Faulty meter probably led to plane crash
A faulty altitude meter probably caused the fatal crash of a Turkish Airlines plane last week just before it was due to land at Amsterdam’s Schiphol airport, air accident investigators said on Wednesday.
Nine people, including the three pilots, were killed when the Boeing 737 ploughed into a muddy field last Wednesday. Some 28 people are still in hospital.
The initial result of the investigation into the black box and cockpit voice recordings reveal that the left-hand altitude meter suddenly showed the plane was at minus eight feet, said Pieter van Vollenhoven, chairman of the safety research council, at a press conference this afternoon.
This led the engine to react as if it was landing and shut down. The plane then dropped below the speed necessary to stay in the air.
Once the crew realised what had happened, it was too late to recover, Van Vollenhoven said. Eye-witnesses said the plane appeared to ‘drop like a stone’.
Warning to Boeing
Van Vollenhoven said he had decided to release the investigation’s preliminary findings as a ‘warning to Boeing’.
The investigation will now focus on the altitude meter and the link with the automatic pilot system and throttle. It will also look at two previous incidents involving altitude meters.
The chief investigator said it is still too early to say if the crash could have been avoided. Low visibility was a problem at the time of the crash, he said.
A fully qualified pilot who was learning to fly the Boeing 737-800 was in charge at the time of the crash, Van Vollenhoven said.
Most of the passengers who died had been sitting in the business class section of the plane which took the full force of the crash.
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