July 06, 2013
I don't actually remember the last time there was a major non-terrorist air crash in the country.
But we've got one today. A Boeing 777's tail came off during its landing approach in SF. From the photographs, it looks like the pilot managed to bring it in on its belly, and escape ramps on the plane were deployed. So there's a chance that no one was killed. Let's hope so.
UPDATE: This is a very strange report. The text says the plane flipped over, but the photo shows it on its belly.
UPDATE: Unfortunately, it's now pretty certain there were a lot of fatalities.
UPDATE: This flight began in South Korea Taiwan, and flew more than 10 hours to reach SFO. Usually for flights that long they carry two crews, which trade off. In a 747, the off-duty crew stays in a special area inside the tail, which has bunks and a small galley. If that's the case in the 777, and if this one did carry two crews, then everyone in the off-duty crew might have died when the tail detached and hit the ground.
How in hell do you have the tail fall off the plane?
It may be that the plane flared too much, and the tail clipped the end of the runway.
Posted by: renpytom at July 06, 2013 12:33 PM (mYsde)
Yeah, that one's been around a lot already.
If the pilot blew the approach and dragged the tail on the ground or hit the end of the runway with it, that could cause the tail to come off.
Posted by: Steven Den Beste at July 06, 2013 12:36 PM (+rSRq)
The NTSB is going to have a wacky time figuring this one out. It really does look like the entire Tail just sheared off, which is quite odd.
Posted by: sqa at July 06, 2013 12:42 PM (ehYGU)
Posted by: Steven Den Beste at July 06, 2013 01:41 PM (+rSRq)
Would explain why the fatalities and injury numbers should stay low, blessedly, as it was on final approach and actually going quite "slow". But the real blessing is the fuselage didn't roll, with snapped wings. So this is more "bad car crash" levels of injury, rather than triple flip car crash injuries.
The interesting bit is going to be why this happened. It landed well short of the runway, so something went pretty wrong.
Posted by: sqa at July 06, 2013 01:50 PM (ehYGU)
Writing from the future, the plane's tail hit the breakwater short of the runway. The gear came off afterwards, as did the tail from the strike.
As far as the last major air crash in this country goes, it depends on what you consider "major". If you mean "large plane," it'd be January 15, 2009: US Airways 1549, when an Airbus A320 put down in the Hudson. If you mean "big plane, loss of airframe with big death toll", then you have to go back to 11/12/2001: AA587.
Posted by: Wonderduck at July 06, 2013 05:56 PM (ii7DN)
BTW, according to FlightAware, the jet was slowing down hard on short final. Only was going 106 knots when 200 ft up. If that data turns out to be correct, he's gotten on the back of the power curve for some reason and sunk.
Posted by: Pete Zaitcev at July 06, 2013 06:58 PM (RqRa5)
The next stage would have the tail cone break off leaving the pressure dome at the end of the fuselage intact, which is what appears to have happened here. Likewise engine nacelles are designed to break off so as to avoid tearing off the wings, which would result in spilled fuel. The luggage compartment is also a crushable area, which also seems to have happened here. There's also a lot of crushable air conditioning equipment between the belly of the plane and the center wing fuel tank.
It appears that everyone was off before the fire broke out that melted the top of the passenger compartment.
Some people fault those who got off the plane and then snapped pictures of the wreck they just walked away from, but what would they have them do? Interfere with the professional rescue crews?
Posted by: Mauser at July 06, 2013 07:08 PM (cZPoz)
Posted by: Mauser at July 06, 2013 07:11 PM (cZPoz)
Posted by: Steven Den Beste at July 06, 2013 07:16 PM (+rSRq)
Posted by: Mauser at July 06, 2013 07:51 PM (cZPoz)
Posted by: Pete Zaitcev at July 08, 2013 04:44 PM (RqRa5)
Enclose all spoilers in spoiler tags:
[spoiler]your spoiler here[/spoiler]
Spoilers which are not properly tagged will be ruthlessly deleted on sight.
Also, I hate unsolicited suggestions and advice. (Even when you think you're being funny.)
At Chizumatic, we take pride in being incomplete, incorrect, inconsistent, and unfair. We do all of them deliberately.
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