Every time you board a plane, you put your trust in the pilots, and every time pilots entered the cockpit, they put their trust in computers. It is a complicated relationship between man and machine. And when it does not work perfectly, disaster can strike in an instant.
Lima, Peru, October 2, 1996, Aero Peru flight 603 prepares for takeoff for Santiago, Chile. The plane is a four-year-old Boeing 757, a highly sophisticated jet, known for its reliability and safety. The jet is among a new generation of computer-controlled aircraft, in which pilots are trained to rely on a central data system that is designed to reduce errors both mechanical and human.
Tonight though within minutes of takeoff, the flight begins to go horribly wrong.
The altimeter indicates how high the aircraft is flying over the ground. It reads “0”, but the plane is clearly airborne. As the two men try to solve the first problem, they lose another crucial instrument – the airspeed indicator. by the host of confusing warnings, captain Schreiber decides to land, to add to their problems Shriver and Fernandez are flying at night over water with no visual reference points. Unable to trust their instruments the pilots have to depend on information from the ground. Even as they tried to return to the airport, the havoc in the cockpit gets worse, now the storm warning sounds. And then, the ground proximity alarm warns them that they are flying dangerously low.
Investigators managed to find the data recorders.
“It was clear to us, that they were really experiencing a problem with airspeed and altitude.”
On the 757 devices called “Pitot static tubes” measure the airspeed and altitude. Their small external sensors which relay that information to the plane’s computerized systems.
Deep underwater tape is discovered covering the plane’s sensors. Just before Aero Peru 603 lifted off from Lima, maintenance workers had cleaned the jet. A worker had covered the static ports with tape to protect them. This is standard procedure, but when the maintenance was complete, the worker forgot to remove the tape. It was a small oversight with tragic results.
Aero Peru was a deadly lesson about how dependent pilots have become on their automated flight systems.
1) What do all people who fly planes trust?
They put their trust in the pilots.
2) Why is the cooperation between man and machine so vital?
Because when it does not work perfectly, disaster can strike in an instant.
3) What was the origin and the destination of Flight 603?
The origin is Lima, Peru, for (and destination is) Santiago, Chile.
4) What type of aircraft performed the flight?
Four-year-old Boeing 757
5) What was that type famous for?
Boeing 757 is known to be reliable and highly sophisticated jet with very high safety level.
6) What control system was used to operate that type?
A new generation of computer-control system.
7) What problem did the flight crew encounter?
The altimeter indicated “0”, but the plane was clearly airborne.
8) When did it occur?
In minutes after takeoff.
9) Was it the only problem onboard Flight 603?
10) What is the function of the altimeter?
The altimeter indicates how high the aircraft is flying over the ground.
11) What are the other basic cockpit instruments?
What function do they perform?
12) What caused the confusion of the flight crew?
The flight crew was confused by warnings.
13) What warnings did they have in the cockpit?
The pilots had a problem with airspeed and altitude. Moreover the storm warning and the ground proximity alarm warned them that they was flying dangerously low.
14) Did these warnings help them to realize what was happening?
15) What did the flight crew intend to do in that situation?
Captain Schreiber decided to land.
16) What was the first conclusion of the investigation?
It was clear to them, that pilots were really experiencing a problem with airspeed and altitude.
17) What caused malfunctioning of the Pitot tubes?
The plane’s small external sensors were covered with tape.
18) How did this failure contribute to the crash?
It was a small oversight with tragic results.
19) What did the crash of Flight 603 prove?
It proved how pilots became dependent on their automated flight systems.
20) In your opinion, was the reason for the crash a technical problem or a human error? A humane error?? Absolutely, yes.+
21) Do you agree that human error is the main factor for accidents in aviation?
Can you think of any examples?