Questions tagged [accident-investigation]

Use only when final reports are released or for the process of investigating accidents. Questions inviting speculation or opinions are off-topic.

Filter by
Sorted by
Tagged with
72 votes
7 answers
16k views

What do aircraft accident investigators do in between incidents?

Consider aircraft accident investigators in your average first- or second-world nation. Something like the US NTSB, the French BEA, the Canadian TSB, the Australian TSB, ... (whichever you happen to ...
user avatar
  • 6,904
61 votes
3 answers
13k views

Is the NTSB hostile to pilots, as depicted in the movie 'Sully'?

This is based upon events portrayed in the movie Sully. If the film is taken at face value, what we basically see is a (fairly brazen) stitch-up attempt by the NTSB (National Transportation Safety ...
user avatar
  • 715
46 votes
4 answers
8k views

What happens to aircraft wreckage?

A small private plane (Piper) crashed near where I live a few years ago. Both occupants were killed. The crash site is on the top of a ridge in dense forest. Reaching the site would require a hike of ...
user avatar
34 votes
6 answers
9k views

Why can't the A320's computer-imposed limits be overridden?

Under the investigation section of US Airways Flight 1549, it is noted that [The pilot] asserted that insufficient credit was given to the A320's fly-by-wire design, by which the pilot uses a side-...
user avatar
  • 10.1k
33 votes
6 answers
13k views

Has any accident been prevented by bending or breaking the rules?

I wonder if there is an incident that pilots saved the plane or minimized the damage by bending or breaking the rules like Sully? (As it's known Sullenberger started the APU at first which was the ...
user avatar
  • 361
31 votes
5 answers
20k views

Why didn’t the Captain of Cathay Pacific flight 780 shut down engine 1 and land with a more reasonable speed?

In the approach phase, engine 1 of Cathay Pacific flight 780 got stuck at about 70% N1 and it forced the crew to do an overspeed landing (230knots). Why didn't they shut it off by turning the fuel ...
user avatar
  • 421
27 votes
4 answers
6k views

Why are test crashes not made harder on the airframe?

This is one of the videos of the crash: 727 Test Crash. It seems it was more of a hard landing without gears. Why wouldn't the experimenters have made it more of a really hard crash if they needed to ...
user avatar
27 votes
2 answers
20k views

Why is the FDR and CVR put into water again after a water crash?

When a plane crashes in the water and the investigator team looks for the FDR and CVR, why do they put it in a container of water when they find it ?
user avatar
  • 771
25 votes
5 answers
10k views

Is this one of the engines from the 9/11 aircraft?

I ran across an interesting set of post-9/11 photos and I noticed this picture in particular: The closest item on the truck looks a bit like an airplane engine, but I can't tell for sure. Is it one ...
user avatar
25 votes
2 answers
9k views

Why was Pan Am Flight 103 flying over Lockerbie?

Pan Am Flight 103 was a flight from Frankfurt to Detroit with stops in London and New York. Why after taking off in London did it fly all the way to Lockerbie instead of going directly to New York? ...
user avatar
23 votes
3 answers
2k views

Can this aircraft wreckage be identified?

I live in Salinas (central coast California) and there’s an old plane wreck (located within the boundaries of Toro Park County Park in a remote section). On a hike yesterday, we located and took some ...
user avatar
  • 231
23 votes
3 answers
2k views

Why are FDRs and CVRs still two separate physical devices?

Given the histories of flight data recorders and cockpit voice recorders, I somewhat understand their origins as two separate physical devices. Given their separate tracks of development, regulatory ...
user avatar
  • 231
23 votes
1 answer
4k views

Why do chunks of aircraft debris float?

In reading about various theories of what happened to flight MH370, there's a lot of discussion about it possibly crashing into the ocean, breaking up, and pieces of the aircraft floating hundreds of ...
user avatar
  • 333
21 votes
3 answers
12k views

How could the Helios 522 passengers have survived so long without oxygen?

I've noticed some strange inconsistencies regarding the documentation of Helios Airways Flight 522. So first: Autopsies on the crash victims showed that all were alive at the time of impact But ...
user avatar
  • 10.1k
21 votes
4 answers
5k views

Why does it take months, sometimes years, for the BEA and NTSB to complete aviation accident investigations?

I'm aware that there is a lot that goes into an aircraft accident investigation, so I understand that the investigations take a long time for a reason. But what I don't know is what those reasons ...
user avatar
  • 23.6k
20 votes
5 answers
6k views

Why does the autopilot disengage even when it does not receive pilot input?

After having read the disturbing https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/1999_South_Dakota_Learjet_crash I'm left with the question as to why the computer allows for the autopilot to be disengaged when there ...
user avatar
19 votes
2 answers
6k views

Why does the NTSB release transcripts of Cockpit Voice Recordings, but not the actual recordings?

From what I have read it is illegal for the National Transportation Safety Board to release Cockpit Voice Recordings, while they are allowed to release its transcripts. From AirDisaster: It is ...
user avatar
18 votes
2 answers
12k views

How is aircraft control positively transferred between pilot flying and pilot not-flying?

I am watching the video NTSB Animation Flight 1549 Hudson River Landing US Airways (Youtube) and at 0:36 in the video, after the bird strike, you see the following dialogue: ...
user avatar
18 votes
1 answer
5k views

Can flight data recorders be hacked?

In the event of a plane crash such as MH17, and the flight data recorders (FDR, a.k.a. "black boxes") are potentially in the "wrong hands", is it theoretically possible to: open the FDR and close it ...
user avatar
  • 623
17 votes
2 answers
4k views

How do investigators always know the logged flight time of the pilots?

Almost all incident investigation reports include the flight experience of the both pilots with hour accuracy. For instance, for MH370 just a few small fragments of the plane have ever been found, yet ...
user avatar
  • 11.6k
17 votes
1 answer
1k views

Which commuter flight was forced to land in a cornfield in '96 or '97?

Last night a friend's wife was describing her experience as a child being on a flight that encountered a flock of Canadian geese, where at least one engine was lost to a bird strike. I suspect both ...
user avatar
  • 435
16 votes
2 answers
493 views

What was the forensic process underlying the recent news regarding MH370 debris?

On or about July 30, 2015, the initial news could have been worded like: "debris appears to have come from a Boeing 777". As the story evolved, additional details emerged such as the wreckage being ...
user avatar
  • 3,150
16 votes
2 answers
858 views

Do aircraft manufacturers like Airbus or Boeing charge the airline, when they assist in aircraft accident investigations?

Most of the time, when an aircraft crashes or has an accident, the manufacturer also assists in the investigation. Is this a pro-bono kind of effort on part of the manufacturers, or do they charge the ...
user avatar
  • 9,039
15 votes
2 answers
2k views

Does the FDR record data about the cockpit door lock system?

Does the flight data recorder record whether the cockpit door lock was deliberately used to lock someone out?
user avatar
  • 1,550
15 votes
1 answer
977 views

How can investigators tell the difference between impact damage and explosion damage when investigating debris from a crash?

When reading this article on the debris they found from Flight MH370 they mention a lab in France that is supposed to be able to look at the debris (a flaperon), and figure out if the flight had ...
user avatar
  • 23.6k
14 votes
4 answers
9k views

Can the autopilot (or stall avoidance system?) of the B737 MAX 8 be overridden by sheer force?

A New York Times article from today about the Lion Air Flight 610 crash claims that in order to control the airplane the pilot could have braced his feet on the dashboard and yanked the yoke, or ...
user avatar
14 votes
2 answers
3k views

Is there any disadvantage to having the de-icing system on?

I was watching Mayday S11E02 about West Caribbean airways flight 708 and the pilots turned off the de-icing system partway through the flight. It's not why it crashed, but I was curious as to if there ...
user avatar
  • 2,096
14 votes
4 answers
2k views

Can computer imposed inputs be overridden on the Boeing 737-MAX?

During Lion Air Flight 610, a Boeing 737-MAX, it seems that the angle of attack sensors caused the software to believe the aircraft was stalling, thus initiating a nose-down pitch to recover from the (...
user avatar
  • 10.1k
14 votes
3 answers
2k views

Are aviation accident investigation reports always made public?

How is the dissemination of aviation accident investigation reports regulated? Are the reports public by default, or can they be kept secret? Are there any known rules on this? If the reports are ...
user avatar
  • 10.6k
14 votes
1 answer
1k views

How could a failed left wing cause a roll to the right?

The crash of Continental Express flight 2574 in 1991 (see also this question) was caused by faulty maintenance to the de-icing boot on the left horizontal stabilizer. This became detached in flight, ...
user avatar
14 votes
1 answer
416 views

How did this incident report detailing a flight taking off and landing at Glasgow result in safety changes at a distant airport?

While reading this report detailing a tire failure and actions taken, I noticed a peculiarity: The flight took off and landed at Glasgow without continuing to Malta (its intended destination) yet the ...
user avatar
  • 354
13 votes
2 answers
5k views

Why don't black boxes send a signal when above water?

Cockpit Voice Recorder and Flight Data Recorder's "Underwater locator beacons" only send their position when underwater. Why don't they do so when not underwater?
user avatar
13 votes
3 answers
2k views

Is there any obvious warning when auto-pilot is disengaged or when the mode changes?

Under the investigation section of the First Air Flight 6560 incident, it describes the catalyst for the accident: The approach was entirely flown on autopilot, which was correctly set to capture ...
user avatar
  • 10.1k
13 votes
3 answers
852 views

Does a system exist that can bulk process satellite data to find a plane lost over ocean?

The case of the lost Malaysian Airlines plane is tragic for all those involved. In the case of such a plane lost over the ocean, hypothetically (and described very simplistically), it would seem ...
user avatar
  • 1,362
13 votes
2 answers
5k views

Do fighters have black boxes?

Or is it just commercial aircraft? I was watching an episode of Scorpion where an "F-120 Firehawk" crashed and they looked at its black box. So, do normal, non-imaginary fighters have them?
user avatar
  • 2,096
13 votes
1 answer
347 views

Has a passenger's consumer electronic device ever actually caused a crash?

Most of us are familiar with the standard warnings and regulations against passengers using electronic devices (at all during takeoff and landing, and in some cases throughout the flight). This is ...
user avatar
12 votes
4 answers
37k views

Could a pick up truck save a plane with failed landing gear?

I recently saw this fictionalized video. While it's not real, I do wonder if this could be possible, even if not the best way to handle the situation.
user avatar
  • 223
12 votes
1 answer
4k views

How much water pressure can flight recorders withstand?

How deep can black boxes go under water and how much pressure can they withstand while under water before they get crushed? I'm a layman in terms of aviation, so if it's not too much to ask, can you ...
user avatar
  • 121
12 votes
1 answer
3k views

What exactly are "suitcase handles" in a cockpit?

I was watching Seconds From Disaster about Alaska Airlines 261 (the one with the horizontal stabilizer issue) and at one point the copilot tells the pilot to "try the suitcase handles". Is ...
user avatar
  • 121
12 votes
1 answer
492 views

Why was the FDR of flight ET409 extracted from ocean transported dry instead of in water?

I was more than sure that FDR (as good as any other electronic device including magnetic strip, i.e. HDD), after sitting for a few days under the sea or ocean, must unconditionally be transported wet (...
user avatar
  • 3,726
11 votes
3 answers
3k views

What were the safety recommendations following the Aeroperú Flight 603 crash?

I just watched the Mayday Air Crash Investigation about Aeroperú Flight 603 and two questions that weren't answered are: Who was responsible What caused the ATC to relay false altitude information to ...
user avatar
11 votes
3 answers
3k views

Where are the microphones for the black box located in the cockpit?

All modern commercial airliners have a CVR (Cockpit Voice Recorder) on-board to record what the pilots are saying during the duration for a flight. I feel that the location of the microphones is ...
user avatar
  • 3,956
11 votes
2 answers
2k views

Does the NTSB and other investigative agencies charge airlines for investigations?

Does an airline have to pay the investigation team? For example the NTSB? And if Boeing or Airbus participate in the investigation, do they also charge the airlines?
user avatar
11 votes
1 answer
2k views

Is defacing the airline logo of a wrecked airplane illegal?

I was listening to episode #25 of the Hello Internet podcast where Brady Haran mentioned that it's not unheard of for airline employees to rush to their own airplane's respective accident scene to ...
user avatar
  • 3,956
11 votes
1 answer
425 views

Could a larger consumer drone "take down" a passenger plane?

As a frequent flier, I'm just concerned about my own safety. Could a larger consumer drone, such as DJI Inspire, (intentionally) "take down" a passenger plane? When I say take down I mean causing ...
user avatar
11 votes
1 answer
562 views

Has color vision deficiency ever contributed to any incidents in aviation history?

I would like to know if there are any official reports pointing Color Vision Deficiency (CVD) as a major contributing cause of an air accident/incident. Not only related to flying but also maintenance ...
user avatar
  • 707
10 votes
2 answers
2k views

What does Lion Air faking the repair of the AoA vane mean for the Florida repair shop that ceased operations?

This is a lengthy read, but worth it. I'll quote the main piece I am speaking of. At the Bali airport, a vane, known as an angle of attack sensor, was replaced. Crash investigators were presented ...
user avatar
10 votes
2 answers
3k views

Did commercial air planes in 1972 really not have some sort of automatic distress call equipment?

I've recently watched the 1993 movie Alive, "based on" the real events of Uruguayan Air Force Flight 571. I don't know how accurate it was, but the basic idea is that the pilots did a ...
user avatar
  • 109
10 votes
1 answer
2k views

How do witness marks on propeller blades provide data on estimated blade angles at the time of impact?

In the NTSB Powerplant Group Chairman Factual Report for the 2014 crash of the King Air B200 in Wichita Kansas (NTSB# CEN15FA034), I read: "Neither propeller was feathered before impact. Both ...
user avatar
  • 675
10 votes
2 answers
558 views

Is there a Cockpit Video Recorder?

Often we hear about Cockpit Voice Recorders, but are there video recorders?
user avatar
  • 9,039