International commercial air travel has reached levels of safety and convenience which would have been unimaginable just a generation ago. Although almost always extremely tragic events, the lessons from accidents have played an essential role in the process to continue improving aviation safety.
This Lessons Learned from Transport Airplane Accidents library represents some of the most major accidents and their related lessons.
The U. S. Federal Aviation Administration, with support from many other organizations and individuals, plans to continue adding to this material on an annual basis.
The objective is to populate the material with many more of the most historically significant, policy shaping accidents, in order that the lessons that can be learned from their review may be available to all users of the library.
Sadly, on Wednesday 16th November 2016 there was one tragic, unavoidable accident that will be added to the library files.
The pilot of the chartered plane carrying a Brazilian soccer team told air traffic controllers he had run out of fuel and desperately pleaded for permission to land before crashing into the Andes, according to a leaked recording of the final minutes of the doomed flight.
In the sometimes chaotic exchange with the air traffic tower, the pilot of the British-built jet could be heard repeatedly requesting authorization to land because of “fuel problems.”
A female controller explained another plane had been diverted with mechanical problems and had priority, instructing the pilot to wait seven minutes.
As the plane circled in a holding pattern, the pilot grew more desperate.
“Complete electrical failure, without fuel,” he said in the tense final moments before the plane set off on a four-minute death spiral that ended with it slamming into a mountainside Monday night.
Just before going silent the pilot said he was flying at an altitude of 9,000 feet and made a final plea to land: “Vectors, senorita. Landing vectors.”
The recording, obtained by Colombian media, appeared to confirm the accounts of a surviving flight attendant and a pilot flying nearby who overheard the frantic exchange.
These, along with the lack of an explosion upon impact, point to a rare case of fuel running out as a cause of the crash of the jetliner, which experts said was flying at its maximum range.
Planes need to have enough extra fuel on board to fly at least 30 to 45 minutes to another airport in the case of an emergency and rarely fly in a straight line because of turbulence or other reasons.
Before being taken offline, the website of LaMia, the Bolivian-based charter company, said the British Aerospace 146 Avro RJ85 jetliner’s maximum range was 2,965 kilometers (1,600 nautical miles) — just under the distance between Medellin and Santa Cruz, Bolivia, where the flight originated carrying close to its full passenger capacity.
If this is confirmed by the investigators, it would be excruciating because it stems from negligence.
Though advances in technologies that assist commercial pilots — alerting them, for example, to potential conflicts with other aircraft or mountains — have helped reduce accident rates over the past few decades, human factors stubbornly remain at the center of most airline disasters.
In the cockpit, those factors vary greatly but can include distractions, whether work-related or personal; inadequate training; fatigue; poor communication between pilots; and inattentiveness.
One thing no amount of training can legislate for is human greed and stupidity.
Lamia’s airplane Crash In Colombia showed an incredible amount of negligence and stupidity on the part of the captain.
He knowingly operated a flight that was beyond the range of the plane. Rather than diverting or declaring an emergency when the plane still had a chance, he decided to cut corners.
What was his motive? Perhaps that he was a co-owner of the airline, so presumably he was scared of possibly losing contracts with sports teams or being fined by authorities if they discovered what he had done.
The supposed flight plan filed by the captain has been leaked, and it shows an anticipated flight time of 4hr 22min.
Further down on the same flight plan it shows “endurance,” which is how far the plane can fly. The number? Also 4hr 22min.
The fact that this was signed off on is mind-blowing and infuriating, and the captain isn’t the only one who should be held accountable here.
Accidents don’t get more preventable than this. The plane ended up being in the air for 4hr 37min before it ran out of fuel.
You have to wonder how the co-pilot was okay with this. I suspect part of it might be the overall dynamic of having the captain also be a co-owner of the company, which probably made him feel like he didn’t have much say.
While airlines nowadays try to train pilots to speak up when they see something that concerns them, the dynamic here probably didn’t allow that. Interestingly there was another pilot in the cockpit who was on her first official flight, though she wasn’t at the controls.
All plane crashes are extremely tragic, but this one is among the most infuriating.
Sometimes planes crash due to human error and sometimes they crash due to technical failures, but to see someone cut corners to save some cash and risk 77 lives in the process is sickening. The fact that this was allowed to happen and that the flight plan was signed off on makes it even worse.
It’s tough enough to lose family and friends, but losing them to something so preventable must hurt even more.
“Contrary to what people may say there’s no upper limit on stupidity!”
There is a sobering lesson to learn from this tragic event- LIKE it or not, we are all running out of time. According to present standards, a person born in a Western country can expect, on an average, about 26,000 days of life. That’s not many.
If each of those days were a £(GBP), in most cases you would just about be able to purchase a new car.
By the time you are out of school and ready to begin a career, about 18,000 days are left.
When you reach 40, only 11,000 days remain. They cannot be stored in a bank. At death, no amount of money can buy them back. Time and Tide wait for no man!
How many fuel or days do you have left in your tank?
And more importantly, what do you plan to do about it so that you can enjoy those days to the full?
When you stop and think about it, most people spend 40 years of their life working for 40 weeks of the year and usually 40 hours a week so that someone else can have the time and freedom you crave.
Working a regular job takes up a lot of time. Add overtime and commute time to a typical eight-hour workday and the time left for your family is or pursuing other personal interest are fairly limited.
That’s why it is high time you did something about claiming your life back by starting your own home-based business.
P.S. There is a time bandit that is sweeping the world and is highly addictive. Like most addictions, it can devour your precious time, energy and productivity and, by extension, your income. What is it?
I will reveal all in the blog post…
Thought for the day
“Time is the coin of your life… It is the only coin you have,
and only you can determine how it will be spent.
Be careful lest you let other people spend it for you.”
– Carl Sandburg