Friday, February 13, 2009

O'Brien thinks it may have been icing

Former CNN Aviation Reporter Miles O'Brien is the main-stream-media guy I trust most when it comes to reporting on aviation news. In his blog he's put together a case for last night's Continental 3407 crash possibly being the result of icing. His conclusion:

You have to wonder if Continental 3407 was flying on autopilot - carrying enough ice on its wings that its normal approach speed was simply too slow for it to stay in the air. So when it slowed down, it simply dropped out of the sky. You have to wonder…


Blogger Jeb Burnside said...

Somehow, there's already an ATC tape out there at this link.

Nothing in it to shed light on the cause, though. It would seem icing wasn't that big a deal, though I know little about how well the Q400 is de-iced.

Since it went down at or near the outer marker, I'd be thinking more about misprogramming the approach. But WTFDIK?

That said, it's way too early to speculate.

8:16 AM  
Blogger Dave Higdon said...

Way to early, as Jeb said; still a tip of my wing to Miles' rapid-turn analysis of conditions, the approach and the historical perspective.

On the night of the ATR-72 crash in Indiana, we suspected ice pretty quickly because word came out pretty quickly about how long the plane had been flying the super-icing conditions...

Such a parallel seems absent here, which makes me more curious about other issues, from mechanical to human factors, since the Dash 8 has an excellent record for handling "normal" icing conditions.

So we're along way from home...

11:33 AM  
Blogger John said...

Put me down for icing conditions with inattentive autopilot use such that as aircraft performance degrades the autopilot strives to maintain performance thereby taking them to the very edge.

1:23 PM  

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