Tupulev and Boeing crash in Germany
July 1, 2002 4:08 PM   Subscribe

Tupulev and Boeing crash in Germany A tupulev and a boeing crashed in southern germany. Number of victims yet unknown.
posted by knutmo (24 comments total)
I don't mean to be English-centric, but MetaFilter is in English, so it's assumed its readership reads and speaks English. What details am I supposed to glean from an incomplete story in German. Talk about jumping all over a news link.
posted by eyeballkid at 4:11 PM on July 1, 2002

Here's an English language link
posted by meep at 4:13 PM on July 1, 2002

Ich bin ein Mefite.
posted by mr_crash_davis at 4:14 PM on July 1, 2002

Babelfish. A little URL'll do ya.
posted by allaboutgeorge at 4:19 PM on July 1, 2002

In Baden-Wuerttemberg two larger airplanes in air are together in the night pushed and fallen to Tuesday. It gave, communicated several dead ones a speaker of the ministry of the Interior in Stuttgart. According to the data obviously two machines were collided acted in air. A Tupulew and a Boeing concerned. The one machine has a capacity of 180 passengers, second of 203 persons. As many humans actually were on board the machines, was not clear yet.
Cool, so I can go to a link in German and get confused English from Babelfish. I get the runaround twice for the price of one. Thanx!
posted by eyeballkid at 4:24 PM on July 1, 2002

Thanks meep for the translation and doesn't someone think it's a bit egocentric to grouse about the language without concern for the event?
posted by CINDERELLEN at 4:28 PM on July 1, 2002

CNN.com's developing story — in English
posted by nathan_teske at 4:39 PM on July 1, 2002

eyeballkid, you're so insensitive.
posted by BlueTrain at 4:41 PM on July 1, 2002

Internet sites describe the Tupolev as a Russian-built plane.

Well, that confirms my suspicion that there's no such thing as a journalist anymore. Don't people at CNN know what a Tupolev is without having to depend on "Internet sites"?

Next thing you know, CNN will be looking to us to do legwork on breaking news stories.
posted by WolfDaddy at 4:49 PM on July 1, 2002

Front page on Drudge.
posted by ( .)(. ) at 5:08 PM on July 1, 2002

eyeballkid, I agree - right or wrong, this is an English language community and translations from babelfish are more confusing than enlightening.
posted by dg at 5:48 PM on July 1, 2002

From CNN: At least two people were believed to have been killed

Assuming that nobody survives a mid-air collision isn't this kind of obvious? While the event is certainly not lucky it is fortunate that at least one of the planes was a cargo jet. Let's hope the other was near empty as well.
posted by srboisvert at 5:58 PM on July 1, 2002

It never ceases to amaze me what can be found on the Web.

This is the Russian plane that was involved in the crash. Not one like it, but the plane. The "RA-85816" was visible in some of the crash scene footage playing on CNN.

posted by mr_crash_davis at 6:35 PM on July 1, 2002

More details from Yahoo.

The Russian airliner left from Moscow with Barcelona, Spain, as its final destination.

The air controller identified the freight aircraft as flying for package delivery service DHL that had taken off in Bahrain and was headed for Brussels, Belgium.
posted by Stuart_R at 6:47 PM on July 1, 2002

Note that the newsies will almost certainly cite the TU-154's rather weak saftey record. However, the TU-154 isn't nearly as fragile as some make it out to be -- it is basically a clone of the Boeing 727. Futhermore, mechanical failures rarely cause mid-air collisions.
posted by eriko at 7:23 PM on July 1, 2002

The passenger flight started in Moscow and was going to Barcelona. I fear the worst - that thing was probably full of vacationers. Hope to God I'm wrong, though. Do Russians like to vacation in Spain?
posted by crunchburger at 7:31 PM on July 1, 2002

The German story says (and my German is a tad rusty, so please, correct me if I'm wrong): assumedly 97 people were killed, according to the initial indications. The DHL flight had only the two pilots, and the other had 95 passengers. They collided approx. 12000 meters in the air.
posted by nonreflectiveobject at 7:43 PM on July 1, 2002

TV News in Canada reported the Russian plan was indeed full of vacationers...
posted by Stuart_R at 7:51 PM on July 1, 2002

Alas, there's not much to say about something like this -- except perhaps that thankfully the circumstances seem pretty definitively unrelated to terrorism. Mid-air collisions are, all in all, extremely rare, even when considering the larger pool of so-called general aviation.

Commercial jetliners in the West, such as the state-of-the-art 757, are today routinely equipped with TCAS (tea-kass), "traffic alert and collision avoidance system", based on the transponder signals. When TCAS detects another plane in the vicinity it begins a loud whooping alarm and barks prerecorded advisories like "Pull up! Pull up!" The idea is that the TCAS system assumes the other plane is also being controlled in the same way and that the logic of both systems' programming will be such that Plane A gets advised to go up and left and Plane B down and left, or other compatible strategies.

The problem comes when you have TCAS vs. human. Though I can't be certain, the Tu-154 is quite easily not equipped with such a system. Perhaps the human pilot on the other side had a different strategy than the TCAS assumed and they entered a tragic embrace, turning ever closer to each other instead of away.

Secondarily, though, this points to a fault with German air traffic control. How did the planes enter the same airspace in the first place? Did one overtake the other? (Sometimes a plane descends on another just below it, invisible under its own body.) Were they crossing, but at the wrong altitudes? What communication was there prior to the crash? Was there a language problem? (Even in Europe, the language of commercial aviation is generally English.) Lots of questions here, and I fear the human factor will turn out to be much more important than we generally assume in the US.
posted by dhartung at 9:29 PM on July 1, 2002

The plane was full of kids. It seems that the Russian plane only dived after being told to 3 times by Swiss air traffic control. The cargo plane dived after being told to by on board computer stuff. If either of them had held their line there would have been no crash. Who is at fault here?
posted by Fat Buddha at 12:46 AM on July 2, 2002

(Aside : I know this is meta-fodder, but have we got any kind of consensus yet on the whole 'NewsFilter' thing?)
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 1:26 AM on July 2, 2002

I heard on the radio this morning that the TU-154 had to have an anti-collision warning system fitted in order to fly in European airspace. I presume this is the TCAS of which dhartung speaks.
posted by salmacis at 3:02 AM on July 2, 2002

Well, it does appear that both basic causes I noted were at play. The presence of a TCAS onboard the Tupolev, along with reports that the 757's TCAS was issuing descend orders, while the ATC was telling the Tupolev to descend, makes me wonder if the TCAS in the Tupolev was saying just the opposite (by programming, they're supposed to have the planes veer away as I noted). Alternatively the Russian plane may have only had first-generation TCAS which does not actually issue directions but only "collision imminent" types of advisories. Even so, two minutes' warning from the Swiss seems ... scant. Doing real ATC work isn't like the wacky three-D visualizations in Pushing Tin -- there are designated flight routes and generally it's more like telling cars on a highway to maintain distance than making sure a zillion balls in the air don't hit each other.

That said, FB, there may not be one factor 'at fault'. Pilots who hate the TCAS -- and there are quite a few -- will use this as an argument against having a computer tell them where to go instead of using their judgement and other information. ATC rules will be examined closely. They'll probably find someone who violated one first -- say, the Russian pilot strayed out of his flight lane -- and hang it all on that, but inside other organziations there may be other less obvious repercussions.

We'll want cockpit voice recorders on this one, for certain, though.
posted by dhartung at 7:42 AM on July 2, 2002

> The plane was full of kids.


> We'll want cockpit voice recorders on this one,
> for certain, though.


Children: "... twenty-seven bottles of beer on the wall, twenty-seven bottles of beer... "

Pilot: "That's it! I can't fucking take it anymore!"
posted by pracowity at 9:51 AM on July 2, 2002

« Older J.K. Galbraith shocked at scale of corporate...   |   Are these the hardest domains in the world to... Newer »

This thread has been archived and is closed to new comments