Synopsis of Accident
Eastern Airlines Flight 401 departed New York’s JFK airport on December 29, 1972 for the short flight to Miami International airport. The Locheed L-1011 crashed into a wooded area of the Florida Everglades 18.7 miles west-northwest of the airport. (Monduct 2003 On approach to runway 9L the crew noticed a nose gear light abnormality after lowering the the landing gear. The crew was instructed to execute a “pull up” and climb to 2,000 feet. After the crew executed the pull up they were vectored around the airport for another approach while they sorted out the problem. Distracted by the abnormality the autopilot was inadvertently disconnected and the aircraft entered a ...view middle of the document...
Did crewmemmbers fail to adequately communicate in the cockpit?
The general verbal communication inside the cockpit was relatively normal; questions were asked and answers were generally given. However, Captain Loft failed to communicate a clear plan to how he expected this abnormality to be handled. He did not formulate a plan or communicate his expectations to his crew as to who would fly the aircraft, who would handle the ATC communications and who would work on the non-normal situation. Therefore, the cockpit communications relative to the overall mission, safety, were inadequate.
Did the captain delegate authority effectively?
The captain directed activities but did not delegate authority effectively. During the go-around and level-off the first officer asked the captain if he wanted him to fly the aircraft. He captain did not answer the first officers’ query except to have him turn on the autopilot. The FAA recreated the accident in a training video. In the film the captain is shown to direct the first officers attention away from flying the aircraft and directs him to try and check the nose light because it was on his side. The captain was not an effective team leader and allowed a perfectly good aircraft to become a victim of CFIT.
Should Miami ATC have given a sterner warning to the aircraft?
The old way of hinting and hoping has been proven time and time again to be a failed communication method. The air traffic controller at Miami should have been more direct in his communications. ...