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Sounds similar to an Air Sahara "accident" in Mumbai a few years ago. The Check Pilot, a fraudulently-credentialed contractor had zero time in the airplane.

Bullsh!t baffles brains and the Indian CAA.

Wondering if this is a factor here... :ph34r:

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Just trying to understand what little they're saying... was this a landing accident or on takeoff? This article hints at a landing accident, but other articles I read on the accident weren't clear at all.

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Ashok Sharma

New Delhi — The Associated Press

Published on Friday, May. 21, 2010 10:23PM EDT

Last updated on Saturday, May. 22, 2010 8:31AM EDT

An Air India Express plane trying to land in the rain at a tricky hilltop airport in southern India overshot the runway, crashed and burst into flames at dawn Saturday, killing nearly 160 people, officials said. There were seven survivors.

http://www.theglobeandmail.com/news/world/plane-crashes-in-southern-india-159-feared-dead/article1578113/

"Indian Home Minister Palaniappan Chidambaram said the plane's pilot, a British citizen, had more than 10,000 hours of flying experience, including 26 landings at Mangalore. The Indian co-pilot had more than 3,750 hours of experience and 66 landings at Mangalore, he said."

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According to the news tonight they touched down around the 2000' mark. OH OH.

Two thousand feet from the threshold?

I know an airline where no one seems to blink an eye at 3000ft+ long landings. Doesn't seem to be an issue, especially if the runway is long.

We all know as well, that, even given our climate, there are no grooved runways in Canada. Every runway I used in the US however, was grooved.

There has to be more to this. Two-thousand feet is still within the "TDZ" of an 8000' runway. Does anyone know the altitude of the airport, for the TAS, or the wind, (for groundspeed)? Hopefully the data will tell us what the speed across the fence was as well.

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Two thousand feet from the threshold?

I know an airline where no one seems to blink an eye at 3000ft+ long landings. Doesn't seem to be an issue, especially if the runway is long.

We all know as well, that, even given our climate, there are no grooved runways in Canada. Every runway I used in the US however, was grooved.

There has to be more to this. Two-thousand feet is still within the "TDZ" of an 8000' runway. Does anyone know the altitude of the airport, for the TAS, or the wind, (for groundspeed)? Hopefully the data will tell us what the speed across the fence was as well.

I think field elevation is less than 400 feet. Here is a good link ..

http://en.wikipedia....ational_Airport

As well, I looked at the airport on Google Earth and I think the aircraft went over the over-run area in the bottom LH corner of the Google Earth setup and then down the steep grade.

Edited by Kip Powick

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From what I've read on other forums, Mangalore is a "table top" airport with a steep drop of over 100 feet or more on both ends. They meet the ICAO requirement of 90 metres overrun area on both ends but nothing "extra" beyond that.

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http://www.world-airport-codes.com/india/bajpe-4441.html

Airport Code : IXE

Airport Name : Bajpe

Runway Length : 5800 ft.

Runway Elevation : 336 ft.

City : Mangalore

Country : India

Country Abbrev. : IN

Airport Guide : Unavailable

Longitude : 74° 53’ 24” E

Latitude : 12° 57’ 41” N

World Area Code : 733

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Kip, Moon, thank you for the links.

I've learned a bit more about the airport from these sources.

The runway in use by the accident aircraft was 24, an ILS runway. The runway length is just over 8000', (2450m LDA). A survey chart for this runway has a warning about the deep gulley right at the end of 24. The runway is not grooved. We do not have a METAR or runway report as of yet.

Table-top airports are accidents waiting to occur. Congonhas, Brazil, (TAM A320 overrun) is the same type of airport; so was Toronto before the cliff and gulley at the end of 24L was 'smoothed' after the 1978 overrun accident.

So far, it has not been a good year for commercial aviation. I'm reading some disturbing comments regarding the Tripoli A330 accident, partly to do with the crew (history), partly regarding training and understanding of the airplane, partly to do with visual illusions in morning sun and the road paralleling the approach runway in use. Also reading some disturbing comments regarding people in the cockpit of the Polish Tu154 accident aircraft and that the crew was a throw-together, with not much time between them all.

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So far, it has not been a good year for commercial aviation. I'm reading some disturbing comments regarding the Tripoli A330 accident, partly to do with the crew (history), partly regarding training and understanding of the airplane, partly to do with visual illusions in morning sun and the road paralleling the approach runway in use. Also reading some disturbing comments regarding people in the cockpit of the Polish Tu154 accident aircraft and that the crew was a throw-together, with not much time between them all.

Hi Don

I know I'm preaching to the choir but people might just as well get used to it. The piloting profession is not going to attract candidates the way it used to. The aviation industry no longer has the excitement and mystique that made it attractive. The training costs are higher than ever while the remuneration is far less.

There always was the risk that the timing would be bad and you might not ever latch on to even that first low paying job. That risk will continue to diminish at least because there are fewer and fewer candidates for them. However, as a result we get people with the skills of the pilots in the Buffalo crash, being forced into jobs that they aren't properly trained for and being paid an amount that might well be less than what they would make waiting tables in the corner pub.

For the lucky group that do get to the top the pay out can still can be reasonable, (although still well less than you or I were able to make), but financially one would still be far ahead if they had gone into plumbing after high school. (Plumbers get to be home with the family on weekends, Christmas etc as well.)

The same of course is true for the AME's and maybe even more so.

The aviation industry in spite of its protests is driven by the bottom line ahead of safety. There always was a balance to be struck between safety and costs but there is no doubt about which way the pendulum has swung. It's a shame but that's just the way it is. People book their tickets on line and pick the cheapest fare so I would agree that it puts the companies between a rock and a hard place. As much as I hate to admit it, I don't see any way out but increased government regulation which would have to apply to any airline that operates into the country. JMHO

Cheers

Greg

Edited by GDR

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Greg;

You are indeed preaching to the choir; I have been saying this since the late 90's; treat highly-skilled professionals badly and people will choose other professions.

A slight diversion to make a point: While this notion may appear to be wholly unrelated, despite what so-called "free marketers" claim and want, precisely because the free market has proven once again that it is not 'rational' as is claimed and therefore is unpredictable and therefore cannot govern itself without serious accidents we are on the verge of a Keynesian revolution in economic thinking. I am not drawing too long a bow here, when I say that, in my view, there is a direct relationship between the wholesale Reagan/Thatcher deregulatory behaviours and priorities which first began in the 70's (later known as neoliberalism) and the way the piloting profession has been treated at the hands of industry "leaders". Profit is everything; profit shoves out all other priorities, concerns and principles including flight safety principles. Profit and the quarterly reports rule as nothing else does; I have seen it first hand and can demonstrate it with data.

As has been observed by many, the most famous being Captain Sullenberger before Congress, the "best and the brightest" are not coming into the profession and the profession's standards and expectations and even 'code of ethics' have plummeted to accomodate these changes. We are seeing the results of de-regulated growth in current headlines.

None of this is a surprise to anyone who has sat in the pointy end for the last three decades but these dramatic changes are invisible to those now joining the profession; First Officer Roberta Shaw had no concept of the nature of the profession she joined and Colgan was in no position to mentor her. The profession is seen as home to just so many expensive chaufeurs, (a comment I first heard on television not so long ago from a British person who was clearly puffed up to the bursting point with a financier's haughty superiority talking about airline pilots and what they do).

This may seem a long way from your (correct and accurate) point, but if we are to envision change, we must first comprehend cause and then set goals for returning the profession to the professionals.

It is partly the profession itself which, since the early 70's, unfortunately not only has handed over its ethics and standards to financial people who know nothing about aviation, but in the face of dying jobs, tremendous pressures to perform economically for the ownerers and huge, unanticipated swings in the economy which played havoc with all professions and not just ours, has had to negotiate downwards to keep what has been so hard-fought and won through the fifties and sixties.

These are big themes and of course they are not limited to our own profession. But the signs of a very bad decision to de-regulate the economy and rely on the rationality of the free-market, are everywhere, including aviation. Unless we begin examining these forces, we will just see and experience, more of the same.

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Greg;

These are big themes and of course they are not limited to our own profession. But the signs of a very bad decision to de-regulate the economy and rely on the rationality of the free-market, are everywhere, including aviation. Unless we begin examining these forces, we will just see and experience, more of the same.

I don't disagree at all. It is finding the balance which is never easy. In the end it is my view that the forces you are talking about are the age only personal lusts for wealth and power. No matter what our ideology we are going to be subject to the integrity of those in authority whether it be in business or government.

There aren't any easy answers but right now the aviation industry is on a steep down hill slide and in my humble opinion it is going to take a number of situations such as what we saw in Bufalo before there will be enough public reaction to bring about any positiove change.

  • Like 1

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Further to Rich's post, the Indian CAA is not too thorough in its inspection of contractor pilot credentials. Of the 15 hired by Air Sahara and accepted by the CAA, 7 were fired before delivery of the first airplane as their credentials were discovered to be bogus by some of the rest of us. And of those "some of the rest of us", after a few months of operation got under way, a good half of them showed nowhere near the experience they claimed. I saw some unbelievable behaviour.

Hence my curiosity at the beginning of this thread about contractor pilot(s) at the helm.

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Hi Miles, yeah I wondered about starting a new thread but this closes the loop. The report is quite well written.

This is just another example of a non-stabilized approach, a long landing, (these two events aren't automatically related), a First Officer's strong input to go-around, (but he didn't take over) where a go-around would have saved everyone, so why do such approaches continue? It reminds one of the Garuda B737 accident in 2007 at Yogyakarta, (http://www.dephub.go...C%20Release.pdf) .

While the report mentions a steep cockpit gradient I'm not convinced that we could view this just as a "cultural" accident. Non-stabilized approaches which don't end in a go-around and continue well past stabilized approach criteria "because the runway is long", "pride" or other reasons which made sense 30 seconds before touchdown, aren't limited to areas of the world which we sometimes might view as "third world countries".

Here's one that takes your breath away even though it ends in passengers joking and laughing ha ha...

The runway was around 7500ft long...

Cheers,

Don

Edited by Don Hudson

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I don't know anything of the local topography and I haven't looked it up, but isn't that flap setting a little shy of 'normal' landing flap?

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It's likely Config 3, normal landing flap for non-critical runways. Actual degrees of flap for Config 3 are A319/A320, 20deg, A321 = 21deg. Config Full is A319/A320 35/45deg, A321 25deg.

The approach PA from the cockpit is really late...further signs of a rushed approach.

My point in the earlier post, (beside the obvious one...Go-arounds) is that long landings well outside the TDZ of either 1/3 of the runway or 3000ft, are not unusual at all. The best "data" is where the rubber marks are - touchdown points are between 2000ft and 3000ft, many from perfectly stable approaches, and there are t/d's up to 5200ft past the threshold.

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Don

To your point; it would appear that ‘performance’, a subject that was never well understood by the average pilot, continues to be even less appreciated today. Without considerig the approach itself, the old discipline of landing on target (1000’, on speed & centerline) has been superseded by something like; get it down softly…regardless?

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First, so far as understanding "performance" by line airline pilots, I think that there isn't much that one needs to know. One needs to keep to the stabilized approach criteria and plant the airplane in the TDZ and if one isn't doing that or can't due to circumstances, one goes around.

One can't be thinking, "an extra knot over Vref+5 over the threshold is going to cost me an extra 200' of runway"...one simply has to fly by the book. If one knows what one can "get away with" and routinely out-guesses exceeding the stabilized approach limits using these rules-of-thumb then one will use that standard instead of keeping it in one's back pocket for an emergency.

I know this for a fact: high speed, high rate-of-descent events are in the data - lot's of them, and all the time...speeds at Vref + 15kts to 30kts, no headwind for example. Where does the justification for that kind of exceedence come from? The only way is to fool oneself into believing that one knows more than the test pilots and engineers and that one has "always done this without a problem". Almost always it works out because of the margins which accomodate average flying ability (that's in the certification stuff...I'm not making unkind remarks!), but then it becomes habit instead of having something in one's toolbox for emergencies, and habit is what we all resort to when under stress.

I know a couple of carriers now who have moved the AAE (above airport elevation) altitude by which the approach "shall" be stablized to 1000ft. In other words, they got rid of the "500' AAE in VMC". It has been demonstrated using FOQA/FDM data that neither time nor fuel flow are significantly increased, "significantly" being the operative word. Now, the argument can be made that any increase in something that has been shown to be "safe" with a reduced margin is, in the present environment, difficult to counter. The argument for requiring a go-around has been, in my experience, interestingly almost as difficult, the argument "against" being "go-arounds are risky", and "there have been a number of accidents resulting from botched go-arounds". I have heard this said.

Second, the argument continues to be made that "the runway is long", and/or "the taxiway is 7000' down towards the end of the runway", (the stupidest argument I've ever heard was that the airplane "had a big wing, which only means that the airplane, not the pilot, is in control).

While it is blindingly obvious that such arguments are specious should an overrun occur, they do continue to be "mind-sets" on the part of those concerned with time, productivity, cost and operational advantage and, as always in this business, there are reasonable (I'm not saying legitimate) arguments that can be made for this approach, even on the part of flight crews. It's complicated.

What the data indicates is, the risk-reward equation (push the approach stabilized limits in favour of reduced fuel flow/time), simply is not there - it is a myth; the data does not support such an argument, especially when the cost of one minor overrun (such as at Fort Nelson a few weeks ago) in terms of reputation alone should be part of the equation. Even after a minor, (avoidable) event, there can be insurance company examinations, TC audits on operations, potential damage to equipment, the cost of the due diligence of pulling crews off the line for re-current sims before putting them back to work, etc etc.

The $ amount saved by pushing stabilized criteria varies but narrowly, (obviously depending upon equipment too)...my sense for a twin (B737/A320 type, and without formal research) is between 20 and 90kg and less than 1 minute if one is keeping the speed and rate-of-descent up and thrust back near idle with delayed flap/gear extension.

The present trend towards using only idle reverse thrust in favour of just the brakes has not been verified using FDM/FOQA data even though it is a natural question to ask of a safety program which as huge amounts of real-time operational data. In fact, one way to examine operational savings is through such data so that an informed decision and not just an experienced opinion alone can be offered.

I think it is true that given all factors, we prefer to put the airplane down softly...I have some float time doing just that, (with the same justifications! I also have the opposite experience...). But the performance data to which you refer is built upon planted landings with a very short flare. Flare time from 30' to touchdown, when stated in the FCOM, is usually around 5 or 6 seconds. Any longer and one is floating, at 200+ feet-per-second.

Because the data can accomodate some slop, one can put the airplane on relatively smoothly and still within the TDZ of 3000ft, (preferably the first 1500ft). But even if not, so what?

Don

Edited by Don Hudson

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You'll notice that at 35 seconds the windsock shows a slight tailwind. Unless windshear was evident on the approach, full flap should have been used. If windshear was indeed reported, and he elected to use a lower flap setting as required by Airbus, it would beg the question why he chose to land downwind. Thankfully no one was hurt - but I'm sure there were a couple of bruised egos.

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“First, so far as understanding "performance" by line airline pilots, I think that there isn't much that one needs to know. One needs to keep to the stabilized approach criteria and plant the airplane in the TDZ and if one isn't doing that or can't due to circumstances, one goes around.”

I liked the remainder of your post, but on this point, I don’t believe we’re going to agree?

It became fairly obvious early in the Dryden investigation; no matter the airline, the type operated, or the experience level of a given pilot, there was an almost universal lack of performance based knowledge? More concerning was the reality, the misinformed were operating their aircraft in different manners believing, they really did understand? Therefore, it wasn’t much of a stretch to conclude, a hundred good reasons existed for an ATP to thoroughly understand ‘performance’ matters.

At a minimum, possessing a fairly thorough understanding of performance would lend support to the notion of proper TDZ discipline, wouldn’t it? When a pilot has more than a casual background appreciation of the subject, he’ll better appreciate the consequence of the extras; adding a few knots for one reason or another, or making a soft touchdown the first priority, etc.

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I think I may be confusing certification standards with performance DEFCON... One doesn't necessarily require knowledge of the former, (twin performance vice 4-engine performance, or landing distance requirements, etc) but one needs both knowledge and an innate sense of one's airplane's performance.

The point I failed to make well was, aircraft performance is largely though not exclusively upstream of the decision-making process in daily operations. One flies airliners "by-the-book" (I'm not saying anything you don't know, but merely explaining why we likely agree on all points!), and does not need to pursue in-depth knowledge of aircraft performance to ensure an operationally-safe performance envelope. One needs to know one's FCOM thoroughly and where, when operationally required, to find the appropriate performance data.

The designers and test-pilots have done the performance calculation work, and neither the manufacturer nor the regulator (nor employers) expect that line pilots will operate outside such performance numbers, not, at least, without substantive reason.

Knowing how performance numbers are derived may be of some help in some circumstances. For example, to use the Airbus-type Landing Distance Without Autobrake landing distances, one needs to know that in arriving at these numbers, the airplane was (for all practical purposes) not flared, and at touchdown, full pedal deflection was applied until stopped. Now these numbers are used in landing distance calculations for abnormals, and the expectation is, such techniques are not used in normal operations!

The larger point is, thorough training and recurrent training should provide sufficient knowledge, reinforcement of habit and understanding so that knowledge beyond/behind the FCOM performance data should not be required.

The corollary to this is, it is the expectation (and requirement) that, for example, a stabilized approach is flown, and, if outside stabilized criteria, performance numbers are not applicable and one is "on one's own", so to speak.

What I will observe, and what is raised by Moshansky is, even FCOM data can be confusing to use and/or difficult to locate or interpret. I don't think there are too many of us who have not had this experience and done a lot of hangar-flying based upon varying interpretations of manufacturer or OAL-supplied data! I can even recall once when I had to call dispatch because the restrictions on my airplane referenced in the MEL were not available except to those with the MMEL! What a mess that was and interpreting it when it was finally faxed to us was an even greater mess. I couldn't imagine how the arguments would go in court if anything went wrong. In fact the entire day was a wintry mess with all kinds of challenges and some failures and I'll leave it at that...

Knowledge of how much distance is added onto nominal landing distances by increases in speed over Vref +5 (or Airbus' Vapp), could count on challenging landings where things may have got out of hand just a bit and an adjustment can be made to braking, use of reverse etc.

The very fact that there are large factors built into landing data, (we could equally be talking about cruise altitudes/Mach, or takeoff performance speeds and distances and even contaminated runway performance) does not mean that the performance numbers are wrong or too conservative, it just means that through industry experience, the requirement for such factors has been demonstrated because none of us are test pilots and the industry cannot and does not expect such unique standards from the aviation system.

I think your comments regarding a "universal lack of performance based knowledge" (as evidence early on in the Dryden investigation) is accurate, for the times.

From the Dryden Commission Report, (the entire Moshansky Commission Report is now available at http://epe.lac-bac.g...sky1992-eng.htm), the following supports your view:

"The following information is from CASB report no. 86-A60024 . On

July 20, 1986, a Boeing 737 was taking off from Wabush, Newfoundland,

when, as the aircraft speed approached V„ a bird was ingested by the

left engine and the engine lost power . The crew rejected the takeoff, and

the aircraft came to a stop in a bog 200 feet beyond the end of the

runway . No one was injured in the occurrence . CASB determined that,

because the runway was wet, the distance required to stop the aircraft

exceeded that which was available . Pre-flight performance calculations

did not take into account the effects of the wet runway . Such calculations

were not and are not required by regulations. CASB also found

that existing aircraft flight manuals do not provide data that take into

account the effects of wet runways on accelerate-stop distances .

The "safety action" portion of the CASB-produced report of this

occurrence states the following :

In view of the absence of certificated performance data and the

apparent lack of knowledge on the part of flight crews regarding wet

runway takeoff performance, the CASB recommends that :

The Department of Transport revise air carrier procedures

involving wet runway take-off operations, in order to provide a

margin of safety comparable to that for dry runway operations .

CASB 87-45

"The Department of Transport require air carriers to improve

flight crew knowledge of the effects of wet runways on take-off

performance and the means available to flight crews to provide

a margin of safety comparable to that for dry runways .

CASB 87-46

Aircraft Performance and Flight Dynamics p.367, Moshansky Commission Report"

But the Report also states in the same Chapter but a bit earlier:

"The fact that the experienced crew of C-FONF departed from the

Dryden airport terminal and elected to take off in weather conditions

that not only suggested but also should have red-flagged, even to a pilot

far less experienced than Captain Morwood, the possibility of snow- and

ice-contaminated wings, clearly indicated to me either an incomprehensible

and deliberate disregard by the flight crew of these obviously

dangerous conditions or, more probably, a failure to appreciate fully the

adverse effects of the cold-soaking phenomenon and the problems of

performance degradation caused on takeoff by contaminated lifting

surfaces. These problems are discussed elsewhere in this chapter.

p. 302 Part Four: Aircraft Investigation Process and Analysis

and,

"It must be stressed, in the strongest terms possible, that neither the

performance subgroup nor this Commission advocates the use of

non-standard handling techniques to operate aircraft in adverse weather

conditions as an alternative to the proper preparation of the aircraft for

flight ."

p. 342 Part Four: Aircraft Investigation Process and Analysis

I think since Dryden, matters have changed and crews know more about "performance" in this sense. Also, Moshansky is extremely critical of the Fokker contaminated runway takeoff performance data and states that the existence at Air Ontario of "alternate" tables (from Piedmont and US Air) does not resolve the issue but confuses it because there was no guidance on which tables to use, and the Fokker tables were far less restrtictive but very confusing. But Moshansky is quick to point out the same point I was making in the earlier response...that "knowing" does not mean that there is an alternative to "proper preparation for flight", which I take to mean using the FCOM and following SOPs including performance numbers.

All this is in Volume 2, around pp. 302 to about 371 or so. It still makes for difficult reading, all considered.

Does this clarify things DEFCON? I'd be interested in hearing if there is still a difference in views.

Don

Edited by Don Hudson

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You’re very thorough Don and with one exception, we’re clearly on the same page.

I’m not sure, the format / style of today’s initial & recurrent ground-schools (push the ‘on screen’ buttons until you get the correct answer) is improving the pilots ‘base of knowledge’? From my pov, it appears the new style training seeks to improve efficiency & is intended to streamline training and produce a ‘candidate pilot’ on budget?

A portion of my position comes about as a result of experiences such as the following. Approximately seven or eight years ago, I had occasion to board a flight and occupy the jump seat on a type new to me. During the flight I had quite a few questions respecting the aircraft and its ‘general’ performance. Being, the Cpt. was the FP, most of my queries were directed to the FO. When we got into T/O performance issues, the FO, not knowing me from Adam, turned to me and suggested jokingly, because I obviously knew more about the ac than him, I should take his recurrent for him the following week? He had two years on type?

The Captain just gave me the ‘look’. After landing, the Captain & I spoke on the bridge. He told me this FO was in fact one of the better ones. He went on to suggest most really didn’t have much of a clue because they had moved up through their new careers at a pace which exceeded their experience and understanding?

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