Boeing considers new warning for MD-82
After Spanish aviation authourities issue a report, Boeing considers adding a new alarm to their MD-82 planes to avoid another Spanair crash.13 October 2008
MADRID -- Boeing is considering adding a new warning system to its MD-82 aircraft due to early findings from Spanish aviation authourities investigating the crash of Spanair flight JK5022 in Madrid on 20 August.
Sources say that Boeing is reviewing the findings, which show that the Spanair MD-82's Take-Off Warning System (TOWS) failed to warn the pilot that the plane's flaps were not extended as it traveled the runway. With the flaps drawn in, the plane could not lift properly and crashed seconds after takeoff. Out of 173 crew and passengers only 19 survived.
The Spanish investigators' first report was made public earlier in October, though their final conclusions are not expected for several years.
In coordination with the US National Transportation Security Bureau, Boeing is now considering adding a visual alarm into the cockpit that would warn if the TOWS stopped working. The system was first considered after a similar MD-82 crash in Detroit in the United States in 1987. However, Boeing instead included a recommendation to check the TOWS before each flight in the MD-82.
The recommendation was apparently not followed by Spanair, with records showing that the TOWS was not checked before leaving Madrid, though it was tested earlier 20 August in Barcelona. In addition, the plane developed a problem with a heat sensor that works on the same system as the TOWS. Spanair technicians "corrected" the sensor problem by turning it off before takeoff.
Adding a sensor to warn if the TOWS isn’t working would mean changing all 850 MD-82s still in service worldwide, including 15 belonging to Spanair - the only Spanish company that still flies them. Boeing stopped building the MD-82 model in 1999, due to its high fuel consumption.
[El Pais / Lara Otero / Expatica]