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Qatar Airways Fires Pilots Involved in Miami Takeoff Incident

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Qatar Airways has apparently sacked the pilots responsible for substantially damaging a Boeing 777 when it struck a set of runway lights during takeoff from Miami in September. (dohanews.co) Mehr...

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honzanl
honza nl 12
The inquiry into the accident has disclosed that the captain chose to depart from the T1 intersection of runway 09 despite carrying out the calculations for a full-length runway departure, and despite a prohibition on intersection take-offs from this runway.

It indicates that the root of the event lay partly in the terminology displayed by the take-off calculation tool within the aircraft’s electronic flightbag.

This tool offered the pilots only a single take-off option, displayed to the crew as ‘09#T1’. The Qatari civil aviation authority, which has released a series of preliminary findings, says the pilots “understood” that this referred to a full-length take-off, adding that the tool "displayed" the information that intersection departures for this runway were not permissible.

But Miami’s runway 09 coincidentally has an intersection designated ‘T1’. As the 777 taxied parallel to the runway, in darkness, the captain “decided” that the aircraft could depart from this intersection.

The captain “could not recall” his reasons for the decision, says the inquiry, but says he believed the information subsequently printed by the calculation tool displayed the label ‘09#T1’ in a “compelling way”.

This printed information did not mention that intersection departures were not permitted from runway 09.

When the first officer was asked to tell air traffic control about the intersection departure plan, he checked his own notes, in which he had referred to the ‘T1’ label used by the tool. This convinced the first officer that the T1 intersection was acceptable as a line-up point for take-off and advised controllers accordingly.

The flight crew included a relief captain and first officer, both present in the cockpit. They queried the decision to use the T1 intersection but, during the subsequent conversation, came to believe that they had missed the pilots’ re-calculation of the take-off performance to account for the shorter departure.

Although the captain – who had nearly 1,000h on type – had been tracking the 777’s taxi route on a cockpit display, the short-range view selected disguised the position of T1 relative to the rest of the runway. None of the four crew members realised that the T1 intersection was some 1,000m from the beginning of runway 09, leaving the 342t aircraft with only 2,610m available for the departure.

The false perception was further reinforced by an aircraft which, as a result of a displaced touchdown, landed close to the 777’s position.

As the aircraft rolled for take-off the crew started to become concerned as it approached the V1 decision speed.

“The [captain] assessed the speed of the aircraft, the rate of acceleration and the runway remaining and concluded the safest course of action was to continue,” says the inquiry. It states that the captain recalled initiating rotation with only 300m of runway remaining.

Flight-data recorder information shows the ground roll was 2,866m and that the 777 was “still on the ground” as it left the runway area. The subsequent collision with approach lights for runway 27 was captured on airport surveillance cameras.

None of the crew was aware of the impact and the aircraft – operating flight QR778 to Doha on 16 September – landed at its destination without further incident.
jbqwik
jbqwik 4
thanks for providing this additional info
joelwiley
joel wiley 2
Thanx for posting. Look for the youtube "Children of the Magenta" 1997 on the reliance of automation. Sounds similar.
dc3orbust
dc3orbust 0
The beauty of cut and paste
Cat3aviation
Grant McMahon 8
As a former B777 Captain I empathize with the crew. We are trained to verify and trust the onboard performance tool that produces take off performance calculations. As part of the international route structure crews do not fly into the same airport (such as Miami) on a regular basis. The 09#T1 labelling is the root cause of the incident - I don't suspect any intent to willfully act counter to good operational practice.
THRUSTT
THRUSTT 6
Yours seems to be the only logical comment. If the crew knew that they hit the lights, which I doubt, then they would have been reckless in continuing... It seems like a genuine mistake was made with the takeoff point. The one thing I would've done if I was part of the flying crew, was when the question by the relief crew came up, I would have viewed that as a red flag. If I was part of the relief crew, I would've demanded a stop to review, since we all had some bit of uncertainty...
dtw757
mike SUT 1
spot on
dtw757
mike SUT 2
Agree with THRUSTT...seems like this crew had 2 occasions to prevent this from happening. The first was the questions from the relief crew..pull over, discuss and re verify the numbers. The second is the hard one but was an opportunity missed. V1 is a decision speed...no one likes a rejected takeoff because of factors such as brake cooling prior to next takeoff, possible rug dance in front of Chief Pilot explaining WHY you had to do it, paperwork to the various entities such as NASA ASRS forms, logbook, etc etc but......there's a reason it called a refusal/decision speed. "the Capt assessed the acceleration the speed of the aircraft"..seems like with a 1000 hours on the 777, he should have had an idea in head as he watched the runway remaining markers going by and the speed he had and was accelerating to and red flags should have been waving at him all over the place. It's too bad they were fired...retraining, emphasis on CRM for all on the Flight Deck and this probably would re-occur for this flight crew ever again.
chalet
chalet 1
You just don't retrain animals who could have caused the worst aviation accident in the history of the U.S.: 350+ souls on board, TOW just short of MTOW, ambient temp 34°C, tons of fuel on board for 14 hr. long flight, aviation fuel tank farm just to the left of runway, hundreds of cars of airport employees just underneath the path (loaded with motor gasoline mind you) and heavily trafficked 10-lane Le Jeune Rd. some 200 yards East from the smashed approach lights.
bbabis
Bill Babis 1
The root cause was the decision to go from an intersection regardless of wether or not they thought some box said it was possible. That is willfully acting counter to good operational practice. As Mike SUT and THRUSTT state, several obvious red flags were also ignored. Firing the crew may or may not have been the right thing to do but, in today's world, their careers are far from over.
jackh1975
jack cagle 0
Very well stated.
leosvale
Leandro Vale 4
QCAA said in the first interview: “Such kind of incidents happen quite often, either it is a tail strike on the runway or it is contact with the landing lights,” Al Baker was quoted as saying. “It is nothing out of context.”.

I'm not an expert over this kind of subject, but is this "normal"?
R123154
R123154 3
Nope.Nothing about it is normal.
d0ugparker
Doug Parker 3
I've got *maybe* 150 hours, but my FI always taught me to "use every inch of the runway I can."

On the other hand, big business pushes for profit, and it can't be argued that getting a flight airborne from an intersection saves time--even with factoring in the appropriate calculations. (Yes, I'm implying that aviation [and in general businesses that deal with life and death] cannot be primarily driven by profit because stupid things are going to happen, though what other business culture IS needed in its place I cannot clearly define. YMMV.)

Yet in comparison, the five minutes a full-length runway takeoff would have added could easily have been made up for once in the air.

On a side note, I haven't seen any of the flight crew's names.
chalet
chalet 0
In the US and in some European countries the investigation organization in charge of accident analysis disclose the names of cockpit crew members involved in accidents along with ratings, total hours, hours on type, etc. but Airlines from the Middle East do not.
Highflyer1950
Highflyer1950 3
All about situational awareness.
Navy65
Navy65 3
The correct action has been taken by the airline.
pilotp
Corey Morris 2
I was taught that there are two things that has no use to you in certain situations. runway behind you and altitude above you
jackh1975
jack cagle 2
Has anyone heard or read whether they were using full power for takeoff, or reduced thrust?
KauaiGolfer
KauaiGolfer 4
Who cares whether the computer said it could go from there or not? Why the hell would an Airline Captain make an intersection takeoff? Especially on a long-haul flight carrying a bunch of fuel? The shaking of the earth that night was from the thousands of past Airline Captains, my Dad included, turning over in their graves.
mariofer
mariofer 4
As the power of computers increase, common sense and basic flying skills diminish. It is going to come to a point where we will not eat unless the computer says so.
bbabis
Bill Babis 3
And that thunder-clap was the thousands more slapping their heads and saying "what the hell was he thinking?"
btweston
btweston 1
Well, way to go, your dad.
svalbard
bruce barton 1
My Pan Am pilot/flight instructor always told me to use the full length of any runway....that was in a Cessna for God's sake! In this Mid East case...you will never know what really happened ! Think about it!
THRUSTT
THRUSTT 1
Surely he told you Miami is a few miles west of the Mid East...
svalbard
bruce barton 1
The airline's front office is in the Mid East.!! I know where Florida is thank you very much!
TWA55
TWA55 2
Flying 101 and common sense 101.
plupa
Paul Lupa 1
... #2 Runway behind you.
sgbelverta
sharon bias 1
When in doubt, ask questions. Don't point fingers after the fact. No reason the pilot should have let this happen.
tperdomo
tperdomo 1
Well, I am not a "heavy" operator but if you were to look at the rnwy distance on 8L, they would had hit something else or ran off the end of the runway. This type of incidents remind me of the disaster in Lexignton, KY where the crew took off on the wrong runway. As crew members we are held at much higher standards on a normal day, imagine when it comes to doing what we do for a living. I feel bad for this crew bu honestly, what if one of your family members were to be a passenger on an aircraft where the crew are not expected to do their job 100% correct 100% of the time? Remember the very wise old saying..."In God we trust, in humans we double check" we need to double check ourselves, especially flying that type of equipment, my God that is a lot of people and a huge animal!
bokimon
Bo Kim 0
Is that Lexington one the accident involving a CRJ where all the pax died but the pilots were the only ones who survived? I remember at least that for the details unless I was mistaken. If it is indeed the case, it would be the ultimate guilt that these folks would live for the rest of their lives. PTSD to another level.
SkyVoice
SkyVoice 1
Only slightly mistaken. I covered that crash as a news item for a major network. The sole survivor was the FO. He was the only one that first responders were able to rescue before fire overtook the wreckage. And he suffered traumatic brain injury--plus a lot of other injuries--and has no recollection of the crash. And, no one knows why the PIC attempted a takeoff on the now-closed RWY 26 (length 3,500') at KLEX, especially when three other flights that morning had departed from the assigned RWY 22 (length 7,000') without incident.
dodger4
dodger4 1
HOW the error occurred may be interesting (to us outsiders) but hardly a reason to excuse the Captain of the aircraft from his liability. When you reach the pinnacle of your career, these types of errors cannot be tolerated. The end of the runway ("full length") is defined by the fact that there's no more runway behind it...which is NOT the situation when you depart from an intersection.

Also isn't there a visual display on the PFD of some kind to show you where you are on the airport?

Whether the punishment fits the crime is another issue, but it begs the question of what would have happened to the crew if they missed all the approach lights by 1" - and nobody but the crew ever found out about it.
turbo6go
turbo6go 1
The crew obviously forgot the best axiom in aviation.

Three items that are NOT worth anything in Aviation.
1. All the runway behind you;
2. All the altitute above you; AND
3. All the fuel remaining in the fuel truck.!
svalbard
bruce barton 1
No ....fuel left in the BOWSER!
ibraham
ibraham 1
On my first flight lesson, my instructor repeated the saying: "There's nothing more useless than runway behind you and altitude above you!"
Even flying a single engine airplane, I was advised to always use the full length of the runway. Regardless of the performance data, there is no real good reason to request an intersection departure, especially for a heavy jet!
num1tailhooker
Lucio DiLoreto 1
A bunch of buffoons in the cockpit.
chalet
chalet 1
Stale news, they were fired in the last week of Dec. 2015, the PIC was accused quite rightfylly for derelictin of duty and taking a terribly dangerous shortcut, ditto FO. The two relief crew were fired fur not asserting in a strong manner the extremely dangerous situation PIC put 350+ sould on board.
joelwiley
joel wiley 1
Wondered when you'd post. If I recall correctly, you predicted them being toast almost before they landed.
chalet
chalet 0
Indeed, I have my sources, don't you remember I so stated
chalet
chalet 0
Furthermore I also stated that the PIC was an individual of Spanish nationality, and this was not included in the press reléase.
Egadnow
Egadnow -3
I could say something about the nationality/religion of the aircrew but it would be deleted as not PC, as were some posts!
Please compare safety records, even with essentially the same equipment there is a big difference. Aircrew and other workers are the big variable.
Being PC is not the way to increase aviation safety, and that is what it is all about!!
haykinson
Ilya Haykinson 4
James, this is not about being PC. Neither the nationality nor the religion of the aircrew has anything to do with this incident. The training, procedures, oversight, pay, hiring practices, etc -- these do. In fact, the way that we've increased aviation safety is by focusing on these items, and not people's national origin or personal beliefs.
Egadnow
Egadnow 0
llya, you made my point. It is obvious from the safety record that the training, etc required for safe operation is not taken equally seriously in different parts of the Aviation World! Senior Capt can't even work a computer!! At least some of the aircrew were fired.
I don't know what the posts you had deleted said, but I suspect they named Nationality, Airlines, etc. A problem must be faced before it can be solved.
It is my understanding that some Airlines are not allowed to operate in the USA. International Politics being what they are, I suspect more should be banned!
As an aside, I haven't flown Airlines of any kind since 9-11. My little turbo gets me where I need to go without the hassle. I just got off the phone with my Son. His flight was delayed on the ground about 3 hours due to 3 problems. The aircraft was fueled After the Capt told the refuelers not to add fuel. Due to equipment failure it required 2 hours to defuel to a safe level, next a Lady had a panic attact on the way to the runway, no checked baggage so no additional delay getting it . Just after shutting the door a man decided he wanted off. He had checked baggage, another 30 minutes to find it.
Big difference, the American Capt did not attempt a TO with an overweighr AC, as opposed to the incident AC with an illegal intersection departure! What part of the third world was the incident AC from??? Fly Safe. and please excuse any typos on my dinky little Chinese Apple Ipad. There I go Again. Not PC!!!
haykinson
Ilya Haykinson 5
James, I don't get to delete posts here. I completely agree that there are airlines out there whose standards are nowhere near acceptable, and that shouldn't be able to fly in our airspace. However, that has to do with their standards and performance to these standards, and not with their national origin or religion of their crew. It is reasonable to discuss airlines and the countries they are from -- after all, if a country chooses to allow its airlines to operate with lax oversight, or with insufficient training, then it should come as no surprise to them to have incidents.

However, it is not political correctness to focus discussion on operating standards and behavior rather than religion and faith. It is simply basic human decency to not make undue assumptions about swaths of population. This discussion forum supports discourse only as long as it follows basic human decency, and will continue to enforce this principle.
andyc852
Andy Cruickshank 11
The down voted post was a rant from a person who regularly posts non relevant inflammatory comments mostly about muslims.I would NOT fly on an airplane crewed by this individual, I think he would be dangerous. It is common to see posts that claim that the only "safe and well trained pilots" are born and raised here in the USA. That is patriotic nonsense with no basis on facts. As passengers we have no choice in who crews our aircraft and "the system" has done a remarkable job of improving aviation safety overall. We can choose who we fly on and the airlines record should be an integral part of that decision. Most passengers base their choice on ticket cost and possibly a convenient schedule..
bbabis
Bill Babis 5
Unfortunately, we can only give one thumbs up.
THRUSTT
THRUSTT 3
I'll hook him up with one more...
joelwiley
joel wiley 2
Per person...
Egadnow
Egadnow 2
Well said, andy.

[This comment has been downvoted. Show anyway.]

btweston
btweston 2
"Gook Airlines?"

WTF is wrong with you?
THRUSTT
THRUSTT 2
Forgive him, there were some in class that failed spelling and writing...
Egadnow
Egadnow 1
Some of us use iPads. Others trust computers to make the runway behind us go ahead of us!
Google Gook yourself. You will remember it longer!
Wot be a THRUSTT???
THRUSTT
THRUSTT 3
THRUSTT be me Jimbo
Egadnow
Egadnow 1
Everyone, well, almost everyone, knowswhat a Gook is. Google it!

[This poster has been suspended.]

haykinson
Ilya Haykinson 2
This is bigoted and does not belong on this message board. You, Mike, should be ashamed of bringing such opinions into a public discussion.

[This poster has been suspended.]

haykinson
Ilya Haykinson 3
Your outright bigotry and antagonism towards hundreds of millions of people is your business. It is not acceptable to bring these opinions into the public. Please keep them to yourself, and not on this forum.
Egadnow
Egadnow -2
llya, check for yourself the safety record of Gook Airlines, crewed by Gooks, and compare it to first world airlines!
They all use about the same equipment, main difference is in people.
Google it yourself, you will remember it longer. If you don't know what a Gook is look it up also
Being PC is not worth several big cashes each year!
Fly Safely.
Egadnow
Egadnow -1
Improving flight safety is what this is all about, not being PC.

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