- Title: NETHERLANDS: Altimeter triggered Turkish crash, says Dutch safety board
- Date: 5th March 2009
- Summary: THE HAGUE, THE NETHERLANDS (MARCH 4, 2009) (REUTERS) CROWD OF JOURNALISTS AND CAMERAS AT NEWS CONFERENCE HEAD OF DUTCH SAFETY BOARD, PIETER VAN VOLLENHOVEN, SITTING DOWN REUTERS JOURNALIST WRITING (SOUNDBITE) (Dutch) HEAD OF DUTCH SAFETY BOARD, PIETER VAN VOLLENHOVEN, SAYING: "The voice recorder and the black box are both in the possession of the safety board. From that it was concluded that the plane was trying to land and at 1950 feet, that's around 700 meters, there was an irregularity." CAMERA CREWS FILMING (SOUNDBITE) (Dutch) HEAD OF DUTCH SAFETY BOARD, PIETER VAN VOLLENHOVEN, SAYING: "The radio altitude meter, the left one, was showing that the plane was not on 1950 feet, but on a height of minus 8 feet." JOURNALISTS LISTENING
- Reuters ID: LVA8INQ5U972RU3B2CUG11LRQ8JJ
- Location: Netherlands
- Country: Netherlands
- Duration: 00:00:56
- Topics: Disasters / Accidents / Natural catastrophes
- Story Text: A malfunctioning altimeter contributed to the crash of a Turkish Airlines flight last week at Amsterdam airport, said Dutch authorities, who issued a warning to the plane's maker Boeing.
The Dutch Safety Board said in the Hague on Wednesday (March 4) that when flying at about 1,950 feet (594 metres) the plane's left radio altitude meter indicated the Boeing 737-800 was flying at -8 feet, prompting the automatic pilot to shut down the engines.
When an alarm went off that the plane's speed would drop below the minimum, the pilots reacted and reignited the engines.
"The voice recorder and the black box are both in the possession of the safety board. From that it was concluded that the plane was trying to land and at 1950 feet, that's around 700 meters, there was an irregularity," said Pieter van Vollenhoven, head of the Dutch Safety Board.
"The radio altitude meter, the left one, was showing that the plane was not on 1950 feet, but on a height of minus 8 feet," he added The Safety Board asked Boeing to consider changing the plane's flight manual, Van Vollehoven said.
Nine people, including three crew members, were killed when the Boeing flying from Istanbul crashed near the Dutch airport of Schipol last week.
Eighty people were injured.
Turkish Airlines had said the aircraft had undergone routine maintenance on February 19 and a faulty caution light replaced.
Survivors from the crash said the engine noise stopped, the plane shuddered and then fell out of the sky tail-first.
The plane carried 127 passengers and 7 crew, of whom 28 are still hospitalised.
Boeing said in an statement it was "issuing a reminder to all 737 operators to carefully monitor primary flight instruments during critical phases of flight".
The plane initially hit the ground in a boggy field with its tail followed by its undercarriage, with a forward speed of 175 km per hour on impact. An aircraft should normally have a speed of 260 km per hour for landing, the safety board said.
Braking caused by the ground meant that the aircraft broke into two pieces. Most of the fatally wounded were near the rupture, in business class, and the three crew members in the cockpit died as a result of the enormous braking forces.
The plane's black box -- which can register 25 hours of flying time and in this case had covered 8 flights--showed that the problem had occurred twice previously during landings.
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