Bad Altimeter Blamed In Turkish Airlines Crash

The Turkish Airlines 737 that crashed into a field outside Amsterdam last week suddenly lost power because of a faulty altimeter reading, the Dutch Safety Authority announced today.

To oversimplify a little: when the jet was approaching the runway at 2,000 feet, one altimeter suddenly misread the altitude at -8 feet. The altimeter passed this information to the automated landing system, which reacted as if the plane was landing and cut power to the engines. The engines stalled and the jet dropped into a field, killing nine people on board.

This was not, after all, very similar to the case of an American Airlines MD-80 that hit trees on Metacomet Ridge in Granby on approach to Bradley in 1995. The jet was flying too low because an altimeter had not been manually reset and the reading was wrong. Both engines were damaged by the impact with the trees, but the jet landed safely.


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