The Crash of American Airlines Flight 587|
By Josh Tran|
Human error is one of the most dangerous factors that impact on flight. More than 70 percent of aviation accidents and incidents are in some way related to human factors. The term "human factors" has grown increasingly popular as the commercial aviation industry has realized that human error, rather than mechanical failure, underlies most aviation accidents and incidents. A good example involving with human error is the crash of the American Airlines flight 587. On 12 November 2001, at approximately 9:17 a.m. local time, American Airlines flight 587 crashed into the Belle Harbor area of Queens, New York, several minutes after taking off from JFK International Airport. The plane was on a scheduled flight to Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic. All nine crew members and 251 passengers on the aircraft were killed, including five infants. Five people on the ground were also killed. Let examine the summary of events that the NTSB determined led to the crash in order to identify the probable causes. “The A300-600, took off just minutes after the Japan Airlines Boeing 747 on the same runway, flew into the larger jet's wake, an area of very turbulent air. The first officer attempted to keep the plane upright with aggressive rudder inputs. The strength of the air flowing against the moving rudder stressed the aircraft's vertical stabilizer and eventually snapped it off entirely, causing the aircraft to lose control and crash. The National Transportation Safety Board concluded that the enormous stress on the rudder was due to the first officer's unnecessary and excessive rudder inputs, and not the wake caused by the earlier Japan Airlines 747 that had crossed that area. In fact, if the first officer had stopped making additional inputs, the aircraft would have stabilized. However, contributing to these rudder pedal inputs were characteristics of the Airbus A300-600 sensitive rudder system design and elements of...
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