into a subdivison,mall or elementary school.
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Old 10-23-2005, 06:45 PM   #7  
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How did the crew exactly mess up the TO data on their laptop? An MK pilot in Luxembourg told me they used the previous airport as the current airport based on the recordings they recovered. That's a pretty bad mistake, but at what point don't you realize you aren't accelerating fast enough and push the throttles up? Maybe fatigue played a bigger part than poor training but the end result was the same, sorry to say.
 
Old 10-27-2005, 06:32 AM   #8  
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 29.92
How did the crew exactly mess up the TO data on their laptop? An MK pilot in Luxembourg told me they used the previous airport as the current airport based on the recordings they recovered. That's a pretty bad mistake, but at what point don't you realize you aren't accelerating fast enough and push the throttles up? Maybe fatigue played a bigger part than poor training but the end result was the same, sorry to say.
When you have fatuige built up from many days of interupted rest it is easy to make this kind of mistake. The 747 Flight deck is 30 feet above the runway surface. Trying to judge your speed or acceleration visualy with any kind of accuracy is pointless. Especialy at night. Halifax is a short runway for a 747 and the crew was most likely using a reduced thrust setting when the needed max takeoff thrust. If they had pratts, going to "clink" power would not make enough difference late in the takeoff roll to get them airborne. And high speed aborts generaly dont work out at 700,000 plus pounds. What a bummer for these folks! Very sad. In my days as a 747 F/O. I have seen these kind of mistakes personaly. Fortunately we broke the chain before it got ugly. Hopefully we will get some new regs that will address the fatiuge dangers in 121 supplemental international ops.
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Old 10-27-2005, 03:43 PM   #9  
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What really bothers me is how many pilots out there will not put their foot down and declare that they are not fit for flight with that much fatigue. The pressure of finishing the mission, keeping the job, paying the bills, being a team player puts too many of our bretheren at these carriers at risk. Airlines and, aircraft owners and airline managements are insured against loss, but those of us who put our lives and licenses on the line are not.

There needs to be an organization put together that is centered on being an advocacy for the piloting profession and the people who make the wheels turn. ALPA has done some good work in its history in improving training and safety standards in the industry as a whole, but there are still fences up that do not encompass the entire profession.

It's main goal should be focused on educating and encouraging the enforcement of safety standards as applied to the operation of aircraft

This organization should cover any and every person who is involved in commercial aviation at any level. From the commercial ticket holder who is doing aerial photo business or traffic watch in a 172 all the way up to a supplumental (can't spell) 747 driver who is pushing 18 hours on duty.

There is just too much pressure from aviation employers to do things that are not safe in the interest of the bottom line.

My two cents,
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Old 10-28-2005, 12:56 AM   #10  
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Here is a another good article:

Training blamed for MK 747 crash
Inadequate crew preparation and fatigue identified by investigators seeking reason for incorrect throttle setting

Canadian investigators have identified inadequate training and fatigue as the likely principal factors behind the 14 October 2004 fatal take-off crash of an MK Airlines Boeing 747-200 Freighter at Halifax, Nova Scotia.

The primary cause of the accident, in which all seven people on board were killed, was the failure of a crew member to select the correct throttle setting for take-off. The aircraft never got airborne despite two tailscrapes and hit a berm at the end of the runway, causing it to break up and burn.

Transportation Safety Board of Canada lead investigator Bill Fowler says the crew had not received “adequate” training on using the Boeing Laptop Tool (BLT) to calculate take-off performance. However, the investigation was hampered by the loss of the cockpit voice recorder in the post-crash fire.

In an interview with the Canadian Press (CP) agency, Fowler said the 747’s take-off weight was still set at that of its previous departure from Hartford, Connecticut in the USA. This was around 110t lighter than the 747’s weight of more than 350t when the Halifax departure was attempted.

“[MK Airlines] undertook to implement this [software] package following guidance material. The question arose: did they do it adequately? In our view, not all of it,” Fowler said in the interview.

UK-based MK Airlines told CP it believes its training for the BLT was sufficient. “We’ve been using the program for months prior to the accident. We’d never had any information of any problem from any of the aircrew,” it said.

MK also said it “did not believe” that fatigue had played a role. “[The crew] had sufficient rest at different stages of the journey,” the carrier said.

The elapsed time between the crew’s first take-off during their duty period, from Luxembourg, and the crash at Halifax was over 12h. Had the Ghanaian-registered aircraft reached its final destination of Zaragoza, Spain, the crew would have been flying for a further 8h.

MK is re-registering its fleet in the UK and as part of that process has gained UK regulatory approval for the BLT, the carrier told CP.


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