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Eastern Air Lines Flight 401

02 Dec 2019

Video Courtesy: FAA via Lessons Learned From Transport Airplane Accidents

Eastern Airlines Flight 401 crashed into the Florida Everglades while on approach to Miami International Airport. The National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) determined that the crash was the result of an inadvertent autopilot disconnection that went unnoticed by the flightcrew as they were attempting to correct an unsafe landing gear position indication. The NTSB determined that the uncommanded descent into the Everglades was the result of the flightcrew's failure to monitor the airplane's flight path and an improper division of duties on the flight deck while troubleshooting an anomalous system indication. Of the 163 persons on board 112 were killed in the crash. This accident was one of the precipitating accidents leading to the development and industry-wide adoption of flightcrew resource management philosophies and training.

(Note: This reenactment was filmed in a simulator, and was not produced by Eastern Airlines. The simulator used for the filming was not identically configured to the flight deck and warning system originally delivered to Eastern Airlines. In this video, following the unintended departure from 2000 feet, a warning tone is heard, and footage of the altimeter shows a continuously flashing amber light. Eastern Airlines had inhibited the flashing alert light below 2500 feet above the ground, so on the accident airplane, only the tone was produced, at 1750 feet. There would have been no flashing light. This discrepancy in the video could lead the viewer to assume that the flight crew must have ignored, or missed, two warnings, while in reality, the only warning that would have existed would have been a single, short duration, aural tone.)

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