First documented crash caused by SJS?

BushwickBill

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Everyone keeps claiming if the Euros do low time pilots it must be ok to have PFT low time pilots fly RJ's. This sounds like a total chinese fire drill. Let the games begin...




Following article is from Don Phillips of the International Herald Tribune on the sad story of the Helios accident. Thought you might be interested.
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By Don Phillips

PARIS: The crew members of a Cypriot airliner that crashed Aug. 14 near Athens became confused by a series of alarms as the plane climbed, failing to recognize that the cabin was not pressurizing until they grew mentally disoriented because of lack of oxygen and passed out, according to several people connected with the investigation.

Complicating the cockpit confusion, neither the German pilot nor the young, inexperienced Cypriot co-pilot could speak the same language fluently, and each had difficulty understanding how the other spoke English, the worldwide language of air traffic control.

A total of 121 people were killed in the crash after the plane climbed and flew on autopilot, circling near Athens as it was programmed to do until one engine stopped running because of a lack of fuel. The sudden imbalance of power, with only one engine operating, caused the autopilot to disengage and the plane to begin its final descent.

The Greek authorities have made cryptic statements hinting at oxygen problems but have so far not announced the full findings of investigators.

The people interviewed for this article agreed to do so on condition that they not be identified because none are official spokesmen for the investigation and because of political sensitivities arising from a Cypriot plane crashing in Greece.

Investigators pieced together the story of the crash from numerous sources. In the wreckage, they found the first solid clues--the pressurization valve and an air outflow valve set incorrectly. Air traffic control tapes provided information on the confusion in the cockpit. The plane had a sophisticated new flight data recorder that provided a wealth of information. There were maintenance records from the night before, and investigators interviewed the mechanics who worked on the plane.

Among other things, the investigators determined that the pilot was not in his seat because he was up trying to solve a problem that turned out to be not the greatest threat facing him.

The plane that crashed, a Boeing 737, underwent maintenance the night before. The maintenance crew apparently left a pressurization controller rotary knob out of place, according to the officials connected to the investigation, and the crew did not catch the mistake during preflight checks the next day. This meant that the plane could not pressurize.

At 10,000 feet, as designed, an alarm went off to warn the crew that the plane would not pressurize. However, the crew members mistakenly thought that the alarm horn was a warning to tell them that their controls were not set properly for takeoff, the officials said. The same horn is used for both conditions, although the it will sound for takeoff configuration only while the plane is still on the ground.

The crew continued the climb on autopilot. At 14,000 feet, oxygen masks deployed as designed and a master caution light illuminated in the cockpit. Another alarm sounded at about the same time on an unrelated matter, warning that there was insufficient cooling air in the compartment housing avionics equipment.

The radio tapes showed that this created tremendous confusion in the cockpit. Normally an aircraft cabin is held at 8,000 feet pressure, so the crew at over 14,000 feet would already be experiencing some disorientation because of a lack of oxygen.

During this time, the German captain and the Cypriot co-pilot discovered they had no common language and that their English, while good enough for normal air traffic control purposes, was not good enough for complicated technical conversation in fixing the problem.

The crew members called the maintenance base in Cyprus and were told that the circuit breaker to turn off the loud new alarm was in a cabinet behind the captain. The captain got up from his seat to look for the circuit breaker, apparently ignoring the confused co-pilot.

As the plane continued to climb on autopilot, the air grew so thin that the crew became seriously impaired. The captain passed out first on the floor of the cockpit, followed by the co-pilot, who remained in his seat, according to the officials.

The autopilot did as it was programmed to do, flying the plane at 34,000 feet to Athens and entering a holding pattern. It remained in a long circling pattern, shadowed by Greek military jets, until fuel ran low and one engine quit.

Boeing, the maker of the plane, issued a notice shortly after the crash to airlines that it would revise flight crew training manuals to stress to crews that they must understand how the various warning systems work and what to do about them.

The notice stresses that the takeoff configuration warning horn will not sound under any circumstances after the plane has left the ground. The same horn will then be used only for a cabin altitude warning. The company notice said there had been other instances of confusion over the horn by pilots.

"Confusion between the cabin altitude warning horn and the takeoff configuration warning horn can be resolved if the crew remembers that the takeoff configuration warning horn is only armed when the airplane is on the ground,'' the notice said. ''If this horn is activated in flight, it indicates that the cabin altitude has reached 10,000 feet.''

International Herald Tribune
 

Matt777

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BushwickBill said:
Everyone keeps claiming if the Euros do low time pilots it must be ok to have PFT low time pilots fly RJ's. This sounds like a total chinese fire drill. Let the games begin...






I wonder why the author of this article left out the report that a flight attendant, who had just started taking flying lessons, had supplemental oxygen on and disengaged the autopilot and started a descent (over an hour after it started holding). This article even says that the fuel imbalance disengaged the autopilot, but F-16 pilots saw this guy on the flight deck.
But it still ran out of fuel (not that he had the skills to land a 737 anyway).
Interesting.

http://www.flightinternational.com/Articles/2005/08/30/Navigation/186/201214/Helios+737+tried+to+send+Mayday.html
http://www.news24.com/News24/World/News/0,,2-10-1462_1758630,00.html
 

flying4food

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BushwickBill said:
Everyone keeps claiming if the Euros do low time pilots it must be ok to have PFT low time pilots fly RJ's. This sounds like a total chinese fire drill. Let the games begin...






BushwickBill, What are you talking about??????

The only conclusion I could draw was that there was a huge language barrier between the two pilots as well as some issues with properly recognizing warning annunciators in the cockpit. Not to mention the confusion that would come from two pilots from different companies trying to fly together!!! One could speculate for days about what happened, let the pro's (not the mongers on flightinfo) conduct the investigation!!!

BushwhackerBill, you sound like Geraldo Rivera covering a story!!!
 
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Spooky 1

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I could be mistaken but somewhere I read that the Capt. had over 7,000 hours in the B737 and the F/O has around 3,500 in the airplane? Not excactly low time pilots. I believe my source was Aviation Week.
 
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Oakum_Boy

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The First Officer had something like 7,500 hours total time. He was, I belive, a Cypriot himself. The country would demand that a certain number of pilots be nationals. Hiring all Brits to fly wouldn't look very good.

7,500 hours is hardly inexperienced, but it seems his airline had paired people with no common background and it may have lead to a serious breakdown of CRM. If the Europeans follow ususal form, this lack of synergy and human factors will be followed in depth. I imagine that the airline in question did not have enough experience itself to monitor crew quality, and assure that they had the most appropriate people flying their bread-and-butter. Maybe now they'll wake up, pay more, and demand the best. But not likely.
 

BushwickBill

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flying4food said:
BushwickBill, What are you talking about??????

The only conclusion I could draw was that there was a huge language barrier between the two pilots as well as some issues with properly recognizing warning annunciators in the cockpit. Not to mention the confusion that would come from two pilots from different companies trying to fly together!!! One could speculate for days about what happened, let the pro's (not the mongers on flightinfo) conduct the investigation!!!

BushwhackerBill, you sound like Geraldo Rivera covering a story!!!
The hangar is all about Geraldo. I'm pretty sure if the master caution was going the cabin alt light was going as well as the audible alarm I'd put my mask on. Of course thats getting into darwinism and thats a different thread.
 

LegacyDriver

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I thought the first true SJS Syndrome crash was the "410 it dude!" crew.
 

Shocker

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Actually, to clarify this phenomenon of SJS to all you folks. IT DOES NOT ACTUALLY EXIST!!!!!! Really! I had my buddy in med school look it up for me, and his research let me to this conclusion. SJS was made up by a bunch of regional pilots who are disgruntled with their jobs and don't have anything better to do with their lives but sit on a computer and talk sh!t about other pilots. Maybe you should take a job as a greeter at Wal-Mart, they seem to look happy, maybe that's what all of you need to change your lousy outlook.

Shocking!!
 
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AvroJockey

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Well, actually!!!

Shocker said:
Actually, to clarify this phenomenon of SJS to all you folks. IT DOES NOT ACTUALLY EXIST!!!!!! Really! I had my buddy in med school look it up for me, and his research let me to this conclusion. SJS was made up by a bunch of regional pilots who are disgruntled with their jobs and don't have anything better to do with their lives but sit on a computer and talk sh!t about other pilots. Maybe you should take a job as a greater at Wal-Mart, they seem to look happy, maybe that's what all of you need to change your lousy outlook.

Shocking!!
SJS does exist our profession, and also other professions, it’s just not called SJS!!!

If you research any microeconomics text, you’ll find there are aesthetic qualities to every occupation, including professional aeronautics. The qualities directly effect the supply of labor in that particular workforce, and that supply directly determines what the compensation (pay and benefits) is for worker in said workforce. If the perceived job qualities suck, labor supply will be relatively low, and your equilibrium price (compensation rate) will be relatively higher. Conversely, if the perceived job qualities are good, labor supply will be higher, and your equilibrium price (compensation rate) will be lower. This explains why a night manager at Taco Bell makes more than your average Shinny CRJ pilot, even though pilots, for the most part, are more educated and highly skilled/trained. There are other factors involved to determine the equilibrium price of labor, but this is one of them.

Therefore, many persons are drawn to the fact that they will be an all-important AIRLINE PILOT of a fancy new jet. Many fancy jet drivers = lower equilibrium pay rates; this is a simple and universal economic fact. This also explains why people in this profession, at all levels (Southwest), are willing to pay big bucks to get that coveted Shinny Jet Job. Just look a the PFT ads in any aviation publication, they use the glamour aspect of airline flying to sell their product!

Don’t get me wrong, I to find myself falling into this trap. Every once in awhile I find myself debating the idea of forking out $8000 for a 737 type to go to Southwest.

Though what ticks me off is the fact that ALPA leadership doesn’t apply economic principles, such as this, to contracts, but instead uses the archaic/pre-deregulation technique of begging (though sometimes with leverage) for higher compensation.
 

ReverseSensing

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Shocker said:
SJS was made up by a bunch of regional pilots who are disgruntled with their jobs and don't have anything better to do with their lives but sit on a computer and talk sh!t about other pilots. Maybe you should take a job as a greater at Wal-Mart, they seem to look happy, maybe that's what all of you need to change your lousy outlook.

Oh, the irony.




P.S. Shocker, you have long fingers for a lady.
 
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HulkHogan

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I looked at taking a job at Wallmart but then I realized I would no longer qualify for food stamps so I will continue to fly my shiny jet.

hulk
 

TinGoose1

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I would think that the Pinnacle crews could relate to the communication barrier. How many over their speak the same language anyway?
 

Shocker

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Well hulk, just hang in there, your not far from upgrade as long as the pasture stays green. But it was nice not havin to pay for groceries, if it weren't for them, I'd be rich.
 

Mike man

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What about military pilots? Why is it ok for the military to hire pilots with 0 hours and train them to fly a KC-10 around? Why does British Airways do the same thing, and then assign a new hire "pilot" to go learn how to fly, and then put them in an A320 or 737 with 350 hours? Why is it safe to have 250 hour wonder CFI's teaching people with 0 hours how to fly? Or sending a student with less than 10 hours to go do touch&go's?

How quickly we forget the begning after a few years flying around our RJ's. Blame the bitter CA's for yelling at new FO's and then not explaining what he/she could have done better in a situation. Or blame the CA's who let the FO's watch their laptop DVD movies while flying around.

I would have to say that the RJ saftey record is pretty freaking good, I'm not sure I can think of an RJ accident off the top of my head (involving passengers).

I fly an RJ safely and I am pround of it. SJS...no. Proud of what I do...you bet.
 

Tram

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You guys do understand that - in most countries - you can simply buy what it is your looking for? Especially in Greece.. The pilots probably had a rich uncle buy them a right seat or left seat job..
 

jws717

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I find this whole SJS thing to be very insulting to all pilots. I am sure the fighter pilots in WW2, the korean war, and vietnam were all in thier 20s ( more like 18 in ww2) and did not eaven have 200 hours in some cases. Also since when did it become a sin to enjoy your job. And the 737 was not flown by low time pilots, maybe if they wernt so old they would have been able to survive the decompression long enough to DON and 100%. Think about that next time your out of shape a$$ sits next to a SJS inflicted F/O they may be putting the O2 mask on you long after you start seeing stars.
 

Tram

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What I think is funny is that 99.9% of all the guys claiming "SJS" syndrom are sitting in an RJ.. Does that not qualify as "SJS" or what?

A 737 is faaar from being an "SJ."
 

Tram

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BushwickBill said:
You need to read the start of the thread.
Maybe you need to show me what it is I need to read..

Your thread says "First documented crash caused by SJS" and it appears the crash involved a 737? So.. your claiming this crash was due to SJS? Thus making the 737 a shiny jet, correct?
 
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