Excel Air and GOL Airlines

This forum has been developed to discuss aviation related topics.

Moderators: Sulako, lilfssister, North Shore, ahramin, sky's the limit, sepia, I WAS Birddog

User avatar
oldtimer
Rank 10
Rank 10
Posts: 2295
Joined: Mon Feb 16, 2004 7:04 pm
Location: Calgary

Excel Air and GOL Airlines

Post by oldtimer »

I just read in an aviation news blurb that the two Legacy pilots involved in the GOL midair in Brazil are not going back to testify in the kangaroo court being held in Brazil. They have volunteered to a video deposition or a written statement but their lawyers have advised them not to go back.
It sure looks to me that the Brazilian military brass just want to march the guilty bastards to the gaol. The military brass are looking fore a scapegoat to protect their heads.
If I were those pilots, I would just show the Brazilian authorities an upraised and rigid middle finger in the universal salute so deserved.
---------- ADS -----------
 
The average pilot, despite the somewhat swaggering exterior, is very much capable of such feelings as love, affection, intimacy and caring.
These feelings just don't involve anyone else.
Tango01
Rank (9)
Rank (9)
Posts: 1139
Joined: Tue Jun 15, 2004 10:00 pm
Location: ON

Post by Tango01 »

That same salute got an American Airlines pilot a jail sentence for a couple weeks plus a hefty fine. Can you imagine these guys that possibly killed so many people what they would get?
---------- ADS -----------
 
Timing is everything.
User avatar
oldtimer
Rank 10
Rank 10
Posts: 2295
Joined: Mon Feb 16, 2004 7:04 pm
Location: Calgary

Post by oldtimer »

If you followed the story, you will find that the American pilots were doing exactly what they were cleared to do and maintaining altitude and track very accurately. The problem appears to be a lack of understanding of principles of Air Traffic Control on behalf of the military, poor coordination and lack of skills on behalf of the air traffic controllers, failure of the Brazilian air traffic radar, possible failure of the Legacy TCAS AND the simultaneous failure of TCAS on the GOL airliner and the Brazilian military's attempt to find a sacrificial goat. The American pilots are talking through their lawyers and are saying they will not go because the extradition treaties have serious flaws and there are very few of what we consider to be basic legal rights. No wonder they are not going back and they cannot be forced by law to go back . The military said the pilots were at the wrong altitude and everyone else says they were at the altitude they were cleared to It may have been inappropriate for the direction of flight but was never the less the altitude they were cleared to, therefore they were at the proper altitude. The ATC system fucked up, plain and simple. political correctness has prevented the American lawyers from saying so, officially.
---------- ADS -----------
 
The average pilot, despite the somewhat swaggering exterior, is very much capable of such feelings as love, affection, intimacy and caring.
These feelings just don't involve anyone else.
User avatar
TTJJ
Rank 4
Rank 4
Posts: 281
Joined: Sun Mar 07, 2004 9:19 am
Location: SBSP, Where Beer is .35 a can

Post by TTJJ »

Those are fairly inflammatory opinions typical of the circus that surrounds this sad event.

Firstly, the military has nothing to do with the Legacy pilots being charged or not. That is purely a civilian matter. The only thing that the military have control over is the charging and judging of the controllers on duty that day, as they are military.
The military is involved in the investigation of the accident because they have all the trained personnel.

Civilian Aviation was an administrative branch of the military (DAC) until 2 years ago. The military, realizing that running civilian aviation was not their logical purpose in life, was turning over to civilian control the running, promoting and enforcing of civilian aviation.

Through an incredible piece of bad luck, the biggest aviation accident in Brazilian history happened during the switchover. The military had all the trained accident investigation personnel but the new Civilian Agency (ANAC) had control...but not of the actual accident investigation personnel who had not yet been transferred and were still technically military. There was a lot of administrative confusion compounded by strange declarations made by the Defense Minister, who owns both agencies, and is a certifiable idiot.

ATC is still military because it is cheaper than having two separate systems. Not every country can fund a NORAD and a separate ATC system. It is not a military system as in a dictatorship scenario. The ATC radar controller is just a sergeant trained to control civilian aircraft. There are many tower controllers that are civilian. There are separate radar controllers for military aircraft. The controllers involved are looking at 12 years in jail for dereliction of duty.

Under Brazilian Civil Law it doesn't matter if you are responsible for the deaths of 1 or 1000, you can only be charged for one of them. The pilots, as first offenders, would probably get xxx hours of community service. Really, that is straight from the lawyer’s mouths.

That is hardly a Kangaroo Court.

But since you brought it up, if you even remotely look at the facts you will see that the pilot's were criminally negligent. I am Canadian and I have been flying in Brazil for 21 years. I fly the same route they did every week.

They are guilty as hell for the following reasons:

- An ATC pre-departure clearance is not a binding contract to be followed blindly. It doesn’t authorize you to maintain an altitude all the way to your destination, especially when there are course changes.
- They flew for 54 minutes (almost 450nm) without talking to anyone in an area that they were unfamiliar with. They flew the approximately equivalent distance of from Ottawa to Washington DC, the entire width of France from North to South, more than New York to Chicago. After 10 minutes of silence on the radio in a busy IFR environment, any pilot starts worrying.
- They never heard the calls made by the Center relayed through other aircraft. The calls are on the Center’s tapes.
- They never once tried to make contact on HF on the de facto Central and South American Frequencies of 8855 or 10096 which both Brasilia Center (where they were coming from), and Amazonica Center (where they were going to) monitor. (Their CVR)
- They never once tried to contact another aircraft on 121.5 or 130.55 (the published air to air frequency at the time) or even the published center frequencies, even though the two main busy airways to the Southern and Eastern Seaboards of the USA were only about 70 nm away. (Their CVR)
- They collided 20 miles inside the next FIR (Amazonica) while they were trying to talk to Brasilia Center (in the last FIR) behind them. They never tried to contact Amazonica Center at the FIR boundry for clearance. Much has been said about the many unanswered calls they made. Brasilia Center is heard on the CVR of the Gol 737 calling the Legacy.
- VHF communication with Amazonica Center in that particular area is excellent, as the antenna is located close to where the Legacy landed.
- I suspect that they didn’t have any nav chart open as the Comm. Box (with VHF and HF frequencies) for that sector is printed on the Jepp Chart right smack dab beside the airway that they were on….for both FIRs.
- When they collided and squawked 7700 they were immediately picked up on 3 different radars.
- When they called mayday on 121.5 they were immediately answered by a cargo aircraft who told them about the military airfield (also clearly marked on Jepp. Charts)

I am not exonerating ATC’s role in this episode, but where was the Captain?

We all complain when management infringes on our rights as Captains to make the final decisions about safety. So how can we justify running, hiding behind lawyers and blaming others when we are caught not doing that which we defend so fiercely and complain about so loudly? That is, being a CAPTAIN, making decisions, “knowing” when things aren’t right and doing something, ANYTHING, to mitigate the effects of those circumstances that may threaten the safe conclusion of our flight.

If those pilots had tried ANYTHING, tried to call Center on HF, tried to call on Air to Air or 121.5, tried to squawk 7600, tried to fly an offset course, in short had TRIED ANYTHING AT ALL, I would be on their side 100%.

In doing NOTHING, the pilots of the Legacy are guilty of criminal negligence causing death in my books. Worse, they deserve to rot in hell for being cowards and running from their God given responsibilities of being CAPTAINS. And when I say Captain I am including the F/O’s, who are merely Captains waiting for promotion.

If you want to be a Captain then you damn well have to accept responsibility for your actions and/or lack of action. Bus drivers, teachers, police officers and parents all have to. Why should Airline Captains be any different?

If you are low and are vectored into rising terrain, do you just keep on going and crash because ATC told you it was ok or do you do something about it? Duh…

Oh, as a side note: they were never put in jail and they were never even arrested. They were asked to cooperate with the investigation by giving a statement, a simple statement. They refused as per their lawyer’s advice so they sat in Rio for 2 months.

Under Brazilian Law no one is obliged to cooperate or to give a statement to the equivalent of the NTSB. You only have to talk to a Judge. Your basic rights and freedoms are WAY, WAY more liberally protected in Brazil than in North America. I suspect that is because they were curtailed for so long during the Military Government that the pendulum has swung past common sense to an extremely liberal “lets not punish anybody” mentality. It drives me nuts.

As a result of their silence, their passports were then held awaiting investigation by the Federal Police (FBI) as to whether a crime had been committed causing loss of life. (154 people)

During this time they stayed in a 5 star hotel on Copacabana Beach in Rio de Janeiro and had their wives stay with them, all paid for by Excell Air. They were not put in orange overalls nor were they force fed through tubes and housed in small cages for years.
The could have gone anywhere they wanted to in the country but chose to stay in the hotel due to hounding from the press. That was probably a smart move.
If you are even partly to blame for the deaths of 154 people, then sitting in a 5 star hotel for 2 months is hardly cruel punishment dished out by a kangaroo court.

2) As for your second little tid-bit, the American Airline's Captain (an International Airline Captain!) gave the finger to a Brazilian Federal Immigrations Officer carrying out his lawful duties. He was overheard saying to his crew before the incident "watch this". He was held over the weekend and deported as Persona non Grata.

Imagine what would happen to you if you gave the finger to Immigration in the USA or Canada.

The fine, which AA promptly paid, was immediately donated in full to two old folks homes close to the airport.
---------- ADS -----------
 
Tango01
Rank (9)
Rank (9)
Posts: 1139
Joined: Tue Jun 15, 2004 10:00 pm
Location: ON

Post by Tango01 »

I still fail to believe that neither aircraft had a TCAS advisory. That's almost impossible.
---------- ADS -----------
 
Timing is everything.
pelmet
Rank 11
Rank 11
Posts: 4963
Joined: Tue Jun 14, 2005 2:48 pm

Post by pelmet »

[quote="TTJJ"]

If those pilots had tried ANYTHING, tried to call Center on HF, tried to call on Air to Air or 121.5, tried to squawk 7600, tried to fly an offset course, in short had TRIED ANYTHING AT ALL, I would be on their side 100%.

[/quote]
From an NTSB bulletin......

"Beginning about 1648, the Legacy flight crew also made several unsuccessful attempts to contact ATC."

I guess it is time for you to apologize and be on their side 100%. It appears that you are of a similar mind as your own countrymen in Brazil. Perhaps that helps explain what your country is like and what first world countries are like in terms of aviation safety and more.

http://www.ntsb.gov/recs/letters/2007/A07_35_37.pdf
---------- ADS -----------
 
User avatar
TTJJ
Rank 4
Rank 4
Posts: 281
Joined: Sun Mar 07, 2004 9:19 am
Location: SBSP, Where Beer is .35 a can

Post by TTJJ »

Thank you cpl_atc.

Pelmet, you must have missed the part where I said I was Canadian. It is not my country, nor need it be for any pilot to look at the situation and to allocate blame here. Brazil was actually classified alongside Europe for Aviation Safety. That may change this week. The controllers are in a semi-strike mode and are causing immense problems. They are pissed off that they are being hung out to dry in the Gol accident, and they do have a point.

I won’t dignify your comments about “First World Countries” with a response.

Fact: The Legacy was cleared to the wrong altitude after passing Brasilia.
ATC in Brazil was always very accommodating and would let you stay at wrong way altitudes for fuel efficiency until the need arose for you to descend. The potential conflict with the Gol was an hour away. That policy has since been changed.

Fact: The Legacy pilots did indeed make various calls to ATC, on VHF only, starting 8 minutes before the collision. They had been off the air for almost an hour up to that point though. Brasilia Center had been trying to reach them for about 30 minutes.

I firmly believe that they just turned down their radios too far to reduce the chatter after their last contact with Brasilia Center. I’ve done it. When they declared their emergency, all of a sudden they had sufficient volume.
I also firmly believe that they were just messing around with their brand new airplane and accidentally managed to trip the transponder to standby thus turning off the TCAS. The “a 5 second delay to input a new transponder code will cause the transponder to go to standby mode” is well documented on that particular transponder and has generated an AD because of it. When they squawked 7700, all of a sudden the transponder came out of standby and they appeared on ATC’s radar.

Radios and transponder coming back to life at the same time that they declared an emergency, quite the coincidence. Do you really think it took a midair to kick the radios and transponder back into gear?
Of course not.

The midair kicked the pilots back into gear.

And as for the poor controller, (who had less than a year on the job and is the only one being sacrificed here), when the transponder signal was lost, the data tag on his radar flipped to the aircraft’s flight planned altitude of FL360 and not his real altitude FL370.

And he didn’t notice.

Upon being relieved for a shift change he briefed the next controller that he had lost radio and transponder contact with the Legacy. The Legacy was right on the airway centerline and at a constant velocity at FL360, so his problem was probably just radio and not electrical nor mechanical.

The relieving controller tried calling the Legacy for the next half-hour believing he was at FL360.
He did not phone Amazonica Center to move the Gol from FL370 because he had been told that the Legacy was at FL360.

You can see where this is going.

The last radio call the Legacy made to Brasilia Center was 2 seconds before the collision. 2 seconds. They were20 nm inside the next Center’s FIR (Amazonica's) but were still calling the last center (Brasilia) behind them asking for a frequency.
There is no need to call for a new frequency if you have a chart open. They are all printed right there.

Once again I submit that this accident was totally avoidable if the Legacy pilots had acted in a remotely proactive manner befitting that of an international aircraft captain.

Unfortunately, this accident has been transformed into an “Us verses Them” scenario and the only one who are going to get dinged are he controllers, 2 from Brasilia Center and 2 from Amazonica Center. They are looking at 12 years each in a military jail.

This Captain ran his ship up onto the rocks, is declaring innocence, and is demanding that they hang the HarborMaster.

Pretty sad.
---------- ADS -----------
 
Tango01
Rank (9)
Rank (9)
Posts: 1139
Joined: Tue Jun 15, 2004 10:00 pm
Location: ON

Post by Tango01 »

Hey Pelmet, it's never too late to educate yourself. Have a read on aviation safety on a first world country we all call "home"

http://www.iasa.com.au/folders/Safety_I ... storm.html

ENJOY!
---------- ADS -----------
 
Timing is everything.
User avatar
invertedattitude
Rank 10
Rank 10
Posts: 2353
Joined: Tue Jul 06, 2004 1:12 pm

Post by invertedattitude »

Tango01 wrote:I still fail to believe that neither aircraft had a TCAS advisory. That's almost impossible.

The Legacy's Transponder was in standby, you can't have a TCAS resolution or even an advisory without a Transponder.

Read up on the accident before making a post like that.
---------- ADS -----------
 
User avatar
Panama Jack
Rank 11
Rank 11
Posts: 3232
Joined: Fri Feb 20, 2004 8:10 am
Location: The Sandbox

Post by Panama Jack »

A strong case for SLOP
---------- ADS -----------
 
“If it moves, tax it. If it keeps moving, regulate it. If it stops moving, subsidize it.”
-President Ronald Reagan
Tango01
Rank (9)
Rank (9)
Posts: 1139
Joined: Tue Jun 15, 2004 10:00 pm
Location: ON

Post by Tango01 »

invertedattitude wrote:
Tango01 wrote:I still fail to believe that neither aircraft had a TCAS advisory. That's almost impossible.

The Legacy's Transponder was in standby, you can't have a TCAS resolution or even an advisory without a Transponder.

Read up on the accident before making a post like that.
Wow you must be some kind of genius to figure that one out! The question is, why was the Legacy XPDR on standby?
T01
---------- ADS -----------
 
Timing is everything.
flyinphil
Rank 7
Rank 7
Posts: 570
Joined: Sun Feb 04, 2007 7:26 pm

Post by flyinphil »

While I lay no claim to competing with TTJJ's experience in Brazil, I have flown that route several times over my career and did so in the same week as the accident.

I will say that ATC was hideous and several attempts to contact both Brazilia and Amazonica went either unanswered or were met with unintelligible gibberish and /or Portugese. Some clearances were extremely vague and altitude change requests handled very casually.

That being said, it is the pilots responsibility to be familiar with the regulations and procedures of the country within which we operate.

Do I like flying in Brazil? No, but it truely a great and passionate country that is a pleasure to visit.

Would I return as one of those pilots? Not a hope in hell.
---------- ADS -----------
 
lilfssister
Rank Moderator
Rank Moderator
Posts: 2783
Joined: Tue Feb 17, 2004 2:51 pm
Location: Mysteryville Castle

Re: Excel Air and GOL Airlines

Post by lilfssister »

Vanity Fair (of all magazines!) article about this:

http://www.vanityfair.com/magazine/2009 ... rash200901
---------- ADS -----------
 
Widow
Rank Moderator
Rank Moderator
Posts: 4588
Joined: Sun Mar 26, 2006 12:57 pm
Location: Vancouver Island

Re: Excel Air and GOL Airlines

Post by Widow »

US, Brazilian investigations disagree on air crash
By STAN LEHMAN – 1 hour ago

SAO PAULO, Brazil (AP) — U.S. and Brazilian aviation officials disagree on the main cause of a plane collision over the Amazon that killed 154 people, with the Americans highlighting failures of air traffic control and the Brazilians emphasizing the actions of two New York pilots.

A Brazilian air force report found that the two pilots of the New York-based executive jet that collided with a Boeing 737 may have inadvertently turned off their plane's transponder and collision-avoidance system.

Meanwhile a U.S. National Transportation Safety Board report obtained on Thursday blamed the collision foremost on systematic shortcomings by Brazil's air traffic control system.

An Embraer Legacy 600 flown by Joseph Lepore of Bay Shore, New York, and Jan Paladino of Westhampton Beach, New York, collided with a Brazilian Boeing 737 operated by Gol airlines on Sept. 29, 2006.

The Boeing plunged into the jungle and disintegrated on impact, killing all aboard. The smaller plane, owned by ExcelAire Service Inc. of Ronkonkoma, New York, was damaged but landed safely.

The Brazilian report said the two Legacy pilots did not have sufficient knowledge of the aircraft's avionics, resulting in the inadvertent switching off of the plane's transponder and the collision-avoidance system.

But Joel Weiss, an attorney for the pilots, said Paladino had 400 hours of experience with another Embraer jet with similar avionics, and that both pilots had three weeks of flight safety school where they learned the avionics of the Legacy and flew simulations.

The Brazilian air force investigation also acknowledged serious failings by air traffic control. The air force operates the nation's civilian air traffic control system.

It found that Brazilian flight controllers did not notice that the Legacy's transponder was on standby, assigned that plane a wrong altitude and failed to alert it to the mistake, placing it on a collision course with the Boeing.

The report by the NTSB found that both aircraft received air control traffic clearances "which directed them to operate in opposite directions on the same airway at the same altitude resulting in a midair collision."

"The loss of effective air traffic control was not the result of a single error, but of a combination of numerous individual and institutional air traffic control factors, which reflected systemic shortcomings in emphasis on positive air traffic control concepts," the NTSB said.

The "inadvertent inactivation of the transponder" also contributed to the accident as did "inadequate communication" between controllers and the Legacy's flight crew.

David Rimmer, ExcelAire's executive vice president, accused the air force of a cover-up.

"As far as I am concerned, the Brazilian air force investigators did everything in their power to create a cover-up designed to protect their own agency ... and to take away as much attention from Brazilian air traffic controllers as they could," Rimmer said by telephone on Thursday.

Air force officials were not available.
http://www.google.com/hostednews/ap/art ... QD950OFTG9
---------- ADS -----------
 
"The world is not dangerous because of those who do harm but because of those who look at it without doing anything." - Albert Einstein
trey kule
Rank 11
Rank 11
Posts: 4681
Joined: Fri Aug 19, 2005 7:09 pm

Re: Excel Air and GOL Airlines

Post by trey kule »

TTTJ that was a great couple of posts.

As to this
I won’t dignify your comments about “First World Countries” with a response.


Please allow me to assit...Pelmet...you are an ignorant idiot. When I read the posts here it embarasses me to be a Canadian, as the biases and beliefs that we are somehow superior in all ways to other countries is simply not justified. It truely shows the ignorance of so many in Canada about the world we live in.

There seems to be such a mindset in Canada about our superior systems and liberties ,that those who have never really lived anywhere else believe it to be true, and all south american countries as being run like a b grade movie about Mexician banditos

What would you think if this accident had happened in Canada, and the pilots were from Brazil and refused to return.?.You would be howling like mad for blood. Not because they were guilty, but because they disrespected out laws. The next time pilots have a problem in Brazil and they wont let them leave the country, you can thank our boys here.
---------- ADS -----------
 
Everyone is a genius in hindsight
User avatar
Cat Driver
Top Poster
Top Poster
Posts: 18921
Joined: Sun Feb 15, 2004 8:31 pm

Re: Excel Air and GOL Airlines

Post by Cat Driver »

TTTJ that was a great couple of posts.
I agree.

As to comparing different countries by using the terms " first world " and " third world " what is the criteria one must use when deciding where any specific country fits?
---------- ADS -----------
 
The hardest thing about flying is knowing when to say no


After over a half a century of flying no one ever died because of my decision not to fly.
User avatar
Airtids
Rank (9)
Rank (9)
Posts: 1641
Joined: Sat Feb 21, 2004 12:56 am
Location: The Rock

Re: Excel Air and GOL Airlines

Post by Airtids »

lilfssister wrote:Vanity Fair (of all magazines!) article about this:

http://www.vanityfair.com/magazine/2009 ... rash200901
Lil, I just finished reading that article two days ago too (Vanity Fair, I know, don't ask. Amazing what you'll pick up in the FBO after waiting for clients for four hours :shock: ). I'm not sure about the author, but with the exceptions of his comments about Flightsafety (I dunno, I found it to be a pretty worthwhile experience down there in Wichita), he seemed to have a pretty decent level of aviation knowledge, if not specifically about this accident.

TTJJ, as usual, your comments are well thought out and pertinent. Thanks for shining another light on the topic.

The gentleman I was flying home with the other day (BBJ Capt.) said he saw a 'Mayday' program about this. Anyone else seen it?
---------- ADS -----------
 
Aviation- the hardest way possible to make an easy living!
"You can bomb the world to pieces, but you can't bomb it into peace!" Michael Franti- Spearhead
"Trust everyone, but cut the cards". My Grandma.
WJflyer
Rank 8
Rank 8
Posts: 912
Joined: Tue Aug 23, 2005 1:08 pm
Location: CYVR/CYYZ

Re:

Post by WJflyer »

Tango01 wrote:
invertedattitude wrote:
Tango01 wrote:I still fail to believe that neither aircraft had a TCAS advisory. That's almost impossible.

The Legacy's Transponder was in standby, you can't have a TCAS resolution or even an advisory without a Transponder.

Read up on the accident before making a post like that.
Wow you must be some kind of genius to figure that one out! The question is, why was the Legacy XPDR on standby?
T01
Subject: Embraer Legacy/EMB-135, -140, -145 — Be Careful Where You Put Your Foot
Purpose: This SAFO calls attention to the possibility that a pilot of an Embraer Legacy, EMB-135 or -145 (sometimes called EMB-140 in marketing literature) might inadvertently change VHF radio frequencies or place the ATC transponder into standby mode during flight.

Background: During an investigation the FAA discovered that crew members who had the simple habit of placing their shoe on the footrest just below the instrument panel could inadvertently put the ATC transponder into standby mode, or change radio frequencies without the crew's awareness. Further, they found that pilots might not notice the corresponding indication on the Pilot Flight Display due to the white colored letters, which are not as noticeable as differently colored caution or warning indications.
Switching a transponder with a functioning traffic alert and collision avoidance system (TCAS) to standby mode renders the TCAS ineffective, and is therefore one of the most serious consequences of a pilot’s foot inadvertently contacting the radio management unit. Two airplanes equipped with TCAS would fail to see each other if they were on a collision course. Pilots could presume TCAS was operating normally if they failed to notice the subtle TCAS OFF indication on the Pilot Flight Display.

Recommended Action: Managers of part 142 training centers where pilot training on the Embraer Legacy, EMB-135, and EMB-145 is conducted should ensure that their trainers caution pilots of this latent hazard and emphasize the importance of being careful when using the footrests provided. Similarly, directors of safety, directors of operations, trainers, and check airmen for operators flying any of these Embraer models should immediately make this hazard known to their pilots and should make sure that it is addressed in their training programs, especially during flight training, supervised operating experience, and line checks. Any questions regarding the content of this SAFO should be directed to the Air Transportation Division, AFS-200, at (202) 267-8116.
This may have been the case here, but there is not enough evidence to say this happened. In the Legacy, the footrest for the pilot is near the controls for the transponder and radio. This may explain why both could not get in contact with each other for an hour, and why the transponder was in standby, with the pilots not realizing what had happened until it was too late.
---------- ADS -----------
 
User avatar
TTJJ
Rank 4
Rank 4
Posts: 281
Joined: Sun Mar 07, 2004 9:19 am
Location: SBSP, Where Beer is .35 a can

Re: Excel Air and GOL Airlines

Post by TTJJ »

Note: To those that have read this already, I apologize. I have edited out my emotional viewpoints and have tried to stick to the facts.

My bona fides: I am Canadian. I hold 4 ATPLs. I base my opinions on 30 years of flying. 12 of these were for VASP Brazilian Airlines, (now defunct) on DC-10, MD-11 and B-737. My last position at the airline was as a Training Captain on B-737 on the same routes as the Legacy. For the last 5 years I have been flying Dassault Falcons privately, based in Brazil as well on the same route. I know the area well and have flown that airway hundreds of times.

The whole issue seems to center around ATC Comms, or the lack thereof.

I realize that any discussion about the airmanship of the Legacy pilots and the apparent loss of contact with Brazilian ATC is useless without maps. So let’s try this.

This is a very outdated map of the flight that the Legacy took.
Firstly, at the FIR boundary you can see "Manaus" and further up the map "Belem Center". These centers were amalgamated into "Amazonica Center" before the accident occurred. The Southern boundaries of the FIRs on this map are the same as those at the time of the accident, and indeed today.

This map therefore serves our purposes for this event.

If anything, this map understates the airway structure, (and consequently the opportunities for Air to Air contact with other English speaking flights), for the area involved. At the time of the event there were even more airways implemented into the system than are represented here.

The Legacy was on a flight from SBSJ (Sao Jose dos Campos, just outside Sao Paulo) to Manaus.
The Legacy was Northbound on a track of 006 on a one-way airway UW2 (as designated by the arrow on the airway's name box) at 37,000 feet - FL370

Just South of Brasilia there is a point called "Valdi". That marks the sector boundary. This would have been where the Legacy last changed frequencies.

After BRS he was on a track of 335 on UZ6, which is no longer one way and goes straight to their destination, SBEG (off of this image). He stayed at FL370. (To the newbees, the rule West is Even - East is Odd for altitudes is still valid at these Flight Levels.)

The airway to the West, UW9, is probably the busiest North-South International Airway in the country. It eventually links Miami with Sao Paulo...over flying Manaus.
The two airways immediately to the East merge further North and go to New York and Toronto.
These airways are always busy.

There would have been plenty of aircraft to talk to, in English, for a relay had the Legacy crew tried.

The Legacy crew did not try Air to Air nor 121.5 for a relay.

The COM boxes are clearly visible beside the route of flight.
To the left I highlighted the HF frequencies box for Brasilia Center. Amazonica Center monitors the same HF frequencies. Everybody in South America monitors 8855. It is the standard HF frequency. You can even talk to NEW YORK AIRINC on that frequency, who would then relay your report to Brasilia center if you wanted to.

The Legacy crew did not try those frequencies.

The remote antenna for Brasilia and Amazonica Centers is very close to CXB, the small Air force base where the Legacy landed. VHF in this area is excellent. Brasilia Center is clearly heard on the Gol's FDR before the accident as they had been handed off early to Brasilia Center and had already changed frequencies.

The Legacy crew did not try to contact Amazonica Center on VHF.

The accident occurred North of the FIR, in Amazonica Center's airspace. Two seconds before the midair the Legacy was trying to call Brasilia Center (behind them) for a new frequency. They should have called AHEAD to Amazonica Center on the published frequencies before entering their FIR and been on the correct frequency while IN the FIR. Those are standard rules of operation well known to all IFR pilots.

The Legacy flew from South of Brasilia to the accident without talking to anyone… for 54 minutes.

You add up the distances....

And to the "but he essentially had a radio failure and couldn't get clearance to change altitude" crowd. It is written into the Regs that ATC EXPECTS you to follow the published Comm failure procedures and fly at an altitude commensurate with the direction of flight.

But he didn’t have a real Comm. failure did he? It was self induced.

The result...154 dead

While they did a fine job of saving their own aircraft, that does not excuse their behaviour before the event happened.

I resubmit, had the Legacy crew done their job, paid attention to their flight and upon recognizing the loss of contact with ATC done anything remotely proactive: flown off set the airway, trying HF frequencies, trying Air to Air frequencies, tried to call the Center controllers for the FIR that they were about to enter, etc then I would be on their side.

But the Legacy crew didn't try anything except call an ATC unit in whose FIR (forget sector) the were no longer in. And only then after 54 minutes of silence...

In summery, this was not a "Loss of Communication" scenario. This was a simple "Loss of Contact". They had numerous other options to re-establish contact with ATC and they tried none of them. Had they tried any of them they most certainly would have succeeded in contacting ATC and this tragedy would have been avoided.

That should at least be the civilian equivalent of Dereliction of Duty.

ATC's role aside.....Where was the Captain?



Image
---------- ADS -----------
 
Last edited by TTJJ on Thu Dec 18, 2008 8:11 am, edited 1 time in total.
monkeyspankmasterflex
Rank 7
Rank 7
Posts: 517
Joined: Tue Jul 19, 2005 1:12 pm

Re: Excel Air and GOL Airlines

Post by monkeyspankmasterflex »

TTJJ

I'd be interested to hear your take on the Vanity Fair article. Did you get a chance to read it?
---------- ADS -----------
 
Post Reply

Return to “General Comments”