Dutch Investigators Cite Faulty Altimeter in Crash of Turkish Airlines 737-800

March 4, 2009, 9:46 AM

Dutch investigators have found that a faulty altimeter likely played a role in last week’s crash of a Turkish Airlines Boeing 737-800 on approach to Amsterdam Schipol International Airport, killing nine aboard. At a new conference in the Hague, Dutch Safety Board chairman Pieter van Vollenhoven said the left radio altimeter registered an altitude of eight feet as the airplane approached Schiphol at around 1,950 feet, causing the automatic throttle system to reduce power and configuring the rest of the systems for an imminent landing. The Boeing slowed to a stall and crashed into a muddy field about a half mile away from the runway threshold.

A conversation recorded between the captain and two first officers in the cockpit indicated they had knew about the altimeter irregularity but did not react until the stall warning system sounded, at which time they tried to power up the engines.

The Dutch Safety Board has issued a warning to Boeing for possible shortcomings of the radio altimeters in all Boeing 737-800s.

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