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NTSB Public Docket Reveals Crew Confusion, Training Discrepancies in Atlas Air 3591 Downing

Although the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) has not yet issued its probable cause determination in the Feb. 23, 2019 downing of an Atlas Air Boeing 767 freighter near Houston, Texas, information contained in the Board's recently-released public docket on the investigation paints a picture of a confused flight crew working against one another trying to keep their aircraft in the sky. ( More...

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bbabis 5
I wonder when during the flight the jumpseater realized he was probably the sharpest knife in the drawer.
the hobbs 2
PRIA records work great if you list all of your past employers. Can't blame Atlas for not discovering the training failures of the FO when the FO never disclosed working for the airlines he had failures at.

PRIA records are not like a DMV database where you have all records in one place, hiring airlines have to reach out to all of a perspective pilots previous employers and receive records for the pilots time at that particular carrier. Seems to me like the system needs some work.
sharon bias 5
As someone who has hired hundreds of people over the years, you call every former employer for the last 15 years, verify the start and end dates of employment, and ask if the person is eligible for re-hire. Some won't answer the last question, but some will tell you something like, "applicant is eligible for rehire if passes the xyz exam". If there are gaps of more than 30 days between jobs, you require the applicant to provide more detail about the gap. If the answers are not forthcoming, pass. Better no pilot than one with a sketchy history.
airuphere 8
Wow.. time for digital employment records.. so you can leave your regional, which you failed out of twice, off your resume. All failed check rides should ride with you for your carrier. Especially if your frantically pushing buttons without knowing why.. “ “..
patrick baker 4
so with these speculations flying all around the place, why has the FAA not yet swooped down to do an inspection of the qualifications of all the pilots of Atlas Air? Unqualified airmen in commercial cockpits is an item on the curiosity list of the FAA, or at least ought to be. A couple of inspectors for a day or so, then some answers to direct questions, and this is put to rest. Perhaps...
Rick Polley 3
All I can say is WTF.
isardriver 3
WhiteKnight77 3
For those stating that this is an old article, as seen, some here, such as myself, have not seen it previously.

That there is not a digital database that employers could file the names of pilots who do not pass check rides or have other performance issues and are let go for such reasons, is borderline insanity. This should be something that the FAA needs to institute so aviation companies can look up said applicant's records before putting them in either seat.
Joe Vincent 2
I believe that the investigation has found that the T/O-G/A button was accidently pushed by the captain when moving the flap handle. As for question 3, yes, they were already in too steep a dive to regain level flight in the remaining altitude. This situation is frequently termed having the "nose buried." As for the split input, I have no idea about thee 767.
Thanks for the clarification.
Highflyer1950 1
If that was the case why didn’t the crew follow the flight director cues?
They said they would go West around the weather, and approach said they were going East around it? No one caught the problem? It sounds like the crew was tired, and way to comfortable with each other. How many times did they change PIC duties in the last half hour?
Just in regard to the (elevator) control surfaces moving in opposite directions, this is true for aircraft certified to the later requirements (maybe post approximately the late 1970's). The theory being to guard against jammed controls. It was not the case in the Fokker F28 for example, certified circa 1968, but would be true for the F100 circa 1987.
For the benefit of us non-pilots, I’m wondering if someone with heavy jet experience could comment on some statements in the article that confused me. 1) What could cause the autothrottle go-around mode to activate at altitude. Could this have been due to an erroneous pilot input? 2) If one pilot pushes forward on the yoke and the other pilot pulls back, do the left and right elevators move in different directions? 3) If they reached visual flight conditions at 3000 feet and were both pulling full aft on the yokes at that time, wouldn’t that have arrested their descent, or were they already in too steep of a dive?
Highflyer1950 3
1. Turbulence with hands on the throttles could have accidentally hit the GA mode switch? or maybe the auto throttles were hunting for power settings which can happen in Mod turbulence and the PF wanted to turn them off but hit the GA instead? 2. Yes 3. Depending on rate of descent, 6000’ fpm would have allowed :30 seconds to recognize, take corrective action and have the aircraft respond quickly enough without entering a high speed stall? Just my opinion.
dohspc 2
That first officer wow. At least Mesa kept him from becoming a captain in a passenger plane. Oh yeah can’t pass a check ride in an E175 lets put him in a 767 just because it’s carrying freight.
Roger Anderson 15
Yep. Atlas dropped the ball here when recruiting, but I guess in their haste to keep up with Amazon's needs for more capacity, they took shortcuts. I personally think it's selfish that you'd keep flying knowing that you're not proficient at your job. At the end of the day, lives are at risk, and even though I know his intentions are not to die, he put people at risk and now they all paid for it. RIP to them all.
Highflyer1950 14
Far more important was the inaction of all the captains that this guy flew with? Route checks, sim rides, general overall assessment of day to day ops. Just because you haul freight dos not relieve the captain or FO’s for that matter from reporting deviation from SOP’s. Treat every flight like a check ride and pretty soon competency will will go up. Incidentally, when the FO called out an possible issue with instrumentation in IFR conditions an alert Captain would have assumed control immediately until satisfied the issue was resolved!
Agreed. The Captain is definitely not absolved of any wrongdoings either. Really unfortunate situation. Makes me wonder what else is going on at Atlas Air.
Mike Dryden 4
But, but, but... this sort of thing only happens in third world countries... so we got sick of hearing over the other debacle.
This is a January 13 article.
bbabis 13
I saw the date Bill, but it was information that I hadn't seen and thought others may not of also. This accident happened around the time of the MAX accidents and left a lot of people wondering and hoping more info would come out.
airuphere 3
New info here - thanks for posting Bill
chalet 1
Atlas Air is an all cargo airline with a very old fleet of 747-400 and 767-200 aircraft and one would have expected from them a rigorous admission program to insure that all applicant pilots meet strict high bar standards. The two pilots should not have been hired.
Not just a cargo airline. Atlas does charter passenger service, in addition to their more well known cargo flights.

But that only reinforces your point.

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Roger Anderson 20
mbrews 26
NOR DID I many folks are interested in this Atlas incident. No need to slow-walk it.
godutch 20
Dub, Don't be an is info. Thanks Bill for posting.


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