Some findings regarding Buffalo air crash starting to come to light
The crash of Continental Express 3407 Wednesday night continues to be investigated but some details have come to light already. According to analysis of the cockpit data and voice recorders (the “black boxes”) the crew was aware they were flying into conditions with light snow and mist. As they began their final approach, they were heard to remark on the building ice on their aircraft’s surfaces and had already activated the anti-icing gear onboard. The data recorder shows they lowered their landing gear (apparently normally) and then dropped their flaps. It was at this point they apparently lost control. The data recorder shows the aircraft began to pitch and roll violently. The last actions recorded show the crew trying to raise the gear and lower more flap, presumably in an attempt to abort the landing and go around for another pass. The recording stops seconds later as the ship crashed.
Additional details reported yesterday show that the plane didn’t nose into the ground as it crashed, it was basically dropping flat. It was also pointing away from the destination airport. The fact that it hit the house flat would indicate either that the crew pulled the nose up at the last second but without sufficient altitude to avoid the ground or that the plane had completely “stalled”, meaning that the wings weren’t generating any lift whatsoever. There are many reasons that might happen but massive ice build-up is certainly one of them. The direction of the plane might have been from intentional maneuvers of the pilot attempting to shake the ice off the plane or the result of the aircraft being in a flat spin.
The data recorder showed that all of the plane’s de-icing gear was active and working, although they’ll have to do much more reconstruction work to attempt to confirm that. The examination of the engines and engine data show they were both functioning normally.
More to come as more is known.
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