United flight 173 term paper

United flight 173 term paper - Pete Renteria 10588726 AVSC...

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Pete Renteria 10588726 AVSC 3600 Professor Shamsy April 13, 2014 Flight 173 Term paper On December 28, 1978 United Airlines Flight 173 crashed into a suburban Portland neighborhood. The DC8 carrying 189 people onboard went down short of the runway after having a landing gear problem. The pilot Captain Malburn Mcbroom decided to abort his approach to land and circle Portland while attempting to troubleshoot the problem. The crew had attempted to troubleshoot the landing gear indication problem and determine if the landing gear was locked down or not. The flight engineer went back into the passenger cabin and looked out the window to check on the mechanical down lock indicators and he returned to the cockpit and said that the gear appeared to be down and locked. Throughout all of the troubleshooting the airplane had been circling for almost an hour but the captain was still not convinced that the gear was safely locked down. Captain Mcbroom got fixated on this problem and neglected to ensure the other systems where operation normally. After about 45 minutes of circling the first officer and the flight engineer both repeatedly made mention of the fuel situation, but the pilot was so fixated on the gear problem that he didn’t think the fuel was a low as it really was. CRM was not heard of in the 70’s and to question a pilot was un heard of so they didn’t push the issue even though they knew it was serous. It wasn’t until the first engine flamed out that the pilot asked what’s wrong
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why is it flaming out and the first officer said “Fuel” finally the captain realizes how serious the fuel situation is and has the first officer declare an emergency. Shortly after he decides to start heading for the airport to land the second, third and fourth engine flame out, now this aircraft is dead sticking it in but they can’t make the runway and have to crash into a neighborhood of houses. In this assignment I will specifically review the liveware aspect of this accident specifically between the pilot / Co-pilot, Pilot / Flight engineer and Flight crew / ground crew. Shortly after the gear problem was discovered the first officer asked the pilot what the fuel load was at that time and the pilot replies “ 5 “ and the flight engineer makes a comment about the fuel lights and the captain responds… “That’s about right, those lights should come on when there is approximately 5000 lbs. in the tanks” from this moment the pilot and crew were fully and thoroughly aware of the fuel situation. We may never understand what was going through the pilots mind at that time, but this man was a very experienced pilot and he appeared to be very concerned with the safety of his passengers and wanted to ensure that the flight attendants had plenty of time to prepare the cabin for the possibility of a crash landing and evacuation due to the landing gear problem. The only problem was that the pilot couldn’t shift gears or acknowledge that there was a potential new and more pressing emergency about to become reality.
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