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Air Disaster Volume 2 continues the theme established in Volume 1, examining the way the unforeseen hazards of jet age aviation progressively came to light through costly real world experience - often with an inevitable toll in tragedy and human lives.
Yet for all their grim, spectacular consequences, these harsh lessons have helped to evolve a global transport system on a scale beyond anything the world has ever seen, and at a level of safety that statistically surpasses even the normal hazards of everyday life.
Despite all of aviation's quite astonishing technical successes, and the overall standards of safety it has achieved, the art and science of advanced aeronautics and their associated technologies are not yet fully perfected. This book examines instances in which flying conditions were so adverse that accepted aviation wisdom, even after so many years and countless thousands of flying hours, was shown to be lacking. The fate of a DC-9 enroute to Atlanta in April 1977, a Boeing 727 taking off from New Orleans in July, 1982, and a Boeing 747 which flew into a cloud of volcanic dust over the Timor Sea in June of the same year, all further attest to the truth so clearly spelt out in Volume 1, that air safety standards are won at a price.
Nor has the complex relationship between technological progress and expertise on the one hand, and human frailty on the other, been fully resolved. In aviation, perhaps more so than in other fields of human endeavour, mankind remains as much a victim of himself as of the elements around him. It is ironic that while one facet of the world airline industry was operating supersonic aircraft designed to stretch one foot in length as a result of atmospheric frictional heating at Mach 2 airspeeds, another was "saving" time and effort by using a forklift to change the wing engines of a widebodied trijet - with fatal consequences to all on board a DC-10 at Chicago in May 1979. Other tragedies examined in this book, in which human failings negated state-of-the-art technology in either flying operations or engineering maintenance, tell of similar contradictions.
In this second volume, covering the years 1977 to 1991, specialist air safety author Macarthur Job and noted aviation artist Matthew Tesch continue their collaborative efforts, combining their skills and flying experiences to provide detailed, lucid analyses of the stories behind a further 15 significant jet airline disasters - and one amazing near tragedy.
Based primarily on official investigation reports, supplemented by extensive external research, each of these events has been carefully selected to exemplify the problems encountered, both operational and human, as jet airline flying moved into its second quarter century. Liberally complemented with photographs and diagrams, Air Disaster Volume 2 continues the unique style set in Volume 1, with many specially drawn diagrams and explanatory graphics. Clear and accurate, they blend actual piloting experience with artistic skill to enable readers to properly visualise the compelling events related in the text.
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On the flightdeck
The smoke haze on the 747's flightdeck had become considerable, and accompanied by the smell of electrical arcing.
Watching his systems instrument panel closely, Flight Engineer Townley-Freeman had checked and re-checked for any indication of fire, but could find nothing. The smoke could be the result of an electrical or airconditioning problem without there actually being any fire, and the smell strongly suggested that it was electrical.
He was about to begin the Airconditioning Smoke Drill procedure when one of the pneumatic supply "valve closed" warning lamps began to flicker. A moment later No 4 engine surged and flamed out. In accordance with standard emergency procedures, the Flight Engineer immediately called: "Engine Failure Number Four!"
Captain Moody responded at once with the command: "Fire Action Number Four!" He then wound in rudder trim to compensate for the asymmetric thrust.
Together the first officer and flight engineer immediately carried out the memory items of the Engine Fire/Failure Drill emergency shutdown procedure, subsequently confirming their actions from the emergency checklist. They then quickly completed the One Generator Inoperative Drill to ensure that the aircraft's electrical system would not be overloaded
Only a minute later Townley-Freeman suddenly announced a second engine failure. "Number Two's gone!" he called. The failure of a second engine was serious indeed - but the Boeing 747 would still be capable of maintaining flight and diverting for an emergency landing.
But before the crew even had time to begin the emergency shutdown procedure for No 2 engine, the unbelievable occurred - almost simultaneously, the remaining Nos 1 and 3 engines surged and flamed out!
Incredulously, Townley-Freeman called: "I don't believe it - all four have failed!"
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