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Plane Crash Diaries

Episode 24 - Alaskan Flight 1866, American Airlines Flight 965 and Don Bateman’s brilliant EGPWS

Plane Crash Diaries
Plane Crash Diaries
This is episode 24 and comes courtesy of a suggestion by one of my listeners called Russell – surname withheld as he’s an operating commercial pilot.

Don’t want to upset the corporation you know.

First of all, a big thank you to Russell for the research documents and information provided. This has helped a great deal preparing for this episode.

We’re looking at Terrain Awareness Warning Systems or TAWS and Ground Proximity Warnings Systems, GPWS – now with the added advantage of an E – Enhanced Ground Proximity Warning Systems.

In 2006 the International Civil Aviation Organisation published a report which included this line

“EGPWS / TAWS technology has entered airline and corporate operations during the last five years; to date no aircraft fitted with such a system has been involved in a CFIT accident. These systems are now mandated for all turbine engine aircraft of six or more seats.”

That gives you some idea of how important these two bits of technology have been to aviators. Unfortunately there have been a few CFIT accidents despite this technology since then as you’ll hear later, but the point is safety overall has improved.

So let’s go over a few examples which Russell has provided and some which ICAO analysed. As usual folks, this series is about how aviation safety improvements after accidents have led inexorably to flying being one of the safest ways to head from A to B and even C, D and E.

Throughout the history of aviation, Controlled Flight into Terrain or CFIT has been a major cause of fatal accidents, particularly at night, poor visibility or when the crew become fixated by technical issues and forget to fly.
One of the accidents that drove engineer Don Bateman to seek a solution was the Alaskan Airlines Flight 1866 accident of 1971. The other was American Airlines Flight 965 – a Boeing 757-223 from Miami International Airport to Cali in Columbia that crashed in mountains outside its destination in December 1995.
Plane Crash Diaries
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