Tag Archives: NTSB

Pilot Error, Poor Training

3 Feb


The NTSB concluded that Captain Marvin Renslow had three distinct opportunities to push flight 3407 out of an aerodynamic stall, to which he was alerted by the automatic stick-shaker in the aircraft. He and his first officer were complacent and distracted during their approach into BUF and didn’t notice that the aircraft was operating too slowly. When Renslow ordered his co-pilot, Rebecca Shaw, to put the flaps out, that slowed the plane so much that it lost lift.

Had they been paying attention to the airspeed, someone would have kicked up the power to get some speed before applying flaps for landing. Had Renslow been adequately trained with the stick-shaker, he may have pushed the stick to dip the nose and get some speed, rather than follow his instinct – to pull the nose up, which was the exact wrong thing to do, and exacerbating the problem.

In the end, the aircraft belly-flopped onto a house in Clarence Center, killing 50. Based on the animation and reports from first responders, everyone on that aircraft knew exactly what was about to happen before it happened. And that is far more disturbing than the crash itself.


13 May

That’s what the first officer on Colgan flight 3407 earned per year. She was based out of Newark, but lived in Washington State. She moonlighted at a coffee shop.

That’s who Colgan thought should be flying planes with other people on them.

That’s no way to run an airline – paying first officers a rate of pay not unlike that of the kid who buses your tray at McDonald’s.

Today’s Flight 3407 Revelations

12 May

The NTSB released a video animation showing flight 3407’s last 2 minutes of flight. It’s quite disturbing to watch.

Here are the last few seconds picked up by the cockpit voice recorder:

I confess that I have to work for a living and didn’t get to watch the whole hearing today, but I’m not so much concerned with whether the captain pulled back on the stick rather than pushed to try and get the plane out of a stall – that merely proves that his reaction to the emergency was improper and fatal.

What I’m really curious about is why everything went all to shit when the captain ordered flaps set from 5 to 15.

But I’m haunted by that animation, especially the violent rolls the plane prior to its final dive. The people on that aircraft knew something was drastically wrong. They lived out their last moments in sheer terror. I can’t shake that thought right now.

Flight 3407 – the NTSB Investigates

12 May

The news from the NTSB regarding the Flight 3407 investigation is not likely to be good for the families of the victims, the families of the pilots, or the Colgan Air corporation. Reports yesterday indicated that the pilots were engaging in extended chit-chatting even after the aircraft descended past 10,000 feet at which point a “sterile cockpit rule” is supposed to be in effect.

There’s also information concerning the flight’s captain, Marvin Renslow and his flying background. He appears to have flunked several FAA check flights, had never been properly trained on how to react to a stick-shake during a stall, and that his head wasn’t “in the game”, spelling disaster in the split second it took for everything to go horribly wrong over Clarence Center’s four corners.

It all reminded me of an old George Carlin joke – somewhere is the worst airline pilot in the world, and someone’s boarding a flight with him today.

Colgan has since implemented a program whereby they eavesdrop on in-cockpit conversations to make sure pilots are focusing on the approach. The pilots’ union is balking, which makes no sense. If the rule exists, and must be enforced, and is there to ensure passenger safety, all of that trumps whether the boss is listening in. The union can go f*ck a brick on this point, as far as I’m concerned.

The cockpit voice recorded will be released today. Remember that it chronicles the deaths of about 50 people.

NTSB Update on Flight 3407

26 Mar

The NTSB investigation into Flight 3407 seems to be moving away from icing and moving in the direction of pilot error. When the stick shaker activated, the flight data recorder reveals that 25 lbs of pull pressure was applied to the controls, which aggravated the situation.

A preliminary examination of the airplane systems has revealed no indication of pre-impact system failures or anomalies. Investigators will perform additional examinations on the dual distribution valves installed in the airplaneā€™s de-ice system. The de-ice system removes ice accumulation from the leading edges of the wings, horizontal tail, and vertical tail through the use of pneumatic boots. Read the rest after the jump Continue reading