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Thread: American Airlines Crash at Kingston Jamaica

  1. #46
    NLovis
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    Re: American Airlines Crash at Kingston Jamaica

    Quote Originally Posted by Phil D.
    I'd like a source for the 738 = 2-3 MD80 thing.
    Read it on wikipedia over the summer. It also said they were dropping their A300's and not replacing them with anything. That happened exact to the last word. Those planes are stored somewhere currently. It also said every 2-3 MD-80. This is AA's way of scalling back. Quite clever if you ask me. They announce the replacement but dont say they are replacing every single plane. Its beena ccurate as well cause i've been watching the number on planes they have get smaller and smaller. Increasing seat capacity and decreasing the number of flights. Thats smart money sense to me. If you want to look go to wikipedia and type in American Airlines.

  2. #47
    Moderator Matt Molnar's Avatar
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    Re: American Airlines Crash at Kingston Jamaica

    The original 738s, like the one that wrecked in Kingston, are closer in seating capacity to the MD-80s, only 8 more seats than the 140 seat-arrangement mad dogs. However, they are jamming 12 extra seats into the new deliveries, which is 20-24 more than the MDs.
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  3. #48
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    Re: American Airlines Crash at Kingston Jamaica

    AA JAMAICA CRASH: Although I am aware that it is irresponsible to speculate on a cause before all the facts are know, I do however feel that, at least on forums like this one, it is ok to speculate based on known facts. Here is what's known. 1) 15Kt. winds out of NNE. 2) Heavy rain at night on a non-grooved runway. 3) Pilots near the end of their 12-hour max. on-duty time. 4) Plane fully loaded with passengers and probably heavier on fuel than domestic flights. 5) Pilots had not flown much in previous weeks. 6) Plane touched down very far down runway 12. 7) Plane landed hard. Based on what’s known I think you can make the following deductions. I believe the tail winds played a very significant role in this crash. Ground speeds would have been 20-30Kts fast than pilots are used to. This along with a nighttime wet runway would have made it easy to misjudge the point of touchdown. Glide slope would have been kept in check on approach but near the ground pilots take over and visually fly the plane. Things would look much different than they normally do especially taking night, rain and fatigue issues into consideration. A go around would have been resisted because of a desire to get the plane on the ground due to bad conditions and current preferred patterns at that airport. As a pilot who has made down wind landings I can tell you that it is very difficult to hit your spot maintaining glide slope without stalling the plane. You have to descend at a quicker rate to maintain glide slope and touch down speeds to hit your spot. This is not a comfortable normal feeling to the pilots. Things happen so much quicker down wind and pilots are not used to this type of approach. Extra weight, rain, night, and fatigue and stress of bad conditions add to the level of difficulty of this down wind landing. I would not be surprised if the black boxes show the plane did or almost did “stall” just before touch down. That would explain the heavy landing reported. Higher ground speeds and weights with reduced runway length due to mid runway touch down point along with wet non-grooved runway made this crash, at this point, inevitable. At the end of the day there will be several factors pinpointed at fault (as there always is), however the primary cause will be pilot error for the following reasons: a) not going to an alternate airport given conditions at primary b) having proceeded to primary not asking to land from the east. c) having proceeded downwind failing to abort the approach and or landing prior to touchdown d) having proceeded downwind having misjudged the point of landing and not maintaining proper glide slope, approach speeds and touchdown point. To all the pilots I ask for your comments

  4. #49
    Administrator PhilDernerJr's Avatar
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    Re: American Airlines Crash at Kingston Jamaica

    Informative post, daneyd. The more I read about the crash, the more I agree on the significance on the tailwinds.

    As for the forums, though later learned to be erroneous, information is passed along that might contribute to the conversation, the same way a news report modifies information that trickles in.

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  5. #50
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    Re: American Airlines Crash at Kingston Jamaica

    The airport at Jamaica has a relatively short runway. However, generally speaking airports nearer sea level will have shorter runways. Case in point, Denver's International has a runway at 16,000 ft. What effects landing distances are weight, air temp., elevation, runway conditions, brake settings and most importantly, wind direction and speed. This particular 737 could have required over 6,000 ft. to safely stop that night, given the info that I know. Maybe more if winds were gusting from the tail. I'm very surprised that given the airport they were flying into that these pilots did not insist on coming in from the east. That would have reduced the landing distance by as much as 3,000 ft. Plus it would have taken the stress and strangeness of a downwind landing out of the equation. With an 8,900 ft. runway, that doesn't leave much room for error when you need over 6,000 ft. to safely land. You hit 1/4 of the way down, which sounds like what happened, and that only leaves approx. 6,500 ft. Add in some hydroplaning and he probably would have only need about 1,000 more ft. and he would have made it. All in all, I'm convinced that at the end of the day the pilots used very poor judgement here.

  6. #51
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    Re: American Airlines Crash at Kingston Jamaica

    KIN's runway is 8,900 feet....that's almost 2,000 more than LGA, which gets many midsize and large narrowbody aircraft. I don't consider that short at all.

    Denver's runway is only that long because of their more extreme altitude, and I don't think it's relevant in comparison. Airports all up and down the east coast get by on shorter runways, all at sea level.
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  7. #52
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    Re: American Airlines Crash at Kingston Jamaica

    Does both sides of that runway have an approach lighting system?

  8. #53
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    Re: American Airlines Crash at Kingston Jamaica

    Quote Originally Posted by mmedford
    Does both sides of that runway have an approach lighting system?
    Taking a look at expired Jeppesen charts here:

    http://kingston.vatcar.org/mkjpcharts.html

    It appears that both the approach to 12 and 30 have approach lighting systems, although the only approach to 30 is a GPS approach, and 12 has a precision and 2 non-precision approaches.

    While crosswind limits are different for almost every aircraft, almost all aircraft are limited to 10 knot tailwinds. The highest tailwind I've landed with was 7 knots, during the day on a dry runway, and it was squirrelly and uncomfortable, with a more abrupt flare and firmer touchdown. Granted these guys had something like 30+ years of flying experience between them and I believe 5000+ hours between them in the 737. I'm sure they both had done their share of tailwind landings.

    Aircraft land everyday with tailwinds. Instead of having that headwind component to decrease your groundspeed, you have to add the tailwind component to your approach true airspeed, which ultimately increases your descent rate to the runway. If you start to flare too early, you're going to float, and flare too late and you're going to have a firmer landing.

    Sounds like a bad situation all around. The combination of a heavier aircraft landing at night in +RA, with a wet ungrooved runway which probably had standing water, with a tailwind approaching limits with a crew pushing their duty day makes things sticky. While I'd venture to say hundreds of aircraft worldwide make successful landings in conditions like these everyday (they may not be the prettiest landings, but they don't end up on the news). It only takes one to show how all of these conditions combined can end up disastrous if just one thing goes wrong. I don't know what happened in this case, but it sounds like they floated and landed long and tried to salvage a bad landing rather than go around. It's tough to second guess or fault somebody for doing something every pilot has been guilty of at one time or another. I'm just glad everyone got out with minimal injuries.

  9. #54
    Senior Member hiss srq's Avatar
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    Re: American Airlines Crash at Kingston Jamaica

    Most certainly the ungrooved surface along with the choice to execute a landing with a tailwind approaching limits is going to play a role in this accident. I have been out of the loop the last two days flying xmas eve alot of the day and avoiding anything related to airplanes yesterday. So I dont have the newest most up to date on the accident but I will be very anxious to see where they actually touched down and a few other things. I cannot speak for the 737 NG models but the 300/400 family has very grabby brakes. They also tend to provide a very spoungy touchdown unless you really kick the milk crate out from under it. Obviously they are going to pin it on the pilots and that is what everyones going to see and all the newspapers are going to plaster all over the place. That is inevitable. I would like to know what the actuals were as far as conditions were though at time of landing. Just because the TAF said somthing and METAR is reporting somthing doesnt mean it is fact more times than not. They were shooting the approach they were for ILS capibility from what I have heard. Tailwind landings are defineately a challenging experince. You have a higher ground speed and a harder touchdown generally as stated above I beleive. The 737 is also known for its "dancing tail" but that is not relevant here. What peaks my interest is the fact that the airplane had enough groundspeed to hop that ravine though. I would imagine the ground speed was closer to 100 than 20 knots coming up on the end of the runway otherwise that bird would have taken a good bite out of the "cliff" on the beach side of the road I would imagine. Time will tell.
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    Re: American Airlines Crash at Kingston Jamaica

    Quote Originally Posted by NLovis
    Quote Originally Posted by Phil D.
    I'd like a source for the 738 = 2-3 MD80 thing.
    Read it on wikipedia over the summer. It also said they were dropping their A300's and not replacing them with anything. That happened exact to the last word. Those planes are stored somewhere currently. It also said every 2-3 MD-80. This is AA's way of scalling back. Quite clever if you ask me. They announce the replacement but dont say they are replacing every single plane. Its beena ccurate as well cause i've been watching the number on planes they have get smaller and smaller. Increasing seat capacity and decreasing the number of flights. Thats smart money sense to me. If you want to look go to wikipedia and type in American Airlines.
    First off, quoting Wikipedia can be trouble on a good day. Sure they retired the A300 on schedule, but that was publicly known as indicated by the many press releases issued by AA themselves.

    How have you been watching the number of planes they have get smaller and smaller? Just curious what your using for a source? IIRC, the 737's were being replaced one for one with S80's with the current fuel prices. If the fuel prices increased to levels seen a year or two ago they would park 80s at a faster rate. Just the opposite if the fuel stays "cheap" they may hang on to more 80's and still take delivery of 737's. AA currently has 603 aircraft in service (accounts for 3DK as a write off) and that number has been hovering around 600-610 as the 737's have been delivered. From what I have seen the S80's have not been replaced on a 3-1 basis with 737s

    As far as what has to be done to pick up the slack for 3DK, its really quite simple. If they want to keep up the slack they will just keep a MD80 around a little longer and and use that S80 on a domestic old config 737 route. Right now the new 737s are domestic only, but that will change in a year or so.
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    Re: American Airlines Crash at Kingston Jamaica

    The TACA A320 in Tegucigalpa last year comes to mind. Short'ish runway, poor weather, tailwind, overrun.
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  12. #57
    Senior Member moose135's Avatar
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    Re: American Airlines Crash at Kingston Jamaica

    Quote Originally Posted by USAF Pilot 07
    While crosswind limits are different for almost every aircraft, almost all aircraft are limited to 10 knot tailwinds.
    The KC-135A Performance Manual includes landing performance corrections for tailwinds up to 20 kts (it's a manly airplane!) The manual instructs you to use the full tailwind component, and if the winds are gusting, to add the full gust factor (say the winds are 10kt, with gusts of 15-20, use 20kts).

    Taking a typical landing weight for an A-frame, say 140K, (which would mean 30-35K of fuel) at sea level and 20C, a Flaps 50 (max flaps) and Speed Brakes landing means a ground roll of 2,300 feet. Add 15kts of tailwind, and you are up to 3,000 feet. Now throw in a wet runway (RCR 9) and it jumps to 5,700 feet. That's just the ground roll - given those same conditions, you have a 2,500 foot "Flare Distance" - the distance from a 50 foot height to touchdown. That means a total landing distance from 50' AGL of 8,200 feet. As Phil noted, it's an 8,900 foot runway, and it's easy to see how you can run out of runway in these conditions if everything doesn't go exactly as planned.

    I imagine they landed the direction they did to use the ILS, I can't image they would land with a tailwind if they had an ILS available in the other direction. I'm not familiar with AA procedures, can they use a GPS approach?

  13. #58
    Moderator USAF Pilot 07's Avatar
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    Re: American Airlines Crash at Kingston Jamaica

    Quote Originally Posted by moose135
    The KC-135A Performance Manual includes landing performance corrections for tailwinds up to 20 kts (it's a manly airplane!)
    I'm not around my 1-1, but I think we have data for greater than 10 knots of tailwind, but our normal "operating limits" restrict us at 10 knots. Also, I'm not sure the 135s still have 20 knot tailwind limitations. I was talking to a friend of mine a few weeks ago who flies 135s about crosswinds/winds (being that the inboard engines are so close to the ground) and I think I remember him saying they are capped at 15 knots tailwind. During the SAC days and the "we can do whatever we want" Air Force days though I wouldn't have been surprised. ;)

    Taking a typical landing weight for an A-frame, say 140K, (which would mean 30-35K of fuel)
    Only 140K?!?! A "manly" tanker's zero fuel weight is much more than that! :lol:

    Add 15kts of tailwind, and you are up to 3,000 feet. Now throw in a wet runway (RCR 9) and it jumps to 5,700 feet.
    Nitpicky, but isn't a RCR of 9 equivalent to an icy runway? I thought we used a RCR of 12 for wet runways...

    I imagine they landed the direction they did to use the ILS, I can't image they would land with a tailwind if they had an ILS available in the other direction. I'm not familiar with AA procedures, can they use a GPS approach?
    That's probably why they decided to use 12 (because of the ILS). In this day in age and in a 737-800 I would imagine they would be able to shoot the GPS (both through company policy and aircraft equipment), even if only to LNAV mins, which were probably still below the reported ceiling and vis. I think there's still apprehension on using GPS for approaches because it's not as familiar to most people as a traditional ILS or LOC are. Not only do you have to load it, sequence it to the FAF for vectors, but you're technically supposed to check the legs/distances in the box, make sure RAIM is available and then TIM it by verifying it goes over to approach mode. Not to mention, if they couldn't fly it to LPV or LNAV/VNAV mins, it would have to be treated as a non-precision approach, and they would have to vert speed the a/c down and fly it like a non-precision approach. With the ILS it's easy just to let the AP fly it all the way down and click it off at the end...

    Not saying this was the case, but I mean technically/legally they were probably still within limits in flying the ILS. I thought I read there were 3 other aircraft before it that had flown the ILS and didn't have any problems... They both probably had landed in tailwinds a number of times... I could see why they chose to take the ILS instead of taking the GPS which would have given them a headwind...

  14. #59
    Senior Member moose135's Avatar
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    Re: American Airlines Crash at Kingston Jamaica

    Quote Originally Posted by USAF Pilot 07
    I'm not around my 1-1, but I think we have data for greater than 10 knots of tailwind, but our normal "operating limits" restrict us at 10 knots. Also, I'm not sure the 135s still have 20 knot tailwind limitations. I was talking to a friend of mine a few weeks ago who flies 135s about crosswinds/winds (being that the inboard engines are so close to the ground) and I think I remember him saying they are capped at 15 knots tailwind. During the SAC days and the "we can do whatever we want" Air Force days though I wouldn't have been surprised. ;)
    It's possible, but I don't remember if we had anything different from the charts, and I don't have any notes in the margins. On the Max Crosswind chart, although it shows a heavy weight airplane can take 50+kts of cross wind on a dry runway, I have line drawn in showing 25kts as the "SAC X-wind limit". And in strong cross winds, it was the outboard engines that were more of a threat to hit the ground. (Don't ask me how I know that...)

    Only 140K?!?! A "manly" tanker's zero fuel weight is much more than that! :lol:
    No, that's a "piggy" tanker

    Nitpicky, but isn't a RCR of 9 equivalent to an icy runway? I thought we used a RCR of 12 for wet runways...
    From the -135 1-1, it says if not otherwise reported, use RCR 23 for Dry, RCR 9 for Wet and RCR 4 for Icy/Snow/Slush, although on the Max Crosswind chart, it uses RCR 16 for wet runways, and RCR 5 (with additional lines at 6 and 8) for snow or ice.

  15. #60
    Moderator USAF Pilot 07's Avatar
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    Re: American Airlines Crash at Kingston Jamaica

    Quote Originally Posted by moose135
    On the Max Crosswind chart, although it shows a heavy weight airplane can take 50+kts of cross wind on a dry runway, I have line drawn in showing 25kts as the "SAC X-wind limit".
    That sounds like fun! We were screwing around in the sim one day and we were trying to get a 50 knot direct x-wind on final to see what that would be like... Our sim dude wouldn't but he gave us our max allowable x-winds (31knots dry), and that was pretty interesting!

    Nitpicky, but isn't a RCR of 9 equivalent to an icy runway? I thought we used a RCR of 12 for wet runways...
    From the -135 1-1, it says if not otherwise reported, use RCR 23 for Dry, RCR 9 for Wet and RCR 4 for Icy/Snow/Slush, although on the Max Crosswind chart, it uses RCR 16 for wet runways, and RCR 5 (with additional lines at 6 and 8) for snow or ice.[/quote]

    Yea I need to check my 1-1, IIRC (which I should probably know, but hey that's what we have an engineer for!) I thought we used 23 for dry, 12 for wet and 5 for icy. Isn't there something that says RCR values can be factored in differently for takeoff and landing (or maybe I'm thinking about RSC)... I'll have to "brush" up on that...

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