Theories Abound In Amsterdam Crash

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.)


2 thoughts on “Theories Abound In Amsterdam Crash

  1. waves

    The DFDR has all of this information, so why are you guessing? As a 20 year airline pilot, I have my theories as well, but unless it’s just to placate one’s innate curiosity, it’s a useless endeavor. Since they already have the DFDR and the flight deck transcripts if any, the accident investigators most likely already have a pretty good idea of what caused this crash. If this unfortunate accident happens to be pilot error, the public may or may not ever know what specifically happened. Remember, we [the pilots] are the only dynamic, interactive mechanism in the system which can avoid, prevent, or even cause an aircraft to respond unfavorably. Just keep this in mind the next time you put your family on a 500 knot aluminum tube. Who’s up front can sometimes make a huge difference in your immediate future!


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