Spanair did not heed safety recommendations
16 September 2008
MADRID — The airline Spanair did not heed the safety recommendations of McDonnell Douglas, the maker of the MD-82 jet that crashed at Madrid airport on 20 August, killing 154 people, press reports said Tuesday.
Quoting a preliminary report by the Civil Aviation Accident and Incident Investigation Commission (CIAIAC), the reports said the plane’s wing flaps, which provide extra lift, were not extended properly.
CIAIAC investigators believe the plane was mistakenly in airborne mode while still on the ground, causing several critical alarms to be deactivated, including those that warn the pilot of incorrect flap positions.
A similar problem occurred before a MD-82 crashed in Detroit in 1987, also killing 154 people.
McDonnell Douglas then recommended that pilots check the security mechanism before every flight, but Spanair regulations only include checks before the first flight of the day and before changes of both pilots, the commission said.
McDonnell Douglas merged with Boeing in 1997.
Despite the finding, the causes of the Madrid accident remain unclear and authorities continue to study other factors. Eighteen of the 172 people on board survived the crash.
[dpa and El Pais / Expatica]