Investigators are looking most closely at engine failure in the crash of a Turkish Airlines 737 into a field near Schiphol Airport in Amsterdam on Wednesday.
That has not prevented many other theories from arising. The Turkey Airline Pilots’ Association is suggesting that wake turbulence from a Northwest 757 contributed to the crash.
Airline pilots elsewhere don’t seem to think much of the turbulence theory in their online discussions. They don’t believe the 757, which landed two minutes before the crash, was close enough to cause much turbulence for the Turkish Airlines jet. And turbulence doesn’t square with some reports that the aircraft dropped nearly vertically from the sky.
Because of that vertical drop and reports from passengers that the engine noise suddenly stopped, investigators are looking more closely at engine failure, according to the BBC. There are many possible causes, including bird strike, empty fuel tanks and mechanical failure. The jet’s engines were made by CFMI, a joint venture of GE and Snecma of France.
Another theory, also controversial, involves a cockpit error in manually setting the altimeter. This would bear some similarities to a terrifying emergency landing that occurred in 1995 after an American Airlines MD-80 hit some trees on an approach to Bradley. But this theory, also inconsistent with a sudden drop, has many learned critics.
(In an editorial aside, I’d like to point out that Mark Pazniokas, the reporter who wrote an excellent dissection of the AA story, was just laid off by The Hartford Courant. Next time something like that happens, don’t expect many newspapers to have the firepower to provide truly in-depth coverage.)