Friday, October 10, 2008

Officials release preliminary report on the Spanair MD-82 crash at Madrid

SpanairSpain's Comisión de Investigación de Accidentes e Incidentes de Aviación Civil (CIAIAC) has released a preliminary report concerning the crash of Spanair Flight JK5022 at Madrid on August 20, 2008. Readers will recall that the MD-82 aircraft (registration EC-HFP) crashed while attempting to take off from Madrid's Barajas International Airport. The aircraft was en route to Las Palmas in the Canary Islands. Only 19 of the 172 passengers and crew on board survived the accident. One of the survivors later died of injuries, bringing the total death toll to 154.

The CIAIAC preliminary report details the sequence of events leading up to the accident. Although no transcript of the Cockpit Voice Recorder (CVR) was provided, the report indicates that the crew performed normal checklists prior to leaving the gate and during taxi. During the takeoff roll, the crew call-outs were normal. V1 was reached at 37 seconds after the release of the brakes, with rotation two seconds later at a speed of 154 knots. Six seconds after rotation, the stick shaker activated, along with an audible stall warning. The aircraft reached a maximum height of only 40 feet before it hit the ground.

Perhaps the most significant findings were that data from the Digital Flight Data Recorder (DFDR) showed the flaps set at 0 degrees from the time the engines were started until the aircraft impacted the ground; and that throughout the take-off roll and until the end of the recording, neither the DFDR nor the CVR indicated that any warning was activated to alert the crew of an inappropriate takeoff configuration. In other words, the aircraft was not correctly configured for takeoff, but the crew seemed to be unaware that this was so.

Regarding the examination of the control surfaces and actuators retrieved from the wreckage, the report noted that five of the aircraft's six flap actuators had been found. Of those, four could extend and retract freely, having lost hydraulic pressure, while the fifth was severely damaged by the post-crash fire. The report also states that two control cylinders for the flaps were recovered and examined. Although they were damaged by fire, they found evidence was that "consistent with a condition of slats-retracted."

Please note that while this report presents factual findings, the report does not offer conclusions regarding probable cause for the accident.

Here is the link to the page on the CIAIAC website where the entire text of the report can be found (Spanish language): 20-08-2008. EC-HFP. McDonnell Douglas MD-82. Aeropuerto de Barajas (Madrid)

RELATED: Click here to view all posts about Spanair Flt 5022 on Aircrew Buzz.