Moon of Alabama Brecht quote
February 06, 2020

Bad Weather, Pilot Error Likely Caused The Pegasus Airline Accident - But Why Did The Plane Break Up?

Yesterday a Turkish airplane crash landing killed three and injured some 179 people. The accident of the Boeing 737-800 seems to have been caused by a pilot mistake. But on a different airplane the outcome might have been better.

The Pegasus Airlines flight 2193 was arriving from Izmir, on Turkey’s west coast. At the time of the landing at the Istanbul-Sabiha Gökçen airport on the Asian side of the city there was a thunderstorm overhead and the wind was shifty. The air traffic controller had cleared the plane to land with wind information given as 270 degrees at 22 knots, gusting to 30 knots. This translated to a 19 knot tailwind. The 3000 meter long runway was wet.

The Boeing 737-800 is one of the Next Generation series not of the 737 MAX series. The maximum allowed tailwind for this type during landing is 15 knots. The pilots should never have attempted to land under the prevailing conditions. They did it anyway but came in too high and too fast. They missed the landing zone by a large margin. The Flightradar24 granular data shows that the plane touched ground nearly 2000 meter behind the landing zone. The runway has only a short safety zone of 65 meters at the end of the runway. The ICAO standard asks for a 300 meter safety zone.


Source - bigger

The plane overrun the end of the runway at 64 knots and went down a 30 20 meter embankment. There the fuselage broke into three parts. Luckily no large fire broke out. Some footage of the landing can be seen here.


bigger

A safe landing under the prevailing conditions was difficult. The pilots attempted to land but clearly missed the landing zone. At that point they should have made a go-around. There is a switch on the autothrottle of the plane for exactly that purpose. It increases the engine thrust to the maximum and allows the pilots to climb out of such a situation. Why the pilots did not do this is yet unknown.

The Turkish budget carrier Pegasus has a rich history of accidents.

Andreas Spaeth @SpaethFlies - 15:47 UTC · Feb 6, 2020

The #737 accident of @flymepegasus yesterday in #Istanbul SAW is the second runway excursion in four weeks and sixth grave incident since 2014 according to @JacdecNew database. Safety culture at the carrier seems to be a serious problem.

Bad weather, bad runway, bad airline, bad pilots are the likely factors in this accident. But the outcome would have been much better if the fuselage of the plane had stayed intact.

In this incident the 737-NG fuselage broke into three parts. The sight is familiar to those who have seen the Al Jazeerah documentary On a wing and a prayer (vid). It is about Boeing whistleblowers who discovered that one supplier delivered defective and misfitting fuselage parts but were told to shut up by Boeing's management. The misfitting parts were installed on 737 NG planes and are suspected to be responsible for several fuselage break ups of 737 NGs involved in landing accidents

Here are screenshots from the documentary of such examples.


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That 737 NG fuselages are prone to break apart is one of the skeletons in Boeing's closet. That the regulators have never intervened on this issue is curious. The reasons are likely the same ones that let the faulty Boeing 737 MAX design slip through the FAA's oversight.

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Previous Moon of Alabama posts on Boeing and 737 MAX issues:

Posted by b on February 6, 2020 at 19:45 UTC | Permalink

Comments

I wonder if Boeing's lawyers and accountants did a cost/benefit analysis of lawsuits versus (re)building these aircraft correctly? How much does a dead passenger cut into profits?

Posted by: NoOneYouKnow | Feb 6 2020 20:03 utc | 1

How much does a dead passenger cut into profits?

Not enough.

Posted by: AshenLight | Feb 6 2020 20:06 utc | 2

Very informative piece. Thanks, MoA.

Posted by: David G | Feb 6 2020 20:22 utc | 3

cost/benefit analysis? The real cost is the loss of market. A grounded fleet and stopped purchases turned profitable company into one with losses, the difference of many billion dollars. Market capitalization dropped by 100 billions, although from insane level. Now, 200 billion for unprofitable company, the current status, is still a bit pricy...

Boeing, like its duopoly partner Airbus had mishaps in the past and recovered. The situation is a bit different because the competition may be widened. Russians, Chinese, Brazilians are "waiting in the wings".

Posted by: Piotr Berman | Feb 6 2020 20:36 utc | 4

A stupid question: isn't it easier for the passengers to escape from a plane that is in pieces? And do people fly in reconditioned wrecks when they do not fall apart?

Posted by: Piotr Berman | Feb 6 2020 20:38 utc | 5

Boeing's Responsibility Concealed during Turkish Airlines Deadly 2009 Crash Investigation, New Report Finds

Alleged interference by Boeing in the “independent” investigation report by Dutch OVV, renowned for the MH-17 findings.

Turkish Airlines Flight 1951, a Boeing 737-800, departed Istanbul-Atatürk International Airport (IST) for a flight to Amsterdam-Schiphol International Airport (AMS), The Netherlands.

Posted by: Oui | Feb 6 2020 20:43 utc | 6

thanks b... your last statement is especially scary.. it seems like boeings problems go from bad to worse... at what point does boeing rebrand itself??

@ piotr... i doubt they rebuild these planes after this, although they can probably salvage some of the parts...

Posted by: james | Feb 6 2020 20:43 utc | 7

In the aljazeera video wing and prayer they say that they see 30 year corrosion at 8 years... How old is this particular aircraft?

Thanks, b

Posted by: Walter | Feb 6 2020 20:58 utc | 8

I've flown on that airline a few years ago.The standout memory was how fast the pilot flew the final leg to touchdown, with a predictable (very) hard landing. Seems like these are all ex-military pilots who are taught to plant the aircraft properly.

Posted by: hosscara | Feb 6 2020 21:08 utc | 9

Boeing's problem? The tower apparently cleared the plane for a strong down-wind landing. WHAT ??

The picture indicates the plane touched down well past half of the runway. Airplanes are not made to skid to a stop in a gravel pit.

Posted by: olde reb | Feb 6 2020 21:09 utc | 10

@ piotr

The process of breaking up a fuselage is deformation and tearing of the metal, not to mention all the ballistic items flailing around. Yes, it is easier for survivors to exit their seating areas, emphasis on the word, survivor.

Posted by: Bardi | Feb 6 2020 21:23 utc | 11

Piotr Berman @ 5:

I see your point if the plane were to fall apart while on the ground after it has stopped moving and the emergency exits are jammed for some reason. Then it would be in passengers' interests to use any escape point possible especially if a fire breaks out and there is the risk of an explosion.

I hardly think wrecked planes can be rebuilt as they could develop stress points after the accident that themselves are a consequence of the accident and fixing these as well as rebuilding the plane could cost more than building a new jet.

Posted by: Jen | Feb 6 2020 21:37 utc | 12

Given that it is Boeing, the management will recommend the use of parachutes deployable from the tail, like those the returning Space Shuttle used on each landing.

Posted by: Bart Hansen | Feb 6 2020 21:39 utc | 13

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FTdTu2BHius

Runway Overrun Istanbul Turkey B737-800 5 Feb Pegasus #2193

Juan Browne at YouTube, his channel blancolirio did an excellent job of explaining why the plane broke apart: there is a big ditch at the end of the runway and before the fence and that broke the plane.

I was at the Boeing factory - The plane is made just strong enough to fly people around. That is how things work. They told me that they are not in the business of flying metal around. And this was when they were still a good company. It was pilot error and the ditch and not the fault of the Boeing.

Posted by: meshpal | Feb 6 2020 21:51 utc | 14

olde reb | Feb 6 2020 21:09 utc | 10 break on landing

In fact they're supposed to stay together in a crash...see that video. They crashed a 707 on purpose just to show ya.

Posted by: Walter | Feb 6 2020 21:52 utc | 15

Oui @ 6:

Yes, the Turkish Airlines Boeing passenger jet crashed in 2009 in eerily similar circumstances to those in which the Lion Air and Ethiopian Airlines jets crashed in 2019 and 2019 respectively.

Disturbingly also, the passengers who died in the crash - the Turkish Airlines flight crew died and four passengers out of 128 died - happened to be Boeing employees carrying apparently confidential military information on laptops. There were reports that the rescue operation was delayed by American officials leaning on the Dutch to get the laptops out first before rescuers could approach the aircraft.

Posted by: Jen | Feb 6 2020 21:57 utc | 16

Bart Hansen @ 13:

I can see Boeing rebranding itself as a pioneer in runway drag-racing. It'd have to be a very long runway though and the parachutes have to be able to withstand the stresses of racing at nearly 1,000 kph.

What a great idea you had. Well done!

Posted by: Jen | Feb 6 2020 22:01 utc | 17

About the design and strength of an aircraft. At the Boeing factory, I saw what I thought was a template for the outer skin of the 737 airplane. The engineer who was my guide told me that it was not a template but rather the real metal outer shell. I then tried to explain to this senior Boeing engineer that this was not possible – it was too thin. Similar to a can of tuna. I then added that when I enter one of their fine aircraft, I notice how nice and thick the metal is around the door of the airplane. Of course I was painfully naive. The Boeing engineer explained to me that it is only thick right around the door and this panel that I was looking at, was even thinner in the middle, that they chemically etch the metal away where it does not need to be so thick. He told me that they are in the business of moving passengers around and not metal.

In reality, you just need a can opener to cut yourself out of a modern airplane. That is just a fact of life.

Posted by: meshpal | Feb 6 2020 22:25 utc | 18

- Some 15 years ago a friend told me that the word "Capitalism" had become/would become a "four letter word". At that time I thought that he was (a bit) "off his rocker". But as time went by I came across more and more stories that made me realize more and more that he wasn't "off his rocker" with that remark.
- Especially the entire story of how Boeing has "behaved" (stock buy backs etc., etc. all detailed here on this blog) did help me to understand that he was right with his comment.

Posted by: Willy2 | Feb 6 2020 22:32 utc | 19

While I agree that the scandal with the 737-NGs is a disgrace and should have been prosecuted, do you realize that when you write that it “went down a 30 meter embankment,” you’re saying it dropped the equivalent of 12 floors. I can’t believe any airplane would remain intact after that.

The 737s that are featured in the Al Jazeera documentary split apart after very hard landings, not after falling 12 floors!

Posted by: Steve | Feb 6 2020 22:33 utc | 20

ATC established the conditions, the pilot executed the likely error, landing at 19 knots down wind on a 3000 foot runway.. .with .max xwind component 15 knots takes some real skill.
Did I miss something here.. Not used to landing in 19 knot down winds on short runways. how long was the straight in portion of the approach.. and what was the height ABOVE touchdown and airspeed @ the start of the final approach ?

Posted by: snake | Feb 6 2020 23:06 utc | 21

@ 18 meshpal.. maybe they can provide can openers to all the passengers in the case of an emergency? i guess box cutters are still not allowed...

Posted by: james | Feb 6 2020 23:15 utc | 22

I'll reinforce Steve's observation here. Adding to the fall height is it's speed and angle of impact. This was not a tail strike which a plane is relatively prepared to accommodate, this was a "cockpit strike". The break points don't look surprising here, as opposed to break points occurring at eventual out of spec fuselage structure resulting from "mere" sliding on a runway ending.

Posted by: Vasco da Gama | Feb 6 2020 23:21 utc | 23

The thickness of the metal skin is not so important. The thickness of metal struts and reinforcement ribs is vital, and so is their state, which can be affected by poor machining, off-axis drilling, drilling multiple holes because the first ones were wrong, poorly dimensioned parts, wonky tolerances,wrong surface finish etc.

Posted by: ErGalimba | Feb 6 2020 23:28 utc | 24

@ meshpal | Feb 6 2020 22:25 utc | 18

"In reality, you just need a can opener to cut yourself out of a modern airplane. That is just a fact of life."

Well not quite -- there are several layers of other kinds of materials in between the outer, metal skin and the passengers. I know, I used to install all that stuff.

Posted by: AntiSpin | Feb 6 2020 23:39 utc | 25

Remember when planes shells were made of fabric?

Planes are designed to fly, not crash or overrun runways. Need better pilots in some of these places

Given how lightly constructed these planes are made, makes you wonder at the damage caused on 9/11. Of course, the engines are solid, but not much else is.

Boeing has its problems, Pegasus Airlines incidents will be far down the list.

Posted by: Pft | Feb 6 2020 23:52 utc | 26

I also don't think, like meshpal @14, that it is not really the fault of the aircraft construction. Of course there are differences. Some hulls break easier than others. But I've seen too much accident landings and wind situations to blame it to the Boeing company. If the winds are too strong, the crew has to find an alternative. What if there is no alternative? What would you do, if you sat in the cockpit?

Posted by: Phil | Feb 7 2020 0:01 utc | 27

I strongly recommend watching the documentary that b linked to and gave screenshots from before hazarding any conjectures.

This plane broke at the same point the other planes broke, which is where the defective parts supplied by the Boeing sub-contractor were hammered and re-drilled to fit by the Boeing assemblers. These parts formed an integral component of the structural strength of the plane and were supposed to be machined by computer. Instead, they were made by hand, hugely out of tolerance.

The Boeing whistleblowers who revealed all this went the the US Dept of Justice, and that august body conspired with FAA to conceal all this evidence.

You can say all you want that landing in a ditch is not how you fly a plane, and that's fair comment. But building this plane the way it was built is absolutely not the way you make a structure that is safe as a passenger plane. It was contrary to the certified specs.

The 737-NG was built illegally. It was certified to be built according to certain standards and those standards were violated at the factory level during the very creation process. The result is not the crash but the break-up of the fuselage during the crash. And yes, the fracture along the now-recognizable fault lines does cause more death than if no such fracture occurs.

What the whistleblowers found to their dismay is that the entire US government was in collusion with this crime. The scandal is far bigger than Boeing.

Posted by: Grieved | Feb 7 2020 0:44 utc | 28

And the documentary b links to actually shows actual live footage of the defective parts being made by hand, as well as testimony from assemblers at Boeing of how they were ordered by management to make these parts fit. The film I think was taken by the very Boeing inspectors sent to inspect the sub-contractor facility, who then turned whistleblower when their report was ignored by their bosses.

These parts were large, kind of like bands that held the entire fuselage together. They were key to its integral strength.

What's astonishing is how the sub-contractor managed to do this for so long without a care in the world, and why it would even want to, and how much easier it apparently was for Boeing to co-opt the US government into collusion than to force a hired sub-contractor to make the parts correctly.

So what kind of mafia-like operation was this anyway?

Posted by: Grieved | Feb 7 2020 1:04 utc | 29

Here's an excellent explanation by Juan Brown (Blancolirio channel) of why planes are designed to break at certain places:

https://youtu.be/XReQNKbIkdw

Posted by: Greg | Feb 7 2020 1:20 utc | 30

Sorry, Meshpal already posted Juan's link.

Posted by: Greg | Feb 7 2020 1:25 utc | 31

Grieved @ 28, 29 and anyone else who is interested:

Here you go, a list of suppliers and the materials and parts they supply for the Boeing 737 passenger jet model.

Spirit AeroSystems is listed as the supplier of fuselages for the Boeing 737. The company has recently had its own issues with subcontractor shortages and delays in the supply of parts from its suppliers.

Could be that Spirit AeroSystems is using cheap subcontractors (who in turn rely on other cheap suppliers) to supply cheap and substandard parts or is cutting corners in its own manufacturing processes. Boeing's own processes in welding fuselage parts together must also come under scrutiny.

It seems to be that with suppliers hiring other suppliers who in turn hire other suppliers, and at each stage of the process any of these suppliers could be skimping on doing or making things properly so as to save time and money, the responsibility for making a sub-par end product - an entire passenger jet - is more and more diffused with no-one in particular and everyone being in some way responsible for defects leading to crashes and tragedies.

Posted by: Jen | Feb 7 2020 1:29 utc | 32

The 737 Max is garbage and I would argue the 737-700 and 800's were also "stretched" too much to make it a bigger plane. The 737 started as a smaller plane for probably at the most 100 passengers. It has been stretched to the point that Boeing tried to make the 737 Max a new 757. The 757 being a wonderful older plane that still flies.

I was on a 737-700 or 800 recently on a landing with a 25 knot crosswind near the ocean. I thought my number was up. I flew back on a A321 Airbus which is a very nice plane.

If the airport had 30 knot tailwinds and the most they should try to land is 15 knots - why didn't they close the airport or traffic controllers warned them?

Posted by: Jerry | Feb 7 2020 3:38 utc | 33

- @B: Where are the pictures ?

Posted by: Willy2 | Feb 7 2020 6:32 utc | 34

I'm with Steve | Feb 6 2020 22:33 utc | 20 & Vasco da Gama | Feb 6 2020 23:21 utc | 23 on the fuselage break-up. The plane slithered off the end of the runway at 64knots = 72mph = 115 kph and was probably going faster than that when it hit the ground after falling 30m/100ft.
A collision at 115kmh with an immovable object is a serious crash no matter the type and size of vehicle.

It was probably "better" for some of the passengers that the fuselage broke up and it would be interesting to hear whether there was a different spread of injuries between the occupants of chunks 1, 2 & 3.

DW News showed footage of the last few seconds of the incident and the flames/sparks coming from beneath the cockpit suggests that the nose wheel had collapsed. It's going to be hard to pin any blame on Boeing for a landing which touched down 2/3rds of the way along the runway - with a tail wind, imo.

Posted by: Hoarsewhisperer | Feb 7 2020 6:52 utc | 35

I disagree a little bit with b, the pilots made a grave error but (and I know this is not at all the intent here by b) "bad pilot" will unfortunately be used to hide all other errors. To be a pilot today is often essentially the job of being the designated scapegoat.

Here's a pet peeve of mine:

"Safety culture at the carrier seems to be a serious problem."
"Safety culture" is always an euphemism isn't it? Predatory management (both at Boeing and Pegasus and elsewhere) is always the prime suspect and close to always given a pass by investigators because it's too contentious and difficult to prove (all pain, no gain) and paints a big target on your back.

And when people object they all too often politicize and ideologize which in turn often (but not always!) means that all they achieve is to make the problem larger (and sometimes that was the intent to begin with for political gain).

Other times the solutions end up being draconian and bureaucratic to the extreme without any leeway or allowance for context and personal responsibility, causing disrespect and apathy towards rules and regulations in general and breeding virtue out of people/"livestock" as a hidden cost (or as a hidden agenda in the opinion of some) which in turn makes it ever more easy for the predatory management to force their way ie. the complete opposite of the stated intentions of the solutions.

It's not private vs. public or political, it is a never-ending societal, cultural, and global challenge without easy solutions where people not only need the awareness and intelligence to know what's right but also the willingness to risk their livelihood for speaking up: everything no one political in the end wants (no matter what "faith" they claim, particularly in opposition where it is always too easy and profitable to be critical but where hardly anyone even manages to say something as obvious as this comment).

Posted by: Sunny Runny Burger | Feb 7 2020 7:24 utc | 36

can someone please confirm the claim
in this link

Posted by: snake | Feb 7 2020 7:27 utc | 37

It is generally accepted that planes are designed with some thought to survival in mind in the event of a hard landing. Another Boeing shortcut by the looks. Would be interesting to see the difference between the original 737 and their later stretched and modified versions.

Posted by: Peter AU1 | Feb 7 2020 7:28 utc | 38

Planes that fall out of the sky, weapons system that simply don't work, vastly expensive fighter jets (the F-35)that are so bad that the Russians refer to them as 'flying pianos', rotting infrastructure, declining life-spans, a slave labour prison-industrial complex - America's economy has been financialised to death by the corporate psychopaths who really rule the country and now the chickens are coming home to roost...

https://richardhennerley.com/2018/10/16/how-america-was-destroyed-its-psychopathic-elite/

Posted by: Richard | Feb 7 2020 7:29 utc | 39

When travelling by air is it possible to specify the type of planes you don't want to fly?

How does one go about doing this?

Are airlines obliged to honour your wish not to fly in certain aircraft models and types?

Posted by: jiri | Feb 7 2020 7:44 utc | 40

"The air traffic controller had cleared the plane to land with wind information given as 270 degrees at 22 knots, gusting to 30 knots."

Couldn't the plane land from the other end of the runway? It would then have been landing into the wind?

Posted by: jiri | Feb 7 2020 7:47 utc | 41

Flightradar24 is not reliable. As I was tracking my wife to her destination, the airplane went around the airport, returned in an erratic zigzag pattern before crashing in the woods at some 15km from the airport. Moments later I received her "landed safely" message.

Posted by: Joost | Feb 7 2020 8:18 utc | 42

If it's a Boeing, I'm not going...
Why fly at all? If one cannot afford 1st class or business class; then you're packed in like cattle going to slaughter.
After my last 16 hour flight, on a packed plane (coach), I vowed never to set foot in an aircraft again (regardless of manufacturer); that was 13 years ago...so far so good...

Posted by: V | Feb 7 2020 8:43 utc | 43

Joost
Flightradar24 as far as I can make out is Swedish government. I have not been able to find source of funding.

Posted by: Peter AU1 | Feb 7 2020 8:45 utc | 44

can someone please confirm the claim
in this link

Posted by: snake | Feb 7 2020 7:27 utc | 39

The story is not controversial, so the "claim" doesn't need to be confirmed. The area concerned is stuffed with Da'ish. Do you think the US is bothered with truth? US policy in Iraq is only governed by Washington politicians who have no knowledge of, nor interest in, that country, and facts are fitted the the desires.

Posted by: Laguerre | Feb 7 2020 8:49 utc | 45

snake Laguerre

NYT so taken with a pinch of salt, but back when ISIS inhabited southwest Syria, they would send a rocket or two over to Israel to call for help.

Posted by: Peter AU1 | Feb 7 2020 9:19 utc | 46

Boeings are only designed to stay in one piece in normal flying situations. They break apart in mid-air too if subjected to even a small explosion, as seen in the cases of Lockerbie and also MH17.

The 747 in Lockerbie broke in two due to just a half kilo of Semtex near the hull. The 777 in the MH17 case had its front section snapped off by the blast from a warhead outside the cockpit. In both these cases, the explosion was relatively small when considering the size and weight of the aircraft. If just one part of the hull is seriously weakened, the whole thing comes apart.

Posted by: Brendan | Feb 7 2020 9:53 utc | 47

Can I suggest to Boeing, if they ever get any re-approvals for commercial use of 737-MAX, that they re-brand it as the Boeing 737-Pinto?

(With apologies to Ralph Nader)

Posted by: Jon_in_AU | Feb 7 2020 10:09 utc | 48

@Oui #6 and Jen #16

2009 Turkish Airlines crash probe only told half the story – New York Times [via TRT World]

Boeing Frontier: Visit Turkey, home of the AEW&C (airborne early warning and control) Peace Eagle program.

Similar series of events when El Al flight LY1862, a Boeing 747 cargo plane, crashed on a high-rise building Bijlmermeer and Mossad was present on crash-site. A decade later it was revealed the plane carried precursor for chemical warfare … for “lab tests” only.

Posted by: Oui | Feb 7 2020 11:32 utc | 49

Are you retarded? Airplane went of road and dived into a ditch. What did you expect? Everything for you is a CIA and BOIENG conspiracy.
What about the coronavirus? You posted that the west was exaggerating. even the doctor that tried to inform people in the first place died.

Posted by: antiAmericans site | Feb 7 2020 11:39 utc | 50

Exxon-Eastmed-Pipelin-Turkeye

Posted by: snake | Feb 7 2020 11:44 utc | 51

to Jerry Well what would be your opinion of Boeing 767-300er??? Thanks

Posted by: Miss Lacy | Feb 7 2020 12:14 utc | 52

As mentioned several times, Boeing, like many other US Corporations, are criminal entities, just see Dark Waters to see how deep US large Corporations do not give a damn for human life, the only interest is profits, variable compensation and money in their filth pockets. As yourself, who went to jail from all these US large Corporations ? None, that should summarize the subject and implicate Justice, Legislative and Executive powers all together with them, it is one big bag of criminals.

The power is within the people, the ordinary folks, but brainwashing and too risky to leave the comfy life prevent millions to look for real changes for the status quo and to put these criminals to pay dearly.

Posted by: Canthama | Feb 7 2020 12:38 utc | 53

Hang on. Airplanes aren't battleships, they are built very lightly (use less fuel), all their strength is basically in the wing spars so they don't instantly break and plummet from the air in any unusual ugly turbulence.

If the plane was instructed to land with a tail wind, that's the fault of the airport controllers. Not the pilots.

Posted by: Ant. | Feb 7 2020 13:04 utc | 54

My last assignment before retiring from a major US airline was four years as captain on the 737NG. It's an outstanding airplane. This accident is pilot error writ large: Airplane touched down in last 1/3 of a wet runway with 20+ knots of tailwind, off the end at speed and then pitched off a steep embankment. No airplane is going to hold together from that. This accident was caused by gross negligence by the captain, not Boeing.

Posted by: Vic | Feb 7 2020 13:39 utc | 55

@ Ant. | Feb 7 2020 13:04 utc | 57

It is very curious as to why they were asked to land with a tail wind of 20-30 knots. What was the problem with landing from the other end of the runway?

I imagine landing with windspeeds of 20-30 knots would take considerable skill even if landing into the wind.

The situation would have to be pretty dire to choose to land with a tailwind of 20-30 knots. Was this the only option?

Posted by: jiri | Feb 7 2020 13:54 utc | 56

A interesting PPrune comment:

As a person who is always interested in math and statistics, I've done some research on this question that was brought up repeatedly. Here are the comparison between the runway excursion rates of the B737NG vs. the A320 family. I'm not going to state any opinion, take these numbers and interpret as you wish:
Runway excursion hull losses in the past 2 years involving the B737NG (6700 built):
PGT8622: Jan 2018
CXA8667: Aug 2018
UTA579: Sep 2018
ANG73: Sep 2018
BSK293: May 2019
PGT2193: Feb 2020
Runway excursion hull losses in the past 2 years involving the A320 family (9200 built):
N/A
Since the discussion here is mainly around Pegasus Airlines and their training procedures, some have mentioned that if Pegasus had Airbus, they would also have runway excursions with that fleet too. I did some online research into their fleet type vs the accident rate of each type. Again, no opinion here, take the numbers as you wish.
Pegasus has 45 A320 family aircraft, 32 B737NG aircraft. (So about 60% A320, 40% B737). They've had 3 excursion incidents: Jan 2018 (737), Jan 2020 (737), and Feb 2020 (737).

Posted by: b | Feb 7 2020 14:53 utc | 57

Posted by: b | Feb 7 2020 14:53 utc | 57
(A320 vs B737NG excursion incidents)

There are several possible explanations for those stats.
The most mundane/ obvious being that if the A320 is a 'nicer' plane to fly then Pegasus encourages its pilots to lift their game by rewarding the most proficient with a pozzie in an A320.
In the 1970s, trucking companies in Oz (and probably everywhere else on the planet) gave their "best" trucks to their "best" drivers.

Posted by: Hoarsewhisperer | Feb 7 2020 15:40 utc | 58

Boeing finds new flaw on grounded 737 MAX jet
The troubled 737 MAX passenger plane has a software fault that causes an indicator light to light up at the wrong time, Boeing said on Thursday.

Posted by: jpmoshe | Feb 7 2020 16:18 utc | 59

58 Hoarsewisperer

This is really looking for excuses. But implicitly you accept that the 737 -300 is a bitch to fly since
they will not risk a good pilot in them?

Posted by: CarlD | Feb 7 2020 16:19 utc | 60

Whatever explanation is of course interesting on an engineering level, but there also the yerbut evaluation. "yerbut"? Yeah. You want yerbut on one that gets people killed alot, or not?

Posted by: Walter | Feb 7 2020 16:25 utc | 61

Jiri - 56
The question is to which extent Pegasus acts like a greedy cheapskate company. I know that if this were a Ryanair plane, it would barely have enough fuel to go to Ataturk airport instead, so maybe that plane had to land, because it couldn't fly to any other safer airport and would crash before due to lack of fuel.
Though, of course, it might for a totally different reason.

Posted by: Clueless Joe | Feb 7 2020 16:30 utc | 62

ATC: "Cleared to land, Runway 6. Wind 270 at 22, gusting to 30"

PIC: "Negative. Unable"


ATC communications are clearances, not commands. The pilot is in command of the aircraft, and responsible for its safety.

Which is not to negate or disagree with any claims or discussion re other incidents or actions by Boeing personnel or other operators. But this incident, assuming the facts are correct, is as close to a case of 100% pilot error as you can get.

Posted by: Scott Schaefer | Feb 7 2020 17:02 utc | 63

I am really confused. I agree that Boeing is one of the most negligent manufacturers around, but as Scott @63 points out, why would anyone in their right mind land any aircraft or allow a landing with a high wind tailwind? That is insanity. If the tower personnel was directing this, they should be fired.

It is understandable why the pilots missed the landing zone, as they most likely never had a chance to hit it.

Posted by: Michael | Feb 7 2020 17:36 utc | 64

@meshpal

Juan Browne at YouTube, his channel blancolirio did an excellent job of explaining why the plane broke apart: there is a big ditch at the end of the runway and before the fence and that broke the plane.


Have watched that now. Juan Browne is a licensed mechanic and pilot. Not an engineer.

His claim that planes are supposed to break up to diminish energy during crashes is utter nonsense.

There ARE designed breaking points for the engines, the undercarriage and the wings. There are NO designed breakage points for the fuselage because that is where the most valuable stuff sits - the humans. In fact the regulations DEMAND that the fuselage does not break up on impact unless the forces are really extreme.

For the same reason everything in the cabin, seats for example, is designed to withstand an impact with forces of 16 g without coming lose.

Posted by: b | Feb 7 2020 17:45 utc | 65

Almost all car crashes are caused by operator error and yet they are full of air bags, crush zones, etc. Good design and engineering requires anticipating and design around operator errors as much as possible. Yes there are lots of trade-offs but at Boeing all the trade-offs favor the bottom line. And not just 737s:

Boeing 777X’s fuselage split dramatically during September stress test

Boeing's Starliner test flight had a 2nd critical software issue, NASA panel finds (report)

Boeing tanker jets grounded due to tools and debris left during manufacturing

There's supposed to be a press conference on the Starliner fiasco at 3:30 pm on a Friday. That's how it's done by the Beltway Bandits when they want to bury a story.

Posted by: Trailer Trash | Feb 7 2020 17:57 utc | 66

Brendan,
I'd just like to add that there is a huge difference between being subject to an explosion from within while flying at altitude, and suffering a hard landing, including sliding down an embankment. The forces on the airplane are completely different: just for starters while in the air at altitude, the plane is generating a lot of lift, with engines generating a fair amount of thrust, not to mention the difference in pressure. That also ignores the fact that damage to the pilots, electronics, or any of the control linkages by even a small explosion can cause the plane to leave the very small set of states within the safe flight envelope, outside of which it can tear itself apart and/or fall like a stone.

Posted by: ErGalimba | Feb 7 2020 18:07 utc | 67

A non weather associated theory c/n/b discounted regards the Peagus landing incident in Turkey, line up several factors to view suggestion crash was not pilot error , but instead was a controlled crash by remote control equipment.

factors assemble to support it possible that the crash was a leg breaking event, concerning eastmed-pipeline concerns or something else?

1. A interesting PPrune comment:
I've done some research on this question that was brought up repeatedly. Here are the comparison between the runway excursion rates of the B737NG vs. the A320 family. I'm not going to state any opinion, take these numbers and interpret as you wish:
Runway excursion hull losses in the past 2 years involving the B737NG (6700 built):
PGT8622: Jan 2018 CXA8667: Aug 2018 UTA579: Sep 2018 ANG73: Sep 2018 BSK293: May 2019 PGT2193: Feb 2020

Runway excursion hull losses in the past 2 years involving the A320 family (9200 built): N/A
.. if Pegasus had Airbus, would they have have runway excursion research into the Pegasus fleet type vs the accident rate of each type.
Pegasus has 45 A320 family aircraft, 32 B737NG aircraft. (So about 60% A320, 40% B737).
They've had 3 excursion incidents: Jan 2018 (737), Jan 2020 (737), and Feb 2020 (737). <=by: b |@57

<== How many and which of these aircraft were equipped (with equipment capable to relieve the in-flight in aircraft pilot of control of the aircraft, and which also enables that a pilot at a remove site (ground or air) take over controlling the flight of the aircraft ?
I forgot the name of the equipment but we discussed it here a few weeks back

2. Trump refused to leave Syria after saying he was leaving <==who made him return ?
3. One of Trumps officials was ex oil company executive?
4. Trump himself said the USA military is supporting those stealing E. Syrian and W Iraq oil..
5. Canthama @ 53 comment =>, Boeing, like many other US Corporations, are criminal entities
6. I posted yesterday a intercept link the underlying referral was changed so that on one could not click on it here?? anyway
in full the link=> https://theintercept.com/2020/02/06/congress-exxon-mobil-eastmed-pipeline-cyprus/
7. Technology exists to allow aircraft to be controlled from the ground (remote in-flight control technology) so that a person on the ground with a link and password can take full pilot privilege and control of the in-flight aircraft from the pilot while the aircraft is in the air. This means it is possible the aircraft landing was flown, controlled, or influenced from the ground or other remote to the aircraft location.
see lengthy discussion this subject, several weeks back MoA.
8. <==..Exxon-Eastmed-Pipelin-Turkeye by: snake @ 51 so the question raises a thesis: the blotched landing yesterday is associated to issues related to the eastmed pipeline. ?
Thesis stands as a possibility until someone proves it wrong.

Posted by: snake | Feb 7 2020 18:33 utc | 68

@ Ant. | Feb 7 2020 13:04 utc | 54 and Scott Schaefer | Feb 7 2020 17:02 utc | 63

"If the plane was instructed to land with a tail wind, that's the fault of the airport controllers. Not the pilots.

Negative. I was an air traffic controller, working GCA and tower. Mr. Schaefer is correct, controllers can issue clearances and give advice, but the final decision on any landing is always made by the pilot.

It is true, as well, though, that instructing a pilot to land that plane on that runway in those weather conditions with that tailwind which, to make matters even worse, included a crosswind component, was, to say the least, inadvisable.

Posted by: AntiSpin | Feb 7 2020 19:55 utc | 69

I feel I'm an old overly cynical git but having just watched the documentary I'm shocked.
Shocked because the story looks like a such a strong weight to put on the scales when weighing up if everything is for sale in Washington.
Shocking is the obvious immunity these people feel they have.

If Boeing just stuck with the military it would be so much easier. New military planes have endless development problems and casualties are to be expected.

Posted by: Ramon Zarate | Feb 7 2020 20:02 utc | 70

by: AntiSpin @ 69 < No commercial pilot I am familiar with in a non emergency situation would attempt, as a matter of course, to land downwind on a 3,000' ft runway, in a passenger airliner loaded with passengers, when the cross wind component of the airplane is exceeded at 15 knots and the x wind component of the actual wind calculates to between 19 knots gusting to 22 knots. No one has said was there any pilot to controller dialogue concerning that landing instruction? Is it routine at that airport, to ignore safe landing rules in winds. ?
how many such similar landings have occurred on that day, on normal days, ? /
When was that particular runway made the active landing running, obviously it was not the active after the crash, but well when did it become active, what have the ATC people said about this..

You wrongly read what I said, I said it may not be the error of the pilots in the plane, they may not have been in control. ..

Posted by: snake | Feb 7 2020 21:04 utc | 71

b @ 65:

Mr. Browne's claim ("planes are supposed to break up to diminish energy during crashes") is, in addition to NOT being "utter nonsense", fundamentally correct.

From Chapter 10 of Design and testing of crashworthy aerospace composite components, summarized approx halfway down this page ...

Aircraft fuselage structures are designed to be crashworthy in survivable crash scenarios following principles established from crash tests and developed in research programmes over several decades. The main requirements in a crash are that crash energy should be absorbed in the lower part of the fuselage whilst the passenger cabin remains intact.

In a crash, the aircraft will have both a horizontal and vertical velocity component. Kinetic energy associated with the horizontal component is mainly absorbed by friction between the sliding structure and the ground, including structural damage and possible soil deformation during the slide out. The crash loads associated with the vertical component of the impact velocity have to be absorbed mainly by controlled structural deformation and failure.

Large transport aircraft with a high volume cargo hold below the cabin floor are able to absorb crash energy through controlled plastic deformation of lower fuselage frames and the vertical cargo hold struts.

The design of safe, crashworthy subfloor structures is dependent on crash severity and what is considered to be a survivable crash. For large civil transport aircraft, crashworthiness requirements are set out in CFR and CS paragraphs 25.561, 25.562, [3,4], which state that under an emergency landing the aircraft structure is required to:
1) limit decelerations experienced by occupants,
2) maintain a survivable living space,
3) prevent injury from loose items of mass, AND
4) provide an escape route.

Posted by: Scott Schaefer | Feb 7 2020 21:30 utc | 72

@ Scott Schaefer | Feb 7 2020 21:30 utc | 72

You are bullshitting us and it's a particularly lame attempt.

Clearly, youtuber Browne is talking out of his ass when he claims that airplanes are supposed to break up during crashes. The scientific literature that you quote even spells it out verbatim:

crash energy should be absorbed in the lower part of the fuselage whilst the passenger cabin remains intact.

(Oh, and notice how I fixed the emphasis for you - did you get that wrong on purpose?)

Posted by: Lurk | Feb 7 2020 22:03 utc | 73

Gee. I wonder why they don't just have 'pop-up' safety nets at the end of runways?

Posted by: blues | Feb 7 2020 22:56 utc | 74

Posted by: blues | Feb 7 2020 22:56 utc | 74

"Gee. I wonder why they don't just have 'pop-up' safety nets at the end of runways?"

At one of the air bases on which I was stationed, they did. Starting right at the beginning of the overrun (at each end) there was a giant iron chain laying on the grass on each side of the runway, parallel to the pavement, with something like giant, three-foot chain links. A controller could cause a cross-runway cable to pop up, attached to the chains at each end. The cable would snag the landing gear, and the runaway aircraft would pick up two more of those heavy chain links for every three feet it traveled.

Don't know how well it worked, never had occasion to find out.

Posted by: AntiSpin | Feb 7 2020 23:22 utc | 75

Gents, I'll repeat this: this plane did not slid and broke, this plane had a serious "nose strike", the reaction forces of the impact did not distribute well over the fuselage as a tail strike would. The forces were concentrated at an angle against the fuselage axis at the nose.

Check this linked photo (same image in b's article with an overlay):

> GREEN line - longitudinal along the plane (based on the door orientation)
> RED line - angle of impact (based on the material distortion of the lower nose)
> YELLOW circle - nose disconnected from the windshield
> YELLOW lines - material distortion angles

Please look carefully at that photo.

In addition there are no deep marks on the terrain in the background reinforcing the idea that the plane did not slid.

It is not my business to defend Boeing's criminal negligence at quality control, as the Al Jazeera video demonstrates. My point is that no built to specs plane is designed to sustain the impact that appears to have occurred here. I think B's question regarding the airframe breaking has a very plausible answer given the evidence.

Posted by: Vasco da Gama | Feb 7 2020 23:58 utc | 76

Al Jazeera’s ten year old on “A Wing and a Prayer” is warning about the shoddy manufacturing of the 737 NG by Boeing for the last twenty years. The corporation’s making money at the expense of society finally came home to roost with the 737 Max. Simply put; corporations, finance and government work hand and hand together to make the rich richer and the poor poorer. The consequences be damned. Wall Street’s non-reaction to the Wuhan Coronavirus pandemic and the severing of the just in time supply chain is telling. There is going to be crash. Now is not the time to be flying or on a cruise ship. Unless you are a billionaire, you and your family are on its own.

Posted by: VietnamVet | Feb 8 2020 2:08 utc | 77

I see more shills than normal.. Making excuses for the aircraft, coming apart more easily so the remaining/still living passengers can "exit more easily/quicker"?! What in the actual fuck?! At least every American knows and can narrow down that these paid posters aren't from the US or even EU.. The lack of knowledge, norms, empathy, understanding of our morals/ideals proves they're from India beyond a reasonable doubt. Even their fucking shadow ops/paid shills have been outsourced! We know they outsourced engineers, programmers, resulting in disaster, and now we know they outsourced their shills. How's that for capitalism?! Not just them, I worked r&d for Honda for years, Employees for every required position of importance allowed by accounting, "contractors" for each position absolutely requiring skilled precision, H-1B visas for every possible job "almost but not always" requiring highschool level understanding of math/physics/coding for long hours and $13/hour pay who's work could be reviewed by contractors, then Honda employees. There's a reason Honda Jet isn't marketed, and their cars are quickly dropping in reliability ratings. Also, the tikata airbag issue was known by industrial CT scan in 2012, they knew it had nothing to do with humidity issues 2013, but still structured "regional" recalls based on states' with humidity ranges knowing full-well that was bs to manage image & profits. That guy's name was paul jewel, not saying he could have done anything about it but he just went along not even trying to whistleblow. All of this at honda research & development americans in raymond ohio, reporting back to japan where decisions are made. Way fucked. Not just Boeing, not just Honda, I'd be leary of any modern car/jet/boat etc. Welcome to the future.

Posted by: Somesadguy | Feb 8 2020 4:48 utc | 78

ditto @ 28 grieved comment.. one has to watch the documentary to appreciate the seriousness of the situation here in it's fullness..

Posted by: james | Feb 8 2020 5:07 utc | 79

@ Vasco da Gama | Feb 7 2020 23:58 utc | 76

Both your red and green lines are fudged.

When taking into account that the cockpit section of the airplane is viewed at an angle slightly above its horizontal, it becomes evident that your green line does not represent the true horizontal of the plane.

The red line that you made up is an even worse case of fudging. It is obvious from the photo that the line of damage is curved. Considering the viewing angle mentioned above, the curve mostly fits the natural contours of the forward section of the body of the airplane. The remaining tilt can be explained by the airplane leaning forward when the nose wheel breaks off (which likely happened here.)

The damage to the (weak) nosecone and the wrinkles around it are to be expected from an airplane with a sheared nosewheel, bulldozing and plowing through the rough grounds beyond the runway.

Next astroturfer please...

Posted by: Lurk | Feb 8 2020 6:31 utc | 80

Posted by: Scott Schaefer | Feb 7 2020 21:30 utc | 72
(Chapter 10 of Design and testing of crashworthy aerospace composite components)

That makes sense to me.
The problem with making a passenger aircraft as crashworthy as a motor car is that the potential "crumple zones" at the front and rear of an aircraft are full of people. So that option is "off the table."

If an aircraft is involved in a very hard landing then it's going to be so badly damaged that it will never fly again. So it makes sense to try to control the damage in such a way that the passenger compartment will be the last element to lose structural integrity. And if/when it does lose integrity, it will do so in a neat and orderly manner.

It's a bit wing-and-a-prayer-ish but it's a lot better than nothing.

Posted by: Hoarsewhisperer | Feb 8 2020 7:10 utc | 81

The plane slipped from the ground to 30m down and the title is "...why did the plane brake up". If you want to "find" things, then scoop, you will find everything you want, tons of new theory and plot. In the defunct KGB, they used to say, "give us the man, we will find". I read the article, find it interesting but do not draw the same conclusions. What if the default behavior of a Boing body, thrown from 30 m high on the ground is to broken in 3 parts?
Do we have the same study for Airbus? is there a recommendation on this kind " if the plane fall from 50 meters, it must not broke in more than 3 parts, or we do not certify" ?

Posted by: murgen23@yahoo.fr | Feb 8 2020 9:03 utc | 82

@ murgen23@yahoo.fr | Feb 8 2020 9:03 utc | 82

The default behavior should be to not break up in the passenger compartment like that. Not before sacrificing other parts of the airplane to the kinetic forces of the crash.

Look, you clearly ran out of actual arguments. All you are doing here is handwaving and introducing some weird sideline about "the KGB". How does that make sense? Is Boeing now hiring astroturfers from the Ukraine who cannot even spell properly?

Posted by: Lurk | Feb 8 2020 12:59 utc | 83

Whether the aircraft’s construction is at fault or not, Boeing doesn’t need this at all. Not that i’m defending Boeing, once a company with a superb reputation for quality and innovation, they have prostituted their heritage for profit and will eventually pay the price for their greed.

Posted by: Beibdnn | Feb 8 2020 13:27 utc | 84

I once read a statement from an engineer about bridge building , he said "anyone can build a bridge that's strong enough, but it takes an engineer to build it "just" strong enough". I think with the push to maximize profits there is a lot of pressure to build things "just strong enough" . All that matters anymore is what the next quarter looks like.

Posted by: Tobi | Feb 8 2020 15:07 utc | 85

@Tobi

Factor of safety (wikipedia, sorry)

The field of aerospace engineering uses generally lower design factors because the costs associated with structural weight are high (i.e. an aircraft with an overall safety factor of 5 would probably be too heavy to get off the ground). This low design factor is why aerospace parts and materials are subject to very stringent quality control and strict preventative maintenance schedules to help ensure reliability. A usually applied Safety Factor is 1.5, but for pressurized fuselage it is 2.0, and for main landing gear structures it is often 1.25.

If the latest B737 MAX shenanigan may prove to us that there are also serious problems at the level of design, regarding the Al Jazeera report linked (and we could add The Boeing 787: Broken Dreams to the list) refer to serious quality assurance problems.

I don't think this is a matter of "pressure to build things "just strong enough"", rather this is a matter of the management eating into those safety margins employed by engineering. The rationale must be that if the production and assembly skims 10% (or whatever) of that margin it should not constitute a problem, but these corporate folks are not engineers and they are not calculating the actual margin being skimmed from the safe design when they impose the decisions they do on the assembly line. They can also think they are safe from persecution later on because it is not their signature and stamp on the tracing of the components.

Posted by: Vasco da Gama | Feb 8 2020 16:00 utc | 86

bankers and investment types calling the shots are not as interested in safety as they are money.. boeing offers good insight into wall st and who is running things...

Posted by: james | Feb 8 2020 17:18 utc | 87

Bad weather forces Rafale French fighter jets to land in Larnaka civilian airport in Cyprus. Jets were conducting patrol near Charles De Gaul aircraft carrier. Not in the english news yet.

British bases Cyprus, Akrotiri, Dhekelia, Troodos Mnt. bases high frequency active auroral research antenae installations, sound, and chemical spraying over Cyprus airspace.

https://youtu.be/sNO70nIpDRo
Limasol arrays.

https://youtu.be/ACaUAMBUhKc
Possible Troodos (RAF) array.

https://youtu.be/ACaUAMBUhKc
Possibly sound from Over The Horizon Backscatter Radar (also haarp emmiters) overlooking Syrian territory from British bases in Cyprus. It is highly pulsed it probably means is trying to read the anaglyph creating high detail accustic images, possibly "looking" on Hmeimim base.

Posted by: Qparticle | Feb 9 2020 9:41 utc | 88

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