[FoRK] [Travelmania] AA CCTV service in the '70s?

Stephen D. Williams sdw
Thu Sep 22 21:09:36 PDT 2005


The Finair flight from Helsinki to London last year had (a) nose 
camera(s) that pointed forward or down.  It was pretty cool during 
takeoff looking forward and for a while when they switched to down.  The 
forward view is what I always want when being flown (or flying).

I would always want to know what was going on.  I don't understand not 
wanting to know or being more terrified.  Maybe I'm too used to managing 
fear.  Most of us can probably barely remember getting past that in 
driving; from flying it's still fresh for me and (night!) scuba, crazy 
ridge hiking, and inline skating in DC traffic tend to put everyday 
risks in perspective.  (I found night diving to be claustrophobic, 
unlike daytime diving, and I lost all situational awareness, besides 
"up", when it became a little murky.  Nextime, I watch my compass.)

I know one thing that they don't do right: if they know that a jetliner 
is going to crash land, the crew should pop all exits open just before 
touchdown.  There's no reason to be fumbling with doors while a fire is 
starting.  Maybe they think the avoidance of a shrapnel opening is a 
better tradeoff, but I'd want to exit as soon as the speed was 30mph or 
less.

sdw

Rohit Khare wrote:

> Yes, yes, we've already heard more than enough about the recursive- 
> postmodern-irony of passengers watching themselves on the JetBlue  
> flight. I want to know about this cryptic reference in the AP wire  
> story:
>
>> In the late 1970s, American Airlines advertised the fact that  
>> passengers could watch their takeoffs and landings on closed- circuit 
>> television, a benefit that may have backfired. No one knows  what 
>> passengers aboard Flight 191 saw on May 25, 1979, when an  engine 
>> fell off moments before the plane crashed at Chicago O'Hare  Airport, 
>> killing 273 people.
>
> Anyone got a lead on identifying what this system was, or was it just  
> luck that the aviation writer on this piece has a loooong memory? I  
> enclose one link to AirDisasters, but that also seems like  
> speculation as to what the passengers might have seen...
>
> http://www.airdisaster.com/special/special-aa191.shtml
>
>> In the cockpit and cabin, the takeoff roll seemed totally normal.  
>> The view from the cockpit was even being broadcast on the  airliner's 
>> closed circuit television system for the passengers'  enjoyment. But 
>> six thousand feet into the takeoff roll, air traffic  controllers in 
>> O'Hare's control tower saw small parts of the  aircraft's no.1 engine 
>> pylon fall away, and as the aircraft started  its rotation, the 
>> entire number one engine separated from the wing.
>>
>> Behaving exactly as it was designed to, the severed engine flew up  
>> and over the left wing, falling to the runway below. Unfortunately,  
>> in the process, it ripped out all of the hydraulic lines to the  
>> leading edge slats.
>
> Rohit
>
> JetBlue Passengers Watched Ordeal on TVs
> On-Board TVs Let JetBlue Passengers Watch Disturbing News About  
> Themselves
>
> By TIM MOLLOY
> The Associated Press
>
> Sep. 22, 2005 - Letting customers watch TV at their seats has been a  
> JetBlue calling card since the airline took flight in 1999.
>
> But the frill made for a bizarre experience as passengers aboard an  
> airliner with a crippled nose wheel watched news reports about their  
> own flight even as they prepared for an emergency landing.
>
> Some of those aboard Flight 292, which landed safely Wednesday at Los  
> Angeles International Airport, said later that they appreciated  
> seeing news reports on what was happening. Others were horrified.
>
> "It was absolutely terrifying, actually. Seeing the events broadcast  
> made it completely surreal and detached me from the event," said  
> Zachary Mastoon, a musician heading home on the Burbank-to-New York  
> flight. "It became this television show I was inextricably linked to.  
> It was no longer my situation, it was broadcast for everyone to see.  
> It only exacerbated the situation and my fear."
>
> Mastoon said the JetBlue employees kept passengers informed but that  
> he heard worst-case scenarios from TV news reports. Realizing the  
> risks, he started taking swigs from another passenger's vodka tonic.
>
> "They were telling us there could be a crash landing, the landing  
> gear could be torn off, and that there could be a fire. The gravity  
> of the situation was much worse than any of us assumed," Mastoon said.
>
> Some passengers, though, said they appreciated knowing as much as  
> possible about their situation.
>
> "I think on balance people were not upset," said Howard Averill,  
> chief financial officer for NBC-Universal Television, who was  
> traveling to a meeting in New York.
>
> Even so, he said, some passengers would pull off their headphones  
> after disturbing bits of news "with just that look of, I think I've  
> heard enough."
>
> Another television executive on board, New York-based Todd Schwartz,  
> said the captain and the crew were straightforward in explaining the  
> situation to passengers, but TV offered more facts.
>
> "You need to have the captain focusing on the task at hand and not  
> just informing us," he said.
>
> He said the TVs were turned off five or 10 minutes before the  
> landing, which was fine with him because passengers needed to pay  
> attention to crew instructions. He said passengers couldn't watch,  
> anyway, because they were supposed to keep their heads down during  
> the landing.
>
> The airline said Thursday it had no plans to get rid of in-flight  
> television during emergencies.
>
> "It's far more valuable to customers who choose to watch, and  
> customers who choose not to watch can turn their unit off," company  
> spokeswoman Jenny Dervin said.
>
> JetBlue, which provides 36 channels, is joined by Delta's Song and  
> Frontier airlines in offering in-flight TV.
>
> Airlines meticulously avoid in-flight movies about air disasters and  
> edit out scenes that could panic travelers. A scene in the 1988 film  
> "Rain Man" for example, in which Dustin Hoffman's character lists a  
> series of air disasters, was cut by every airline except Qantas whose  
> safety record got a thumbs-up in the film.
>
> But by trying to offer its customers more viewing choices, airlines  
> also provide a connection with news reports on the ground, even  
> potentially unsettling ones.
>
> On the morning of Sept. 11, 2001, JetBlue passengers flying into New  
> York watched reports of planes crashing into the World Trade Center  
> then looked out their windows to see it burning.
>
> In the late 1970s, American Airlines advertised the fact that  
> passengers could watch their takeoffs and landings on closed-circuit  
> television, a benefit that may have backfired. No one knows what  
> passengers aboard Flight 191 saw on May 25, 1979, when an engine fell  
> off moments before the plane crashed at Chicago O'Hare Airport,  
> killing 273 people.
>
> On Thursday, meanwhile, a JetBlue airliner departing from Tampa,  
> Fla., landed safely at John F. Kennedy International Airport after  
> its pilot reported a problem with the wing flaps as the plane  
> prepared to descend, company officials said. No injuries were  
> reported. It was unclear if the flaps actually were locked or if it  
> was a false alarm.
>
>
>
>
>
> Special Report: American Airlines Flight 191
> By: Chris Kilroy
>
> An amateur photographer shot this photo of American 191's final  
> seconds, as the aircraft rolled past a 90? bank angle. Hydraulic  
> fluid and jet fuel can be seen leaking from the no.1 engine pylon.
>
> May 25, 1979 remains the darkest day in American aviation. On that  
> Friday before the Memorial Day Weekend, 270 passengers and crew  
> aboard American Airlines Flight 191 lost their lives when their  
> airplane literally fell out of the sky. To this day, the accident is  
> the most deadly commercial airline crash in United States history.   
> Here is the story of what happened on that blusterry Spring day in 1979.
>
> In command of flight 191 was Capt. Walter Lux, a 22,000 hour pilot  
> who had flown the DC-10 nearly since its introduction eight years  
> earlier. Assisting him on the flight deck were First Officer James  
> Dillard and Flight Engineer Alfred Udovich, who had 25,000 flying  
> hours between them. At 2:50 pm, N110AA was cleared to taxi to runway  
> 32R at Chicago's O'Hare International Airport, and at 3:02 pm the  
> flight was cleared for takeoff. The wind was Northeast at 22 knots.
>
> In the cockpit and cabin, the takeoff roll seemed totally normal. The  
> view from the cockpit was even being broadcast on the airliner's  
> closed circuit television system for the passengers' enjoyment. But  
> six thousand feet into the takeoff roll, air traffic controllers in  
> O'Hare's control tower saw small parts of the aircraft's no.1 engine  
> pylon fall away, and as the aircraft started its rotation, the entire  
> number one engine separated from the wing.
>
> Behaving exactly as it was designed to, the severed engine flew up  
> and over the left wing, falling to the runway below. Unfortunately,  
> in the process, it ripped out all of the hydraulic lines to the  
> leading edge slats. As a result, pressure slowly started to leak out  
> and the leading edge slats slowly started to retract. The plane  
> continued to climb normally, however.
>
> The tower controller called "American 191 heavy, you wanna come back  
> and to what runway?" There was no response... the crew was too  
> concerned with keeping their wounded beast flying. The Captain,  
> following American's engine-out procedures to the nth degree, pitched  
> the nose up and slowed the aircraft down to V2+6, or 159 knots.  
> Decelerating through 165 knots, something odd began to happen.
>
> The Captain was putting in full right rudder and aileron, yet the  
> aircraft was still rolling left. At an altitude of 400 feet and with  
> an airspeed of 155 knots, the airplane rolled past wings vertical and  
> fell to earth with a bank of 112? and a nose down attitude of 21?.
>
> The accident investigation revealed that, when the engine separated,  
> it disabled the Captain's control panel, which contained both of the  
> slat disagreement systems. The severed hydraulic lines allowed the  
> slats on the left wing to gradually retract, and the stall speed on  
> the left wing rose considerably. When the aircraft slowed through 164  
> knots, the left wing aerodynamically stalled because of its clean  
> configuration, while the right wing continued to produce lift with  
> its slats still in takeoff position. With one wing stalling and one  
> wing producing full lift, the airplane eventually rolled past a 90?  
> bank, and fell to the ground. The crash killed two people on the  
> ground when it hit a field directly adjacent to a trailer park.  All  
> 270 passengers and crew aboard were also fatally injured.
>
>
>
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