Flash Airlines: Flight 604 Crash

Summary

Date 3 January 2004.
Site Sharm-el-sheik, Egypt.
Passengers/Crew 142/6
Fatalities (Pax/Crew/Ground) 142/6/0
Aircraft type Boeing 737-38Q (Tail number: SU-ZCF)
Route Sharm-el-Sheik to Cairo, Egypt. [1][4]

Synopsis

Flash airlines flight 604 was an international charter flight flying from Sharm-el-sheik in Epypt to Paris (with an intermediate stop in Cairo) on January 3rd 2004.
The aircraft was a Boeing 737-300 with 142 passengers and 6 crew members.

The crew were flying in good weather. The take off time was around 4:39 pm in the evening.
After take-off, the pilots turned left to intercept the 306 radial from the local VOR station, which was the standard procedure.

The captain then switched off the auto pilot and proceeded to make the turn manually. After the Captain selected a heading on the heading-select, the aircraft started to over-bank to the right.

After receiving a warning from the co-pilot, the captain temporarily brings the ailerons to the neutral position. However, the captain somehow banks the plane to the right again. Then the plane starts violently over-banking to the right. As the bank angle goes past 111 degrees with a steep nose-down attitude, the crew now moves the throttle back to idle in order to regain control of the plane. This leads to the captain temporarily gaining control of the aircraft. However, by this point it was too late.

The extremely high speed and excessive loss of altitude caused the plane to crash into the red sea at 4.45 local time. All passengers and crew were killed. [2][4]

Causes of the accident

The key causes of this accident were:

1) Spatial disorientation - Since the plane was flying after sunset, the pilots didn't have any visual cues to confirm their nose attitude and angle of bank. In such conditions, the pilots must trust their instruments. However, the captain of this flight didn't do so. The signals from his vestibular system told him that the attitude and the angle of bank of the plane was perfect, contradicting the data from the instruments. Thus, the captain didn't correct the flightpath properly, which led to the crash.

2) CVR data also shows that the co-pilot wasn't authoritative enough in handling the situation. Although he did remind the captain to correct the bank angle, he was submissive and he should have challenged the captain more effectively.

3) Some evidence also shows that the crew's incorrect usage of the auto-pilot on the plane may have distracted them and may have worsened the conditions that led to the accident. [2]

Flash Airlines Flight 604 Part 1 & 2 of 4

(Video embedded from YouTube on 11 September 2009 [3]) (Video embedded from YouTube on 11 September 2009 [3] )

Flash Airlines Flight 604 Part 3 & 4 of 4

(video embedded from YouTube on 11 September 2009[3]) (video embedded from YouTube on 11 September 2009 [3])
References
1. Aviation safety network (2009). Flash airlines flight 604 Accident description. Retrieved from Aviation-Safety.net on September 11, 2009.
2. AirDisaster.com (2004). Air Disaster Accident Synopsis 01032004. Retrieved from AirDisaster.com on September 11, 2009.
3. Carl Knutson & Karl Janson (2007). Vertigo. Videos retrieved from Youtube.com on September 11, 2009,
4. Wikipedia. (2009) Flash Airlines Flight 604. Retrieved from Wikipedia.com on September 11, 2009.

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