China Airlines Flight 006

China Airlines Flight 006 (callsign "Dynasty 006") was a daily non-stop flight from Taipei to Los Angeles International Airport. On 19 February 1985, the Boeing 747SP operating the flight was involved in an aircraft upset accident, following the failure of the No. 4 engine, while cruising at 41,000 ft (12,500 m). The plane rolled over and plunged 30,000 ft (9,100 m), experiencing high speeds and g-forces (approaching 5g[1]) before the captain was able to recover from the dive, and then to divert to San Francisco International Airport.[1]

China Airlines Flight 006
Damaged empennage of China Airlines Flight 006-N4522V.JPG
Damage to N4522V's horizontal stabilizers after it experienced an uncontrolled descent of 30,000 ft
Accident
Date19 February 1985
SummaryHigh altitude upset and 30,000 ft dive due to spatial disorientation after failure of Engine 4 caused by Pilot Error, and Pilot fatigue
SitePacific Ocean, near San Francisco, California, United States
Aircraft
Aircraft typeBoeing 747SP-09
OperatorChina Airlines
IATA flight No.CI006
ICAO flight No.CAL006
Call signDYNASTY 006
RegistrationN4522V
Flight originChiang Kai Shek Int'l Airport
DestinationLos Angeles International Airport
Occupants274
Passengers251
Crew23
Fatalities0
Injuries24 (2 serious)
Survivors274

AccidentEdit

 
N4522V, the aircraft involved, seen at Kai Tak Airport in 1991

The aircraft had departed from Taipei at 16:22 China Standard Time. The accident occurred 10 hours' into the flight. The Boeing 747SP-09 was 350 miles (560 km) northwest of San Francisco, cruising at an altitude of 41,000 ft (12,500 m). The cockpit crew consisted of Captain Min-Yuan Ho, age 55; First Officer Ju-Yue Chang, age 53; Flight Engineer Kuo-Pin Wei, age 55; Relief Captain Chien-Yuan Liao, age 53; and Relief Flight Engineer Shih-Lung Su, age 41.[1] The captain had approximately 15,500 flight hours, including 3,748 hours on the Boeing 747. The first officer had more than 7,700 hours with 4,553 of them on the Boeing 747, and the flight engineer had approximately 15,500 hours of flight time, including 4,363 hours on the Boeing 747.[1] The accident occurred while the main crew was on duty.

The sequence began with a loss of thrust in the No. 4 engine. That engine had failed twice during previous flights (while cruising at FL 410 and 430). In each of those cases the engine was restarted after descending to a lower altitude. The maintenance response to the logbook entries that noted the attempted solutions included engine inspection; fuel filter drainage and replacement; vane controller inspection and replacement; water drainage from Mach probes; and other filter replacements. None of those acts fixed the recurrent problem with the No. 4 engine.[1][2]

 
Aircraft roll and pitch attitudes and time

The flight engineer attempted to restore power to the engine but did not close the bleed valve as required by the checklist procedure.[1]: 26  After the flight engineer announced the engine had flamed out, the captain instructed him to restart it and ordered the first officer to request clearance for a descent from 41,000 feet (12,500 m). According to the flight manual, engine restart is unlikely to succeed above 30,000 feet (9,100 m).[1]: 2 

Meanwhile, as the airspeed decreased the autopilot rolled the control wheel to the maximum left limit of 23 degrees while maintaining level flight. As the speed decreased even further the aircraft began to roll to the right even though the autopilot was maintaining the maximum left roll limit. By the time the captain disconnected the autopilot the aircraft had rolled over 60 degrees to the right and the nose had begun to drop. Ailerons and flight spoilers were the only means available to the autopilot to keep the wings level as the autopilot does not connect to the rudder during normal flight. To counteract the asymmetrical forces created by the loss of thrust from the No. 4 engine, it was essential for the pilot to manually push on the left rudder. However, the captain failed to use any rudder inputs at all, before or after disconnecting the autopilot.[1]: 10–11 

As the aircraft descended through clouds, the captain's attention was drawn to the attitude indicator, which displayed excessive bank and pitch indications. Because such an attitude is highly irregular, the captain incorrectly assumed the indicators to be faulty.[1]: 3  Without any visual reference because of cloud cover and having rejected the information from the attitude indicators, the captain and first officer became spatially disoriented.[1]: 31 

Only after breaking through the bottom of the clouds at 11,000 feet (3,400 m) was the captain able to reorient himself and bring the aircraft under control, leveling out at 9,600 feet (2,900 m). The aircraft had descended 30,000 ft (9,100 m) in under two-and-a-half minutes, while all onboard experienced g-forces as high as 5 g.[1]: 12  At that point, the crew believed that all four engines had flamed out, but the National Transportation Safety Board found that only engine No. 4 had failed.

After leveling out, the three remaining engines continued supplying normal thrust. Another restart attempt brought engine No. 4 back into use. The aircraft began climbing. The crew reported "condition normal now" to air traffic control, along with the intention of continuing on to Los Angeles. They then noticed that the inboard main landing gear was down and one of the hydraulic systems was empty.[1]: 5  With the drag added by the deployed landing gear the aircraft had insufficient fuel to reach Los Angeles. An emergency was declared and the aircraft diverted to San Francisco International Airport.[1]: 5 

AftermathEdit

There were two serious injuries on board: a fracture and laceration of a foot, and an acute back strain requiring two days of hospitalization. The aircraft was significantly damaged by the excessive G-forces. The wings were permanently bent upwards by 2 inches (5 cm), the inboard main landing gear lost two actuator doors, and the two inboard main gear struts were left dangling.[1][3] Most affected was the tail, where large outer parts of the horizontal stabilizer had been ripped off. The entire left outboard elevator had been lost along with its actuator, which had been powered by the hydraulic system that ruptured and drained.[1][3]

After repairs were made to the plane, it returned to flight status on 25 April 1985. It continued in service for nearly 12 years until it was leased to China Airlines' sister company, Mandarin Airlines, in January 1997, and was in daily service for the remainder of that year before it was withdrawn from service and placed in a boneyard in Nevada. In April 2002, the aircraft was acquired by Indian evangelist and humanitarian K.A. Paul,[4] and dubbed "Global Peace One." Beginning in February 2004, the aircraft was used to deliver disaster aid to countries such as Ethiopia, India, Iran, and Jordan. However, by July 2005 the FAA had revoked Global Peace Ambassadors' operating certificate, effectively grounding the aircraft at Thunder Bay International Airport in Ontario, Canada. In December 2005, a ferry permit was issued and N4522V was flown to Tijuana International Airport, where the aircraft has remained parked outdoors ever since.[5]

In its final report, the US NTSB stated "The Safety Board can only conclude that the captain was distracted first by the evaluation of the engine malfunction and second by his attempts to arrest the decreasing airspeed, and that, because of these distractions, he was unable to assess properly and promptly the approaching loss of airplane control. The Safety Board also concludes that the captain over-relied on the autopilot and that this was also causal to the accident since the autopilot effectively masked the approaching onset of the loss of control of the airplane."[1] The NTSB report ended with No Recommendations intended to prevent similar problems in the future.

China Airlines continue operating one of its scheduled Taipei–Los Angeles services as Dynasty 006 until 2018, utilizing the Boeing 747-400 until late 2014, when the Boeing 777-300ER replaced it.[6] In March 2018, due to fleet shortage and financial stress, the flight number was retired and replaced by flight 008,[7] however, the flight 006 was resume in June 2019 after the increase requirements of Taipei–Los Angeles.[8]

In popular cultureEdit

ReferencesEdit

  1. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p "Aircraft accident report : China Airlines Boeing 747-SP, N4522V, 300 nautical miles northwest of San Francisco, California, February 19, 1985" (PDF). National Transportation Safety Board. 29 March 1986. NTSB/AAR-86/03. Retrieved 30 April 2019.
  2. ^ "Production List". Boeing 747SP Website. Archived from the original on 4 June 2012. Retrieved 9 February 2015.
  3. ^ a b NTSB Archived 17 December 2005 at the Wayback Machine report courtesy of University of Bielefeld – Faculty of technology html version by Hiroshi Sogame Safety Promotion Comt. All Nippon Airways
  4. ^ "N4522V Global Peace Ambassadors Boeing 747SP". www.planespotters.net. Retrieved 24 December 2020.
  5. ^ "N4522V Global Peace Ambassadors Boeing 747SP". 747sp.com. Retrieved 2 December 2022.
  6. ^ "China Airlines (CI) #6 ✈ FlightAware". FlightAware. Retrieved 19 June 2016.
  7. ^ "華航台北─安大略航線2018三月底正式開航". Archived from the original on 5 November 2020. Retrieved 9 August 2018.
  8. ^ "China Airlines W19 operation changes as of 18JUN19". Routes Online. 19 June 2019. Archived from the original on 28 January 2021. Retrieved 7 August 2020.
  9. ^ "Panic Over the Pacific". Mayday. Season 4. 2007. Discovery Channel Canada / National Geographic Channel.

External linksEdit