'Breaking News' 737 crashes into gas station

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About 6:10PDT, a Southwest Airlines 737 skidded off the runway, through a fence, and into a Chevron gas station on Hollywood Way in Burbank, CA

Details are sketchy but it appears that miraculously nobody has been injured. And no, it would not appear that this accident is a result of jack screw/ embedded chip failure or a voodoo curse. News at 11.

-- Ra (tion@l.1), March 05, 2000


Local news interview with experienced passenger says flight descent was much steeper than normal, jet could not decelerate on theground for the normal u-turn on the runway. Virtually no notice to passengers, 130 people abord coming in from Las Vegas. I was ther and it barely missed going into the Cheveron gasoline pumps, stopped just short of the parking structure across Hollywood Way, a major street in Burbank. It hit three cars, but not too seriously I think. This would have been a horrendous disaster itf the plane hit the gas station. Passenger was very complimentary of the Southwest crews hadeling of the situation.

Drive safely!

-- jjbeck (jjbeck2@juno.com), March 05, 2000.

Thanks for the contribution, jj.

-- (bigmouth@youknow.where), March 05, 2000.

This from GICC ----------------------

No Injuries Reported After Southwest Airlines Jet Crashes Through Fence


LOS ANGELES (March 5) - A Southwest Airlines Boeing 737 jet skidded off the runway at Burbank airport early on Sunday night, but there were no serious injuries to any of the passengers, according to media reports.

The plane, coming from Las Vegas and reportedly carrying 132 people, crashed through a fence after landing and hit three cars on a highway before coming to a rest at the edge of a gas station.

There was no immediate official explanation for the cause of the accident, but Los Angeles had been drenched for much of the day by a heavy winter rainstorm which left roads slick.

The plane arrived at Burbank airport, about 12 miles north of downtown Los Angeles just after 6 p.m. PST and after landing crashed through the perimeter fence onto Hollywood Way in Burbank.

Firefighters doused the plane with foam, although there was no report of any fire or explosions. Passengers could be seen on local TV news bulletins huddled nearby, wrapped in blankets.

Reut22:41 03-05-00

-- Jen Bunker (jen@bunkergroup.com), March 05, 2000.

-- Crossposter (helping@bring.the.news), March 05, 2000.

Burbank is an airport I try to avoid using when possible. The runways have very little overrun clearance and losing the reversers or hydroplanning is likely to put you right through the fence, just like what happened tonight. One story mentioned the collapse of the front gear, which may have been a contributing cause or may have happened as a result of the overrun.

If I have to fly to LA, I prefer either Ontario or Orange County.

-- Jim Cooke (JJCooke@yahoo.com), March 06, 2000.


For a minute there I thought this was going to be a joke post...plane falls from sky into gas station causing Y2k-related local fuel shortage. I won't pass up the opportunity, however: Do you have a link to where it states this was NOT caused by a voodoo curse? [grin]

-- Anita (notgiving@anymore.thingee), March 06, 2000.

Talked to a friend of mine who works for Southwest at the Burbank Airport. He overheard the pilots telling one of the excutives that the computer was malfunctioning and the reverse thrusters never kicked in. There's no way you can stop the plane using just the brakes. Sounds like an embedded chip problem to me.

-- Hawk (flyin@high.again), March 06, 2000.

Herb Kelleher, CEO of Southwest Airlines has just concluded a press conference on CNN. He said that he had not been in contact with the pilots or anyone that had talked to them, so no reasons for the accident were offered or speculated on. That being said I will agree that many possibilities exist for this incident and malfunctioning reverse thrusters could be one.

Hawk of course has the inside track so I will cease to guess on this one. Ive contacted the NSTB and advised them to save the cost of investigating and concentrate on the embedded chips. During the search, they might keep an eye out for signs of chicken lips, bat wings, and burning incense.

-- Ra (tion@l.1), March 06, 2000.

Hi, Hawk. Good to see you here. Is the other Bobsey twin along with you?

-- firefly (forest@calm.dot), March 06, 2000.

Oh, Hi there Hawk. I see your aviation career is moving along quite nicely. You must stop by more often and keep us regular folks up to date on the inner workings of the commercial aircraft industry. BTW, how is your new village getting on? Ive been meaning to visit but just dont have the time these days. Give my best to all of the old timers over there and please; stop picking at your face.

-- Sifting (through@the.rubble), March 06, 2000.

Runway just over 6,000 feet.

FAA Proposes Retrofit of 737 Rudder Components (3/18/97)

http://www.dot.gov/af fairs/1997/apa4297.htm

FAA Intercom Dated 4/13/99:

http://www.faa.g ov/apa/INTERCOM/1999/41399ic.htm

Rudder Retrofits Continue

Operators of Boeing 737-600, -700 and 800 jets are busy installing new rudder power control units. More than 50 percent of the aircraft subject to the FAA order have been outfitted since the order came out in June 1997.

The redesigned units eliminate the possibility of a "rudder reversal"  movement of the rudder opposite to what the crew intended  by making reversal mechanically impossible.

All 737s must have the new unit installed by Aug. 4. Until then, all older-model PCUs are checked by flight crews every 250 flight hours (about once a month) to ensure they are functioning properly.

NTSB Safety recommendation on the 737 rudder problems (April 16, 1999):

http://www.nt sb.gov/recs/letters/1999/a99_20_29.pdf

FAA Flight Standards Information Bulletin for Air Transportation (FSAT 99-02); Maneuvering Speeds and Recovery Procedures for Boeing 737 Airplanes (3/25/99)

http://www.faa.gov/a vr/afs/fsat/fsat9902.doc

NTSB Recommendations (4/16/99)

Evaluate the Boeing 737s block maneuvering speed schedule to ensure the adequacy of airspeed margins above crossover airspeed for each flap configuration, provide the results of the evaluation to air carrier operators of the Boeing 737 and the National Transportation Safety Board, and require Boeing to revise block maneuvering speeds to ensure a safe airspeed margin above crossover airspeed. (A-99-27)

http://www.nt sb.gov/recs/letters/1999/A99_20_29.pdf

FSAT 99-12 cancelling FSAT 99-02 (see first listing above) (12/10/99):

http://www.faa.gov/a vr/afs/fsat/fsat9912.doc

Boeing documents:

See Appendix E; Boeing-Recommended Training and Procedures, pg 76 (9/30/97) at:

http://www .boeing.com/news/techissues/pdf/USAir427.pdf

Boeing PR statement (3/11/99):

http://www.bo eing.com/news/breakingnews/990311.html

Another one (3/23/99):

http://www.bo eing.com/news/breakingnews/990323.html

And another after the LAPA accident (9/12/99):

http://www.bo eing.com/news/breakingnews/990912.html

Additional FYI:

http://aviatio n-safety.net/database/type/103.shtml

-- firefly (forest@calm.dot), March 07, 2000.

Firefly, these are some great links and you are to be congratulated for taking the time to post these for all of us. After hearing some additional info this morning I am of the opinion that this incident is the result of the following:

(1). Inclement weather

(2). New equipment in the cockpit in the form of a military style HUD or heads up display if you will. These would take some getting used to for a commercial sky jockey.

(3). Good old basic Pilot (flight crew) error.

I dont think we will find anything to the contrary when its all said and

-- Sifting (through@the.rubble), March 07, 2000.

Burbank, CA: Investigators Looking at Electronic Display's Possible Role in 737 Crash Landing

Passengers Describe Quick Descent as Investigators Look at Crew's Actions

By Erica Werner

Associated Press Writer

BURBANK, Calif. (AP) - The airliner that skidded through a fence on landing and wound up on a city street had descended like a dive bomber, then touched down farther down the runway than usual, a passenger said.

Southwest Airlines Flight 1455, from Las Vegas, barreled right off the runway at Burbank-Glendale- Pasadena Airport on Sunday evening, striking a car, just missing a gas station and slightly injuring 15 of the 142 people on board.

"I felt like we were a jet bomber," passenger Kevin McCoy said Monday. "We were coming down so fast, so steep. I've never experienced an approach like that before. It was almost like a sudden dive."

Once they were on the ground, he said, the plane braked so hard that he had to dig his heels into the carpet to keep from falling forward.

Southwest CEO Herb Kelleher said the crew did not report mechanical problems during the flight.

And although a gusty storm swept through the area a few hours earlier, other jets had landed on the runway moments before the accident and none reported problems with the weather, National Transportation Safety Board investigators said.

The Boeing 737's flight data and voice recorders were taken to the NTSB's lab in Washington, D.C., for analysis. The Southwest Airlines pilot, who has flown for the Dallas-based airline since 1988, was to be interviewed today.

The Dallas Morning News reported today that officials were investigating whether a sophisticated new "heads-up" instrument display could have had any effect on how the plane was landed.

Several Southwest pilots told the newspaper that they routinely use the heads-up display while landing, particularly at night and in bad weather.

Southwest was the first major air carrier to install the displays, which are used in military fighters. The devices superimpose flight data over the pilots' view out the window so they don't have to look down at the instruments. For landing, an electronic image of the runway superimposed over the actual view can show a pilot exactly where the plane will touch down for the speed it is traveling.

Depending on weight, flap configuration and runway conditions, a Boeing 737-300 requires 3,200 feet to 4,500 feet to land, said Craig Martin, a Boeing spokesman in Seattle.

Burbank's west-to-east runway extends 6,032 feet.

"That runway is plenty long enough for a 737, if you touch down at the proper speed and in the touchdown zone - the first 1,000 feet of the runway," said Barry Schiff, a retired TWA captain and air safety consultant.

On Monday, the jetliner was towed to a secure area of the airport.


Definitely sounds like the embedded systems malfunctioned to me. Guess "heads-up" isn't so head's up after all!

-- Hawk (flyin@high.again), March 07, 2000.

Hawk, what am I missing in your post? Ive read it over and over and just cant make any connection to embedded chips. My new leaf attitude requires that I give everyone the benefit of doubt so please explain.

-- Sifting (through@the.rubble), March 07, 2000.

Thanks, Sifting. I brought in the info about the rudder problem because its effect is to force the pilot to land at a higher speed than he/she would normally.

From the weather reports I've seen, that was not a problem. One article stated "black skid marks on the runway."

It is beginning to look like pilot error, but I, too, will wait for all the reports to be in.

Hawk, I'm watching for embeddeds problems just as you are, but I'm not finding any even remotely labeled as such on the aviation boards (and I correspond by email with mechanics and pilots). When/if I do find any, you'll be among the first to know. :)

-- Rachel Gibson (forest@calm.dot), March 07, 2000.

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