Arrow Air Flight 1285


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Arrow Air Flight 1285 was a McDonnell DouglasDC-8-63CFjetliner, registered N950JW, which operated as an international charter flight carrying U.S. troops from Cairo, Egypt, to their home base in Fort Campbell, Kentucky, viaCologne, Germany and Gander, Newfoundland. On the morning of December 12, 1985, shortly after takeoff from Gander en route to Fort Campbell, the aircraft stalled, crashed, and burned about half a mile from the runway, killing all 256 passengers and crew on board.[1]

http://en.wikipedia....Air_Flight_1285

I spent a few days in Gander this summer and had a chance to visit the "Silent Witness" memorial at the crash site for flight 1285. Very sobering. Some may also remember the political intrigue surrounding the crash and it's investigation. A few "interesting" points from the wiki page:

- The Canadian Aviation Safety Board (CASB) investigated the crash, and, under the signature of five of nine board members, found that during its approach toward Gander, precipitation conditions were favorable for the formation of ice on the aircraft's wings.

- Four members of the CASB dissented, issuing a minority opinion asserting that there was no evidence presented proving that ice had been present on leading edges such as the wings, and the minority report speculated that: An in-flight fire that may have resulted from detonations of undetermined origin brought about catastrophic system failures.

- Willard Estey, a former Supreme Court of Canada judge, submitted a review of the CASB report in 1989, ruling that the available evidence did not support either conclusion. As a result the Canadian public's confidence in the CASB was undermined. The federal government responded by creating the Transportation Safety Board of Canada.

- On the day of the crash, responsibility was claimed by Islamic Jihad, a wing ofHezbollah.

- The claim was dismissed by the Canadian and U.S. governments soon afterward. According to United Press International "Hours after the crash the Islamic Jihad – a Shiite Muslim extremist group – claimed it destroyed the plane to prove [its] ability to strike at the Americans anywhere." Pentagon and Canadian government officials rejected the claim, made by an anonymous caller to a French news agency in Beirut

The wiki page has several links at the end; including the majority report and the minority report.

Personally, I accept the minority report as being more believable but I also tend to be more suspicious of authority, especially if the authority is the US government. Just wondering about what others on the board might think of this crash.

Edited by seeker
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do8.jpg Perhaps someone could explain to me how a t/o crash caused by icing results with that? It looks pretty clear to me the broken edges of all that have not been burned by any post crash fire... s

Please do us a favour as you pursue your flying career, especially in the cockpit. Have a much more open mind to alternatives, particularly when they are put forward by people who have more experience

There you go... As soon as someone invokes the term, "conspiracy theory", suddenly reasoned debate is stifled. Never mind the legitimate questions left unanswered... Never mind what actual evidence (w

I have visited the memorial at the crash site as well. I found it very sobering, and thought provoking. I tend to believe the cause was icing conditions.

You're certainly entitled to your own opinion and I won't argue with you about it but have you read the minority report? I find it hard to reconcile all the discrepancies.

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Does anyone know where the wreckage and more important to the question raised, the flight recorder and CVR are stored? Has all the wreckage including the recorders been thrown out?

I think that without better direct evidence I think Mr. Justice Estey's conclusions are reasonable - that neither report identifies the cause of the accident. A lot of conclusions are drawn and stated upon the notions of "apparently", "we believe", and a lot of circular reasoning, long bows drawn, and selective drawing of conclusions when in many instances alternate explanations may reasonably be made. For example, the conclusion is drawn that there was not significant ice on the wings because the captain was known to be a true professional and would have de-iced if the wings were contaminated. There is no doubting the testimony of those who knew the captain but I don't think the conclusion can be drawn that because the captain was as described that the wings were clean. We don't know that they were or weren't but the conclusion can't be drawn. Sadly, we can note that the same observations were made of George Morwood, (Dryden accident). The minority report continues throughout to group a lot of conclusions resulting from observations in which alternative explanations are equally possible. The discussion on the thrust reversers is one such example where the minority report concludes that the thrust reversers "may have been deployed". The report does not deal with or explain how the DC8-63's thrust lever reverser interlocks prevent such deployment. Claiming that fire or explosion damage affected systems, possibly including this one, can't be done without explaining the sources of fire/explosion. Witness statements are unreliable as evidence.

It would be helpful to examine any and all wreckage today. Present investigative techniques and software analysis would yield far more information than would have been available in 1988/89.

Even so, today we still have an equally tragic and sad accident in AF447, the exact cause of which remains in heavy debate.

Don

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Don, interesting comments. I would assume that the wreckage is still somewhat accessible - theoretically at least - since it was buried in a landfill rather than being lost at sea. It's curious that, at the time of the crash, the public was willing to accept the report which downplayed the terrorist connection while if it happened today terrorism would be the default cause and it would be difficult to get anyone to believe otherwise.

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There was / is photographic evidence supporting the 'minority report'. The physical evidence on which the hopefully still remaining photo evidence is based was destroyed and not available for either reporting group to consider. Although I couldn't say who was responsible for the crash, the fact that there was an explosion / fire in one of the baggage bays is accurate.

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Interesting that not Long after this accident another very similar and significant accident occurred in Canada. Dryden Ontario to be precise. The takeoff and trajectory of the Air Ontario F28 were a carbon copy of the Arrow Air flight. This was the pivotal accident that brought about current deice regulations. Why is it so inconceivable that ice was not a factor? We know now that thin layers of clear ice can bring a large aircraft down.

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Well yeah but there are significant differences between the two accidents; the F-28 did not have "a thin layer of clear ice" first of all, there was no precip falling in the YQX accident and there are dozens of inconsistencies in the wreckage and findings of the minority group. Did you read the minority report?

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I just watched the Mayday episode on this incident and according to the reports there was indeed precipitation prior to and at the time of the accident. Two preceeding flights noted this and while one deiced the other did not. Arrow Air did not.

CO2 is not an indicator of smoke and fumes prior to a crash CO is. An yes there was CO in the blood of the victims Arrow Air. This was never explained in the first report. I have not read the minority report myself but will read it, if someone can send me a copy, with an open mind.

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I have not read the minority report myself but will read it, if someone can send me a copy, with an open mind.

I have to give you a gentle poke in the ribs here - my first post in this thread has a link to the wiki page with both the majority report and the minority report (as mentioned), three posts later conehead posted a direct link to the minority report.

Edited by seeker
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A good friend of mine was with the CASB in Ottawa at the time of this accident and I discussed this with him at coffee yesterday morning. He was a former RCAF fighter pilot and was very familiar with the details of this accident. I'm not sure if he was one of the authors of the majority report - didn't ask him. However, he is very supportive of the majority report that essentially stated that wing icing was the cause of this disaster. He was very dismissive of the minority report and the conspiracy theories.

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A good friend of mine [...] He was very dismissive of the minority report and the conspiracy theories.

There you go... As soon as someone invokes the term, "conspiracy theory", suddenly reasoned debate is stifled. Never mind the legitimate questions left unanswered... Never mind what actual evidence (which hasn't been bulldozed/buried/destroyed) might indeed exist... Once it's called a "conspiracy theory", many will stop asking questions, lest they be associated with "tin hat wearing wackos", and simply decide to accept whatever other explanation is being offered which is not so labelled.

What's astonishing to me is that it means there must be a huge number of sheep people who will accept any explanation given by "proper authorities", as if they believe these "proper authorities" would never, ever cook up a tale to hide something. The government would never lie about anything, right? They would never conspire to mislead the populace about anything they've done, right? The US military, or the CIA would never conspire to hide anything, right? ....Hell no! It's only them fellas with the tinfoil hats that think thataway! Damned conspiracy theorists!

:glare:

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Mitch, I simply passed on some information that I had from someone who was intimately involved with this accident. He was the chief investigator on several other crashes and had been very involved in this line of work for many years. He retired several years ago and I'm quite sure that his position was as objective as possible.

If you hold other views - fine. I'll stick with that of my friend.

Cheers,

Timothy

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FWIW, I met one of the dissenters at a seminar several years ago - no I don't remember his name, just the conversation. He was quite veiled in his comments but the sense of frustration and a feeling of a job half done was pretty clear. Maybe he was right, maybe he wasn't, but the fact that such a narrow majority opinion became the "official" version should be a cause for concern. But what I don't quite get is if it were a terrorist act, why try to bury that? It's always been a strong rallying cry to support the military in the past (Kolbar Towers, USS Cole), why not this time? There will always be more questions than answers for me.

Edited by J.O.
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