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Thread: American Airlines Crash at Kingston Jamaica

  1. #76
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    Re: American Airlines Crash at Kingston Jamaica

    Quote Originally Posted by mmedford

    I'm still looking for more clarification on the approach light topic... it appears only approach side of the runway has an ILS and ALS... I do see a glideslope...but I can't make out the localizer antennas...

    I'm confused... you can't see an ILS (I mean you can see the equipment, but generally it's a small box). Approach lighting is totally separate/irrelevant from what kind of instrument approaches there are to the runway.

    Also, if an approach has a glideslope, it's got a localizer. There is no such thing as a glideslope only approach.

    I don't know what having to see the actual antennas has to do with anything. The reason you probably don't see the localizer antennas is because they are located towards the far end (departure end) of the runway. This is so that localizer course guidance doesn't become so sensitive as you approach the threshold that it becomes impossible to stay within course limits (generally one dot). If they were located at the approach end, the approach would be a Localizer Backcourse, and would be a non-precision approach (i.e. no glideslope guidance). A lot of airports have these (although they are starting to be phased out with the advent of advanced GPS approaches). They are totally separate approaches and have to be TERPS a certain way by the FAA. That's another subject though....

    As far as what approach lighting the airfield has... if you reference my post a few pages ago, I posted a link to outdated Jepp charts (on which I imagine approach lighting hasn't changed) which show the approach lighting for the runway you're shooting the approach to. The charts show both SALS and PAPIs (or VASIs I forget) for both ends of the runway. With ceiling and vis WELL above mins (as in this case), approach lighting would have been a "nice to have" thing for the crew, but definitely not a necessity. PAPIs would be a lot more important because centerline guidance is easy to visually acquire without approach lighting, but vertical guidance is much more difficult without PAPIs/VASIs, especially at night in the rain.

  2. #77
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    Re: American Airlines Crash at Kingston Jamaica

    Approach lighting is totally separate/irrelevant from what kind of instrument approaches there are to the runway
    Actually Approach lighting affects the catergory of landing...CAT-IIIs require ALSFs, CAT-II requires a MALSR, etc...

    Also, if an approach has a glideslope, it's got a localizer. There is no such thing as a glideslope only approach.
    You are correct...can't tune a glideslope without a localizer...

    I don't know what having to see the actual antennas has to do with anything.
    Well, I'm curious if the runway is a precision or non-precision approach... Antennas can be located behind the runway and be considered a precision, or be off-set 500+ feet from centerline and be a non-precision approach. Did some searching and I believe I can make out the antenna on the far right side of the approach 12, acouple hundred feet off.

    This is so that localizer course guidance doesn't become so sensitive as you approach the threshold that it becomes impossible to stay within course limits (generally one dot).
    That is incorrect...displacement on guidance is affected by modulation into free space. Not every localizer has a backcourse either...

    As far as what approach lighting the airfield has...
    Well i'm just trying to understand the whole situation, i'm hearing reports of bad visibility and low ceiling...so understanding the capabilities of the equipment does add to the mental image i'm trying to create.

  3. #78
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    Re: American Airlines Crash at Kingston Jamaica

    Some new details today according to avherald.com.

    Sounds like Kingston's ARFF squad was asleep. A public bus with two passengers on board happened to be driving on the road adjacent to the end of the runway when the driver saw the plane go off. The bus driver called 911, and the operator didn't believe what she was saying. By the time the driver had assisted 70 passengers off the plane and onto the bus to drive them over to the terminal (which I'd imagine must have been at least 10 mins) only a single fire truck had made it to the scene.

    Also, the wreckage was moved to a hangar today.
    Ladies and gentlemen, this is your captain speaking. We have a small problem.
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    I trust you are not in too much distress. —Captain Eric Moody, British Airways Flight 9

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    Re: American Airlines Crash at Kingston Jamaica

    What this video has in common with flight 331 is it demonstrates the difference between down wind and head wind landings. Had this pilot approached from the other end, he too would have made it. It's simple mathematics. If an airplane requires (based on all the various calculations) 3,000 ft. in zero wind to land, that same plane would require 3,900 ft with a 15 kt tail wind. Same plane same conditions coming into the 15 Kt wind and the plane with only need 2,200 ft of runway. That's a 1,700 ft differential. That's my point. Not only do you not add to the "zero wind" distance, you subtract from it. It's like when you make a $100 bet at blackjack. If you win versus if you lose. Its a $200 difference. Because had you won instead of losing, its a $200 difference. Not just the $100 you bet. Same as wind. Down wind your adding the component, head wind your subtracting. That's twice the difference. Again, that's why it was so critical for them to get into this wind instead of going down wind of it.

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    Senior Member hiss srq's Avatar
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    Re: American Airlines Crash at Kingston Jamaica

    Maybe these factors might have a role if we were talking about a 6,000 foot runway like at DCA but if the conditions as forcasted were that detrimental to safe operation this flight would have been landing performance weight restricted. Somthing else was going on. The touchdown point will be the tell all in my opinion. I am willing to wager big bucks they were both heads up through the last portions of the approach based on the fact both HUD's were down at the time of the crash. Another thing to note is that just because your performance charts say an airplane will or wont do somthing does not mean it is true all the time. There is some "milage may vary" involved based on actual conditions etc etc..... It could be for the better or the worse. I understand your analogy of the headwind/tailwind arguement but they were within the numbers for what should have been a successful full stop based on the conditions known etc. I suspect certain things but I dont want to eat my foot later so I will hold off untill some more peliminary information is available.
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    Re: American Airlines Crash at Kingston Jamaica

    Kingston (MKJP) only has 1 ILS approach (Runway 12). The minimums are pretty high: Vis 1.9km/Ceiling 270ft Thats with full ILS for CAT A,B,C,D aircraft. If the Glideslope is out the visibility minimums are 1.9km for cat A, 2.3km cat B, 2.8km cat C, and 3.2km for cat D. Ceiling jumps to 320ft. There are no CatII or Cat III approaches.
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    Re: American Airlines Crash at Kingston Jamaica

    Quote Originally Posted by hiss srq
    Maybe these factors might have a role if we were talking about a 6,000 foot runway like at DCA but if the conditions as forcasted were that detrimental to safe operation this flight would have been landing performance weight restricted. Somthing else was going on. The touchdown point will be the tell all in my opinion. I am willing to wager big bucks they were both heads up through the last portions of the approach based on the fact both HUD's were down at the time of the crash. Another thing to note is that just because your performance charts say an airplane will or wont do somthing does not mean it is true all the time. There is some "milage may vary" involved based on actual conditions etc etc..... It could be for the better or the worse. I understand your analogy of the headwind/tailwind arguement but they were within the numbers for what should have been a successful full stop based on the conditions known etc. I suspect certain things but I dont want to eat my foot later so I will hold off untill some more peliminary information is available.
    Just hard for me to understand, even if you give them a pass on the approach downwind, why they wouldn't have bulked the landing and gone around. My guess is they were long and hot, probably flared couple times and found themselves way down the runway and still not touching the wheels to the runway to activate spoilers. That's when you hit the throttles. I'm wondering if there was a unusually strong desire to get the plane on the ground as a result of the rough flight and conditions coming in.

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    Re: American Airlines Crash at Kingston Jamaica

    as for the speculations, I understand that it is irresponsible to speculate give the limited info we have, however that is what spurs some good dialogue on forums like this. I'm not pointing any fingers, I'm speculating grant it. I know that.

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    Re: American Airlines Crash at Kingston Jamaica

    I'm still thinking that at the end of the day there will be many contributing factors cited. Among them will be stress of conditions, and fatigue. But these factors will be contributing to the error of the pilots which we all know they will determine as is usually the case.

  10. #85
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    Re: American Airlines Crash at Kingston Jamaica

    Quote Originally Posted by mmedford
    Actually Approach lighting affects the catergory of landing...CAT-IIIs require ALSFs, CAT-II requires a MALSR, etc...
    Approach lighting is irrelevant to the the approach present at the runway. A runway can have ALSF2s but not necessarily have an ILS (of course, 99% of the time an approach with ALSF2's has an ILS'). On the other hand, if the approach is a certain type of approach (i.e. ILS CATII) it HAS to have a certain lighting system. So if you have a CATII ILS, you know you're going to have certain light system. Just seeing a light system doesn't necessarily mean you can tell what kind of approach that runway has.

    Well, I'm curious if the runway is a precision or non-precision approach...
    RWY12 has an ILS which is a precision approach. The link I posted earlier has the Jeppessen Chart for the ILS. ILS = precision approach.

    That is incorrect...displacement on guidance is affected by modulation into free space. Not every localizer has a backcourse either...
    Don't know much about modulation into free space, but I'm pretty sure you won't find too many (if any) localizers located at the approach end of the runway you're shooting the approach to unless it's a localizer backcourse. Correct me if I'm wrong but I thought the way a localizer works is that there are two antennas on each side of the runway which each propagate a signal (received through a frequency you tune in the cockpit). The localizer beams propagate equal waves in a certain direction and where they intersect correlates to the position of runway centerline. The closer you get to the physical location of the localizer antennas, the more sensitive and "precise" the localizer becomes. If the antennas were at the approach end of the runway, the course would become too sensitive on short final, and it would be very difficult to stay within one dot displacement. If you're shooting an ILS (especially down to mins) you need to have precise course guidance that doesn't get so sensitive that you are no longer able to track it, or you'd be forced to execute a missed approach. That's the reason why on LOC BC the localizer antennas are located at the approach end, and why those have to be non-precision approaches and can not be coupled with a glideslope.
    Anyway I digress, this is getting too technical, haha!

    Well i'm just trying to understand the whole situation, i'm hearing reports of bad visibility and low ceiling...so understanding the capabilities of the equipment does add to the mental image i'm trying to create.
    Here are the METARs for the time period (grabbed from another board). I believe they "landed" around 0150Z:

    MKJP 230228Z 31009KT 5000 TSRA BKN014 FEW016CB SCT030 BKN100 22/19 Q1013
    MKJP 230200Z 30012KT 5000 SHRA BKN014 SCT030 BKN100 22/20 Q1013 RERA
    MKJP 230100Z 040033KT 5000 SHRA BKN016 SCT030 BKN100 23/20 Q1013 RERA

    Looks like ceilings over 1400' with definite tailwinds (300/12 at 02Z) with rain showers and visibility at 5000m (~3 miles). Doesn't sound like visibility or ceiling was much of a factor...

  11. #86
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    Re: American Airlines Crash at Kingston Jamaica

    Quote Originally Posted by daneyd
    What this video has in common with flight 331 is it demonstrates the difference between down wind and head wind landings. Had this pilot approached from the other end, he too would have made it. It's simple mathematics. If an airplane requires (based on all the various calculations) 3,000 ft. in zero wind to land, that same plane would require 3,900 ft with a 15 kt tail wind.
    Sure we all know this. But in this case, they were LEGAL and within company limits both with tailwinds and I'm assuming total landing distance. Now if the reports come back and said their computed landing distance was greater than runway available, it's a totally different story. But I don't think there's any way their data said their landing distance was anywhere close (within 500') of the total runway available, especially being an experienced crew with passengers on board.

    Same plane same conditions coming into the 15 Kt wind and the plane with only need 2,200 ft of runway. That's a 1,700 ft differential. That's my point. Not only do you not add to the "zero wind" distance, you subtract from it. It's like when you make a $100 bet at blackjack. If you win versus if you lose. Its a $200 difference. Because had you won instead of losing, its a $200 difference. Not just the $100 you bet. Same as wind. Down wind your adding the component, head wind your subtracting. That's twice the difference. Again, that's why it was so critical for them to get into this wind instead of going down wind of it.
    Bro, you make no sense.. Successful landings are made every day in tailwinds...

  12. #87
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    Re: American Airlines Crash at Kingston Jamaica

    Quote Originally Posted by moose135
    Now throw in a wet runway (RCR 9) and it jumps to 5,700 feet.
    Reviewed this today. When RCR is not reported we use RCR of 6 for ICY, 10 for Wet, 14 for Wet (porous or grooved) and 23 for dry. Sounds like your 9 is closer to the conditions they experienced (wet and ungrooved)...

  13. #88
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    Re: American Airlines Crash at Kingston Jamaica

    RWY12 has an ILS which is a precision approach. The link I posted earlier has the Jeppessen Chart for the ILS. ILS = precision approach.
    Your expired chart doesn't display the location of the antenna...and just because you have an ILS doesn't mean it's a precision approach... eg; Runway 22R @ JFK, the localizer is off-set 500 feet from runway centerline....

    Don't know much about modulation into free space, but I'm pretty sure you won't find too many (if any) localizers located at the approach end of the runway you're shooting the approach to unless it's a localizer backcourse. Correct me if I'm wrong but I thought the way a localizer works is that there are two antennas on each side of the runway which each propagate a signal (received through a frequency you tune in the cockpit). The localizer beams propagate equal waves in a certain direction and where they intersect correlates to the position of runway centerline. The closer you get to the physical location of the localizer antennas, the more sensitive and "precise" the localizer becomes. If the antennas were at the approach end of the runway, the course would become too sensitive on short final, and it would be very difficult to stay within one dot displacement. If you're shooting an ILS (especially down to mins) you need to have precise course guidance that doesn't get so sensitive that you are no longer able to track it, or you'd be forced to execute a missed approach. That's the reason why on LOC BC the localizer antennas are located at the approach end, and why those have to be non-precision approaches and can not be coupled with a glideslope.
    Anyway I digress, this is getting too technical, haha!
    Localizers located on the approach end, are probably for the the opposite end runway...backcourse isn't really used much; learned through my talks with people from other airports.

    Well you are wrong on that one...localizer theory works off the concept of "Difference in the Depth of Modulation"... the antennas are placed on the opposite end of the runway to allow modulation in free space. Also in cases of CATII/III, a pair of monitor antennas are required to ensure a proper signal at the approach end. We also do ground checks to ensure the antennas are radiating properly. That whole sensitivity thing, doesn't make much sense and is pretty inaccurate to what really happens...especially since backcourse also depends on the actual antenna inuse.

    The nav reciever onboard the aircraft is able to receive both the 150hz & 90hz, and derives your centerline from it.


    Thats enough ILS theory for tonight...

    Sorry I don't know how to read METAR data...

  14. #89
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    Re: American Airlines Crash at Kingston Jamaica

    Quote Originally Posted by mirrodie
    Whenever events like this happens the blue site is really frustrating because you have to read thru so much crap to find the vital and interesting updates. But here their where timely updates and great selection of daylight photos. And it did not take me forever to find it.
    You know, its amazing how one story quickly gets forgotten when something new pops up (the DL bomb scare).

    Ron, I can see your frustration. Phil and Matt do a great job. However, I think what also helps is that there are less users here and thus there is less crap to weed through. Its inevitable that as more users post on NYCA, there is more to weed through to get the facts, especially when its fresh news and the facts are not well known yet.

    Since those approach lights were not functional, I am hopeful to see that pilot error is a less likely cause.
    It will msot likely be the company's fault that runs that airport. As soon as a crash happens and something isnt working that is vital its always a main factor. I can see pilot error as well. They should have not tried landing under those conditions especally with the lights O.O.S. The human factor that everybody has and you cant deny is the want to hurry and relax. We are all guilty of this. What I think is those pilots and crew wanted to get down ASAP so they could go and relax. They probably thought going around would take too much time so they went with the option that was the quickest. But like all shortcuts it only lead to trouble. This is why we have rules. So people dont get hurt. I dont eman to sound like a parent i'm way too young for that still but I see them wanting to get the job done as quickly as possible taking shortcuts where they could so they could have more time to chill. On a side note thats why ramp agent/baggage handler postions are so dangerous. I am a ramp agent at T7 in JFK and most ppl dont care enough and only want to get the job done so they can slack off on the job. They take the shortcuts and one day something will happen. Much like I think what happened with this crash.

  15. #90
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    Re: American Airlines Crash at Kingston Jamaica

    Quote Originally Posted by mmedford
    ...and just because you have an ILS doesn't mean it's a precision approach...
    No, by definition, a Precision Approach is one with both azimuth and glide slope information provided. An ILS, with both localizer and glide slope, is a precision approach. A localizer only, or VOR/DME approach, is a non-precision approach because it does not provide glide slope information.

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