Tuesday, March 02, 2010

Why did Ethiopian flight ET409 crash and who is at fault?

Partner and Head of the Aviation Department of that firm, Attorney James Healy-Pratt, answered a number of questions related to this crash, reported at Examiner.com
on 26 February 2010.

His answers to the question "can you offer any theories, or information on the possible causes of this tragic event?" were as follows:

"There are a number of factors that may have affected the aircraft. In our experience, accidents almost always occur because of a number of factors combining together, rather than a single cause. Potential factors to consider include:

1. Meteorological Factors

These include lightning and turbulence. There have been reports that the aircraft was struck by lightning several times prior to impact. Turbulence alone may have been a contributing factor, particularly if the aircraft encountered a storm cell. While it does not usually cause crashes, it can greatly increase the workload on a pilot.

2. Spatial Disorientation

Spatial disorientation can occur during steep banking or acceleration and is particularly dangerous in night-time and bad weather conditions. This disorientation can result in pilots' perception disagreeing with reality. In these states, if not corrected, pilots can lose control of an aircraft.

3. Engine Failure / Technical Problems

Reports of a fire may indicate that the aircraft suffered engine failure. Aircraft are designed to be able to fly on only a single engine, however if this was complicated by other factors, control may have been lost.

4. Failure of the spoiler actuators

An accident with very similar facts to the Ethiopian Airlines accident is Kenya Airways Flight KQ507 in 2007, where a Boeing 737-800 crashed shortly after takeoff in night-time and bad weather conditions. We were instructed by families in that accident to seek answers and pursue claims for compensation. No accident report has been released. We have commenced litigation in the US as a result of our concerns that the spoiler actuators, hydraulic pumps which control the spoilers, may have jammed or asymmetrically deployed leading to the loss of control of the aircraft."

No comments: