NTSB initial report on CAL 737

Posted on 13. Jan, 2009 by in Featured

Below are the possible causes according to the NTSB of the accident of the Continental 737 in Denver.
– wind gusts exceeding the aerodynamics properties of the airplane
– nose gear steering failure
– nose gear deflection by involuntary command
– insufficient weight on the nose wheel (center of gravity issues)
– rudder deployment (commanded or uncommanded)
– hydraulics failure causing control problems
– human factors (e.g. speed of reaction, consciousness, …)

I have been paying particular attention to the first possible cause. In English it means the wind was too strong for the aircraft to maintain control. The “why” will be the meat of the issue. We now know the noise that has received so much attention in the press did not occur (according to NTSB initial report) until the aircraft left the runway.

We also know that the Captain tried in vain to regain control by using the tiller. The tiller is a wheel in the cockpit that steers the nose wheel. The rudders also steer the nose wheel but are limited, the tiller will give you more turn authority. It is a last option during take off, and shows the crew felt the aircraft was in extremis. The yawing moment was described by the crew as sudden; so the material failure option is still IMO on the table.

My personal interest is still drawn to the winglets/wing tips. I think they will be a major causal factor in relation to the wind. But again, we will have to wait and see.

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