No likely survivors in cargo jet crash in Texas, sheriff says

ponder

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#1
https://www.cbsnews.com/news/cargo-...-baytown-texas-today-2019-02-23-live-updates/

The Texas sheriff's office said late Saturday a body had been found after a twin-engine cargo plane carrying three passengers crashed into a bay east of Houston earlier. Chambers County Sheriff Brian Hawthorn said at a news conference earlier that "it's probably a crash that nobody would be capable of surviving."

The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) issued an alert on the Boeing 767 after losing radio contact approximately 30 miles southeast of Houston's George Bush Intercontinental Airport.

Video from CBS affiliate KHOU showed wreckage in the shallow water of Trinity Bay. There was rain in the area when air traffic control lost contact with the plane.
 

Gordon_R

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#3
I was reading on one of the aviation forums. The crash seems rather mysterious at this stage, since the B767 has a very good safety record. There are few ideas for the cause of such a sudden loss of control (no mayday was received). The water is very shallow, but high impact speeds mean that debris recovery will be difficult.

The flight was carrying packages for Amazon delivery. There is huge amount of logistics and transport behind all those online purchases...

Edit: Already a Wikipedia page: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Atlas_Air_Flight_3591

Edit: Possible factor, quite an old aircraft, with a rather high number of flight hours and takeoff cycles:
According to FAA records, the airframe had accumulated more than 90,000 hours over 23,000 flights prior to its hull loss.
 
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Daruk

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#5
Ouch... I wonder if I was partly responsible... ordered 5 goodies for delivery to Austin just last week.
20k takeoffs is insane.

I’d better not tell my grandkids, they’re big transformers fans.
 

eg2505

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#7
fire on board? from lithium batteries stored in the hold?
as how did it lose contact and then crash? maybe a in flight fire caused the communication to cease?
 

gamer16

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#8
I really do pity air traffic controllers, noticing something wrong and not receiving a response, coming to the realization that you have lost a plane must be terrible.
 

Gordon_R

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#11
The NTSB has released an investigatory update based on the FDR, which paints a disturbing picture: https://www.flightglobal.com/news/a...-767-dove-after-turbulence-and-column-456565/

when the airplane’s indicated airspeed was steady about 230kt (426km/h), the engines increased to maximum thrust and the airplane pitch increased to about 4° nose up and then rapidly pitched nose down to about 49° in response to column input
CCTV footage of the last few seconds of the flight:
 
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ponder

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#12
Boeing seems to be in a bad place right now, haven't heard a flying citroen joke for a while....
 

Gordon_R

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#13
Seems to be crew error, with overworked pilots under pressure: https://www.businessinsider.com/amazon-air-pilots-labor-issues-2019-2?IR=T

In conversations with Business Insider in the weeks before the crash, several pilots who fly planes for Amazon Air said they thought an accident was inevitable. The rapid growth of Amazon's air-cargo empire, coupled with the low pay, had led to inexperienced pilots taking to the skies, veteran pilots said.
The pilots described difficulties in attracting experienced pilots, training they considered shoddy, experience with fatigue, plummeting morale, and pay that's considerably lower than at other cargo carriers.
They said they have seen their pay and benefits erode over the past decade. Amazon Air pilots have been in contract disputes with their employers for nearly five years. Several of the pilots Business Insider spoke with are retired, and others have already left the companies.
 

Gordon_R

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#14
Leaked information from an aviation forum. Unconfirmed, but if true its pilot error: https://texasfishingforum.com/forum...s/13123493/houston-amazon-767-crash-23-feb-19
During the approach, at about 6,000 FT (being flown by the first officer), the Captain reached around the throttle quadrant to extend the flaps to the next position after being called to do so by the first officer (pilot flying)… very normal.

In many aircraft including the 767, that’s a very odd/difficult repositioning of your hand (from the left seat, all the way around to the right side of the center console), and requires intimate familiarity and slow deliberate motion to do successfully.

Well in any case, it was not done so this time. The captain accidently hit the “go around” switch while bringing his hand around for the flaps, which brought both engines up to full power. In the landing configuration, as this aircraft was transitioning into, that obviously causes a vast increase in lift… and the first officer (pilot flying) used everything he had to force the nose back down.

Still not sure why that occurred, as the crew should have just “gone around” and tried it again when properly configured… but they did not. And that started in motion a chain of events that lead to tragedy.

As the First Officer over-rotated downward, again with the engines at full power, the aircraft quickly accelerated and approached something we’re all trained to handle (at least in good training environments)… an “upset recovery”, countered by NON-AUTOMATION and basic “stick and rudder skills”.

This captain however, in turn, grabbed the controls without using positive command (“I’ve got”, “My aircraft”, or anything normally done), and countered the F/O’s control input by completely hauling his control column full aft… remember, while the F/O is pushing full forward.

In the process of doing that, he broke the “shear pin” on his control column (a device/mechanical safety interlock used to separate a control column from the “innards” of the control architecture in the event one control column is doing something it should not)… and that occurred here.

The captain, a few seconds later, now accelerating downward out of the control envelope of the 767 (remember, all of this started at 6000 FT and probably took less time to get to the fatal point than it did to read this far), recognizes the has no control column and then asks the F/O to pull up, get the nose up, or something to that affect. It isn’t 100% clear what he says.

The F/O then tries to pull aft on his column (going from full forward to full aft), but isn’t getting the response he needs, because the aircraft is out of the envelope of controllability and the controls are “air-loaded” in position.

At about 2000 FT, eventually the trim motors are able to start overcoming the air-load, and the aircraft begins to attempt to arrest its rate of descent… but alas it’s far too little, far too late, and the aircraft impacts about 30-40 degrees nose down, with what is believed to be about 4-5000 FT / minute rate of descent.
The trigger is entirely the opposite of the B737 MAX crashes, but the end result is unfortunately rather similar...
 
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