- win a model plane
  Databases  airNEWS  Contact

Landings: Reviews: The Black Box - The Anatomy of a Crash

Expert Forums
Discussion Boards
Aviation's Directory
By: Eduardo Valenciana
E-mail Address:

Flight Attendants are listed crewmembers on all manifests in the airline industry worldwide. The term "crew member" is deceptive for aviation experts hold little regard in the belief that an F/A has the ability to comprehend the complex technical information that a cockpit crewmember must have to navigate the aircraft safely. More so, in the minds of the aviation industry, a F/A's maximum ability to aid in the determination of a particular cause in airline crashes is limited to that of an observer. F/A crewmembers are expected to relate information valuable to the investigating experts who then can decipher such information to help in the final determination. That is till now.

Twenty one years after the experts walked away from Benito Juarez Airport in Mexico City, accepting the final cause of the crash of Western Airlines DC-10, Flight 2605, under the command of Captain Charles Gilbert Sr., as "Error de Piloto," we will examine the truth. As the surviving flight Attendant, I would like to set the record straight once and for all. Why would the F/A of 2605 be qualified to challenge the expert's decision? First, I was a witness to the events that unfolded during and after the flight. Second, I have spent the last twenty years educating myself in understanding the technical problems involved in final determination. Third, I was raised on the streets in the barrio in East Los Angeles. The "skills" I learned there in surviving proved to be the best tool in allowing me to complete such a journey alive and in one piece. Lastly, such "skills" allowed me to obtain the documents and files, including the CVR recording from 2605 that will back up my assessments. Eliminating the belief that it's a captain's ship and here lies the final blame, let us view all the facts. In my mind the cause should be "break down of the airline system and it's back ups."

The investigation and final report on the incident was handled by La oficina de el secraterio general de espacio areo mexicano. The report, forced upon and accepted by the NTSB and Western Airlines is in shambles and insulting to the intelligence of educated people. The NTSB's contribution was to simply to loosely translate the sparse document and accept it. One example of the Mexican agency's inept documentation is in referring to one flight attendant who perished as being alive and another who survivrd as being a casualty.

The flight was under the command of Captain Gilbert, F/O Ernest Riechel and S/O Daniel Walsh, all respected aviators. Captain Gilbert was a no nonsense Captain and Safety Pilot with thirty years invested in the company. On a personal note, First officer Ernest Riechel was in the mist of a ugly divorce. On the days leading up to the incident, Riechel had lost 28 pounds, his uniform no longer fit him and he had started the monthg's schedule by arriving to work without his uniform coat and cap. Besides other petty differences, arriving at work not in uniform offended Capatian Gilbert. In the early part of the month, Captain Gilbert officially "wrote up" F./O Riechel. This incident created a atmosphere of heinous hostility in the cockpit. Such hostilities were obvious to fellow pilots who revealed to me that these two individuals should not have been in the cockpit together, but were reluctant to personally get involved because of the "silent code" of pilots. F/O officer Riechel also related to me during the flight of 2605 that he had not slept for 40 hours prior.

The day before the crash, in regards to concerns of some pilots and Captain Gilbert's write up, a Supervising Pilot of the company briefly spoke with Gilbert and Richel separately to gauge the situation. Reluctant to express their true feelings for fear of possibly embarrassing themselves, the pilots made light of the "misunderstandings." In what amounted to nothing more than one good old boy talking to another, the supervising pilot dropped the issue. Unfortunately, the issue was bigger than anyone realized. During the flight, I entered the cockpit of 2605 and was witness to a heated verbal lashing of Riechel by Captain Gilbert.

During the flight, Mexican Air Traffic Control can be heard on the CVR recording, advising 2605 to expect a landing on Runway 23-Left, the only runway equipped with NIS capabilities. This statement was removed from the final Mexican report.

Back to Hangar talk

NOTE: Reviews and Opinions do not necessarily represent those of Landings, its personnel and employees.

Ch: Aviation (more->)

Tony Tyler: Aviation industry will handle over 3 billion passengers in ... (NWST)

Heathrow runway delay is hurting aviation industry, warns Iata chief (GUAR)

Raytheon increases pilot situational awareness with Aviation ... (AVIO)

Embraer jets receive Russian certification (JRLA)

Plymouth Airport celebrates its pioneers by naming gates for them (BOST)

Ajit Singh writes to UP CM on land for airport at Allahabad (INDI)

Airline profits pick up in 2012: IATA (TMSE)

Contract with the SAAF terminated Denel (POLI)

Denel aircraft specialists receive retrenchment notices Solidarity (POLI)

GAA signs up for BIAS2014 (BNA_)

Jet Aviation Dubai signs agreement with FEAG (CORP)

Marines hone command capabilities for Afghanistan (DVID)

Analysis: China acquires 90 ILFC stake (JRLA)

Dassault Falcon sells two jets to Wallan (TRAD)

AviancaTaca orders ATR 72 600s (JRLA)

New Issue Milestone Aviation sells 250 mln notes (RTRS)

A Chance for Ugandans to Fly (ALLA)

Col. Michael Musiol takes over 82nd Combat Aviation Brigade (OBRF)

General Aviation Taking off at MacArthur (AVIA)

Lady Antebellum chooses Skynet Aviation (REVI)

Future of GA sparks debate at Wichita event (AOPA)

The many sides of airlines (TTGA)

Ma speaks out on ICAO exclusion (TMST)

MEBA to move to dedicated Dubai world central expo site (ZAWY)

MEBAA Elects Two to Board, Ups Insurance Cover (ONLA)

Roundtable: Aviation 2013 The Latest Legal Features, Research ... (WHOS)

Research Trends and Conclusions: Aviation 2013 (WHOS)

Most Highly Regarded Firms: Aviation 2013 (WHOS)

BAE Systems Wins 400 Million US Navy Aircraft Maintenance ... (AVIA)

Natca: Sequestration Would Cripple ATC, NextGen (ONLA)

Ch: Incidents (more->)

Banner year for safety in global aviation (TN)

2012 named safest year in civil aviation history (_PST)

Neema Swai a Woman Flying Her Dream (ALLA)

Cessna aircraft makes crash landing in Malir Cantt (NWS_)

HAMM member and passenger killed in small plane crash (TYLE)

World War II Fighter Raised From Lake Michigan (CHIC)

WWII era plane recovered from depths of Lake Michigan (WREX)

Pearl Harbor Day event pulls up old fighter plane, and zebra ... (WBEZ)

WWII era plane found at bottom of lake (WZZM)

Strengthen English Skills in China's Aviation Industry (ENGL)

 [Quick NAV | Aviation's Directroy]MAY ALL YOUR LANDINGS BE GOOD ONES!
News/Forums Search/Ref Pilot-Supplies Aircraft/Parts Services Gen.-Aviation Gov./Military
GA-News Search Supplies Manufacturers A/C-Sales Helicopters Government
Forums Databases GPS/Tech. Parts A/C-Values Gyrocopters Research
Hangar-Talk Regulations Simulators Avionics Var-Services Aerobatics Military
Events/Airshows Reports Flight Tools Classifieds Homebuilding General
Offers Alerts Weather Engines Var-Products Ultralights Images
Promotions Publications Planning Mods/Restor. FBOs Soaring Miscellaneous
SITES Museums Clubs AirTransport Travel/Tours Hanggliding GA
Contact/Info History FBOs Airlines Insurance Paragliding Travel/Tours
Add-Link Organizations Flight-Schls Airports Medical Srvcs Parachute Safety
Logbook Companies Training Live-ATC Financing Balloons  
Awards Directory Simulators   Fuel    
Credits   Schools        
Contact   Safety        

   Sponsored links:
     Aircraft For Sale - FREE 90-day photo ads -
     Pilot Jobs - America's Pilot Employment Network - Free Access -
LANDINGS.COM Copyright © 1994-2012
Explicit permission required for any duplication or usage