Tuesday, May 19, 2009

NTSB Animation of the Colgan Air accident near Buffalo

On February 12, 2009 a Colgan Air Dash-8 Q400, operating as Continental Connection Flight 3407, crashed while on approach to Buffalo, NY. As a part of its investigation of the accident, the U.S. National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) produced a three-dimensional animated reconstruction shows the final two minutes of the flight, which has been posted to YouTube by airboyd.

From the description of the video:
During the approach, a pitchup motion occurred, followed by a left roll and then a right roll. During these maneuvers, both the stick shaker and stick pusher were activated, and the speed decreased. After further pitch and roll excursions, the airplane entered a steep descent from which it did not recover.

The animation shows excerpts from the flight data recorder (FDR), the cockpit voice recorder (CVR) transcript, recorded radar data, and aircraft performance data. It does not depict the weather or visibility conditions at the time of the accident. The animation does not include audio.

The upper portion of the animation shows a 3-D model of the airplane and the airplanes motions during the accident sequence. In this area, selected content from the CVR transcript or other annotations are superimposed as text at the time that the event occurred. All times (in eastern standard time) are shown on the right side of the screen.

The lower portion of the animation depicts instruments and indicators, which display selected FDR or calculated parameters. The instruments and indications are shown in three sections, which are (from left to right):
  • Airspeed, airspeed tape, low speed cue, attitude indicator showing pitch and roll attitude, altitude, altitude tape, rate of climb, and heading
  • Stick shaker and stick pusher indicated as text, control wheel/column icon depicting the control wheel (rotating right or left) and control column (moving up or down) inputs, and an indicator showing rudder pedal inputs
  • The power lever and condition lever as indicators, the flap handle selection as an indicator, and auto pilot status and gearhandle position indicated as text
Excerpts from the Cockpit Voice Recorder (CVR) transcript also appear.

Here is the animation video:

If the video does not play or display properly above, click here to view it on YouTube.

RELATED: Click here to view all posts about Colgan Air Flt 3407 on Aircrew Buzz.