NTSB accident reports give us the cold, hard facts behind an accident, but those facts don’t always help us understand the “why” behind a crash. No matter the type of aircraft, operators want to know what it all means to them and how their crews fly.
Little pearls of wisdom offer the value to a website called FAA’s Lessons Learned. While the site doesn’t attempt to address every aviation accident, it does “represent some of the most major accidents and their related lessons.” The site is divided into three major segments: airplane life cycle, accident threat categories and aircraft common themes. For example, click on flight-deck layout and avionics confusion under threat categories to find a brief concept synopsis followed by an opportunity to review any of 14 accidents that relate, such as the American Airlines DC-10 crash at Chicago O’Hare International Airport (ORD) in 1979 or even as far back as the 1972 Eastern L-1011 accident in Florida’s Everglades.
Are you wondering what lessons a 40-year-old accident has to teach? It wasn’t the aircraft that killed 112 of the 163 people aboard the flight that night. It was the crew’s failure to focus on flying the aircraft while they troubleshot a landing gear problem approaching Miami. Forty years later, the July 6 Asiana Airlines 777 accident in San Francisco seems to show that pilots are still not focusing on flying the airplane all the time.