United Airlines Flight 173
United Airlines Flight 173 accident was an event that took place in 1978, whereby an aircraft carrying 181 passengers and crewmembers crashed outside Portland, Oregon. It was one of the tragic events that would not be forgotten because it had an adverse impact on the airline industry and passengers. Reports by the NTSB entail that the aircraft had departed from Denver, Colorado, heading for the above-mentioned destination for two and a half hours (Killen, 2014). While approaching the Portland International Airport, the aircraft experienced a landing gear problem. The latter was the main issue that showed the pilot and copilots that there was something wrong with the aircraft. The aircraft gear broke producing loud noise, and both crewmembers and passengers felt a severe jolt. The problem meant that there was an issue because it was an unusual sound, and only the nose gear showed a green light. The entire process was not only frightening, but also challenging to the passengers and the whole crew (National Transportation Safety Board, 1978). Therefore, the main cause of the accident was that the primary landing gear beneath the wings might not have been extended and locked safely. As a result, the whole process made the crewmembers weary and the passengers scared. The way of the response on the part of crewmembers was a result of the situation that had not been planned.
The plane circled in the surrounding area of Portland, while the crew officials tried to solve the issue. Unfortunately, after one hour of circling, the plane run out of fuel, and the outcome was a crash. Such event had never happened, and hence, it generated many negative responses to the individuals involved. One of the primary unusual aspects was that the crash took place, but there was no fire (Books, LLC & General Books, LLC, 2010). Out of the 181 passengers, eight persons, flight engineer, and the flight attendant died. The outcome of the crash was dangerous, but not so many people from the crew lost their lives. The insinuation of the accident can be related to experience and teamwork among the crewmembers.
Moreover, two crewmembers and twenty-one commuters were seriously injured, but they survived. It is a sign that they were aware of the CRM requirements. The captain’s and his copilots’ approach to handling the situation showed that they were individuals who were experienced and educated. It is true considering the way they reacted to the situation in a professional way (Killen, 2014). The accident was a sad event, but it also acted as a learning experience to the airline industry as an entity responsible for it. The implication is that the outcome of the crash resulted into the development of the CRM body that organized training of crewmembers on how to handle such challenges in the future.
Investigations undertaken by the NTSB entail that after the landing gear was lowered by the crewmembers, there was a loud thump and an abnormal vibration yaw of the aircraft. The evaluation of the NTSB is an illustration that what the passengers and the crewmembers witnessed on that fateful day was not only new but unexpected. Such event was not planned, and hence, handling the whole process seemed difficult (Books, LLC & General Books, LLC, 2010). Moreover, the crew had to stay in the sky for about an hour planning how they would land. The approach that the crewmembers used was not relevant because the outcome of waiting led to the loss of fuel and engines as well.
During the event, captain McBroom called the United Airlines Maintenance Center with the rationale of illustrating them the problem at hand. He took the right step of initiating communication as it showed that he was ready to follow an advice of other relevant authorities. The purpose of communicating with the appropriate authority was an indication that there were means of interacting to get solutions to the problem (Killen, 2014). The significance of talking with the maintenance team showed that the aircraft captain wanted some assurance to alert those involved of the issue facing the plane. Moreover, there was also communication between the pilot and other crewmembers. The presence of communication that took place when the captain was interacting with the flight engineer on matters related to landing was necessary. It was an imperative approach taken by the captain as a feedback got from the flight engineer. It permitted other copilots to comment on the issue. The response from the copilot was that the problem in question could not wait for fifteen minutes proposed. Additionally, other copilots were informing the captain of issues like an engine failure (Books, LLC & General Books, LLC, 2010). The manner in which the captain, copilot, flight engineer, flight attendants and passengers collaborated via communication illustrated that teamwork was practiced. Evidently, their interaction shows that they were experienced people, doing everything they could to save their lives and those of the passengers.
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There is also the fact that communication was not utilized well at the same time because the captain had waited until thirty-three minutes were over before he could interact with the maintenance authority. The period that the captain wasted showed that he might have abused his powers, and, as a result, ignored the relevance of teamwork and communication (Killen, 2014). Essentially, communication and experience were the key factors that led to saving and loss of lives because interaction took place, channeled in the right way but was delayed and was not initiated as per instructions.
Furthermore, working as a team was also an important aspect for the outcome of the crash. It can be noted explicitly that passengers, crewmembers, and flight attendants played a part in making sure that the plane landed safely. The leadership exhibited by those on the aircraft was essential, but it was not initiated fully. An example was when the captain ignored the advice other copilots offered him on matters related to fuel and engine failure. The NTSB came up to a conclusion that if the captain could have listened to other crew members, the crash could be evaded (Books, LLC & General Books, LLC, 2010). The insinuation by the NTSB was that the captain was ignorant, and hence, did not put his leadership skills into practice.
To conclude, the decision to abort the landing was correct, but the crash took place because the flight crew became concerned with diagnosing the issue. The crewmembers failed to calculate the exact time needed to land, and, as a result, there was a problem with the fuel lack. Their experience in the plane industry did not help them because they did not use it fully. The evaluation shows that the United Airlines Flight 173 accident was an event that caused sadness, but also taught those involved and the airline industry on the significance of practicing the CRM aspects (Killen, 2014). The CRM approaches used by the airline were leadership, communication, teamwork, relationship among crewmembers and experience.
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