Fact Checking Nelson's "Doors Of Death" light aircraft near death experience

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Dr Moore
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Re: Fact Checking Nelson's "Doors Of Death" light aircraft near death experience

Post by Dr Moore »

It appears that air traffic control records might also be available by FOIA requests.

https://www.faa.gov/foia/foia_coordinat ... to_request
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Re: Fact Checking Nelson's "Doors Of Death" light aircraft near death experience

Post by Doctor CamNC4Me »

Dr Moore wrote:
Mon Apr 05, 2021 1:06 am
It appears that air traffic control records might also be available by FOIA requests.

https://www.faa.gov/foia/foia_coordinat ... to_request
"Your FOIA request has been submitted. Save or print this page for your records."

Done!

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Clinton King commenting on SeN: "My (perhaps) uncommon personal opinion: I find it easier to doubt the accuracy of carbon dating than the historicity of the Book of Abraham narrative." Good, Lord.
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Re: Fact Checking Nelson's "Doors Of Death" light aircraft near death experience

Post by Res Ipsa »

Doctor CamNC4Me wrote:
Mon Apr 05, 2021 1:20 am
Dr Moore wrote:
Mon Apr 05, 2021 1:06 am
It appears that air traffic control records might also be available by FOIA requests.

https://www.faa.gov/foia/foia_coordinat ... to_request
"Your FOIA request has been submitted. Save or print this page for your records."

Done!

- Doc
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Re: Fact Checking Nelson's "Doors Of Death" light aircraft near death experience

Post by Res Ipsa »

DrW wrote:
Sun Apr 04, 2021 8:23 pm
Doctor CamNC4Me wrote:
Sun Apr 04, 2021 7:11 pm
I'm having a hard time understanding why an engine exploding and a plane making an emergency landing wouldn't be a reportable incident in 1976. That seems like a reach, to believe a commercial carrier in 1976 wouldn't either be required to do so, or for insurance reasons wouldn't need to (unless they self-insure, which I wouldn't know how to verify).

- Doc
Doc,

Agree. Shown below is the result of an explosion and fire (sound familiar?) involving a P&W jet engine on a Boeing 777 in February of this year. Who in the world would think that this in-flight engine explosion and fire would not have required an NTSB report?

Image

Certainly not the NTSB:

US National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) chairman Robert Sumwalt says a preliminary assessment suggests one of the fan blades had a metal fatigue crack.

Federal Aviation Administration head Stephen Dickson says inspectors have quickly concluded that inspections should be done more frequently on the type of hollow fan blades in certain Pratt & Whitney engines that are used on some Boeing 777s.
The situation Nelson described was worse than this. After the explosion he witnessed, the engine spewed flaming fuel and oil all over the aircraft, which was "engulfed in flames" in one of his many versions.
Anybody else want to take guess as to whether this picture shows an accident or an incident based on the understanding you’ve gleaned on this thread?
“Those who can make you believe absurdities, can make you commit atrocities.” -- Voltaire
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Re: Fact Checking Nelson's "Doors Of Death" light aircraft near death experience

Post by DrW »

Res Ipsa wrote:
Sun Apr 04, 2021 10:44 pm
So, DrW, was this an incident or an accident?
An unintended (accidental) uncontained engine failure (explosion) that blew off cowling of the PW4000 engine, damaged the wing and the fuselage of the plane and apparently damaged the fuel system, resulting in a fuel leak that started and sustained a fire, would have definitely been an accident. This is because the explosion and fire resulted in damage not confined to the engine, which adversely affected the flight characteristics of the aircraft, and for which the pilot declared an emergency and received clearance to return to the airport.

These events would have caused the NTSB to be notified before the affected aircraft even landed. Pratt & Whitney in Stamford CT would probably have been notified before was on the ground as well. Sustained engine fires can be dangerous because longer term heat exposure can weaken aluminum structural components.
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Re: Fact Checking Nelson's "Doors Of Death" light aircraft near death experience

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The Aug 7, 1977 edition of the Color Country Spectrum specifies the Sky West plane used in service to SGU via Cedar City, and on to Vegas — a Navajo Chieftain. That particular edition also gives the name of Sky West’s Cedar City manager and the counter agent. The manager had 3 years of service in the role at press time. I’m not going to post the names here, but they are easily found. Maybe someone knows someone who knows one of them.
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Re: Fact Checking Nelson's "Doors Of Death" light aircraft near death experience

Post by Res Ipsa »

DrW wrote:
Mon Apr 05, 2021 2:26 am
Res Ipsa wrote:
Sun Apr 04, 2021 10:44 pm
So, DrW, was this an incident or an accident?
An unintended (accidental) uncontained engine failure (explosion) that blew off cowling of the PW4000 engine, damaged the wing and the fuselage of the plane and apparently damaged the fuel system, resulting in a fuel leak that started and sustained a fire, would have definitely been an accident. This is because the explosion and fire resulted in damage not confined to the engine, which adversely affected the flight characteristics of the aircraft, and for which the pilot declared an emergency and received clearance to return to the airport.

These events would have caused the NTSB to be notified before the affected aircraft even landed. Pratt & Whitney in Stamford CT would probably have been notified before was on the ground as well. Sustained engine fires can be dangerous because longer term heat exposure can weaken aluminum structural components.
OK. How has the NTSB classified it?
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Re: Fact Checking Nelson's "Doors Of Death" light aircraft near death experience

Post by DrW »

Res Ipsa wrote:
Mon Apr 05, 2021 3:04 am

OK. How has the NTSB classified it?
The NTSB investigation is going on now. Given the elements of the event that I described above, the issuance of an advisory for increased inspection of the PW4000 engines on 777s, as well as the fact that falling debris from the the accident caused property damage on the ground, I think the the designation of the event should be clear. I don't know what the official designation is. It may not be made until later in the investigation or even in the final report, which could take a while.
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Re: Fact Checking Nelson's "Doors Of Death" light aircraft near death experience

Post by tapirrider »

Res Ipsa wrote:
Mon Apr 05, 2021 1:38 am
DrW wrote:
Sun Apr 04, 2021 8:23 pm

Doc,

Agree. Shown below is the result of an explosion and fire (sound familiar?) involving a P&W jet engine on a Boeing 777 in February of this year. Who in the world would think that this in-flight engine explosion and fire would not have required an NTSB report?

Image

Certainly not the NTSB:


The situation Nelson described was worse than this. After the explosion he witnessed, the engine spewed flaming fuel and oil all over the aircraft, which was "engulfed in flames" in one of his many versions.
Anybody else want to take guess as to whether this picture shows an accident or an incident based on the understanding you’ve gleaned on this thread?
Is there some kind of point you are trying to make?
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Re: Fact Checking Nelson's "Doors Of Death" light aircraft near death experience

Post by Res Ipsa »

DrW wrote:
Mon Apr 05, 2021 12:17 pm
Res Ipsa wrote:
Mon Apr 05, 2021 3:04 am

OK. How has the NTSB classified it?
The NTSB investigation is going on now. Given the elements of the event that I described above, the issuance of an advisory for increased inspection of the PW4000 engines on 777s, as well as the fact that falling debris from the the accident caused property damage on the ground, I think the the designation of the event should be clear. I don't know what the official designation is. It may not be made until later in the investigation or even in the final report, which could take a while.
When I first saw the picture, I thought something like "man, that's scary looking. That must be an "accident." But I also found an article talking about how engines are designed to keep engine fires confined to the engine. (Which sounds to me like a fine idea.) So I looked at the picture again, and realized that my untrained eyes actually couldn't tell the extent of the damage from that picture.

You'd already reported that there was an active NTSB investigation in progress, so I thought I'd check and see how the NTSB had classified it. I searched the CAROL database for February 2021 and Aircraft Model 777. There was one hit, and it matched the information you provided. The returns on a search include an event type field that identifies the event as an incident, accident, or occurrence. For some events, it is blank.

This event is identified as an "incident." There is an interim report available online, titled "United Airlines Flight 328 Boeing 777 Engine Incident." It includes additional photographs and a description of the damage.

In law, we run into the same problem all the time with definitions in general. No matter how clear the definition appears on its face, there will be factual cases right at the boundary of the definition that are not clearcut. The term we are dealing with here is "damage limited to an engine." So, does that mean that if there is any other resulting damage, no matter how minor, then the damage is not limited to an engine? Well, there are other parts of the exception that also potentially apply. The exception also includes "bent fairings or cowling, dented skin, small punctured holes in the skin or fabric."

Now, you and I have had a back and forth as to who has the "right" to apply these exceptions. But I think we both understand that, in practice, it's the NTSB that has the "right" to decide whether the exceptions in that second section of the definition of "substantial damage." And, after inspecting the damage, it has classified the event as an "incident."

The point I want to make is not to yell "gotcha, the expert made a mistake, nya, nya, nya." I asked you a question based on a picture, not an inspection report. But, it's to show what I think we have to understand before we draw conclusions from the absence of data from a database. Not only do we need to understand the rules for classifying events properly, we have to understand how the NTSB applies those rules in practice. Because its not just the language of the relevant regulations that determines how an event appears in a database, it's also how the NTSB applies those regulations in practice.

You have substantial expertise resulting from your experience as a pilot. Tapir has substantial expertise from his experience as a mechanic.
A substantial part of my over thirty years of legal practice has consisted of taking definitions or other insurance policy language and applying them to facts on the ground. Who gets to decide how the language applies in my world is not an administrative agency, but a court. So, if I need to answer "does this definition apply?" I have to first look how that definition functions in the policy itself. Just like I've been trying to understand the reporting requirements in the NTSB regulations. Then I have to look for all cases in the relevant jurisdiction to see how courts have applied the definition in various factual scenarios. Just as I searched the NTSB database to see how the NTSB classified the event shown in the picture you posted. Because, when I go to search the relevant database, it doesn't matter what you, Tapir or I think about "incident or accident" in any specific case. It only matters what the NTSB thinks.

Please do not think I'm arguing that what Nelson describes in his various accounts would not have been "reported." That's not the point at all. I don't dispute anything you say about how the NTSB was notified of this event. I understand that the NTSB has a relatively narrow job -- to determine the cause of the accident and the relevant contributing factors. The FAA has much broader responsibility: pilot certification, airworthiness, air traffic control, airport safety, etc. It has the authority to enforce the relevant laws and regulations, and so it necessarily will need to investigate. The relationship between NTSB and FAA investigations is both complicated and intertwined. And, especially in the case of a major commercial flight, the first notification to the NTSB is likely to come from someone under the umbrella of the FAA. We're not going to find that in the CFRs, but in some manual somewhere. Although the CFR's that we've been discussing that determine when an operator is required to either give notice of file a report with the NTSB legally apply, as a practical matter they're not relevant beyond the classification of the event. Technically, as it is an incident involving an in-flight fire, the operator is required to give immediate notice to the NTSB. I'm not suggesting that this means the pilot landed the plane and then called the NTSB on her cellphone. Because it was an incident, the operator was not required to file the report specified in the NTSB regulations. But it doesn't matter for purposes of searching the database, because the NTSB chose to investigate the incident. That means there will be a final report, in contrast to the report that operators file under the NTSB reporting regulations.

Two points. There is a danger in having any kind of expertise. Experts are still humans and humans make mistakes. One mistake experts commonly make is relying on what they think they know or remember correctly to express some kind of opinion. (This includes lawyers, too.) But it is why, every day, some number of experts testifying in courtrooms all over the country get evicerated by lawyers. It's not that the lawyers are smarter. It's not that the lawyers have more expertise in the relevant subject matter. It's that the lawyers are more likely to ask questions and check precisely because they know they aren't experts.

So, when asked "does this this picture represent an incident or an accident under NTSB regulations, you relied on experience and expertise and I looked to see what the NTSB said. I think I do have expertise that is important in trying figure out what, if anything, happened here, and wish you would recognize that. I don't think I'm as dense as you've concluded I am.

Point 2: Anyone in this discussion who read only the first sentence of your quotation of the definition of "substantial damage" would have quite understandably concluded that the picture unquestionably showed an accident. None of the folks here would have known about the exception for damage confined to an engine, and so would not have even thought about it. And because you would have, as you actually did, conclude in your own mind that the exception wasn't relevant, you wouldn't have informed folks here that the exception exists. And, as it turns out, the NTSB has concluded, at least to date, that the exception does apply. That's a perfect example of why I've been saying that it is misleading to leave out the exception for engine damage in a scenario potentially involving engine damage just because you have decided the exception wouldn't apply. In my opinion, an expert talking to non-experts has an ethical responsibility of being as transparent and candid as possible. If the expert thinks that an exception involving engine damage is irrelevant to a scenario that involves engine damage, transparency requires informing the non-experts that the exception exists and to explain why it doesn't apply. Otherwise, the non-experts will be misled.

I also want to add that my use of "dishonest" applies to the act, not the intent. I apologize for not being clear about that.
“Those who can make you believe absurdities, can make you commit atrocities.” -- Voltaire
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