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Cali Flight Crash

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  • Cali Flight Crash

    Weather Channel discussed a bunch of controlled flight into terrain crashes. They ended with the one most familiar to me. But I can't find an answer to a question I have. The pilots typed the letter R because navigational charts had that for an intermediate station on their path to Cali. It caused the plane to change course heading east. Here's what I'm wondering in terms of their late response. Even if you use automation, don't you have instruments that register that you are no longer heading in a compass direction you expect to head? Is this a case where pilots programmed a flight computer and then failed to confirm from instruments that their programming performed as expected? I had other questions. Such as whether this was the one and only time the whole crew did this run? And then there was the one where Cali suggested a different runway, the captain said it would make their landing preparations difficult, yet he still "accepted" the runway change. They say Cali had no radar, and I'm just thinking with all the risk factors, the pilot should have insisted on keeping everything normal that could be kept normal. Excessive confidence?

  • #2
    The swiss cheese reared its stinky head again. There were several issues that came up.

    - Instead of an 01 rw landing, they switched to 190, ~180 degrees apart and certainly a different approach path. So they had to quickly change a bunch of stuff. You'd think it would be easier, but...
    - They cleared out all their waypoints. And as they were trying to redo them, they managed to enter a wrong one (well, the charts were wrong too). And while they were redoing them, they managed to pass the first one they should have come across, so more rework.
    - Given the new approach, they also needed to rush their altitude change.
    - It was dark (21:30H). If they had daylight I presume seeing the mountains they were in would have been way easier.
    - No radar at the facility
    - They didn't realize they were screwed up, both in direction they took and in their rushed "redo" of the approach.


    • #3
      I am kind of vaguely aware of the many things that went wrong. But I guess my main question is cannot a captain say "too much change, we gotta back out and do our approach again so the landing is done correctly"? It seems like the cockpit management just tries to take flight plan changes and MAKE THEM WORK". Short of running out of fuel, I just cannot see how a veteran pilot would make that judgment. I mean, what percentage of crashes can be tracked back to a failure to do a goaround that is indicated? Is it rare, or is it some repetitive thing that indicates a basic failure in decisionmaking?