The blog continues to “develop,” and it’s a work in progress. I don’t have all the answers yet on just how the process works, but I’m working on it. I hope you’ll be able to:
1 View it
2 Read it
3 Be able to leave a comment – if not today, in the near future.
4 Be able to subscribe to it.
5 Eventually I hope to be able to facilitate greater contributions and interactions among readers, a long way of saying I’m still trying to figure it all out.
Tomorrow is the winter of hibernal solstice. It’s the beginning of winter. It’s the shortest day of the year with Seattle only seeing 8hr and 26min of daylight. And it’s only 56 days until pitchers and catchers report to spring training!
Over the weekend, Roger went skiing at Mission Ridge https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mission_Ridge_Ski_Area. It’s a great little ski area with a nice high speed quad. On a stormy and foggy night in September 30, 1944, a Walla Walla Army Air Force Base B-24 Liberator https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Consolidated_B-24_Liberator was off course and in the darkness and weather crashed in to Mission Ridge just 500 feet below the crest. There were no survivors.
A section of the wing is mounted at the top of what’s now called “Bomber Bowl” just off the Liberator chair lift. There’s small plaque to commemorate the event and honor those who were serving their country.
This Controlled Flight Into Terrain CFIT) https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Controlled_flight_into_terrain event occurred long before we had the technology to prevent this type of accident.
Let’s move forward to this date in 1995. American Airlines Flight 965 leaves KMIA enroute to Alfonso Bonilla Aragón International Airport in Cali, Columbia. The flight departed roughly two hours late due to a winter storm in the northeast and seasonal congestion of air traffic at KMIA. Approaching Cali, the winds were calm and the controller asked AA-965 if they wanted to straight in to RWY 19 rather than coming around to RWY 01. The crew in an effort to make up for some of their lost time accepted the new arrival and deleted the arrival to RWY 01 from the FMS https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Flight_management_system. Cali had no functional radar to monitor the flight as it had been blown up by a terror group in 1992. The controller cleared AA-965 for the approach and requested a check in over a waypoint that had been erased from the FMS LEGS page. By the time they relocated and entered the point into the FMS, they had passed the point. The crew then consulted their paper chart for the next waypoint on the approach profile, Rozo. They were high on the new approach profile. The pilot flying (PF) retarded the throttles and extended the speed brakes to begin their descent to RWY 19. The Rozo NDB was identified as R on their charts. The crew, now pressed for time, selected the first R from their database. Columbia had duplicated the identifier for the Rozo NDB and the Romeo NDB near Bogatá and using their convention had listed the identifier near the largest city first. Only by selecting the full name of Rozo would the crew have been able to identify this waypoint. By selecting and executing R as the active waypoint, the autopilot initiated a turn east and a path toward Bogotá in a wide semicircle. By the time the error was detected, the aircraft had descended into a box canyon roughly parallel to the one they should have been in. Twelve seconds prior to impact the Ground Proximity Warning System https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ground_proximity_warning_system activated with its associated warning. Within one second the PF, the FO, disengaged the autopilot and advanced the throttles full forward. However neither crew member retracted the speedbrakes located on the left side of the throttle levers and a bit harder to retard from the right seat. There is no auto-speedbrake retract on the B-757 nor is there an EICAS https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Engine-indicating_and_crew-alerting_system message generated. AA-965 impacted a 9800 foot mountain named El Diluvio (The Deluge) at the 8900 foot level. Because neither the Boeing ECab nor the CDU/FMS simulator could be backdriven with the data obtained from the flight data recorder (FDR) http://www.ntsb.gov/news/Pages/cvr_fdr.aspx, it was never determined with precision whether AA-965 would have cleared the ridge if the speedbrakes had been retracted. The NTSB report offered that had the crew retracted the speedbrakes one second after initiating the escape maneuver they could have been climbing through a position 150 feet above the impact point. As a new pup working Air Line Pilot Association issues, I was a member of the ARAC https://www.faa.gov/aircraft/air_cert/design_approvals/transport/transport_arac/ that recommended adaption of the Enhanced GPWS http://www.differencebetween.net/technology/communication-technology/difference-between-gpws-and-egpws/. ALPA was also asked by the Allied Pilots Association (American Airlines pilots union) to assist in the accident investigation. Again as that young pup I was assigned to the Cockpit Voice Recorder (CVR) Group. It was my first commercial airline accident investigation. I’ll just say this: No matter what position you hold as a pilot or crewmember or safety advocate, never, never, ever support any change that would allow the release of the CVR audio. The effect of the adoption of GPWS and EGPWS rules and equipment is a success story in that there has not been a single passenger fatality in a CFIT crash of a large jet in US airspace since this equipment has been mandated.
20 December 1968: After 199 flights, the National Aeronautics and Space Administration cancelled the X-15 Hypersonic Research Program.
A 200th X-15 flight had been scheduled, but after several delays, the decision was made to end the program. (The last actual flight attempt was 12 December 1968, but snow at several of the dry lakes used as emergency landing areas resulted in the flight being cancelled.)
If you have a reasonable singing voice, or if you bring libations for me in particular and you, you’re welcome to stand outside my place and observe National Go Caroling Day. Speaking of caroling, there is a very funny parody of It’s a Wonderful Life and It’s the Most Wonderful Time of the Year out there. Check it out. http://www.iheart.com/news/hilarious-trump-christmas-parody-its-the-15354830/ . Thanks Norm for the heads up on this.
Today is also Mudd Day when we remember Dr. Samuel Mudd (it’s his birthday) https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Samuel_Mudd who provided medical assistance to John Wilkes Booth https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/John_Wilkes_Booth after Booth had assassinated President Abraham Lincoln on the evening of Good Friday, April 14, 1864. Dr. Mudd was known to Booth, having met him when Booth was hatching a plan to kidnap Lincoln and exchange him for Confederate POWs. Booth and conspirator David Herold rode to Mudd’s [ctct]home in the early morning of April 15, 1864, where Booth received treatment for the broken leg he suffered while jumping to the stage at Ford’s Theatre. He was convicted as a conspirator in the Lincoln murder and was sentenced to life imprisonment. He served as the prison doctor during a yellow fever outbreak at Fort Jefferson in the Dry Tortugas https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dry_Tortugas about 70 miles west of Key West. He was pardoned by President Andrew Johnson. On your next visit to Key West, I recommend a trip to the Dry Tortugas. It’s a good trip and will allow you to prepare for your next Duval Crawl in Key West.