ARFF (Airport Rescue and Fire Fighting)

Today in History

ARFF Working Group - Fri, 03/30/2018 - 07:04

51 Years ago today: On 30 March 1967 a Delta Air Lines Douglas DC-8-51 lost control during a two engines out approach to New Orleans; killing all 6 training crewmembers and 13 people on the ground.

Date: Thursday 30 March 1967 Time: 00:50 Type: Douglas DC-8-51 Operator: Delta Air Lines Registration: N802E C/n / msn: 45409/19 First flight: 1959 Total airframe hrs: 23391 Engines:Pratt & Whitney JT3D-1 Crew: Fatalities: 6 / Occupants: 6 Passengers: Fatalities: 0 / Occupants: 0 Total: Fatalities: 6 / Occupants: 6 Ground casualties: Fatalities: 13 Airplane damage: Damaged beyond repair Location: New Orleans, LA (   United States of America) Phase: Approach (APR) Nature: Training Departure airport: New Orleans International Airport, LA (MSY/KMSY), United States of America Destination airport: New Orleans International Airport, LA (MSY/KMSY), United States of America Flightnumber: DL9877

Delta Air Lines DC-8-51 N802E was scheduled as Flight 9877, to provide crew training for a captain-trainee and a flight engineer-trainee. In addition the flight engineer-instructor was being given a routine proficiency check.
At 23:14 a weather briefing was given to the instructor pilot, indicating, “… the only significant weather was a restriction in visibility which was expected to reduce to about two miles in fog and smoke near 0600…”.
The flight departed the ramp at 00:40 with the captain-trainee in the left seat and the check captain in the right seat. At 00:43 the crew advised the tower they were ready for takeoff and would “…like to circle and land on one (runway 1).” The tower controller then cleared them as requested. The aircraft was observed to make what appeared to be a normal takeoff and departure. At 00:47 the crew reported on base leg for runway 1, and the controller cleared the flight to land. A subsequent discussion revealed that they would execute a simulated two-engine out approach, execute a full stop landing and then takeoff on runway 19.
The tower controller observed Flight 9877 in a shallow left turn on what appeared to be a normal final approach. The degree of bank increased to approximately 60 degrees or greater when the aircraft hit the power lines approximately 2,300 feet short and 1,100 feet west of the runway threshold. The DC-8 crashed into a residential area, destroying several homes and a motel complex.

Probable Cause:

PROBABLE CAUSE: “Improper supervision by the instructor, and the improper use of flight and power controls by both instructor and the Captain-trainee during a simulated two-engine out landing approach, which resulted in a loss of control.”

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Today is Thursday the 29th of March, 2018

ARFF Working Group - Thu, 03/29/2018 - 07:31

A rather quiet day today, here is what we have to offer…

Be safe out there!


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IndiGo flight suffers tyre burst at Hyderabad Airport; narrow escape for YSR Congress MLA, other passengers

ARFF Working Group - Thu, 03/29/2018 - 07:26

An IndiGo flight carrying as many as 77 people from the temple city of Tirupati to Hyderabad suffered a tyre burst on landing at the airport on Wednesday evening. The incident took place at the time of landing at Hyderabad airport.

By: FE Online | New Delhi

An IndiGo flight carrying as many as 77 people from the temple city of Tirupati to Hyderabad suffered a tyre burst on landing at the airport on Wednesday evening. The incident took place at the time of landing at Hyderabad airport. The airlines said that all the 72 passengers that included an infant were evacuated safely. The incident affected the operations at the Rajiv Gandhi International Airport. The authorities had to divert a few flights to a nearby airport as the aircraft got stuck on the runway.

The flight that suffered the tyre burst also had YSR Congress MLA Roja on board. The political leader shared few visuals from the aircraft to some television channels. In these video clips, the passengers can be seen having heated argument with the crew over the delay in opening the doors. The pilot was heard advising passengers to be calm and remain seated while he landed the aircraft.

“IndiGo flight 6E 7117 operated by an ATR (aircraft) from Tirupati to Hyderabad suffered a tyre burst while landing at Hyderabad Airport. The 72 passengers and one infant and four crew members are safe,” IndiGo said in a statement.

The flight had reportedly left the Tirupati Airport at around 8:55 PM and landed at the Hyderabad airport at around 10:25 PM on Wednesday. After the incident, the operations at the airport were affected till 2:30 am in the morning.

The airline had started inducting ATR planes in its fleet only from last November.

Meanwhile, in a separate incident, an IndiGo flight 6E-7204 skidded off the runway on Wednesday. The flight skidded off the runway during landing in Vijayawada.

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Delta, Qatar Airways bring first A350 scheduled services to Atlanta

ARFF Working Group - Thu, 03/29/2018 - 07:22

By Mark Nensel

Atlanta-based Delta Air Lines and Doha-based Qatar Airways both introduced Airbus A350-900 XWB aircraft to Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport (ATL) over the March 24-25 weekend.

Early on March 24, Delta Flight 27 became the first A350-900 to depart from ATL, lifting off at 12:35 a.m. for Seoul/Incheon (ICN), South Korea, according to flight tracking site FlightAware. The return flight from Seoul touched down at ATL almost 19 hours later, at 7:03 p.m.

Qatar’s first A350 flight to ATL came March 25, as Qatar Airways Flight 755 from Doha touched down at 4:47 p.m.

For Qatar, the A350-900 replaces its Boeing 777-300ERs on the Atlanta route, upping the passenger comfort quotient with an improved business class, but also decreasing capacity, as the A350-900 seats a maximum 325 passengers versus the 777-300ER’s maximum 396. Qatar’s A350 seats 283 passengers, with 26 business-class seats in a 1-2-1 configuration and 247 economy seats in a 3-3-3 configuration. Conversely, Qatar’s 777-300ERs carry 358 passengers with 42 business class seats in a 2-2-2 configuration and 316 economy seats in a largely 3-4-3 configuration.

Qatar began flying its Doha-Atlanta route in June 2016, four months after Delta ceased flying its Atlanta-Dubai route amidst the then-heated controversy around the US legacy airlines’ (American Airlines, Delta and United Airlines) campaign to persuade the US government to take action against alleged “billions of dollars in illegal subsidies from Qatar to Qatar Airways and from the United Arab Emirates (UAE) to Emirates Airline and Etihad Airways,” a claim the three Gulf carriers denied.

Glen Hauenstein, then-incoming Delta president, said in an April 2016 conference call that Delta did not think Qatar’s Doha-Atlanta route would be successful.

On Jan. 30, 2018, the Qatari government required state-owned Qatar Airways to release an audited financial statement within a year, and assured the US government that Qatar had no current plans to operate fifth freedom flights to the US. An “understanding” was reached between the two countries that the US would not seek to reopen the Open Skies accord for negotiations, a development that brought some praise from American, Delta, United and US airline labor groups, and calmed tensions, at least where Qatar was concerned.

Atlanta is the fifth US city to which Qatar Airways directly flies its A350 XWBs, in addition to Boston, Miami, New York and Philadelphia. At the end of February, Qatar Airways took delivery of the first A350-1000, which began flights on the airline’s Doha-London route in early March.

Mark Nensel

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Pilot Dumps 30 Tons of Fuel for Life-Saving Emergency Landing

ARFF Working Group - Thu, 03/29/2018 - 07:21

The plane was too heavy to make a landing at the nearest runway without dropping serious weight.

By Eric Limer

China Eastern Airlines flightMU587 on its way to New York from Shanghai dumped 30 tons of fuel last week in order to make an emergency landing to provide medical attention for a passenger. The 60-year-old passenger, who had been having trouble breathing and had lost consciousness prior to the landing, was rushed to a hospital in Anchorage, Alaska where the plane touched down and was discharged the following day.

According to the Chinese outlet CGTN, the plane’s 282 ton weight was over the tolerance for the runway at Anchorage airport. As Gu Jian, captain of the flight explained:

“For safety reasons, the plane had to descend and dump gasoline at the same time. After we got permission from the air traffic controller, we landed at the Anchorage airport, and the rescuers came immediately.”

While dumping fuel is never ideal, it’s also not quite as bad as it sounds. As retired airline captain John Cox explains to readers of USA Today, a fuel dump does not actually result in tons of liquid splashing down on the ground below. Instead, authorized dumps such as these are performed at a height that allows the fuel to vaporize. This does not render it completely inert, of course, but does prevent it from being any sort of immediate danger.

After taking on additional fuel, the flight carried on after a six hour delay. The sick passenger continued on another flight with her daughter the following day.

Source: CGTN via Fox News

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Today in History

ARFF Working Group - Thu, 03/29/2018 - 07:19

59 Years ago today: On 29 March 1959 an Indian Airlines DC-3 crashed following a structural failure when flying through a thunderstorm; killing all 24 occupants.

Date: Sunday 29 March 1959 Time: ca 10:45 Type: Douglas C-47A-90-DL (DC-3) Operator: Indian Airlines Registration: VT-CGI C/n / msn: 20176 First flight: 1944 Engines:Pratt & Whitney R-1830-92 Crew: Fatalities: 4 / Occupants: 4 Passengers: Fatalities: 20 / Occupants: 20 Total: Fatalities: 24 / Occupants: 24 Airplane damage: Damaged beyond repair Location: 56 km (35 mls) W of Silchar (   India) Phase: En route (ENR) Nature: Domestic Scheduled Passenger Departure airport: Agartala-Singerbhil Airport (IXA/VEAT), India Destination airport: Silchar-Kumbhirgram Airport (IXS/VEKU), India

The DC-3 was operating on a flight from Calcutta (CCU) to Imphal (IMF) via Agartala (IXA) and Silchar (IXS). The aircraft took off from Agartala at 10:10 for a 50-minute flight to Silchar. En route weather was poor (thunderstorms in the area southwest of Silchar). The aircraft didn’t arrive at its destination and was found to have crashed.

Probable Cause:

PROBABLE CAUSE: “Structural failure occurred while the aircraft was flying through a thunderstorm. The failure originated in the port centre section and was due to loads which exceeded the ultimate design value for the structure. It was not possible to establish whether the pilot adopted the correct procedure for flying in turbulence.”

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Pilot Killed after Crop Duster Crashes, Taking Down Power Lines

ARFF Working Group - Wed, 03/28/2018 - 07:51

STOCKTON — A crop duster crashed into the middle of a field just outside of Tracy Tuesday, taking out power lines before it hit the ground. 

The Federal Aviation Administration reports around 2 p.m. the plane crashed near Clifton Court Road.

The pilot was killed, officials said. His identity has not been released.

Transmission and power lines were hit in the crash, according to Pacific Gas and Electric. Power to 25 customers north of Tracy went out around 2:10 p.m. Crews are working to fix the damage and PG&E estimates power could be restored by around 6:15 p.m.

The plane was identified by the FFA as a Schweizer G-164B crop duster. It was registered to Haley’s Flying Service out of Tracy.

The FAA and National Transportation Safety Board will be investigating the crash.

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No injuries after B-767 and B-737 collide during pushback at Tel Aviv-Ben Gurion International Airport

ARFF Working Group - Wed, 03/28/2018 - 07:49
Status: Preliminary Date: Wednesday 28 March 2018 Time: 06:20 Type: Boeing 737-76J (WL) Operator: Germania Registration: D-ABLB C/n / msn: 36115/2692 First flight: 2008-07-29 (9 years 8 months) Engines:CFMI CFM56-7B22 Crew: Fatalities: 0 / Occupants: Passengers: Fatalities: 0 / Occupants: Total: Fatalities: 0 / Occupants: Airplane damage: Substantial Location: Tel Aviv-Ben Gurion International Airport (TLV) (   Israel) Phase: Pushback / towing (PBT) Nature: International Scheduled Passenger Departure airport: Tel Aviv-Ben Gurion International Airport (TLV/LLBG), Israel Destination airport: Berlin-Tegel Airport (TXL/EDDT), Germany Flightnumber: ST4915

A Germania Boeing 737-700 (D-ABLB) was involved in a ground collision accident with an El Al Boeing 767-300ER (4X-EAK) at Tel Aviv-Ben Gurion International Airport, Israel.

Germania flight ST4915 was being pushed back from the gate when the tail fin impacted the right hand horizontal stabilizer of El Al flight LY385.

Both flights were cancelled.

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Navy jet that crashed near Key West was flying with 1 engine, document says

ARFF Working Group - Wed, 03/28/2018 - 07:48


VIRGINIA BEACH — The Navy jet that crashed March 14 off Florida’s coast and resulted in both crew members’ deaths was flying with only one engine as it attempted to land, according to the Naval Safety Center.

The Virginia Beach-based F/A-18F Super Hornet crashed on final approach during a training mission about a mile from Naval Air Station Key West. The dual-seated aircraft is built by Boeing and is equipped with twin engines that are each capable of 17,000 pounds of thrust. It’s unclear how long one of the engines had been out before the crash. 

The pilot, Lt. Cmdr. James Brice Johnson, and weapons systems officer Lt. Caleb Nathaniel King ejected, were picked up in water near Key West and were taken to a local hospital, where they were pronounced dead.

The Navy has convened a board to determine all factors that caused the crash, which will likely take months to complete.

The investigation will include an examination of previous aircraft maintenance, number of hours flown on the aircraft, physical condition of the aircrew and their activities before the crash, according to the Navy. The information about an engine being out was contained in a short narrative compiled by the Norfolk-based Naval Safety Center.

Witnesses reported seeing a fireball and then the jet falling out of the sky into shallow water.

Photographs showed the jet upside down in the water with its landing gear down. The jet was removed from the water late last week, according to Cmdr. Dave Hecht, a Naval Air Force Atlantic spokesman .

funeral service was held for King in Florida on Saturday. Aservice for Johnson that included a missing man formation flyover was held in Virginia Beach on Friday.

The Navy will hold a memorial service for both men later this week at Naval Air Station Oceana. Hecht said the service is not open to the public and is primarily for the men and women of Strike Fighter Wing Atlantic.

Johnson and King were assigned to the “Blacklions” of Strike Fighter Squadron 213. The squadron is part of Carrier Air Wing Eight, which is assigned to the aircraft carrier USS George H.W. Bush.

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Washington bans firefighting chemicals that may cause cancer

ARFF Working Group - Wed, 03/28/2018 - 07:46

UPDATED: Tue., March 27, 2018

OLYMPIA – Firefighting foam with a chemical thought to cause cancer and other health problems will be banned in two years for local fire departments and districts in Washington.

A new law signed Tuesday bans the group of chemicals that are contaminating some wells in Airway Heights and other water sources near military bases, although it won’t directly affect that contamination.

Perfluorinated or polyfluorinated compounds, or PFAS, are a key ingredient in some foams used to extinguish fuel fires, and also are commonly applied to firefighters’ protective gear. They last a long time, are almost indestructible under most natural situations and travel easily through the soil to get into underground water supplies.

They may also be responsible for a high rate of cancers in firefighters, lawmakers were told in hearings for the bill signed by Gov. Jay Inslee on Tuesday. Washington may be the first state to impose such a ban, which takes effect in 2020.

In Airway Heights, the contamination is linked to firefighters practicing with the foam on Fairchild Air Force Base. The state can’t tell the Defense Department not to buy foam with PFAS to put out aviation fuel fires on its bases but the foam can’t be used for training on bases or at airports. The bill is directed at local fire departments and fire districts, some of which already are finding substitutes or altering training to reduce the use of the foam except in real emergencies.

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Today in History

ARFF Working Group - Wed, 03/28/2018 - 07:43

54 Years ago today: On 28 March 1964 an Alitalia Vickers Viscount flew into a mountain during a visual approach to Naples, Italy; killing all 45 occupants.

Date: Saturday 28 March 1964 Time: 21:39 UTC Type: Vickers 785D Viscount Operator: Alitalia Registration: I-LAKE C/n / msn: 328 First flight: 1957 Crew: Fatalities: 5 / Occupants: 5 Passengers: Fatalities: 40 / Occupants: 40 Total: Fatalities: 45 / Occupants: 45 Airplane damage: Destroyed Airplane fate: Written off (damaged beyond repair) Location: Mt Somma (   Italy) Crash site elevation: 610 m (2001 feet) amsl Phase: Approach (APR) Nature: Domestic Scheduled Passenger Departure airport: Roma-Fiumicino Airport (FCO/LIRF), Italy Destination airport: Napoli Airport (NAP/LIRN), Italy Flightnumber: AZ045

Alitalia Flight 045 departed Rome (FCO) at 21:10 GMT and climbed to a cruising altitude of FL70. At 21:32 the crew were cleared to descend to 5000 feet and further down to 4000 feet on its way to Naples (NAP). Last radio contact with the flight was at 21:37 when leaving the LD NDB for a direct visual approach. A wide turn on downwind leg caused the aircraft to enter a area of heavy showers. At 21:39 the aircraft flew into Monte Somma, at an altitude of 610 m (2000 feet) on a 90-degrees heading with a 20-deg left bank.

Probable Cause:

PROBABLE CAUSE: “1) Delayed interruption of, or failure to interrupt, visual approach in the absence of minimum visibility conditions required for the type of manoeuvre involved. 2) Abnormally wide initiation of down wind leg which brought the aircraft considerably south of the circuit for visual descent to the airport and along an unsafe path in relation to the terrain in the area. 3) Inaccurate estimate of position of aircraft as a result of which the left turn manoeuvre was initiated too late for completion of the required manoeuvre.”

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Today is Tuesday the 27th of March, 2018

ARFF Working Group - Tue, 03/27/2018 - 07:22

Here are the stories for this Tuesday…

Be safe out there!


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One person dies in Marina airplane crash

ARFF Working Group - Tue, 03/27/2018 - 07:20

By Tom Wright, Monterey Herald

Marina >> One person died after a small personal aircraft crashed into a field next to the runway at Marina Municipal Airport on Monday morning.

Marina Fire Chief Doug McCoun said the plane took off from the airport and then stalled after ascending at a high angle.

“It winged over and spiraled into the ground,” he said.

The Marina Fire Department received a call of a plane crash at around 10:55 a.m. When they arrived, the plane was on fire in the field.

According to Ian Gregor, a spokesman for the Federal Aviation Administration, the plane was a single-engine Mooney M20E. The pilot was the only person onboard.

McCoun said the coroner will release the name of the pilot after proper notifications.

Firefighters continued to patrol the scene more than an hour after the fire was extinguished.

“There are metals on an airplane that burn hot,” McCoun said. “We’re trying not to disturb the aircraft, but still put the fire out.”

The National Transportation Safety Board and the FAA were notified of the crash and McCoun said he expected those agencies to conduct their own investigation into the crash. The airport closed as officials investigated the crash.

According to McCoun, it was a private plane and was not affiliated with Skydive Monterey Bay, which operates out of the airport. He said the plane is based out of Watsonville.

The cause of the crash is currently unknown. The FAA and the National Transportation Safety Board are investigating the crash.

In 2014, a Mooney M20F single-engine plane landed on its belly at the Marina Municipal Airport after its landing gear collapsed with no injuries resulting from the landing. In 2001, a homemade airplane built and piloted by David Rominger, 70, of Marina, crashed in a strawberry field when the aircraft’s wings collapsed while approaching the Marina Municipal Airport, killing him.

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Preliminary Report Issued for Liberty Helicopters Crash

ARFF Working Group - Tue, 03/27/2018 - 07:19


The National Transportation Safety Board issued its preliminary report Monday for the agency’s investigation of the March 11, 2018, crash of a Liberty Helicopters AS350B2 into the East River, New York. 

Five of the six people aboard the helicopter died in the crash and the Airbus helicopter was substantially damaged when it impacted the water and subsequently rolled inverted.

The preliminary report contains no analysis and does not discuss probable cause.  The information in the report is preliminary and subject to change as the NTSB’s investigation progresses.

The preliminary report summarizes the preflight activities, passenger briefing and the sequence of events leading up to the accident as described by the pilot during a post-accident interview.

The NTSB’s examination of the helicopter is detailed in the report including continuity of flight controls, continuity of drive, condition of rotor blades and the position of controls and switches. Descriptions of the engine, emergency float system, seats and restraint systems are also contained in the report.

The preliminary report is available online at

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What Happened When a Southern Airways Flight 242 Crashed in Sadie Burkhalter’s Front Yard

ARFF Working Group - Tue, 03/27/2018 - 07:17

Her home became a makeshift hospital when she looked out her front door to a fiery inferno

By Samme Chittum
March 26, 2018

For years afterward, the scent of jet fuel and scorched hair were powerful sensory cues that transported Sadie Burkhalter Hurst back in time to the day when fire and death invaded her tranquil world. “Most of the time,” she said 40 years later, “you don’t remember it until things trigger those memories. And so many things will bring back the memories. Burning hair will just make me sick at my stomach. The emotions come back. You don’t want them to, you don’t ask for them, but you can’t stop them. To this day I can smell the odors and I can hear the sounds. And I can see those people.” 

On Monday, April 4, 1977, Sadie was a young mother of three boys living in the small community of New Hope, Georgia. That lovely spring afternoon, she stood in her living room and witnessed a scene almost out of a horror film. A man was running across her front yard toward her, frantically waving his arms, his clothing ablaze. Behind him, downed electrical wires snaked around charred bodies. A traumatized young man with red hair and badly burned hands had taken refuge in the yellow Cadillac parked in Sadie’s driveway. Another man, engulfed in flames, was running blindly toward the creek behind her house. In the midst of it all, a shimmering blue line painted on a fragment of metal was all that remained to identify the mangled fuselage of a Southern Airways DC-9-31 passenger plane that had just crashed into the Burkhalters’ quiet front yard.

On that April day, at 3:54 p.m., a Southern Airways DC-9-31 carrying 81 passengers and four crewmembers took off under cloudy skies and in heavy rain from Huntsville International Airport, near Huntsville, Alabama, on its way to Atlanta. Sometime after 4 p.m., as it was flying over Rome, Georgia, the aircraft entered a massive thunderstorm cell, part of a larger squall line—a chain of storms that can brew up a wild and dangerous concoction of rain, hail, and lightning.

Far below to the east, in New Hope, the weather was idyllic. “It was an absolutely beautiful day,” recalled Sadie, who lived with her family in a brick ranch house set back from Georgia State Route 92 Spur (now Georgia State Route 381, known as the Dallas-Acworth Highway for the two cities it connects). “It was blue skies, white clouds, with a slight breeze, sun shining—just gorgeous.”

The warm spring weather had lured all three Burkhalter boys outside. Stanley, 14, and Steve, 12, were riding their bicycles up and down the driveway along with Tony Clayton, the son of New Hope volunteer fire chief John Clayton, who lived nearby. Eddie, two and a half, was peddling his tricycle along, trying to keep up with the older boys.

Sadie had just put on a pot of chili for supper when the phone rang. It was Emory, who worked in Atlanta for a firm that set shipping rates for trucking companies. When he was at work, he kept his office radio tuned to a station in Huntsville so that he could get a jump on news about threatening weather coming from the west on its way toward Paulding County. “By the time the weather hit Huntsville, we would get [the news] here before it got to the Atlanta radio stations,” explained Sadie. “He said, ‘Honey, we’ve got some bad weather coming. You need to get the kids in.’ So I hung up immediately. I walked down that front porch, and I called all the children. I said, ‘Boys, you need to come on in.’”

Steve could tell by the tone of her voice that she meant business. “She said we needed to come into the house, that there was gonna be some bad weather coming in, that we needed to prepare for that.” None of the children protested, he said, and Tony promptly left to go back home.


Spring is tornado season in the South. The Burkhalters had an orderly preparation routine when twisters appeared out of nowhere and tore up everything in their path, and they had a convenient and safe refuge in their large basement. The boys wanted to help their mother get ready for whatever was on the way, be it a twister or a thunderstorm with lightning. “I immediately went and got the radio,” said Steve, “and Mother and Stanley got the batteries for it—just to kind of prepare for what would happen.” Sadie was alert but calm as she sat near the large picture window in the living room at the front of the house. While the boys tended the radio, she scanned the sky for black clouds that would signal the approach of a severe storm. “But we didn’t see any of that,” she said. “It just wasn’t there yet.”

These were the last normal moments in a day that would change her life, leave its mark on an entire community, and send shock waves across and beyond the state. The first warning of disaster came in the form of what Sadie later described as a “tremendous noise,” a roar emanating from somewhere nearby. What else could it be, she thought, but a twister bearing down on them? “Our eyes became huge,” she said, “and we just looked at each other, staring. We didn’t know what to do, and we ran immediately for the basement. The stairs were just a few feet away, and we ran down.”

Sadie was carrying Eddie, who was heavy in her arms, and hurrying down the steps when she was thrown forward by a powerful jolt that made the wooden risers bounce out from under her. “The impact knocked me down the stairs, and my feet just hit the cement.”

A tornado most often announces its arrival with a rumble that is often compared to the noise of a freight train. “But this was more like an explosion,” Steve recalled. “When the plane hit in the front yard, it was a strong and loud impact. It literally knocked us down the rest of the steps. So I knew it really wasn’t a tornado, but I just didn’t know what it was.”

Alarmed and determined to protect her children, Sadie handed Eddie to Steve and told the boys to go to one corner of the basement where the family took shelter in bad weather. “They did exactly what I planned for them to do.” As she made her way back upstairs, intent on closing the basement door to shut out any flying debris, she caught sight of something both eerie and frightening: flickering orange-red flames reflected in the glass storm door that opened onto the front porch.

From his vantage point in the basement, Steve saw the same flames through the windows at the top of the garage door. “I can remember seeing a bright orange light all around the windows and hearing loud noises, apparently from where the plane had just hit the ground.”

Although the storm door was shut, Sadie realized she had left the front door open in her haste to get down to the basement. She ventured into the living room to investigate. As she stood looking out through the storm door, she was astonished to see that her front yard had been transformed into an anteroom of hell. Tall pine trees were burning and crackling like torches. A noxious plume of black smoke billowed in all directions, making it hard to see beyond her property line. “The smoke was so thick that I couldn’t see the neighbors. I couldn’t see Miss Bell’s house. I couldn’t see the Claytons’ house, and I couldn’t see the Pooles’ house. And I thought they were all dead.”

She had only seconds to make sense of the calamity. “I saw a huge amount of smoke and flames,” but she also noticed something else: a metallic blue band. “I still didn’t know what it was. I just saw that thin blue line, and my mind registered that it was a plane.” And not a small private plane, but a jetliner. “It was a really big plane,” she said. “And I thought, ‘We can’t handle that here. We just don’t have enough help. There’s not enough fire departments, not enough ambulances. What are we gonna do?’”


The first noise that the Burkhalters had heard was the DC-9 hitting Georgia State Route 92 Spur one-third of a mile south of their home. The plane came bouncing and hurtling down the two-lane highway, clipping trees and utility poles along the way and plowing into parked cars. Seven members of one family were killed when the plane struck their Toyota compact, which was parked in front of Newman’s Grocery; the plane also destroyed the store’s gas pumps before veering off the highway and cartwheeling onto the Burkhalters’ front yard, where it broke into five sections. One of the townspeople killed on the ground in the crash was an elderly neighbor of Sadie’s, Berlie Mae Bell Craton, 71, who died when a tire from the DC-9 flew through the air and struck her on the head as she stood in her front yard.

The tail had split open on impact, scattering passengers, luggage, and seats over the ground. The nose cone had separated from the rest of the plane and plowed into a five-foot ditch in the Burkhalters’ side yard, landing upside down. The DC-9’s captain, William Wade McKenzie, had been killed upon impact; the first officer, Lyman W. Keele Jr., who had been flying the plane, died while being airlifted to Kennestone Regional Medical Center in Marietta, Georgia.

Among the survivors was Cathy Cooper, one of the two flight attendants. She had briefly lost consciousness during the crash landing; she had been thrown sideways and violently shaken before her section of the plane finally came to rest upside down. She freed herself by releasing her seatbelt, dropping down onto what had been the ceiling of the plane. A nearby door was jammed shut, so she crawled in the semidarkness past hissing and popping electrical equipment until she saw a hole above her. She tried twice to climb out, falling back both times before succeeding the third time.

As Cooper emerged into the bright light of day, the 360-degree view that opened up before her was surreal and shocking. “When I got to the top of the aircraft and looked out, I was stunned. There is no other word to describe the view of the pieces of the plane burning, trees burning, passengers running in every direction. It was a nightmare scenario.” She was also surprised to find herself alive and unhurt. Her first thought was to get away from the plane, which she feared was about to explode. She jumped seven feet to the ground and ran from the burning wreckage.

Yet she knew she had to do everything in her power to assist the injured passengers. The best way to do that was to get to a telephone and summon help. “Your mind focuses on some trivial things. The telephone was a truly big issue at that point. I was just determined to find a phone, and so that’s why I went to the [Burkhalters’] house. Apparently the other passengers had gone up there also. I don’t know why. They might have been looking for a phone, too.”

From her vantage point behind her front door, Sadie Burkhalter was trying to make sense of what she was witnessing. The scene reminded her of historical newsreels she’d seen: “When I looked out the door and I saw all the people coming at me, I remember that it was just like the bit from the Hindenburg crash,” the wreck of the German passenger airship that had caught fire on May 6, 1937, while trying to dock at a naval air station in New Jersey. “You could see the Hindenburg falling in the background, the fire, the flames, and the people running at you. That’s what I saw that afternoon.”

Neither history nor her own life experiences had prepared Sadie for the role that chance chose for her: to be the first person encountered by more than a dozen traumatized and badly burned passengers fleeing the burning wreckage of what was the worst plane crash in the history of Georgia. The fire consuming the remnants of the plane would prove as lethal as the force of the impact. “I saw on my right a young man completely engulfed in flames, and he was dropping and rolling,” said Sadie. “And I thought, he’ll be all right, he’ll put himself out. And on the left was another man completely engulfed in flames, but he was still running [toward the creek] and he was waving his arms, and I didn’t have much hope that he was going to be able to put himself out.” Several more burned passengers had seen the creek behind the house and thrown themselves into its shallow, muddy waters.

The air was thick with the hot, roiling fumes generated by burning plastic and jet fuel. Barefoot, bewildered passengers emerged from the cloud of smoke and came stumbling toward the Burkhalters’ house. Clad in ragged, fire-singed remnants of clothing, they resembled sleepwalkers. Almost all were suffering from shock or smoke inhalation; tests later revealed many had high levels of carbon monoxide in their blood, which causes confusion and lightheadedness. Meanwhile, inside the basement, the three boys could see only confusing glimpses of what was taking place outside. “It was maybe two minutes [after the crash] I was looking out the windows,” said Steve. “I saw people as they were coming around the windows and around the garage door. I can remember seeing these people holding their hands up to the windows, looking in, trying to look for help.”

As they drew near, Sadie realized the passengers were calling out to her. “The people were saying, ‘Help me, help me, please.’ But they weren’t screaming, they weren’t yelling, they were quiet,” because the smoke they had inhaled made their voices hoarse. Some could barely speak. Later, she said, “a police officer asked me if I could estimate how many people I had seen. And I said I thought about 10 or 12, but everything was moving so fast, it just became a blur. They just kept coming.”

Alarmed but determined to do anything she could to help, Sadie threw open the storm door and ushered in a stream of dazed and disoriented men and women. Their hair was singed or burned away entirely, their faces and hands blackened. Hoping to provide the most basic form of first aid—water—she ran to the kitchen and turned on the faucet in the sink. She was dismayed to see nothing come out. She didn’t know it at the time, but the crash had cut off water and knocked out electricity to her house and most of her neighbors’ homes.

Desperate to do something, her next impulse was to phone for help. “I ran for the telephone to let somebody know what was going on, but there was no telephone service. Then I ran to the bathroom for water,” trying to help one badly burned man. “I don’t know why I did that. I think I was going to put him in the shower.” She reached for the knob and turned it, but no water came out of the showerhead. “In that minute,” she said, “I realized we didn’t have anything to help him.”

The smoke from the plane crash had surrounded the house and was engulfing her backyard, where she could see tongues of flame in the air through her back screen door. Frustrated at every turn, she now suddenly realized she had no idea where her children were and whether they were safe. “I ran to the basement to get them out,” she said.

All three boys, though, had already left the basement and wandered into the living room. “I knew something was wrong,” said Steve. “And I didn’t want to stay down in the basement. Curiosity got the best of me, and I wanted to make sure Mother was okay. As I got to the top of the steps, there was a large man. He was badly burned. And he looked me square in the eyes and said, ‘Help me.’ His voice was [almost] gone, but I could understand what he was saying. But at this point I was just literally petrified.”

Sadie found her sons mingling with the dazed survivors in the living room, but she had no idea that they had already been deeply frightened by the sight of others who had appeared at the basement windows to beg for help. They had also seen the man running toward the creek engulfed in flames. “I heard the baby [Eddie] saying, ‘Monster, mommy, monster,’” she said. She realized, she said, that “they had already seen too much.”

Now Sadie gathered her frightened boys together and herded them into the kitchen, where crash victims once again surrounded her. “They were asking me to help them. And I said, ‘You don’t understand, I have nothing to help you with.’”

Meanwhile, the Burkhalters’ front yard had been transformed into an inferno. Firefighters would have to extinguish the flames before emergency medical technicians could begin to look for more injured among the red-hot metal, the smoldering seats, and the bodies that lay everywhere—some of them burned beyond recognition, others tangled in electrical wires.

Even inside her home, Sadie could feel the intense heat radiating from the crash site. She became convinced that the house itself was in danger of catching fire—“With that kind of explosion and that fire, this house could flash. It could catch on fire really quickly”—and she was well aware that the people in her home needed to be taken to a hospital as soon as possible. Sadie decided that waiting for help to arrive was futile and that everyone in the house had to get out. She would lead the way out the back door, across the creek, and uphill to safety. “They didn’t understand how close we were to the plane. They didn’t know that those explosions were continuing. They were in such shock they just didn’t know. I guess they felt safe, and they needed somebody to help them. But I knew we had to get out of there.
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Today in History

ARFF Working Group - Tue, 03/27/2018 - 07:13

41 Years ago today: On 27 March 1977 a KLM Boeing 747 and a PanAm Boeing 747 collided on the Tenerife, Spain runway in fog; killing all 248 KLM occupants and 335 out of 396 PanAm occupants [world’s worst air accident]

Date: Sunday 27 March 1977 Time: 17:06 Type: Boeing 747-121 Operator: Pan American World Airways (Pan Am) Registration: N736PA C/n / msn: 19643/11 First flight: 1969-12-24 (7 years 3 months) Total airframe hrs: 25725 Cycles: 7195 Engines:Pratt & Whitney JT9D-7A Crew: Fatalities: 9 / Occupants: 16 Passengers: Fatalities: 326 / Occupants: 380 Total: Fatalities: 335 / Occupants: 396 Collision casualties: Fatalities: 248 Airplane damage: Destroyed Airplane fate: Written off (damaged beyond repair) Location: Tenerife-Norte Los Rodeos Airport (TFN) (   Spain) Crash site elevation: 632 m (2073 feet) amsl Phase: Taxi (TXI) Nature: Int’l Non Scheduled Passenger Departure airport: Tenerife-Norte Los Rodeos Airport (TFN/GCXO), Spain Destination airport: Las Palmas-Airport de Gran Canaria (LPA/GCLP), Spain Flightnumber: PA1736

At 12:30 a bomb explodes in the Las Palmas passenger terminal. Because of warnings of a possible second bomb, the airport was closed. A large number of flights were diverted to Tenerife, a.o. KLM Flight 4805 from Amsterdam and PanAm Flight 1736 (coming from Los Angeles and New York).
Las Palmas Airport opened to traffic again at 15:00.
Because the PanAm passengers remained on aboard it was possible to leave Tenerife at once. The taxiways were congested by other aircraft however. This meant the PanAm crew had to backtrack on runway 12 for takeoff on runway 30. The entrance to runway 12 however, was blocked by the KLM Boeing. The PanAm flight had to wait for almost 2 hours before all KLM passengers (except 1) had reboarded and refueling had taken place.
The KLM flight was then cleared to backtrack runway 12 and make a 180deg. turn at the end. Three minutes later (at 17:02) Pan Am 1736 was cleared to follow the KLM aircraft and backtrack runway 12. The PanAm crew were told to leave the runway at the third taxiway and report leaving the runway. At 17:05:44
KLM 4805 reported ready for takeoff and was given instructions for a Papa beacon departure. The KLM crew repeated the instructions and added “We are now at takeoff”. The brakes were released and KLM 4805 started the takeoff roll.
Tenerife tower, knowing that Pan Am 1736 was still taxiing down the runway replied “OK …… Stand by for takeoff, I will call you.” This message coincided with the PanAm crew’s transmission “No … uh we’re still taxiing down the runway, the Clipper 1736”. These communications caused a shrill noise in the KLM cockpit, lasting approx. 3.74 seconds.
Tenerife tower replied: “Papa Alpha 1736 report runway clear.”, whereupon the PanAm crew replied: “OK, will report when we’re clear”. This caused some concerns with the KLM flight engineer asking the captain: “Is he not clear then?” After repeating his question the captain answers emphatically: “Oh, yes”.
A number of second before impact the KLM crew saw the PanAm Boeing still taxiing down the runway. The crew tried to climb away and became airborne after a 65 feet tail drag in an excessive rotation.
The PanAm crew immediately turned the aircraft to the left and applied full power. The KLM aircraft was airborne, but the fuselage skidded over the PanAm’s aft fuselage, destroying it and shearing off the tail. The KLM aircraft flew on and crashed out of control 150 m further on, sliding another 300 m bursting into flames.

Probable Cause:

PROBABLE CAUSE: “The KLM aircraft had taken off without take-off clearance, in the absolute conviction that this clearance had been obtained, which was the result of a misunderstanding between the tower and the KLM aircraft.
This misunderstanding had arisen from the mutual use of usual terminology which, however, gave rise to misinterpretation. In combination with a number of other coinciding circumstances, the premature take-off of the KLM aircraft resulted in a collision with the Pan Am aircraft, because the latter was still on the runway since it had missed the correct intersection.”

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Today is Monday the 26th of March, 2018

ARFF Working Group - Mon, 03/26/2018 - 08:29

We start off the new week with the following stories;

Be safe out there!


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Air Canada flight makes emergency landing in Washington, D.C. after smoke found in cockpit

ARFF Working Group - Mon, 03/26/2018 - 08:28

All 63 passengers and four crew members were safe and uninjured, according to a spokesperson.

By ALANNA RIZZA Staff Reporter

An Air Canada flight made an emergency landing in Washington, D.C. after pilots found smoke in the cockpit on Sunday evening. 

Flight AC 7618 took off from Toronto Pearson International Airport around 5 p.m. and was destined for Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport, but made an emergency landing at Washington Dulles International Airport. All 63 passengers and four crew members exited the plane on the tarmac and were not injured, according to a spokesperson for Sky Regional, which operated the Air Canada flight.

David Brown was a passenger on the flight and he told the Star that the plane was in the air for about an hour when the crew announced there would be an emergency landing. He said 15 minutes after the announcement, the plane had landed and evacuation slides were deployed on the front and back of the aircraft.

Brown said he and the other passengers were escorted to another terminal while baggage was taken off the plane. He said an Air Canada official told the passengers that they woud be given taxi vouchers for the remaining travel distance.

“I’m just glad to have landed safely,” Brown told the Star over the phone. He said he was on vacation in Toronto with his wife and 16-year-old son.

“Eveything was calm, but when we got off the plane that’s when the emotions came, but we’re all fine.”

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No injuries after A-320 lands with nose gear misaligned at Fukuoka Airport in Japan.

ARFF Working Group - Mon, 03/26/2018 - 08:26
Date: 24-MAR-2018 Time: 08:12 LT Type: Airbus A320-214 Owner/operator: Peach Aviation Registration: JA805P C/n / msn: 5304 Fatalities: Fatalities: 0 / Occupants: 165 Other fatalities: 0 Airplane damage: Minor Location: Fukuoka Airport (FUK/RJFF) –    Japan Phase: Landing Nature: Domestic Scheduled Passenger Departure airport: Osaka/Kansai International Airport (KIX/RJBB) Destination airport: Fukuoka Airport (FUK/RJFF)

Peach Aviation’s flight APJ/MM151 from Osaka/Kansai to Fukuoka, operated by an A320-214, became disabled on runway 16 of Fukuoka Airport, due to deflated both tires of the nose landing gear after landing.

The nose gear was misaligned (turned 90°) on landing.

Passengers were carried to the terminal by buses, and no personal injuries were reported among 159 passengers and 6 crew.

The sole runway at Fukuoka was closed for two hours and a half, causing 82 (including an international flight) cancels, 22 diversions and more delays of other commercial flights.

JTSB launched an investigation as a serious incident.

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