The Plane Crash Thread


Gold Member
Thank you RI, that’s a unique one!

I found this audio of the pilot communication with ATC (starts at 1:50):



Here is another interesting incident that fortunately didn't end in a crash. A cargo aircraft decompressed and the pilots suffered hypoxia. It sounded like they were drunk. Air Traffic Control identified the problem and got them to descend and all of a sudden the pilots snapped out of it.

The urban legend is that the first officer was a smoker and that is why he wasn't hit as hard by the hypoxia.


Slightly outside the scope of this thread but this happened just a few weeks ago on a Turkish Airlines flight. The plane hit severe turbulence on approach to JFK injuring dozens of people.

I believe the guy is praying "Father take control". Fortunately, the plane landed safely.

One of my worst experiences was a JFK to Doha, Qatar flight. While we were eating our dinner, we got hit with turbulence for over an hour. This was over the Atlantic, at night and no land in sight. No, I didn't sleep at all during that flight.



Gold Member
This is about planes that don't crash, so apologies all around.

Right now I'm watching tons of F-18s land. It's windy and freaking incredible.

I'm in this guy's apartment in one of these high rises. Its got a great view of the airport which shares runways with Pear Harbor / Hickam AFB. There must be a carrier coming in. They get as much weight off of them before they port, because of that whole Japanese thing. These planes are fully loaded.

I suppose they do the flyover to get visual of the runway. I don't know. I forgot how fast these things are.



Gold Member
Here’s an incident with a happy ending.

A charter flight, a 767 with over 300 souls on board (a couple weeks before 9/11), Toronto to Lisbon Portugal. They get a fuel leak over the Atlantic, and eventually lose all engines. With no engines, the power goes out (there’s an auxiliary power source that provides limited electricity for the cockpit). The passengers hear the engines go silent and then the lights flicker and go out with nothing but ocean below. Sheer terror.

The pilots figure they need to ditch it in the ocean. Good luck surviving that.

But...there’s some hope. The Azores might be close enough, and it has a big beautiful runway. But no one has ever been able to glide a wide body with no engines that far before.

The pilot did it though. With most control gone, they came in fast and landed hard. They of course had no reverse thrust. The tires blew out from the landing. Eventually the plan stopped. A miracle.

The pilot showed great skill and nerves of steel.


Gold Member
RoastBeefCurtains4Me said:
Dusty said:
RoastBeefCurtains4Me said:
Dusty said:
How about TACA 110? This is similar to the Sully ditching in the Hudson. They were flying a 737 from Mexico to New Orleans, and over the Gulf of Mexico, they lost all their engines. They glided to the edge of Louisiana and spotted some canals, and that was the plan, ditch it in a canal. As they were descending, the copilot spotted a levee (flat with short grass) and the pilot agreed that would be a better landing spot. He was lined up over the canal, so he had to slip it over at the last minute to line up on the levee. He landed there safely, no injuries. The pilot said that was his smoothest landing ever.



I wonder how they got the plane out of there afterwards? They wouldn't have been able to take off, even after repairing the problem. They must have had to disassemble the plane at the site. It must have sucked to have a completely successful landing with no damage, and still have the plane destroyed just as if it had crashed.

There’s a video. They flew it out!
It started sinking into the mud. They got some test pilots to take off and land it at the nearby airport.

Man! Those test pilots must have had balls of steel! I would have said I'd only do it for a third of the replacement cost of the plane. Obviously they must have felt it was doable, but still, it must have been a high risk takeoff.

Not high risk if you're a NASA test pilot.


I can see why some people do not like to fly. I could not imagine what a plane crash must feel like.

This happened today.

Passengers on a Bulgarian airline were torn from their seats by violent in-flight turbulence and sent crashing into the cabin ceiling – and one another – leaving ten with injuries. The terrifying moment was caught on camera.
The flight, headed for Basel, Switzerland from Kosovo’s Pristina, encountered severe turbulence about 30 minutes into its journey, causing a rapid drop in altitude that sent passengers airborne. One unfortunate witness captured the chaos on film.



Always been fascinated with NTSB work -- not out of morbid curiosity, but trying to solve a puzzle.

Though from what I've heard, you never forget the smell of a crash -- basically a combination of kerosene and charred flesh.


East Coast Jets 81 was a good case study. A private jet landed and had problems with the dump, a system that reduces lift and creates more friction on the landing gear, and they were so concentrated on it they forgot to brake. The dump is an added benefit and breaking alone would of been a safe landing. They then tried to take off with no flaps at low speed and, well, it didn't work.



Gold Member
There’s lots of crashes where the crew gets preoccupied with a problem, and forget to fly the plane.

This is a United flight in 1978 that crashed. There was a faulty switch giving them a false reading that the landing gear was not down. They circled for an hour working on that problem and no one looked at fuel levels until it was too late. Here’s the cvr transcript:

CAM-3 Off CAM-1 Yeah
CAM-1 About the time you give that brace
position CAM-3 You say now
CAM-1 No, no but when you do push that circuit breaker in
CAM-3 Yes, sir
CAM-3 Boy, that fuel sure went to hell all of
a sudden, I told you we had four
CAM-1 There’s ah, kind of an interstate high ---
way type thing along that bank on the river in case we’re short
CAM-? Okay
CAM-1 That’s Troutdale over there about six
of one half a dozen of the other
CAM-2 Let’s take the shortest route to the
CAM-? Well, * *
RDO-l How far you show us from the field?
PA Ah, Pd call it eighteen flyIng miles
RDO-1 All right
RDO-l What's our distance now?
PA Twelve flying miles
CAM-1 About three minutes
CAM-1 Four CAM-? (Yeah)
CAM-3 We’ve lost two engines guys
CAM-2 Sir?
CAM-3 We just lost two engines, one and two
CAM-2 You got all the pumps on and everything
CAM-3 Yep
CAM-1 They’re all going
CAM-1 We can’t make Troutdale
CAM-2 We can’t make anything
CAM-1 Okay, declare a mayday
1813:29 PA
1813:35 RDO-2
United one seventy three heavy contact Portland tower one one eight point seven, you’re about eight or nlner flying miles from the airport
Okay, eighteen seven Have a good one
1812:50 RDO-1
1813:50 RDO-2
1313:58 TWR
Portland tower United one seventy three heavy Mayday we’re the engines are flaming out, we’re going down, we’re not going to be able to make the airport
United one

1814:35 ((impact with transmission lines as derived from tower tape.))
TWR ((end of tape))


Gold Member
TigerMandingo said:
What's the story on TWA flight 800? There are massive conspiracies and "cover-ups" surrounding that incident.

If you want a decent fictionalised version of the conspiracy theory, try Nelson DeMille's* book Night Fall in which he makes the case that TWA 800 was shot down by a SAM. Where that idea comes from is from a series of witness statements taken from around the time which said they saw a white light ascending toward the aircraft, and then a fireball. There are said to have been a large number of other contacts in the area at the time - military contacts, that is.

The NTSB report, when you get right down to it, advanced a likely explanation - short circuit providing a spark that caused the explosion - but did not rule out other explanations such as a missile shootdown. In particular it said the source of ignition energy could not be determined with certainty. Combine that with other interesting substances found on the backs of airline seats, and the NTSB advancing what the substances "probably" were, and, well...

But me, I'm far more interested in the crash of KAL 007. This one, at least, was certainly shot down by the Russians in 1983. The more interesting part is how heavily both the Russians (understandably) and the US (less understandably) tried to shove the whole incident under the rug. The NTSB was pushed not to investigate -- illegally, a US citizen had died, it was required by law to investigate -- and the State Department took over ... mainly because the NTSB has subpoena powers and the ICAO, the new-minted body which had only conducted 1 investigation in his history, did not.

Reagan wanted to put cruise missiles in West Germany, Pershing IIs to be exact. Couldn't get the support to do it. After KAL 007 went down, you couldn't fly the missiles fast enough to the future beneficiaries of cultural enrichment. The ICAO (as said, incompetent, and couldn't compel evidence out of the US, let alone Russia) blamed the shootdown on the fact KAL 007 wandered into Russian airspace due to its INS system playing up and the crew not noticing they'd drifted off course. Others aren't so sure. In particular, the number of warnings that the crew would've had to miss to not realise they were getting into Soviet space. It was one of the most heavily surveilled airspaces on the planet. There was a satellite above the Sea of Japan at the time of the incident and (no doubt completely coincidentally) the Challenger shuttle orbited 4 times over the sea on the day of the attack. Its mission payload had been shuffled at the last minute to include a classified package.

Also interestingly, the plane made a sharp turn as the Soviet fighters approached - something not consistent with the steady course the INS was taking them on. It wasn't matched by any sudden shock or alarm by the crew, they basically didn't wake up until they were launched at.

Seymour Hersh had his suspicions at the time. He details a lengthy history of US sorties into Soviet space for the purpose of testing Soviet defences. For a Korean airliner to wander into Soviet airspace for strange reasons was far from unprecedented; one had been shot down five years earlier. In short: KAL 007 may have been sent in as a deliberate provocation by the US.

Why KAL? Because it was a South Korean airline. Korean Air's survival basically depended on US government deals on routes and landing rights.

* And expect a good read. DeMille wrote a lot of good books, including The General's Daughter, which was later adapted into the Travolta film featuring a sort of proto-Jack Reacher.


Gold Member
I want to scream at Bonin. One of the most avoidable modern crashes ever. 2009.
Tellingly they have actors doing the lines of the cabin crew from the blackbox, my instinct tells me the actual recording is worse.



Syberpunk said:
I want to scream at Bonin. One of the most avoidable modern crashes ever. 2009.
Tellingly they have actors doing the lines of the cabin crew from the blackbox, my instinct tells me the actual recording is worse.

I'm at work and don't have time to listen to the episode, but what's the synopsis: pilot error caused the crash? Was it routine that the autopilot turned off when they hit a spot of weather, which any reasonable pilot could've handled? If the captain had been there instead of sleeping, would the outcome have been different?

Leonard D Neubache

Gold Member
Now I may be just be a simple country Hyper-Chicken but don't these confounded contraptions with these wind speed monitors prone to freezing have a simple backup by means of GPS combined with basic current data on expected wind speeds?

Heck. Even just a plain GPS woulda told 'em they weren't goin' fast enough to fly less they was headin' in against cyclonic winds.


Gold Member
PUA_Rachacha said:
Syberpunk said:
I want to scream at Bonin. One of the most avoidable modern crashes ever. 2009.
Tellingly they have actors doing the lines of the cabin crew from the blackbox, my instinct tells me the actual recording is worse.

I'm at work and don't have time to listen to the episode, but what's the synopsis: pilot error caused the crash? Was it routine that the autopilot turned off when they hit a spot of weather, which any reasonable pilot could've handled? If the captain had been there instead of sleeping, would the outcome have been different?

all others things aside, Bonin was leaning back on the controls the whole way throughout the stall perhaps out of genuine fear like a child that is in a panic holds on its favourite teddy bear, this was not noticed by the other two pilots because on the Airbus unlike Boeings, the wrist movement is so subtle you'd likely never notice your co-pilots doing it due to various factors (nighttime, cabin is darkened).

If this had been noticed, they could have lowered the nose, the instruments would have thawed in time for them to get correct readings and they would have been able to correct with time to spare, they noticed all this at too low altitude, far too late. They stalled the whole way down through the sky, ignored the alarm, the stall stopped sounding after repeating endlessly, and they forgot it.

Turns out they were stalling the whole time.