Case Study Of An Aviation Accident

Published: 2021-07-10 04:25:05
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Category: Case Study

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The chosen case study is the runway excursion of continental airlines flight 1404, Boeing 737-500, in Denver, Colorado on December 2008; the plane was destined for Houston, Texas at the time of the accident. During takeoff, a post-fire emanated that left five people seriously injured, forty with minor injuries and sixty-eight more unharmed. The (VMC) Visual Meteorological Conditions predicted strong winds from the West. A few moments before the plane took off; it was met by strong and gusty winds that were beyond the captain’s experience and training this led to the plane crashing.
Aeronautical decision making is the enhanced decision-making process that is used by pilots to make them make split second and best decisions in an uncertain outcome. Robson (2008) came up with the D.E.C.I.D.E. model that is an acronym to aid pilots and crew members in making decisions. The acronym stands for D- detecting the problem and necessary action, E- estimating the importance and weight of the work, C- choosing the desirable outcome, I- identifying the steps required to achieve the desired option, D- doing the action to bring the desired change and E- evaluate the operation done. These skills are taught to pilots to enable them to apply them when need be.
During the initial acceleration, the flight data recorder of the plane showed increased right rudder inputs, and at the time the column and wheel and their control surfaces were at their neutral positions. The correct rudder input peaked at 88 percent of its level which was a countermeasure as the plane was veering left off the runway. A few seconds later there was a substantial reduction in the rudder input to about 15 percent. The accident was caused by the sudden decrease in rudder input, which forced the plane to veer more to the left. This decision was made by the captain, analyzing it using Robson’s model, when the captain saw the plane was turning left, he detected the problem and necessary action, he estimated the results of his operations, saw the desirable outcome, did the act but not all through. The pilot reduced on input meaning he didn’t follow through on the decision model, upon proper evaluation of his decision, this would have been avoided.
Risk assessment involves evaluation that is based on operational judgment and engineering and the ability to establish if a risk is acceptable or tolerable. It is meant to determine the magnitude of risk and decide if measures need to be taken to prevent it or to control it to an adequate level. The accident of the continental airline’s flight 1404 was also contributed by the fact that the pilots did not have enough training experience to evade the wind and even a disregard for crucial information. The likelihood of an event happening is vital is discussing risk assessment, in this flight, the wind speeds were at 27knots, which was still within the airline’s guidelines of 33knots.
However, there was a significant risk of crashing as a result of this wind, and this was disregarded. Assessing risk is all about, identifying and managing the risk to a tolerable level, once determined an analysis is conducted to evaluate the probability of it happening if it is excellent, it needs to be managed (“Risk Assessment – SKYbrary Aviation Safety,” 2018). To manage this risk pilot need to be trained on how to handle themselves in such situations, air traffic controllers instructed in acquiring and distributing wind information to the right individuals, training should also be insisted on crosswind guidelines and limitations. Simulations in wind gust models should be organized for the crew in the airline industry.

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