The latest from the Continental Airlines B-737 accident at Denver is the claim that a sudden gust of wind caused the aircraft to swerve off the runway. So, a pilot with 11,000 hours of flying time and a very experienced first officer couldn’t do a successful crosswind take-off in one of the simplest of all airliners? Not!!!
These same spin doctors said the B-737 accident at Colorado Springs in 1991 was caused by a sudden, theretofore never heard of, wind shear in the form of a rotor that rolled down the mountainside, followed the aircraft around the traffic pattern and rolled it over, killing 25 people.
The spin doctors were out in full force again when USAir’s B-737 rolled over and dived to the ground, killing 133 more people near Pittsburgh in 1994. Then they said that wake turbulence (a wind gust from a preceding aircraft) miles away rolled the aircraft up into a ball.
Following that, it was a faulty connection to a pilot’s altitude indicator that rolled a B-737 into the ground in Panama, though the broken wire had nothing to do with that instrument’s function, it was later learned.
Oh, and of course, it was a pilot’s suicide that caused another 737, this time in Indonesia, to roll in from altitude, killing all aboard. The co-pilot on that one was either in the lavatory or reading the paper, I guess.
Here’s the deal. The current National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) is more incompetent, or politically too sensitive, than the NTSB that existed in 1991 to 1994. The government needs to throw out all the party participants like the airline, pilots’ union and manufacturers and bring back some of the investigators who reluctantly accepted my findings, and those of other experts, and concluded correctly that the rudder is the problem. While the rudder may be blameless on this one, a sudden gust of wind sure in hell wasn’t the reason for this crash either.
Arthur Alan Wolk
January 1, 2009