We all thought the same!
Where's my stuff?
Three people were killed when an Amazon Prime Air-branded cargo flight crashed near Houston, Texas, on Saturday afternoon. The Boeing 767-375ER, owned and flown by cargo outfit Atlas Air as flight number 5Y3591, is said to have entered an unexpected nosedive from around 6,000ft while on a scheduled cargo run between Miami …
No: Only heroes die once.
"“A coward dies a thousand times before his death, but the valiant taste of death but once. It seems to me most strange that men should fear, seeing that death, a necessary end, will come when it will come.” "
(W. Shaksper, Julius Caesar)
As foul tasting as many responders found this attempt at a witticism, the sickening truth is, that world is full of those who respond in exactly this way when circumstances inconvenience their lives such as the diner who threw a hissy fit about their delayed meal because another patron had a heart attack.
I think some here are protesting too much and/or virtue signalling.
This is (allegedly) a technically literate audience trained to look beyond the immediate to the long term.
So I would expect roughly
(1) Shit. Poor bastards.
(2) Thank $Deity it was a cargo plane. A passenger plane would have been far worse.
(3) Probably a lot of goods in one basket. Wonder how long the supply chain will take to recover? Also known as *Dude, where's my parcel?".
So I suspect a lot of people wondered about all the lost packages without disregarding the tragic loss of life. Then paused to villify someone who stated what they were all thinking.
Count me as being one of the people who only actually thought about #1 and later #2 (to a degree). I'll admit if there were a chance my parcel had been lost I'd care about it, and perhaps I ought to care about the effects on people who've not had their deliveries made.... but no, right now it's immaterial.
Not virtue signalling, I'm afraid, just not being an arse. Some people aren't.
'Not virtue signalling, I'm afraid, just not being an arse. Some people aren't.'
You are sharing your personal opinion of the original poster based on a single statement which clearly offends your moral outlook. Your final statement then sets your and possibly other people's morals above the original poster, right?
Seems like someone signaling their virtue to me, why do you feel the need to deny it?
Virtue signalling was originally about conspicuously showing one's moral superiority. I'm not doing that. I'm saying this person is behaving like an arse.
Of course, now virtue signalling has become a pretty lazy perjorative to denigrate anyone willing to call out someone's poor behaviour, so if that's how you wish to use the term, go ahead - but I'm afraid the flip side is that you can then be accused of virtue signalling my admitting your own shortcomings (and so being better than me), and so it goes on. Yawn. The OP still behaved like an arse.
My thought train was as follows:
1. Did anyone onboard survive?
2. Did they hit anyone on the ground?
3. Are Amazon cutting corners on safety?
I'm guessing for a planeload of stuff, they were moving things between warehouses rather than carrying parcels to customers, so people considering buying the stuff would see a higher expected delivery time than otherwise.
Not a surprise, for a cargo. Sure, some also have newer planes built from scratch as cargo, for routes that are more profitable. But often companies get older planes no longer fit for passenger service, and turn them into cargo. Then is up to maintenance. But without more info it's hard to tell if it was a mechanical failure, cargo load issue, or something else.
If the water was shallow, and the bottom muddy, the flight recorders may have ended up deep in the mud - hope they will find them soon anyway.
It's a routine thing to "wet lease" aircraft to other people, and it's even more of a routine thing to store aircraft until such a time when the aircraft is needed. They're usually kept at a desert location, to mitigate corrosion issues.
There was a crash years ago involving an airline called Manx2, THAT was an interesting investigation due to the opaque nature of the ownership of the aircraft. Obviously I'm not suggesting anything wrong with the ownership of this aircraft, just pointing out another aircrash that was interesting in terms of investigation.
My 2 cents though, I wonder if there was a large shift in the centre of gravity of the aircraft, cargo came loose and shifted.
27 year-old plane design. Without knowing the tail number, you don't know when this plane was built — it could have been built last month (I believe they're still building them).
Do we know that this particular plane is not used regularly, or is this just a common pattern for cargo planes? The NTSB is much better these days about revealing partial information as it becomes available, rather than waiting until a comprehensive report can be made.
This past week in my newsletter from Airfix I heard one of the last flying Gloster Meteors (a Nightfighter) has ceased flying.
Airframe age, of itself, means that it's had more opportunity for problems to develop but that does not mean you shouldn't step foot in the cabin of an airliner just because its been around a while.
[declaration of (in)competence - I may have watched too much Air Crash Investigation and be overrating my skills/opinion]
I can see how that would work out in a noise cockpit.
"Alexa, engage autopilot"
"Playing tracks by Killswitch Engage"
"Alexa, stop. Autopilot on"
"Playing Autobahn by Kraftwerk"
"Alexa, why are we heading for that mountain"
"Hmmm, I don't know that".
I'd be surprised if it was. They tend to load everything into containers and/or pallets so the aircraft can be rapidly loaded and unloaded, while allowing the cargo to be easily locked down while in flight. You'd have to have multiple failures in fastenings, and this towards the end of the flight.
Looking at the flight track, they were flying at about 6000 feet above a wildlife sanctuary. Possible bird strike? Two engines out at that height wouldn't give them a lot to play with.
Aeronautical engineers have spent hundreds of thousands of man-hours making sure that there is no way for a single failure to crash an aircraft.
s/no way/extremely unlikely/
Just recently I came across an accident report on a China Southwest crash involving a Tupolev 154 (built in 1990, so roughly the same age as this craft). The cause was a single nut, incorrectly installed during maintenance; instead of a castle nut with locking pin, a self-locking nut was used. When it came undone it messed up the elevator trim, and the plane went into an unrecoverable stall.
Engineers are cancelled by Beancounters: A dilapidated plane operated by a real Mickey-Mouse outfit flying regional flights in Norway had used bolts, probably sourced from the local auto parts store, to fix the rudder and APU with. The APU eventually came loose and took all the hydraulics away with it and the plane crashed.
Exactly what I fear about flying: That 10 minute free-fall experience!
Even a double bird strike causing the loss of both engines wouldn't cause it to nosedive uncontrollably. Planes can still glide without power, and an experienced pilot can safely land a plane with no engines. That happened to a Ryanair flight into Rome if I recall, with the eventual loss of the plane due to the hard landing, but no serious injuries to passengers or crew.
Sounds more like cargo coming loose or a catastrophic mechanical failure elsewhere.
RIP to the crew and thoughts with their families and friends. I hope the investigators find the data recorders and learn something from the accident in order to prevent a repeat.
Indeed the "Miracle on the Hudson" was in part because Capt "Sully" was an experienced glider pilot in his spare time, his passenger craft was just a big glider.
I've been on passenger jets on short hop flights in clear calm weather where towards the approach it became suddenly quiet, I always wondered did they switch the engines to idle and glide for a while?
_Every_ pilot gets training in engine-out procedures/gliding. A 767 is going to take several minutes to come down from 6000 feet with no engines and that's more than enough time to put out mayday calls, find a suitable landing patch, etc. (even if the ram air turbine doesn't pop out there are still batteries, etc)
Whatever took this thing down was sudden enough that the crew had no time to make a call. Wait for the FAA and NTSB initial report but whatever the failure mode was it had to have been utterly catastrophic to have kept the pilots busy from 6000 feet to the ground.
Two engines out at that height wouldn't give them a lot to play with.
Total power failure would result in a glide followed by an emergency landing or ditching, not a nose-dive and crash. Given that they were over an open area of shallow water & mud, an emergency landing would have been perfectly survivable. Maybe you recall a total power fail situation at a similarly low height that occurred near the Hudson river a few years ago?
Freight planes have crashed before due to loading issues, where cargo is loaded in the incorrect manner and the flight crew sign off on the wrong configuration which is needed for setting the trim. Alternative is the load was not secured correctly cause a shift in weight.
What ever it was its likely a short and terrifying flight, expect to see this on Aircraft Investigates in a couple of years.
Slightly different from a 15 ton tank rolling loose in the Afghanistan 747.
Cargo is in LD containers, even if one came loose it can move far without hitting the next, they weigh less than 1<ton and since this was shipping Amazon packages containing mostly air they were likely very lightly loaded. Typical express airfreight like this is volume limited not mass.
To go down that fast it is likely massive structural failure (wing fell off) a very aggressive fire (somebody illegally loaded Lithium batteries or Oxygen generators) or a mid-air with something unlisted and with no transponder (drug runner or idiot).
NTSB recovered the lack boxes almost immediately (tail was in one piece) so should have some idea soon.
Well, the problem was eventually found and fixed after two fatal crashes (it was not an easy problem to find even when suspicion was on one particular part). And it only affected 737's, not 767's.
I have my own theories on what most likely caused this but will keep them to myself and let the experts actually figure it out.
From what I've read, the only loss of a 767 due to mechanical failure was caused by a thrust reverser activating in mid-flight. When one of your engines suddenly starts producing negative thrust--that's pretty much impossible to recover from. That's supposed to be no longer possible though.
I was driving my vehicle on Houston's Beltway 8 on the east side of Houston just north of Interstate Highway 10, perhaps 20-30 miles west of the Anahuac area, at the approximate time the crash occurred. We had a cold front which was passing through the Houston area with significant downpours of rain scattered around town as the front moved from north to south. I recall all of my vehicle windows fogging up on the outside in an instant and while it startled me at first, I realized it was a significant drop in ambient temperature (eight degrees F or so). So rapid and dense it required me to quickly switch my windscreen wipers on.
Therefore, I suspect there might have been some wind shear activity, but hopefully the black boxes will be located to provide an accurate explanation. Rain was very intense at times...as Texans describe, "Like a cow pissing on a flat rock." Prayers go out to the souls and their families.
Several points come to mind. - if they were pushed by a downdraft, they didn't even have time for a Mayday? - Some airports have downdraft warning radars. Did this airport have that? - Even if they did have warning, would they have heeded it, or would they have gone through with the landing because they would be fired by Amazon if they were even a minute late?
There's not many things that would cause an aircraft that size to enter a nose-dive. Deliberate pilot action is one, and a sudden shift in cargo is another. It can also be the eventual result of an aerodynamic stall, which in turn can (and has been) caused by making a mistake when programming the autopilot with neither pilot monitoring the instruments as they should. Nevertheless, when the stall-warning and stick-shaker activates almost all pilots would react in a way that prevents the nose dropping as much as it apparently did here.
Yes, the cargo is on pallets or in bins, but they are on tracks in the fuselage. There are stops on the tracks that must be raised in front and behind each bin or pallet to prevent it sliding. If a heavy bin/pallet has a space on one or both sides (very common when a small but very heavy pallet is close to the maximum weight allowed in its station), and the loader has forgotten to engage one or more stops, it can and has caused a lot of damage. As an example - the locks have been engaged on the tail end of the pallet, but not the nose end, and the pallet is situated close to the tail end of its load station (compartment). All is fine during takeoff and cruise, and also cruise-descent which is a very shallow dive. But as the aircraft is pitched further down for a faster descent to land, the friction between the pallet and rails is finally overcome and it slides forward building up speed until it crashes into the pallet in front at the next station. The shock overloads the stops which break and now there are two pallets rushing forwards. Etc. Besides mechanical damage that may be caused to the aircraft frame, the C of G moves suddenly much further forward than the amount that can be compensated by the elevator, and the aircraft noses over and dives into the ground PDQ.
Not saying that's what happened, but it's a plausible scenario that requires only one point of failure (a forgotten bin-stop) that would be completely symptom-less before the sudden catastrophic event. Bins/pallets can each be loaded with several tons of cargo.
Another scenario we have unfortunately seen before - a suicidal pilot.
The flight recorders will soon make clear what happened, I'm sure.
We had a similar event here back in the 1990s if memory serves.
Cargo improperly loaded can destabilize the plane but this alone wouldn't account for the crash.
I'm thinking some sort of pitot tube issue but this would also be unlikely.
RIP, also people who make poor taste comments should be slapped.
I'm thinking some sort of pitot tube issue but this would also be unlikely.
Pitot tubes icing up in flight (see 'cold front' comment above) can cause this, but it tends to be more problematic if the pilots don't have much in the way of external visual references. Like in the middle of the night at FL300+ over the ocean, less so at 6000 feet around noon.
There’s no reason to think this was the case so I’m wildly (and hopefully) speculating, but if there was no mayday, perhaps there was a loss of cabin pressure and they were unconscious as it went down.
Crashing is horrible enough...them *knowing* they were plummeting to their deaths is just terrible to contemplate.
The industry will definitely be paying attention to this report. The B767 is one of the safest airframes out there measured in fatalities per passenger-mile. Even if one includes three hijackings with fatal outcomes that remains true. So, a little surprising.
I always pay attention to B767 safety, as I nearly had a little problem somewhere around 1986 or so. New aircraft, and the design was still pretty new. I was walking past an entry door that had just been closed and the emergency slide flopped off the door into the little vestibule; had that inflated the flight attendant inches from me and myself would have had one hell of a bonding experience being crushed together. Not significant in the scheme of things but had my attention at the time.
It will be classed as pilot error. Unless it can be blamed on a lower ranking crew member. It's much easier for dead people to carry the can than for live ones to accept responsibility.
I'm in no way saying this is a good thing, just the traditional victim blaming.
I supposed if you're not familiar with accident investigations and simply get your information from poorly written media accounts. The NTSB determines causes based on evidence. They don't just blame the pilots out of convenience. If you look at air crash investigative reports they usually have well supported findings.
Went to school with a gentleman who has become an aero engineer (structures flavor) and a member of NTSB. Early in his career he did a fair amount of crash scene work. Any man willing to wade waist to chest deep in a fetid Florida swamp, surrounded by death, jet fuel, and various reptiles while looking for aircraft crumbs has got balls of stainless steel and truly uncommon dedication. He would acquit himself well on any battlefield, but is also a highly trained aero. One of many.
Read the reports. NTBS works in a perfect storm of conflict - they are caught between the aircraft vendor, engine vendor, FAA, airline company, subsystem vendors, pilot union, meteorological people, and so on. A small organization, they rely on information from all of those warring tribes and somehow manage to arrive at solid, well reasoned, and effective analysis. Note the NTSB doesn't just do aircraft. Go to their website, read the reports, and watch the taped briefings. This is one of the few chunks of the US Govt I don't mind funding at tax time.
Note as well their counterparts in the UK, EU, etc. ... pretty much any ICAO-signatory country... are generally damn good.
Read the reports and watch a little less of the "Air Crash Investigators" TV show.
Some preliminary crash details released by them: ADS-B data from the flight suggest that at about 12:37 the aircraft entered a rapid rate of descent. The NTSB stated that at 12:39, while the aircraft was at approximately 6000 feet, radio and radar contact was lost. CCTV footage located by the NTSB shows that the aircraft was in a steep nose down descent before it impacted the water of Trinity Bay, approximately 60 km ESE of the destination airport.
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