Talk:1950 Australian National Airways Douglas DC-4 crash

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Expansion and rewrite of this article[edit]

I am presently working on a comprehensive expansion and re-write of the article about the Amana. Please peruse my work at User:Dolphin51/Sandbox2. Any comments or suggestions will be gratefully received.
The present title: "ANA Skymaster Amana crash" is not consistent with the guidelines for aircraft accident articles provided by the folk at WikiProject Aviation – see WP:AVINAME. After the new version goes live it is my intention to change the title to "1950 Australian National Airways DC-4 crash". This will be consistent with the Style Guide and also with the titles for the following articles:

(The article 1948 Lutana crash also needs its title refreshed to “1948 Australian National Airways DC-3 crash”, but that can wait until after it has been expanded and re-written.)
When all that has been done, it is my intention to nominate the ‘’Amana’’ story for Good article. All comments and suggestions are welcome. Dolphin (t) 12:49, 29 August 2012 (UTC)

Attention to grammar and styling as well as expansion of the inveestigation section would quickly elevate this to B-class or beyond.Petebutt (talk) 15:42, 31 August 2012 (UTC)

I have pasted the revised version into the article, and moved it to the new title 1950 Australian National Airways Douglas DC-4 crash. Dolphin (t) 23:03, 23 September 2012 (UTC)

Sykmaster[edit]

Just a minor point but VH-ANA was never a Skymaster it was post-war civil DC-4-1009 which didnt use the name, which applied to the military variant. MilborneOne (talk) 16:01, 2 September 2012 (UTC)

Presumably you have no objection to my proposed change of the article name to "1950 Australian National Airways DC-4 crash". See thread above. Dolphin (t) 06:23, 3 September 2012 (UTC)
No problem although 1950 Australian National Airways Douglas DC-4 crash would be slightly better. MilborneOne (talk) 12:08, 3 September 2012 (UTC)
I agree. Douglas DC-4 it will be. Dolphin (t) 12:18, 3 September 2012 (UTC)
I have pasted the revised version into the article, and moved it to the new title 1950 Australian National Airways Douglas DC-4 crash. Dolphin (t) 23:03, 23 September 2012 (UTC)

GA Review[edit]

This review is transcluded from Talk:1950 Australian National Airways Douglas DC-4 crash/GA1. The edit link for this section can be used to add comments to the review.

Reviewer: Nick-D (talk · contribs) 10:45, 12 October 2012 (UTC)

Comments I[edit]

  • "Skymaster" shouldn't be in italics
[fixed]
  • "It was the worst civil aviation accident in Australia." - you probably need to add 'to that time' at the end given that there have been worse accidents since
[debatable – this accident killed all 29 on board and the 1960 crash of VH-TFB also killed all 29 on board. All this is explained in Note 1. There has never been a civil aviation accident in Australia that killed 30 people.]
  • "A likely source for water in the fuel was never identified." this wording is a bit awkward (how about "The likely source for the water which contaminated the fuel was never found" or similar?)
[I have changed the sentence to The Investigators did not find a likely source for the water.]
  • "One elderly male passenger had a miraculous escape from death" - 'miraculous' is attributing his survival to some kind of external intervention, rather than good luck
[I have changed it to lucky escape from death. (The adjective miraculous was used in this editorial.)]
Given that he subsequently died, 'lucky' and 'escape from death' don't seem appropriate. Nick-D (talk) 09:02, 24 October 2012 (UTC)
  • The first para of the lead should note that the 'survivor' later died as a direct result of the crash
[fixed]
  • "Supreme Court Judge" - no need to capitalise the 'J' here
[fixed]
  • "In the absence of evidence indicating the source of any water in the fuel, the Inquiry dismissed the submission that water was responsible for the accident." - I'm a bit confused by this, as the lead earlier states that water in the fuel was the cause
[The Investigators concluded that water in the fuel caused the crash. However, other parties to the Inquiry disagreed. Ultimately Justice Simpson disagreed too. The outcome of the Inquiry was that water did not cause the crash.]
My concern is that the lead earlier states that "Investigators concluded that water in the fuel was responsible for the corrosion, rough running of at least one engine, and ultimately temporary loss of power from all engines on at least one occasion. The Investigators did not find a likely source for the water." and the difference between this initial assessment and the findings of the formal inquiry is never resolved. Nick-D (talk) 09:02, 24 October 2012 (UTC)
  • The first paragraph of "The aircraft" section should be at the start of the article, rather than the end, and be renamed to something like 'background'
[I'm puzzled. The first para of the subsection titled "The aircraft" gives routine details about the Amana's model designation, constructor's number, date of first flight and date of arrival in Australia. It also mentions a speed record set by the Amana in 1946 and the fact that it was used on the trans-Pacific route by British Commonwealth Pacific Airways. I don't see that this trivia should be promoted closer to the start of the article, or that it constitutes background information about the fatal accident. Have I understood your suggestion correctly?]
It's odd to explain the chararteristics and history of the aircraft only at the end of a lengthy description of its final moments and the investigation of its wreckage; this is better suited to setting the schene. Nick-D (talk) 09:02, 24 October 2012 (UTC)
  • "Frank McNamara (62), an apiarist, and Geoff Inkpen (25), a young farmer, " - their ages and exact occupations don't seem relevant - 'local farmers' or similar would work
[I disagree. A significant part of the article focusses on the discovery of the crash scene, raising the alarm, and caring for the survivor. Information about the identity of the two most notable rescuers and their occupations in this remote bushland area helps build a picture of the search, and the rescue of the survivor. The Minister for Civil Aviation publicly acknowledged the heroic efforts of McNamara and Inkpen, and that acknowledgement warrants inclusion in the article. None of the sources lends any support to the idea that McNamara was a farmer.]
I think its unessessary, but OK Nick-D (talk) 09:02, 24 October 2012 (UTC)
  • The name of the "Only one survivor" section is a bit odd, particularly given that most of the section is about the post-crash investigation
[I have changed the name to "Fate of those onboard". It isn't ideal, but it is the best I can manage so far.]
  • "Department of Civil Aviation" should be linked
[fixed]
  • The sentence which begins with 'After being re-fuelled in Perth immediately' is a bit over-complex. I'd suggest splitting this into two sentences.
[I have split it into two sentences.]
  • The "Searchers praised by Minister" section should be combined with the section about the search and rescue effort as there's not really enough here to justify a stand-alone section
[fixed]
  • "the new Minister for Civil Aviation, Mr Anthony." - give his full name, and not "Mr"
[fixed]
  • "The Inquiry was unable to determine the cause of the accident so it remained a mystery. " - the failure of the inquiry to determine the cause of the crash should be expanded upon a bit, as this is rather abrupt (the use of the imprecise term "remained a mystery" should be avoided as well, as the issue is that the available evidence and analytic methods seem to have been insufficient to allow conclusions to be reached, despite what appears to have been a very through investigation)
[I have expanded coverage of the Inquiry's findings. Scope for expanding this coverage is limited because the sources don't say a lot on the subject. I have removed the expression remained a mystery.]
OK, fair enough. If you haven't done so already, it might be worth checking the National Archives of Australia's online database to see if they have a digitalised copy of the final report available (as you may be aware, the NAA is digitalising many of its records). Nick-D (talk) 09:02, 24 October 2012 (UTC)
  • "Minister Mr Anthony" - use either "Anthony" or "Minister Anthony"
[changed to “the Minister, Larry Anthony, ...”]
  • The 'Possible explanation of the crash' section is a bit confusing - why is this after the material on the inquiry? It seems to be second guessing the inquiry's findings (or lack thereof) based on informed speculation by the airline's employees. Did the inquiry consider these explanations, and if so what was its ruling on them?
[If this section seems confusing, read the second para again. The “possible explanation” came after the end of the Inquiry. This section is a faithful rendition of the source document.]
Yes, I saw that. My concern is that this section appears to place unduly strong weight on speculation among ANA employees on topics which had been subjected to detailed investigation and analysis by independent experts in the field. That this speculation cleared ANA of any serious blame and put the onus on the fuel company is also of concern to me given the nature of the speculation. Did this lead to the investigation being re-opened or further independent analysis? Nick-D (talk) 09:02, 24 October 2012 (UTC)
  • "Approximately ten minutes after take-off the crew of Amana were aware of the seriousness of rough running on number 4 engine so decided to shut it down." - how was this known given that the pilots didn't make radio contact?
[I have added “Some employees of ANA speculated that ...” to the beginning of the sentence. (It isn’t “known”. The possible explanation of the crash is speculation about what might have happened. The sentence you have quoted is intended to be speculation. It is a faithful rendition of the source document.)]
  • I don't think that all the passengers need to be named
[Only the survivor and eleven of the other 23 passengers are named in the body of the article. These are the notable passengers. The other twelve passengers are named in Notes 9, 10 and 11. Are you suggesting that only the names should be omitted, or that all the information about individual passengers should be omitted?]
I was thinking about the 'Passengers' section, which is a list of largely non-notable people. Nick-D (talk) 09:02, 24 October 2012 (UTC)
  • It would be better to integrate the photos in the 'gallery' section into the body of the article rather than use external images
[gallery images dispersed into the body of the article.]

Nick-D (talk) 10:40, 16 October 2012 (UTC)

Thanks for your review, and your comments. I'm working on them. Dolphin (t) 13:03, 17 October 2012 (UTC)
I have inserted a summary of my response to each of your comments. See above, in square brackets. For most of your comments I have fixed the article as you suggested. For a few of your comments I haven't been able to do so and I have given my explanation in square brackets. A couple of my explanations contain a question for you so I will wait for your answer before I do anything more. Regards. Dolphin (t) 15:13, 22 October 2012 (UTC)

Comments II[edit]

  • Given that he subsequently died, 'lucky' and 'escape from death' don't seem appropriate.
[I have changed to “one elderly male passenger survived the crash.”]
  • My concern is that the lead earlier states that "Investigators concluded that water in the fuel was responsible for the corrosion, rough running of at least one engine, and ultimately temporary loss of power from all engines on at least one occasion. The Investigators did not find a likely source for the water." and the difference between this initial assessment and the findings of the formal inquiry is never resolved.
[This is common in law courts of all kinds. For example, the prosecution alleges that the accused committed the crime but the judge (or jury) disagrees and brings down a verdict of not guilty. Paradoxically, the accused walks free despite the persuasive evidence of guilt put forward by the prosecution.]
Yes, but this isn't really explained in the lead, and the current text is confusing. Could the first use of the phrase "investigators" by replaced with something like "The preliminary investigation..."? Nick-D (talk) 09:57, 29 October 2012 (UTC)
  • It's odd to explain the chararteristics and history of the aircraft only at the end of a lengthy description of its final moments and the investigation of its wreckage; this is better suited to setting the scene.
[Information in the first para of The aircraft is trivia. I don’t agree that it sets the scene – the constructor’s number, its date of first flight, and its date of arrival in Australia are not relevant to the crash. I can see an argument for erasing this trivial information, but I can’t see an argument for promoting it to the beginning of the article.]
I really disagree - it's quite odd to hit a paragraph about the history of the plane at the end of the article. Nick-D (talk) 09:57, 29 October 2012 (UTC)
  • I think its unnecessary, but OK
[Acknowledged.]
  • OK, fair enough. If you haven't done so already, it might be worth checking the National Archives of Australia's online database to see if they have a digitalised copy of the final report available (as you may be aware, the NAA is digitalising many of its records).
[Thanks for the hint about the NAA digital archive. I have found 1454 digitised pages from the Deputy Crown Solicitor’s Office but no sign of a copy of Simpson’s report. About a year ago I checked the digital catalogue of the National Library looking for copies of Simpson’s reports of his three Air Courts of Inquiry but found none.]
  • Yes, I saw that. My concern is that this section appears to place unduly strong weight on speculation among ANA employees on topics which had been subjected to detailed investigation and analysis by independent experts in the field. That this speculation cleared ANA of any serious blame and put the onus on the fuel company is also of concern to me given the nature of the speculation. Did this lead to the investigation being re-opened or further independent analysis?
[Other way round – the speculation clears the fuel company of any blame, and implies serious blame on ANA and some of its ground staff who allegedly left the cross-feed fuel line open to the atmosphere. This speculation did not lead to the inquiry being re-opened. On p. 133 of Macarthur Job’s book Air Crash, Vol 2, he writes “ANA Flight Superintendent ... and Technical Superintendent ... were able to simulate some of these sequences ... satisfying themselves ... a plausible and likely explanation. But on legal advice it was never made public.” On p.140 Job also points out that the cross-feed line being open to atmosphere proved to be the cause of major accidents in two aircraft with the same fuel system – one approaching Dublin airport in 1961; and another, the (Stockport air disaster), approaching Manchester in 1967.]
OK, can that be added to the article? I'd suggest changing the name of this section to something even less definitive than "Possible explanation of the crash" (eg, 'Post-inquiry analysis') 09:57, 29 October 2012 (UTC)
  • I was thinking about the 'Passengers' section, which is a list of largely non-notable people.
[I incorporated the Passengers section, not because any of the people were notable, but because their deaths illustrate the terrible human cost of the accident. The twenty-four passengers weren’t an homogenous body of people, as would have been the case if the twenty-four were a couple of cricket teams. They came from a wide variety of backgrounds and were travelling to Adelaide for a wide variety of reasons. Some were well-known in Perth, Adelaide or other Australian cities; and their deaths would have had an impact on many residents of those cities. If details of individual passengers were scattered throughout the article, readers would unavoidably stumble across them, regardless of whether the readers want to read such details; but having this information consolidated in one section, any reader who doesn’t want to read the details can easily avoid it by leap-frogging to the next section.] Dolphin (t) 06:50, 26 October 2012 (UTC)
It's highly unusual to have lists of this kind in articles about disasters. Many of the people named don't appear to be at all notable (eg, "Doris McHenry on her first flight in an aircraft.", "Tan Jee Hoe, a Singaporean student, travelling to Melbourne to commence medicine studies", etc). 09:57, 29 October 2012 (UTC)

Comments III[edit]

  • Yes, but this isn't really explained in the lead, and the current text is confusing. Could the first use of the phrase "investigators" by replaced with something like "The preliminary investigation..."?
[I have begun the sentence “After a preliminary investigation...” See the diff.]
  • I really disagree - it's quite odd to hit a paragraph about the history of the plane at the end of the article
[I have erased the section called “The aircraft” and dispersed some of its details to other sections. The key information is now in the section called “The flight”, immediately after the lead. Minor information has been omitted. See the diff.]
  • OK, can that be added to the article? I'd suggest changing the name of this section to something even less definitive than "Possible explanation of the crash" (eg, 'Post-inquiry analysis')
[I have added a sentence saying “However, on legal advice, this possible explanation of the crash was not made public.” I have changed the title of the section to "Speculation about cause of the crash". See the diff.]
  • It's highly unusual to have lists of this kind in articles about disasters. Many of the people named don't appear to be at all notable (eg, "Doris McHenry on her first flight in an aircraft.", "Tan Jee Hoe, a Singaporean student, travelling to Melbourne to commence medicine studies", etc).
[I have erased mention of Pedro Capelete, John Engler, T.J. Hoe and Doris McHenry from the body of the article and added them to the Notes for males and females. See diff 1 and diff 2.]

Dolphin (t) 06:02, 30 October 2012 (UTC)

That's all my comments addressed :) I'm now pleased to pass this nomination. Sorry about my slow responses to some of your comments by the way. Nick-D (talk) 10:24, 30 October 2012 (UTC)

Assessment[edit]

GA review – see WP:WIAGA for criteria

  1. Is it reasonably well written?
    A. Prose quality:
    B. MoS compliance for lead, layout, words to watch, fiction, and lists:
  2. Is it factually accurate and verifiable?
    A. References to sources:
    B. Citation of reliable sources where necessary:
    C. No original research:
  3. Is it broad in its coverage?
    A. Major aspects:
    B. Focused:
  4. Is it neutral?
    Fair representation without bias:
  5. Is it stable?
    No edit wars, etc:
  6. Does it contain images to illustrate the topic?
    A. Images are tagged with their copyright status, and valid fair use rationales are provided for non-free content:
    B. Images are provided where possible and appropriate, with suitable captions:
  7. Overall:
    Pass or Fail:
    Nick-D (talk) 10:24, 30 October 2012 (UTC)

Thanks for a great review! Dolphin (t) 11:47, 30 October 2012 (UTC)