I have watched a MAYDAY documentary (season 15 episode 10) and it appeared they had a reverse thrust problem. Can someone please explain to me what really happened in simpler terms?

I have watch the scenes multiple times but don't understand what had happened. Was it pilot error or something else?

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    $\begingroup$ Did you read en.wikipedia.org/wiki/…? It is written in fairly layman's terms. Is anything still not clear after reading it? $\endgroup$ – DeepSpace Jun 4 '20 at 16:14
  • $\begingroup$ Agreed, this is well explained by the Wikipedia article. Not sure if that merits closing the question though? There's nothing we can really add to that summary IMO. $\endgroup$ – zymhan Jun 4 '20 at 16:45
  • $\begingroup$ Maybe I need to start checking out Wikipedia, I wasn't certain the information was accurate. Thanks guys. $\endgroup$ – Asynchronous Jun 4 '20 at 17:18
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    $\begingroup$ @Asynchronous in that case you'd better ask about what you think is not accurate. Wikipedia is sourced so that you can read sources by yourself. In general, the TV show mayday is made for TV, i.e. it is made to be visually impressive and dramatic (emphasizing spectacular facts) and time constraint (not developing some significant contributing factors) $\endgroup$ – Manu H Jun 4 '20 at 20:24

If I may paraphrase the Wikipedia article on the accident...

The Fokker 100 aircraft had a safety feature to throttle back an engine in the case its thrust reverser deployed during climb or cruise. Unfortunately, there was no indicator or alarm to notify the crew of the unintended thrust reverser deployment.

On the accident takeoff, a faulty switch cause uncommanded thrust reverser deployment. The throttle was retarded automatically. The crew, not knowing why the throttle had moved, manually overrode it. This left the plane with insufficient climb power.

Also, the crew had no training in this scenario, as training had been deemed unnecessary by the aircraft manufacturer.

So I don't think you can simply blame this accident on pilot error.

  • $\begingroup$ Yeah they were pushed into brain lock pretty quickly. On the CRJ200 you can't mistake what's going on. It has a spring jack back on the engine that basically slams the thrust lever back with quite a bit of force if the reverser unlocks (it has to overcome the friction of a long teleflex cable), and if your thumb is in the way it'll likely be dislocated. We were trained to only push on the thrust lever handles with the heel of the hand, keeping the thumb on top. $\endgroup$ – John K Jun 5 '20 at 0:24

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