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Discovery Channel's Plane Crash

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Once you're done with the Sunday football games, I recommend tuning into The Discovery Channel's Plane Crash, which, in a feat of copywriting hyperbole grand even by television standards, bills itself as "the most daring mission in aviation history." Kinda makes you wonder where they'd rank Apollo 11. But on to the show. The story is simple: Buy a tired old Boeing 727, rig it with a remote piloting apparatus and crash it into the desert with several dozen cameras rolling, plus crash instrumented dummies flailing, dirt and dust flying and scientists taking notes and recording detailed crash force data. Another bit of hype is that the data recorded in the crash sequence "will revolutionize aviation safety." Right. There really is science in this project, but mostly it's about blowing s&^% up on television and, after seeing a press preview of the show, I'm here to tell you, that makes excellent television. Somewhere in your aviation history library you'll find a report on a joint NASA/FAA effort to do the same thing in 1984 with a remotely piloted 720. The intent was to test the fire suppression qualities of anti-misting kerosene. The airplane was flown remotely into a test range with obstacles designed to open the fuel tanks on impact. Although it didn't go exactly as planned, the test yielded enough data to prove that anti-misting kerosene wasn't worth the effort. The Discovery Channel did things differently. It used a human crew to take off and align the airplane with the impact runway—a desert site in Mexico—and everyone bailed out after the airplane was configured for landing. Control was assumed by a chase plane, which then flew the 727 into a planned impact of 2000 FPM. They actually got about 1500 FPM, but the crash was sufficiently violent to break the airplane without burning it, which was the goal. For a two-hour program—you'd expect no less for a $4 million budget—Plane Crash is engaging, although drawn out longer than it needs to be. (Will you please crash this damn thing!) Still, you can't go wrong with plane-to-plane visuals with lots of angles, skydivers exiting a 727 and a giant impact cloud in the desert. The narration, overheated to the point of distraction, could have been better. I was a little surprised that after equipping the airplane with a sophisticated custom servo system, they flew the thing with a hobby shop RC controller. If that had gone wrong, pfffffft…no TV. But it worked, even if the Cessna 337 chase plane initially had trouble keeping up with the 727. The results? Really fascinating crash sequence footage from outside the airplane, from above it and from inside it. The narrator noted that none of the major transport aircraft manufacturers chose to participate, which isn't particularly surprising, given that the crash was on a sandy desert surface, not a hard runway where an accident like that is more likely to happen. I imagine that would have yielded different results and real world data more useful to engineers thinking about airline crashworthiness. As you'll see in the film, when the airplane touches down, the nosegear sinks into the sand to its full length, snapping the nose section of the airplane off in a downward moment. I'd guess the dynamic on a runway would be different. Speaking of engineers, one of them involved noted on camera that this crash will yield data that some people will find useful. True statement, that, even though I don't think it's going to revolutionize air safety. A couple of interesting takeaways. The instrumented dummies showed that the crash brace position probably will reduce injuries, at least for this one-time instance. Second, although the overheads didn't detach, much of the wiring and ceiling panels did, making for an egress hazard. Plane Crash is sure worth an evening of Sunday television. So microwave some popcorn, have a watch and tell us what you think.
When to Catch It:

Sunday, October 7
9:00pm Eastern Time
midnight Eastern Time

Monday, October 8
9:00pm Eastern Time
midnight Eastern Time

Wednesday, October 10
4:00am Eastern Time

Sunday, October 14
10:00am Eastern Time

Comments (47)

It state's the obvious, the safest place is over the strongest part = the wing. IF there is no fire!

Posted by: Duane Poehls | October 7, 2012 10:49 PM    Report this comment

Paul: The intent was great, but like you said: a bit to long. I also think the results would have been different if it had been crashed on a hard runway surface - especially in terms of what happened to the nosegear and resulting damage.

Duane, agree with you about over the wing, but I also caught the comment about how difficult it would be to evacuate with a broken leg.

Posted by: Richard Norris | October 8, 2012 6:26 AM    Report this comment

It was an interesting show, I was surprised with so many excellent experienced pilot's and also engineers, that One, they picked a skymaster 337 for the chase aircraft and used an of the shelf hobby RC transmitter unit, low power, line of site operation, would have been fine if someone had thought to put an external antenna on the chase skymaster, For the receiver, inside the fuse of the 727, I'm sure someone had to rig an antenna, in a window perhaps ?. Now for the nose of the 727 breaking, looks like the nose gear folding up under the fuse, did the breaking. Now are we still using this same setup today, or are we using breakaway gear hardware, do these aircraft designes have any kind of backbone, or belly bone, (keel)? to stiffen the fusalage. Good show overall !, it was entertaining, although we knew the outcome would be a crash of a big aircraft.

Posted by: Duane Cody | October 8, 2012 6:55 AM    Report this comment

All fluff no Facts this was just a 2 hr. commercial for the sponsors.

Posted by: Jim Renfro | October 8, 2012 7:19 AM    Report this comment

Perfect use of Tivo.

Posted by: howard benz | October 8, 2012 7:38 AM    Report this comment

Initial mission critical testing of the remote control system should have been done on the ground to determine range and effectiveness. Flight testing wouldn't have been such a surprise. External send/receive antennas on both aircraft should have been a no-brainer, not sure why they weren't used. A simple, one way video link between the cockpit of the 727 and the remote pilot might have helped him attain a better approach angle and therefore hit the "runway" more directly.

Please don't criticize "hobby" grade R/C equipment. It is probably more sophisticated and reliable than any "state of the art" remote control systems were when NASA tried a similar test 20+ years ago. I am a frequent flyer. I will continue to sit in the front of the airplane as long as Delta will give me upgrades. I agree that it was a bit to (too) long.

Posted by: Dave Volker | October 8, 2012 7:53 AM    Report this comment

Ditto Duane's comments, and Howard's. Would have liked NASA asked if there was anything they would have liked to add. Would have been better if they crashed the thing at one hour into the show and spent an hour telling us what they learned, rather than just a few minutes.

Posted by: Justin Graff | October 8, 2012 7:57 AM    Report this comment

Haven't seen the show (yet), but isn't 1500 fpm into the ground going to be pretty darn severe regardless of runway surface? I understand the snagging and torque moment caused by a nosewheel digging in.

Can't help but notice the similarity to the B-17 accident that killed Joseph Kennedy Jr in WWII. I wonder what kind of RC unit they attempted to use? In those days if anything they had only single pulse systems, so they probably used a custom built military radio system. From the above posts, I'm glad I have a DVR to fast forward through the comments...

Posted by: A Richie | October 8, 2012 8:41 AM    Report this comment

Let's not diss "hobby grade" R/C equipment. The quality and capabilties of 2012 spread spectrum R/C stuff is better that typical 1980's aviation rated avionics that many of us still fly with and to which we trust our lives. I've never had to send any of my 15 R/C systems in for service, which is more than I can say for my ANR headsets.

Posted by: john kallend | October 8, 2012 9:32 AM    Report this comment

I enjoyed the show but you talk about Over Drama. Wow. First the "Jump Master" decides to change the plan on the Test Run and then they act like the Jumpers were in real peril. Next They can't find a chase aircraft fast enough? Cmon. But was really great footage and fun just a little too much TV not enough Science.

Posted by: James Lemaster | October 8, 2012 9:58 AM    Report this comment

As a pilot I found it "entertaining" and hoped for some useful results. As a frequent "Platinum" level airline passenger, I agree with Dave Volker and will accept the upgrade to first class anytime it's offered, regardless of the possible risk of sitting in the front. There were so many commercials I wanted to put a gun to my head - almost.

Posted by: James Sanford | October 8, 2012 10:05 AM    Report this comment

Hey guys, No bodies dissing the RC stuff, this is pretty neat today, but the Aircraft part of the RC setup was not off the shelf hardware, and it did work, but with all the other tech stuff being used, you would think an even higher tech RC connection would have been used, And seeing the short antenna, I'm betting Amateur radio fregs were in use, and not the old 72Mhz bands. It did work, and having a camera as noted earlier watching the glideslope would have been a helpfull item. But then would require another radio setup to send the video to the chase bird. I also say high in drama tv, but not so much with science or using today's tech. And having all the data stored onboard the 727 and not being sent to outside receivers ? They were worried about the trigger, but had 6 people onboard, one of who could have hit the start button for recording the data. There were several questions unanswered for me.

Posted by: Duane Cody | October 8, 2012 10:12 AM    Report this comment

On the question of nosegear designed to shear load limits, the narration said current designs are the same as those on the 727 used. I'm not sure I believe that. The airplane was 40 years old. That design criteria hasn't changed in all that time?

Second, the nature of the G-loading would have been more rapid onset in sandy soil than on a runway, where sliding down a hard surface would dissipate it more slowly.

Posted by: Paul Bertorelli | October 8, 2012 11:42 AM    Report this comment

I too wondered why someone couldn't hit the start button for the data logger on the way out the door--also the lack of data streaming to the ground.

Way too much hype (as Paul and others have explained)--poor planning (Skymaster, lack of antenna, changing the drop area, no ground-based tests of the remote controls--vastly overhyped results--corney radio communications for even simple observations ("I say everything twice--I say everything twice!")and dubious results.

A 5-minute YouTube video would have been just as entertaining and informative, and wouldn't have cost $4 million dollars. I guess we should look on the positive side--if it was a GOVERNMENT PROGRAM, it would have cost $40 million! Does anyone else recall those 20-plus years of "braking tests" on a 720B by the FAA at NAFEC?

Posted by: jim hanson | October 8, 2012 1:05 PM    Report this comment

$4,000,000 Amateur Hour! How they could manage to take something with so much potential and make it so boring and almost pointless is beyond me. Right up there with Geraldo Rivera opening up Al Capone's basement several years ago.

Posted by: Richard Montague | October 8, 2012 1:52 PM    Report this comment

Typical of Discovery Channel programs; repetition out the gazoo. Over-blowing of the occasional malfunctions for more suspense. I question the C337 having trouble keeping up with the 727 in landing configuration; I have kept up with a 747 on final in a PA28-R, parallel runways at ORD. Finally, I wonder what scenario led them to decide on a 2000 fpm rate of descent? Enough to assure spectacular flying debris without pulverizing the airframe?

Posted by: Unknown | October 8, 2012 1:57 PM    Report this comment

The Skymaster is a 150 knot airplane at low altitude--faster if you push it hard. In the movie, they had the 727 stabilized at 130 knots--that's a 20 to 35 knot differential.

They had at least 12 miles to make up the difference--if they were in position in the first place, that shouldn't be too hard if there were no turns to be made.

You have to wonder why they came up short of the "runway" when they had engine throttle control by RC.

Posted by: jim hanson | October 8, 2012 3:13 PM    Report this comment

The plane would have certainly crashed different if they used a paved runway, but aren't most commercial airline crashes *not* on a paved runway? I think in that sense, an off-runway landing makes more sense from a data-collection point of view.

It was interesting learning about what planning went in to this, but their narrative of the build-up was slightly confusing. They talked about rushing to meet the 5-day window they had to crash the plane, but then interspersed that with talk about a 2 years of planning. Also, it was somewhat fake with the drama (oh no, the SF206 won't start. We might not be able to do this); really, if they couldn't crash the plane, they obviously wouldn't have been airing the episode.

Posted by: Gary Baluha | October 8, 2012 3:20 PM    Report this comment

For all of the PhD's on this project, there was sure a lack of common sense. Maybe each individual was so involved in the details they lost track of the overall project goals. Like selecting an appropriate chase plane. For all of the money at stake, couldn't they afford a couple of hours to rent something faster. Next, the camera trigger mechanism was such a risk. Why put the entire project in jeopardy for such a simple thing. How about another RC channel to turn on the cameras? (if not xmitting the video) Seems simple and no risk. Finally, for the RC pilot... you were lousy! How could you come up so short of the graded runway? And lastly, was there no place in the entire USA that this could have been done? What about Bonneville, or Edwards, etc. It was an interesting project. Overall, I enjoyed the show. The most impressive part of the project was the engineer who developed the servos on the control cables. Nice work!

Posted by: Randall Ziegenbein | October 8, 2012 3:59 PM    Report this comment

Good point about the PhD's on the project, highly educated non avaition types, they meant well but there were lot's of amateur issues in the show, We have the hardware, even off the shelf stuff that could have been put in place, a video from the captains seat to aim the 727 would have been a big help, there were lot's of why's in my mind, not allot of answers in the show. Still don't know why the jumpers changed the drop altitude and location. Somebody was in charge right, didn't they have a meeting to finalize all the decisions. I'm not a jumper but do wear an expensive seat cushion in my Pitts, so given a jump at 4k versus 2.5k, I'd go for the 4k, and probably have a chance of landing near the recovery team. So many unanswered reasons. Thankfully we didn't have to pay for the test.

Posted by: Duane Cody | October 8, 2012 4:26 PM    Report this comment

How were the flying servos attached to the controls in the 727? Hydraulic or mechanical connection? Installed in the cockpit or somewhere else?

By the way, on a related note, I used to know an old pilot who was once Chief Pilot at Republic Airlines. He always said the 727 was his favorite A/C because it had hydraulics AND cables connecting the cockpit to the control surfaces. He had lost some controls in other A/C over his long career and really valued the 727's redundancy.

Posted by: A Richie | October 8, 2012 4:54 PM    Report this comment

Looks like the servos were attached directly to the cabling running under the floor in the main cabin. Not sure how the 727 systems work, but I assume it's hydraulically boosted somewhere along the way.

Posted by: Paul Bertorelli | October 8, 2012 6:30 PM    Report this comment

Programs like this would be a lot better if there weren't a "CRISIS" every few minutes. Way to much hype and not enough substance. Windstorm in the Mexican desert, what a surprise? Permit about to run out, tragic! Cessna can't keep up! Why not pick a suitable aircraft in the first place. Aircraft has a mechanical problem, shocking. How about some common sense. Have a weather forecast, position a backup aircraft just in case. And on and on and on.....

Posted by: John Lewis | October 8, 2012 7:49 PM    Report this comment

Thank you Paul for watching and analyzing this event for me. Knowing ahead of time that I could count on someone else filling this particular void in my life I chose instead to fly my own Cessna 120, walk my dog and chat with our granddaughter on the telephone.

Posted by: John Kliewer | October 8, 2012 8:11 PM    Report this comment

I remember years ago, an article in Life magazine on how the FAA crashed an old DC-7 in the course of survivability research. Years later, there was fortunately ONE DC-7B left in its original passenger configuration, which I saw at the Thunder over Michigan airshow ~2010.

Not that I'm against crashing old airliners in the course of research that could save people's lives, but ... I hope that years down the road, there will be a 727 left to tour the airshow circuit like the aforementioned DC-7B, a Lockheed Super Constellation that appeared at Oshkosh a few times and, ..... Fifi, the last flying B-29 Superfortress.

Posted by: Alex Kovnat | October 9, 2012 7:11 AM    Report this comment

40 mins of content stretched to two hours by endless repetition - just in case you missed it before the break - and coming up - the after the break and.....

Everything that's wrong with American TV these days - little content stretch across many adverts and viewers are assumed to have minimal attention span and need constant reminding of what is going on.

Posted by: Graeme Smith | October 9, 2012 7:21 AM    Report this comment

Agree with the "too many CRISIS" comments. This is the way a child sees the world; scary monsters hiding behind every tree. As adults we know that with anything we do there will be problems, so you have to plan for contingencies or address them along the way.

What does that say about TV producers :-)

Posted by: A Richie | October 9, 2012 8:30 AM    Report this comment

Good point A Richie, I think the producers needed a story teller, someone to edit the material and make it flow as a story needing told, the fuel pump leaking on the chase plane was rediculous, it happens, didn't need to waste time on tv with this issue. I wondered why a team member was standing by the plane as the crew fired it up, I have started many aircraft without having a ground crew member watching. And I'm still wondering why the jumpmaster changed mid practice flight to a later jump point and altitude. Still lots of questions of why, to what purpose. The recovery team had flares, why didn't the jumpers have flares or smokers ? Hopefully the team learned a bunch during this excercise and will do better next time if there is a next time. And I'm still wondering about all the pilots in the jumpsuits having there own meetings, what was with that ?, one for the 727 and one for the chase aircraft.

Posted by: Duane Cody | October 9, 2012 8:57 AM    Report this comment

I would have killed to have been given the job to write the script for this program. I think it was almost good, but good have been excellent with some tweaking, refocus and less dramatic narration.

Don't know if you caught the narrator saying the remote control system "controls the wing flaps which fly the airplane." Right.

Still, I enjoyed it. The version I saw had no commercials, which makes it more watchable.

Posted by: Paul Bertorelli | October 9, 2012 11:39 AM    Report this comment

I caught that slip also, it would have been much better with actual aviation types doing the work, this was a bunch of well meaning semi techies, I would have enjoyed seeing the Receiver and servo setup for the controls, they may not have had throttle control, and since the engines were still running after the crash, and with 2 hours of fuel onboard, a fuel shutoff setup would have lessoned the engines running issue, they never showed how they got them shutdown, talking to the firefighters, I figured they would drown the engines out with the pumper truck, but they didn't show that. Maybe it wouldn't work ?. I'm betting they had to take a long break until the fuel ran out, thankfully we didn't have to wait for that one.

Posted by: Duane Cody | October 9, 2012 12:21 PM    Report this comment

Shovel some of that desert sand into the intake; shouldn't take very long to stop!

Posted by: A Richie | October 9, 2012 1:02 PM    Report this comment

Here's some Technical Info to answer some of the questions above. I was an AF Maintenance Officer on the E-3, and worked in the System Program Office for the B-52 among other things before leaving the Air Force for civilian life. I also went through pilot training in the Air Force, and eventually ended up in Space and Missile systems, but that was another life ago (a whole 5 years now). In college I had an instructor who was a pilot for TWA with a 727 type rating, and our school had one as a maintenance trainer (it's on the ramp at KRVS now after the closure of Tulsa Downtown some time ago. Boeing used what they called "Balance Bays" in the 707/E-3 that provided a space in which a semi-sealed chamber was divided across the horizontal plane in the trailing edge of the wing, such that a deflection of the aileron via the action of a cable controlled servo-tab would result in increased pressure (stagnation pressure) ahead of the aileron which would enter the balance bay and act on the divider which was attached to the aileron, providing additional force to move the surface. Thus, the ailerons were provided with an aerodynamically boosted power assist without the need for a balanced double acting hydraulic cylinder and all it's associated weight and plumbing. The same system was used in the rudder and elevator if I remember correctly. I believe that this system was retained by Boeing on the 727 as well.

Posted by: Ken Anderson | October 9, 2012 6:46 PM    Report this comment

With regard to the question above about a keel, yes, there is a keel beam that runs the length of the aircraft. It is under the floor in the 700 series, and along the spine in the B-52. As for 'break-away' gear, the gear isn't exactly designed to 'break-away'. In fact, the gear is VERY strongly attached to the aircraft! Imagine the moments involved in stopping a 300,000+ pound aircraft without ANY thrust reversers (the E-3 has none) and you can get an idea of the kind of stresses that the gear must endure. Also, the current generation of RC equipment often is operating the the 2.4 GHz part of the spectrum (the same used by 802.11b,g,n wi-fi equipment). I'm also a HAM and worked in silicon valley after leaving the Air Force. There is a great push to use Commercial Off The Shelf (COTS) hardware, as was done in selecting the controller. This is fine in the instance discussed here since the plane was going to be sacrificed anyway, and provides a user interface that their pilot was familiar with. But, as I can personally attest, RoHS (the Reduction of Hazardous Substances) regulations that many countries have put in place means that most COTS products will use pure tin coatings on electronic component parts. This makes them susceptible to metal whisker formation! (google tin-whisker) So, I can tell you that in life and safety critical systems, i.e. avionics, it is vital to ensure that leaded solder be used. We don't allow ANY pure tin in components going into satellites.

Posted by: Ken Anderson | October 9, 2012 6:49 PM    Report this comment

About COTS products, of which the iPad is one, the hardware (see D)-254) and software (see DO-178C) ARE NOT designed, tested, or approved for life and safety applications, so it's nice to use, but DON'T DEPEND ON IT. RoHS compliant products are VERY vulnerable to suddenly dying due to whiskers, weak solder joints, buggy software and many other problems. With regard to Lead in solder, I would have thought it was obvious you shouldn't eat your computer, but apparently having Mercury (Hg) in CFL bulbs is OK, but having Lead (Pb) in solder is a no-no. Go figure!?! Let's not bother to think that maybe it was there for a reason... Just my two cents worth.

Posted by: Ken Anderson | October 9, 2012 6:52 PM    Report this comment

Hardware is covered by DO-254, appears to have not posted correctly above

Posted by: Ken Anderson | October 9, 2012 6:54 PM    Report this comment

Thanks for the details Ken, especially the aileron servo-amplifier explanation. That's really a clever idea and should be very reliable and add very little weight to the airframe. And to think those guys designed this stuff with their brain and a simple sliderule! (no computers) I'm also an electronics engineer and can verify the RoHS tin-whisker issue; it's a real problem. It's almost like we are intentionally sabotaging industry for virtually no benefit; go figure.

Posted by: A Richie | October 10, 2012 9:06 AM    Report this comment

Oh gosh...how do you make comments on this without being sarcastic...what's a mother to do??? A 727..hmm..doesn't represent the bulk of the current fleet which have wing mounted engines. The stipulation that "someone" will get useful information from this...I guess you could say that throwing a used piece of gun at the trunk of a tree could have the same result.."someone" may find something interesting to look at. Sorry but this was completely a useless exercise and "Fluff" is not even close to what this amounted to. I think someone had too much time and money on their hands to come up with this one...give it to Hollywood for coming up with a B movie of less than B movie content.

Posted by: Blaine Banks | October 11, 2012 6:35 AM    Report this comment

I fully expected the drama to be dialed up to "11" but enjoyed the show nonetheless. My big squawk is that they pancaked the jet into the sand. How often does that happen, and is that really representative of an off-airport landing? No rolling or cartwheeling like the Sioux City accident? It just didn't seem all that realistic to me.

Posted by: Will Alibrandi | October 11, 2012 8:54 AM    Report this comment

I think the Sioux City accident, was primarily due to loss of aileron control, and total hydraulics failure, the pilots where using engine thrust to turn and control direction, they had very little lateral control at slower speeds, and due to that wobble near the ground they caught a wing or engine into the ground that caused the rolling moment, that was a miracle that they even got it on the runway, and that so many did survive. Somebody was looking out for those Souls that day.

Posted by: Duane Cody | October 11, 2012 10:13 AM    Report this comment

Duane, everything you wrote was correct but didn't address the realism of a pancaked landing. I don't know if that was really representative of most off-airport landings.

Posted by: Will Alibrandi | October 11, 2012 10:37 AM    Report this comment

Hi Will, your right, as I would have been flying the airplane all the way to the stop if alive and able. This landing was a rough, no roundout or flare at all, that I could see, it just flew into the ground at way to much rate of decent. I'm sure all the crew learned allot from that, as it was a crash sim. I feel they wanted this damage, as they were talking about a 2k per minute rate. That would hurt. I think this would only relate to a blind landing, in clouds or limited vis, pilot would not know when to start arresting the decent, ouch ! They wanted a hard crash for test results for the crash dummies.

Posted by: Duane Cody | October 11, 2012 10:56 AM    Report this comment

My question is how many off-airport landings end up with the acft upright after a textbook arrival? I get that they wanted deceleration data from the dummies, to correlate it to human survivability but I don't think this perfect scenario plays out all that often.

Posted by: Will Alibrandi | October 11, 2012 11:04 AM    Report this comment

To answer Jim Hansen on Oct 8:

"You have to wonder why they came up short of the "runway" when they had engine throttle control by RC."

The 727 in landing configuration will develop a big sink rate if power is reduced to idle prior to reaching the flare. I recall that's what they did, and I thought, "Uh-oh, they're going to land short". Different large jets respond differently when reducing power during that phase of flight depending on the speed delta with reference to Vref, but the 727 can be a bit more unforgiving compared to others I have flown.

The 72 is a marvelous airplane to fly. I have some fond memories of it, so it was a bit sad for me to witness it's demise. At least some data was gathered, rather than submitting it to a chop job.

Posted by: Manny Puerta | October 11, 2012 12:27 PM    Report this comment

The airlines were really proud of the 72 when it came out. They used to paint the word "Whisperjet" in large black letters on the side of the middle engine air intake. They wanted it to become the "next DC-3", but that honor would eventually go to the 737.

Posted by: A Richie | October 11, 2012 12:47 PM    Report this comment

Those JT8's were great engines that sounded like jets should sound before airplane noise became a delicate subject. No way I would characterize them as Whisperjets, though. ;-)

Posted by: Manny Puerta | October 11, 2012 12:52 PM    Report this comment

Don't be to hard on the TV aspects (excessive drama, repetitiveness, etc.), that's what pays the bills. In my view, I'd rather put up with the nonsense than put the tab on the taxpayer, which would bring in the bureaucracies, which would only add more nonsense.

The question is...what effect did the show have on public perception? My take is that overall it is positive. Understanding that crash doesn't necessarily mean death not only improves airline travel, but some of that attitude should carry over to the public's view of GA (close that airport, it is dangerous!!)

Posted by: Darryl Philips | October 11, 2012 6:40 PM    Report this comment

@"The 727 in landing configuration will develop a big sink rate if power is reduced to idle prior to reaching the flare. I recall that's what they did, and I thought, "Uh-oh, they're going to land short". Different large jets respond differently when reducing power during that phase of flight depending on the speed delta with reference to Vref, but the 727 can be a bit more unforgiving compared to others I have flown. "

Yes--the old engines were slow to spool up--I still fly "Jurrasic Jets"--non-fanned "straight pipes"--but the engines weren't at idle--they would have spooled up within 4-5 seoonds--at it was apparent for quite some time that they were going to be short

Posted by: jim hanson | October 22, 2012 8:56 AM    Report this comment

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