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Thread: Information wanted on Western Airlines flight 2605

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    Default Information wanted on Western Airlines flight 2605

    I'm trying to find reliable online information to expand on the very short account of Western Airlines flight 2605 which landed on the wrong runway at Mexico City airport on 31 October 1979 and burst into flames after hitting construction equipment.

    Wikipedia has a very short article (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Western...es_Flight_2605) which I would dearly like to expand.

    As this accident involved a US carrier, was there an NTSB report?

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    Default Accident description

    See the following URL for info. on this tragedy:

    http://aviation-safety.net/database/...?id=19791031-0
    s.h./YEG

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    Senior Member Evan's Avatar
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    It was a DGAC (Mexican) investigation. Don't have the report but the FAA provides this summary of the investigation:

    ----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
    FILE DATE LOCATION AIRCRAFT DATA INJURIES FLIGHT PILOT DATA
    F S M/N PURPOSE
    ----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
    1-0026 79/10/31 MEXICO CITY,MEX DOUGLAS DC-10 CR- 11 0 2 SCHED INTERNATL PASSG SRV AIRLINE TRANSPORT, AGE
    TIME - 0542 N903WA PX- 61 13 2 53, 31500 TOTAL HOURS,
    DAMAGE-DESTROYED OT- 0 0 0 2248 IN TYPE, INSTRUMENT
    RATED.
    NAME OF AIRPORT - LICENCIADO BENITO
    OPERATOR - WESTERN AIR LINES,INC.
    DEPARTURE POINT INTENDED DESTINATION
    LOS ANGELES,CA MEXICO CITY,MEX
    TYPE OF ACCIDENT PHASE OF OPERATION
    COLLIDED WITH: AUTOMOBILE LANDING: GO-AROUND
    PROBABLE CAUSE(S)
    PILOT IN COMMAND - IMPROPER IFR OPERATION
    PILOT IN COMMAND - FAILED TO FOLLOW APPROVED PROCEDURES,DIRECTIVES,ETC.
    MISCELLANEOUS ACTS,CONDITIONS - RUNWAY CLOSED
    FIRE AFTER IMPACT
    REMARKS- INVEST & REPORTED BY GOVT OF MEX.RWY 23R ASSIGNED,INITIAL T/D OFF 23L.HIT TRUCK.WX-FOG.

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    Senior Member Gabriel's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by 9V-SJH View Post
    See the following URL for info. on this tragedy:

    http://aviation-safety.net/database/...?id=19791031-0
    I don't know the details, but from what's in that link, it was not just simply a landing in the wrong runway. Key points:
    - The plane was cleared to land on 27R
    - Apparently (given the NTSB recommendations shown there) it was a sidestep approach, meaning that the plane was supposed to do an instrument approach to 27L and, when in visual contact with the runway, make a side step to 27R.
    - The airplane descended in fog busting the approach minimums of 600ft (that is a high minimum for a regular instrument approach, but not for a sidestep approach).
    - The airplane touched down with the left main gear on the grass and the right one on the runway's shoulder.
    - One of the NTSB recommendation was to publish separate approach plates for sidestep approaches.
    - The tower warned the flight three times about the closed runway (according to a link in the wikipedia article).

    (Note, the NTSB must have been an invited party in the investigation for being US the country of the operator, of the manufacturer and of registration of the airplane)

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    Senior Member 3WE's Avatar
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    I think there's a CVR on Airdisaster.com. It might be fake, but then with it being a non-US crash, it might have leaked out?

    In listening to it, there is confusion in the cockpit about what approach they are on versus what runway they are cleared to land on.

    Classic case of a little confusion, but 'deciding' that everyting is OK because "how could things go wrong- every other approach I've ever done in my life worked out ok"
    Tres Caca de Toro

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    The most comprehensive description and analysis by far is in the December 1983 issue of Flying magazine pages 100 to 107.
    http://books.google.com/books?id=8BV...page&q&f=false
    Cheers!
    moving quickly in air

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    Quote Originally Posted by Gabriel View Post
    I don't know the details...
    It was a DC-10.

    Care to speculate if that stiff connection between the gear and the wing might have affected the beak up some. (I know of a DC-9 that hit a truck and everyone lived).
    Tres Caca de Toro

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    Senior Member 3WE's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by orangehuggy View Post
    The most comprehensive description and analysis by far is in the December 1983 issue of Flying magazine pages 100 to 107.
    http://books.google.com/books?id=8BV...page&q&f=false
    Cheers!
    Len Morgan
    Gordon Baxter
    Tres Caca de Toro

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    Quote Originally Posted by 3WE View Post
    I think there's a CVR on Airdisaster.com. It might be fake, but then with it being a non-US crash, it might have leaked out?

    In listening to it, there is confusion in the cockpit about what approach they are on versus what runway they are cleared to land on.

    Classic case of a little confusion, but 'deciding' that everyting is OK because "how could things go wrong- every other approach I've ever done in my life worked out ok"
    I've looked and the transcript does not appear to be there. Some further websearching bought up a note to the effect that it had been removed.

    I found an earlier discussion (from 2005) on another fourm

    http://www.airliners.net/aviation-fo...d.main/130485/

    But also a rather frustrating item from a news archive site, which implies that portions of the ATC conversation were included in news broadcasts & that the CVRs went to the US.

    http://tvnews.vanderbilt.edu/program.pl?ID=57025

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    I recall hearing the CVR on this one years ago, a difficult one in its last monent, still huants me to this day, very sad.

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    Senior Member Gabriel's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by 3WE View Post
    It was a DC-10.

    Care to speculate if that stiff connection between the gear and the wing might have affected the beak up some. (I know of a DC-9 that hit a truck and everyone lived).
    From the Flying article, it seems to have kept both wings after the hard touchdown.

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    Another piece of frustration. Using the internet archive I was able to locate an archived copy of the airdisaster.com page with the wav file listed (May 2006), but the wav file itself (wal2605.wav) had not been archived.

    I also used it to open a geocities page linked to off the aviation-safety.net page which points to a vanity press book written by someone claiming to have been a member of Western Airline 2605s cabin crew and who seems to have been pushing some kind of conspiracy theory from what's on the site.

    http://web.archive.org/web/200910220.../blackbox.html

    There's a placeholder where he claims to have the full cvr transcripts and that he's going to post them 'soon'

    Also found another discussion of the recording:

    http://www.diecastaircraftforum.com/...-tapes-cd.html

    And something that appears to quote from contemporary press accounts:

    http://www.taxiways.de/DC-10/accident/N903WA.html

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    Senior Member Peter Kesternich's Avatar
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    You can also try to find a copy of David Grayson '"Terror in the Skies", published by W.H.Allen (London, England, 1989), which has a chapter dealing with that particular accident.









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    Wow!! When I first started reading the links, I thought they were just to the left of 23R. I had to read it again to make clear they were to the left of 23L also!!

    Even if 23L was open they would have had their hands full.

    This is an unbelievable screw teh pooch disaster.

    What I dont get from that Flying article is which runway was lit.

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    Quote Originally Posted by TheKiecker View Post
    Wow!! When I first started reading the links, I thought they were just to the left of 23R. I had to read it again to make clear they were to the left of 23L also!!

    Even if 23L was open they would have had their hands full.

    This is an unbelievable screw teh pooch disaster.

    What I dont get from that Flying article is which runway was lit.
    The article says 23L was lit.

    It seems crazy for the field to have been using a localizer on a runway with heavy equipment moving around, as they would create signal distortions. Perhaps this is why they landed left of the runway. But then the pilots also acknowledged that they were a bit left of track. There's no question that this was pilot error, as they should never have continued the approach when they became confused (and low on the glideslope). The question in my mind is whether this was an error in continuing an unstable approach on purpose or a failed a go-around attempt. Although key parts of the CVR are missing, it seems to me like it could have been the latter.

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    Do you garner from that article that 23L was lit and 23R was not?

    Was 23L lit with work lights? Or just with standard runway lights?

    The holes in this story/report are amazingly glaring. Thank goodness there were no Polish VIP's on it.


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    Quote Originally Posted by Evan View Post
    The article says 23L was lit.

    It seems crazy for the field to have been using a localizer on a runway with heavy equipment moving around, as they would create signal distortions. Perhaps this is why they landed left of the runway. But then the pilots also acknowledged that they were a bit left of track. There's no question that this was pilot error, as they should never have continued the approach when they became confused (and low on the glideslope). The question in my mind is whether this was an error in continuing an unstable approach on purpose or a failed a go-around attempt. Although key parts of the CVR are missing, it seems to me like it could have been the latter.
    They had not advanced the throttles by when they hit the runway (well, the unpaved shoulder).

    It's not just like they busted the minimums of 600ft, they descended all the way to the ground without seeing anything and without calling the altitudes.

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    Senior Member Evan's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by TheKiecker View Post
    Do you garner from that article that 23L was lit and 23R was not?

    Was 23L lit with work lights? Or just with standard runway lights?

    The holes in this story/report are amazingly glaring. Thank goodness there were no Polish VIP's on it.

    The controllers says,"Approach lights are on 23 left, but that runway is closed to traffic".

    Speaking of conspiracy, what seems a bit odd is that the original tower recordings were never released, only a transcript and on the transcript, when the tower clearly indicates that 23L is closed, the readback on the CVR does not mention this. I think there is one other instance of this in there. So the readbacks don't match the tower remarks. Of course, this could simply be due to fatigue and/or poor discipline, but it makes you wonder...

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    Quote Originally Posted by Peter Kesternich View Post
    You can also try to find a copy of David Grayson '"Terror in the Skies", published by W.H.Allen (London, England, 1989), which has a chapter dealing with that particular accident.
    I've managed to find a copy in an Op-shop, just had a quick look, seems to be quoting the ATC transcript only. Not happy that he does not give sources.

    Especially after locating another message board thread that hints at possible CRM problems. (Reply 22 by MAV75)

    http://www.airliners.net/aviation-fo...d.main/174717/

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