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Plane Crash Diaries

Episode 17 - United Airlines Flight 173 flameout as pilots dither & the May 2020 Karachi crash

Plane Crash Diaries
Plane Crash Diaries
This episode explores an accident at a time of Covid-19 – which may be too recent to have a direct effect on civil aviation safety and yet the causes appear to be directly linked to poor Cockpit Resource Management otherwise known as crew resource management. It has caused many an incident and accident, unfortunately.

The Pakistan crash which took place in May in Karachi is also a warning about how airlines go about restarting their services after a lengthy shutdown. Flying is not like riding a bicycle.

It has also led to immediate suspension of Pakistan International Airlines landing rights in the EU after shocking details emerged about systematic Airline Transport Pilot License exam cheating along with other cases of corruption.

So the main point is an Airbus A320 crashed into heavily populated suburban area of Karachi in Pakistan on May 22nd 2020. Flight 8303 was a scheduled domestic flight from Allama Iqbal International Airport in Lahore to Jinnah International Airport in Karachi.

The plane went down in a residential area near the Airport a few days after Pakistan lifted restrictions imposed over the coronavirus pandemic and resumed domestic flights ahead of the major Muslim holiday of Eid al-Fitr.

Amazingly, two on board survived – both in Business class while at least one person on the ground died - a 13 year-old girl.

As I said, Crew Resource Management failures appear to be behind this crash at least from the initial reports published in Pakistan.

Crew Resource Management is also known as cockpit resource management.

One of my instructors used to chatter to me during important phases of flight and I had to say “sorry Russell, I need to report our position” or reset instruments and he would smile in a knowing way.

Cockpit resource management includes knowing when its time to shut up or shut you fellow pilot up and concentrate extra 100 percent on the job at hand.

Landing an aircraft is one of those crucial moments.
But when did Crew Resource Management start as a thing?

The first person to talk about human interaction on the flight deck was a BOAC captain David Beaty who was a former Royal Air Force pilot. He wrote a book - The Human Factor in Aircraft Accidents in the late 1950s.

It became part of the United Airlines pilot training handbook following the crash of a DC-8 in 1978 and eventually was recommended for all pilots by the National Transportation Safety Board.

That was after a United Airlines Flight 173 crashed in Portland Oregon on December 28th 1978.
Plane Crash Diaries
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