Instrument Showed Plane Near Ground, Was Actually About 2,000
Dutch investigators believe an erroneous altimeter indication
played a role in last week's downing of a Turkish Airlines Boeing
737-800 near Amsterdam's Schiphol Airport.
According to the BBC, Dutch Safety Board chairman Pieter van
Vollenhoven told reporters the aircraft's autopilot was flying the
approach to Schiphol. Investigators believe a problem with the
altimeter led to a loss of airspeed, which in turn caused an
Van Vollenhoven said the plane's altimeter showed the aircraft
at ground level, when it was actually about 1,950 feet above. The
autopilot, responding to the altimeter reading, throttled back the
plane's engines in preparation for the landing flare and
"The crew initially did not react to these events," van
Vollenhoven said. When a condition warning sounded, he added, the
crew attempted to throttle the engines back up.
"But the plane was too low at 150 meters," he said. "As a
consequence the plane crashed 1 kilometer before the runway."
The Associated Press adds investigators also found the flight
crew had noticed an error with the altimeter, but did not consider
it to be a problem. Boeing had previously issued a warning about
potential problems with the altimeters.
As ANN reported, nine people onboard were
killed when the aircraft impacted a field short of the runway at
Schiphol. The aircraft hit the ground tail first, and broke into
three pieces from the force of the impact.
Fatalities included the captain and two other members of the
flight crew. Dozens of the 127 people onboard were severely injured
in the February 23 crash.
Investigators also noted a report by Turkish Airlines, stating
the plane had been taken out of service two days before the
accident due to problems with the aircraft's Master Caution Light
program. Dutch authorities do not believe that problem was causal
to the accident, however.