Another plane crash

QuarterToThree Message Boards: Free for all: Another plane crash
Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of pageLink to this message  By Yoda on Monday, November 12, 2001 - 10:09 am:

Another plane crashed in New York. And I can't get on to CNN.com, nytimes.com, yahoo.com, etc. How come the Internet just stops working every time there's a big news story? Doesn't seem like capacity is there for truly universal use.


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of pageLink to this message  By Dave Long on Monday, November 12, 2001 - 10:20 am:

I got through to a few different sources. It was a flight destined for the Dominican Republic. Here's all the text that appears at MSNBC right now...


Quote:

NEW YORK, Nov. 12 ó At least four homes were ablaze Monday after an American Airlines jet crashed near the heavily populated Rockaway Beach area of New York City, not far from John F. Kennedy International Airport, NBC News reported on Monday. The Airbus A-300, Flight 587, was heading to Santo Domingo in the Dominican Republic.

DETAILS WERE sketchy although cameras in New York showed a thick plume of smoke billowing high above Queens.
The local NBC affiliate, WNBC, reported that the crash occurred in the Bel Harbor section of the Rockaways at around 9:15 a.m. ET.
JFK and La Guardia Airport, which is also based in Queens, were shut after the accident.
An eyewitness told WNBC that he saw a wing of the plane on fire after takeoff from JFK.


--Dave
Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of pageLink to this message  By Dave Long on Monday, November 12, 2001 - 10:23 am:

Here's what WGAL, my local NBC affiliate has on their site... All credit to their news staff. I think it's probably important if people can't reach the sites to have the news in this case.


Quote:

The plane crashed shortly after 9 a.m. ET, and thick, black smoke could be scene in televised reports. It was reportedly headed to JFK, but the origin of the flight was undetermined.

Bill Schumann of the Federal Aviation Administration said there was no immediate indication of what caused the crash. He said the plane could hold up to 275 passengers, and crashed about five miles from Kennedy Airport. There were 246 passengers and 9 crewmembers aboard the flight, according to CNN.

Asked if terrorism is suspected, Schumann said that all options are open at the time and they have very little information. Defense officials said that while combat jets were flying over the sky as is routine, there were not any reports of suspicious activity or distress calls.


Television images show thick black smoke rising from the scene. The smoke was seen turning white, which could indicate that the flames were being put out.

Fox News Channel reports it was an American Airlines flight 587. All three New York City airports were closed to air travel. They include LaGuardia, JFK and Newark airports.

Mayor Rudolph Giuliani has canceled his morning events and is heading to the scene.

FAA said American Airlines Flight 587, an Airbus A300, crashed. It was on its way to Santo Domingo Dominican Republic. CNN reported that the engine came down separate from the rest of the jetliner and that Giuliani confirmed that there are two separate crash sites. A witness said he saw an explosion on the side of the plane.


It was a "level 1" emergency, which means all emergency personnel are advised to go to the crash scene. All the major tunnels heading into New York have been closed.

Reports have varied throughout the morning. The FAA said there seems to be no indication of a terrorist attack.

A witness said he saw debris falling from the sky, at the scene of today's plane crash.

He told the Fox News Channel that four homes are on fire.

Another man told CNN that he was 40 blocks away, and saw "tons and tons of smoke." He said, "Lots of people are standing in the streets.

A woman who lives near the scene of the crash said she heard the engines of a plane -- "loud and low" -- before the crash.

Phyllis Paul told CNN she looked out the window to see a "silvery piece of metal" falling from the sky, several blocks away.

Then, she said, she heard an explosion.

She said she and her son went outside and saw the black smoke rising from the Queens crash site. She said it was "horrifying."

Paul said the sound of the plane gave her a "chill" -- because of what happened on Sept. 11.

The flight was an American Airlines jet, which had taken off from Kennedy Airport -- several miles from the crash site. It was headed to the Dominican Republic.

The crash came two months and a day after the attack on the World Trade Center.

The American Airlines phone number relatives information line is (800) 245-0999.


--Dave
Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of pageLink to this message  By moron on Monday, November 12, 2001 - 10:36 am:

There have been some reports of an engine falling off the plane. However, I heard a Boeing engineer on the radio say that would ahve no effect on the plane's stability. However, there are also reports of an explosion on the plane. The engineer said that there is a cargo storage area directly behind the engines. He said that if there was an expolsion in this area, it could affect the engine, as well as the wing's surface composition. If a plane's wing's surface composition is comprimised, he said that it would drop like a rock.

Just passing anything I know along, it's so early take everything with a grain of salt, y'know?

Also check out slashdot.org, they always handle these things & they almost never go down.


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of pageLink to this message  By Jason Levine on Monday, November 12, 2001 - 10:47 am:

Yeah, I saw the report about an engine explosion too. If it was an engine, it probably wasn't a bomb, as that would most likely be in either the baggage or passenger compartments in the fuselage. But eyewitness reports of these things have to be taken with a grain of salt.

It's probably for sure that it wasn't a highjacking attempt. Besides not causing an explosion (unless it was someone wearing a bomb), it's hard to imagine the highjacking being attempted during the climb out from takeoff. It would be like trying to take over a plane while climbing a mountain.


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of pageLink to this message  By Brian Rucker on Monday, November 12, 2001 - 11:15 am:

If it was terrorists, and from what I'm hearing the Airbus has a pretty good reputation for mechanical reliability, the things I'd be curious about would be planted bombs or surface-to-air missiles. The plane was at a low altitude and folks have reported fires burning on the plane before it hit. The distribution of debris seems to indicate this plane was falling apart as it came down.

All this is, as moron points out, speculation to be taken with a grain of salt. If there had actually been a missile launch it might have been detected by the military patrols over NYC unless it was IR guided. That'a a passive system that's hard to detect but it is the main sort of man portable surface-to-air missile.

The only reason I bring this up isn't to sound like a usenet crazy but I've also heard reports that security at JFK was even tighter than usual this morning. It's hard to imagine someone getting a bomb on board a plane.

This might really be just an accident but who knows?


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of pageLink to this message  By Chet on Monday, November 12, 2001 - 11:19 am:

http://robots.cnn.com/

Cnn fast backdoor.


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of pageLink to this message  By Jason Levine on Monday, November 12, 2001 - 11:27 am:

This from MSNBC:

"Witnesses said the jetís left engine exploded as the aircraft climbed for altitude and fell to the ground several blocks away from the area where the main body of the jet crashed. The engine landed in the backyard of a three-story Victorian home and set the building on fire, but was quickly extinguished. There were no casualties there, officials said."

As pointed out above , the engine coming off the plane would not by itself bring down the plane, but an engine exploding would send a shower of turbine blades and the like through the wing which could certainly sever the controls. What could cause and engine to explode like that? If it was a bomb planted in the engine that would mean someone on the ground crew was compromised. Seems unlikely. Flocks of migratory birds are very common over that part of Queens this time of year. Could it have been something as simple as that?


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of pageLink to this message  By Dave Long on Monday, November 12, 2001 - 11:37 am:

Using Chet's link...CNN has this...


Quote:

A senior administration official told CNN initial indications are that there was an explosion aboard the plane, but that the source of the explosion is unknown.


--Dave
Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of pageLink to this message  By Denny on Monday, November 12, 2001 - 12:12 pm:

As for an engine falling off not being enough to cause a crash... Remember the American DC-10 out of Chicago a number of years ago. When the engine came off, it caused collateral damage (the slats on the wing, I think, causing asymmetrical lift). Plus it can screw up hydraulics.

It's way too early to speculate, but I have to wonder if a bomb that could blow off one of the engines would have left the fuselage intact -- seems like that kind of force would have split the fuselage in half.

It's a horrible tragedy no matter what the cause. But I really hope it was mechanical failure and not sabotage.


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of pageLink to this message  By Mark Bussman on Monday, November 12, 2001 - 12:58 pm:

"What could cause and engine to explode like that? If it was a bomb planted in the engine that would mean someone on the ground crew was compromised. Seems unlikely. Flocks of migratory birds are very common over that part of Queens this time of year. Could it have been something as simple as that?"

If a fatique crack in a turbine or compressor blade goes undetected during inspections, that crack can propagate (grow rapidly) and cause the blade to come off. Now you've got an unbalanced turbine spinning at something like 50,000 rpm (a very rough estimate, but i'm sure the order of magnitude is right) which would tear it apart. The engine nacelles are built to withstand such failures, and the wings are also built to withstand having an uncontained failure. The engines are also built to withstand bird strikes. I once met a guy who worked Pratt and Whitney who worked on that. They use some kind of (pneumatic I think) cannon to launch turkeys into engines for testing.

Someone else mentioned a surface to air missile. If that was going to happen, it'd almost have to be an IR guided shoulder fired missile (like a Stinger), and right after takeoff would probably be the easiest time to do it. I doubt this is what happened though. For a while that was one of the going theories when TWA 800 happened, and that turned out to be a fuel tank explosion I think.

This is a tragedy, and no matter what the cause, it's going to hurt the airlines really badly.


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of pageLink to this message  By Jason McCullough on Monday, November 12, 2001 - 03:11 pm:

'The only reason I bring this up isn't to sound like a usenet crazy but I've also heard reports that security at JFK was even tighter than usual this morning. It's hard to imagine someone getting a bomb on board a plane.'

It's not that hard, really. The airlines still refuse to match baggage with passengers.


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of pageLink to this message  By Denny on Monday, November 12, 2001 - 04:48 pm:

Well, the latest reports (grain of salt at this point, but they came straight from Rudy G.) have one wing separating BEFORE the crash. If it was the entire wing, that points more at an explosion in the fuselage. It takes a LOT of force to snap a wing spar -- more than you'd get from an engine ripping free.

I'd originally thought it was just the engine and wing parts separating. If the wing came off before the crash, it points as much to a center fuel tank explosion or bomb as a catastrophic engine failure.


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of pageLink to this message  By Michael Murphy (Murph) on Monday, November 12, 2001 - 08:11 pm:

The people at AA (in the operations control center, so they're the peole likely to know) are convinced that it was a fuel-related explosion at 3,000 feet.

Makes it suck no less for those involved, but I think it's pretty safe to rule out terrorists.


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of pageLink to this message  By Sparkman on Monday, November 12, 2001 - 08:51 pm:

> I think it's pretty safe to rule out terrorists.

Boy, are you the optimist...

I think they're trying to downplay the bomb/terrorism angle. But the tail was found a mile from the rest of the fuselage. The tail is not going to separate from an engine falling off.


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of pageLink to this message  By Tim Elhajj on Monday, November 12, 2001 - 10:01 pm:

"The airlines still refuse to match baggage with passengers."

In this case, baggage matching doesn't seem to be an issue; since this was an international flight, there was a check for unescorted bags in the cabin.


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of pageLink to this message  By Jason McCullough on Monday, November 12, 2001 - 11:28 pm:

'since this was an international flight, there was a check for unescorted bags in the cabin.'

Whoops, forget about that.


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of pageLink to this message  By Michael Murphy (Murph) on Tuesday, November 13, 2001 - 12:35 am:


Quote:

I think they're trying to downplay the bomb/terrorism angle. But the tail was found a mile from the rest of the fuselage. The tail is not going to separate from an engine falling off.




Well, nobody's 100% certain right now, but it is known that the pilot was dumping fuel shortly before take-off, and they're sure that there was an explosion on the plane -- they believe it to be fuel-related, but nobody's sure yet. The people who know have confirmed the explosion. So, no, it's not just "the engine came off."

I still think it's safe to assume that it's not terrorist-related, but I don't claim to know for sure.

All I know is what the guys at AA tell me.
Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of pageLink to this message  By TheChic on Tuesday, November 13, 2001 - 06:24 am:

I work at American's Maintenance Ops Center, which controls the routing of each aircraft the airline owns. Here's the scoop from what I know: the pilot was in the process of dumping fuel when the plane went down. My bosses are unofficially saying that the aicraft exploded, at least partially, in the air around 3,000 feet.

While I'm not an incredibly educated expert, the Airbus A-300 aircraft are not incredibly reliably and can be prone to mechanical failures. They have a higher-than-normal occurance of out-of-service incidents.

And as someone already pointed out, all international baggage is matched to passengers who have actually boarded the aircraft before the flight leaves the ground, as has been the case for a while now. Personally, I'm not ruling out terrorism as of yet, but I wouldn't be surprised if it was mechanical either.


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of pageLink to this message  By Michael Murphy (Murph) on Tuesday, November 13, 2001 - 06:57 am:

You work for AA, huh? Where are you located? What department?

Agreed -- A-300s are not highly reliable. And, they're in probably the oldest half (roughly) of the fleet that AA flies. The new ones are really, really nice, but the old ones are...well, old.


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of pageLink to this message  By Brian Rucker on Tuesday, November 13, 2001 - 08:12 am:

That's at odds with reports we've gotten, or at least the interpretations the press has given, as to the reliability of the Airbus A-300. The spin on CNN was that this is a reliable craft but the data they pointed to was downings over the last 10 years or so. None was due to mechanical failure.

It's interesting to see a more informed perspective here, certainly.


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of pageLink to this message  By Jason Levine on Tuesday, November 13, 2001 - 10:40 am:

The A-300 has had a troubled history of mechanical problems, but most of the questions have centered around the autopilot and difficulties landing the plane: Taiwan crash in 1998.


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of pageLink to this message  By Jason Levine on Tuesday, November 13, 2001 - 10:46 am:

Just found this on MSNBC. My speculation yesterday about the plane striking a flock of migratory birds may not have been off-base after all:

"Nov. 13 ó Investigators examining one of the separated engines from American Airlines Flight 587 found foreign debris inside, indicating that the engine may have ingested a flock of birds and then caught on fire." Link to story.


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of pageLink to this message  By Rob on Tuesday, November 13, 2001 - 10:55 am:

Ugh. They just evacuated part of Logan Airport in Boston because a security gate was left unmanned. How does that happen? It sort of makes they day crawl by when you're sitting at your desk in the Hancock Tower (the tallest and most terrorist attractive building in Boston) when you hear a story like this.


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of pageLink to this message  By Sparkman on Tuesday, November 13, 2001 - 02:02 pm:

I saw figures on a pilot site that showed the hull loss rate of the A300 per million hours at double that of the similar 767. There were worse planes -- the DC-10 and MD-11, for instance -- but the A300's record was far from the best.

Finding the tail in the water (which is what Guliani thought was the wing -- shows why non-experts shouldn't comment) is really odd. If it was an uncontained engine failure or bird strike, that doesn't account for the loss of the tail.

The pilot may not have been dumping fuel, by the way -- the A300 apparently has a fuel tank near the tail, where the plane came apart.

Given the extraordinary conditions in this country right now, it wouldn't shock me to see this pointed towards an accident even if there's evidence otherwise.


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of pageLink to this message  By Sean Tudor on Tuesday, November 13, 2001 - 04:54 pm:

Either way air travellers in the US are well and truly spooked now. I'd hate to be working in the airline industry at the moment.


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of pageLink to this message  By TheChic on Tuesday, November 13, 2001 - 09:40 pm:

I do hate to work in the airline industry now. I used to be proud to tell people where I work and what I do; now I'd rather not discuss it. I suddenly find myself dreading work, not because I'd rather stay home, but because of the crash and the somber atmosphere I know will be waiting for me when I walk through the doors. In some way or another, each of us is asking ourselves what we might have done that could have minimized the casualties or prevented the crash altogether. This is from someone who never even goes near the planes. The sorrow is overwhelming. And then there's the guilt we all feel for wondering how this will effect our jobs. Definitely not a proud moment.


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of pageLink to this message  By XtienMurawski on Wednesday, November 14, 2001 - 12:48 pm:

I thought the A-300 didn't have a "fuel dump" feature.

Amanpour


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of pageLink to this message  By Michael Murphy (Murph) on Wednesday, November 14, 2001 - 11:32 pm:

Really? That's interesting...

I can't say for sure, but I know that the guys in MOC sure thought that the pilot was dumping fuel...I can't imagine that they would make a statement like that if it weren't possible...

But I suppose stranger things have happened.

I don't know. I'll look into it.


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