Talk:Air New Zealand Flight 901

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Former good article Air New Zealand Flight 901 was one of the Engineering and technology good articles, but it has been removed from the list. There are suggestions below for improving the article to meet the good article criteria. Once these issues have been addressed, the article can be renominated. Editors may also seek a reassessment of the decision if they believe there was a mistake.
Article milestones
Date Process Result
November 11, 2006 Good article nominee Listed
June 18, 2009 Good article reassessment Delisted
December 1, 2009 Good article nominee Not listed
Current status: Delisted good article

Untitled[edit]

The reference by Mahon to Air NZ changing the route without telling the crew is of course only partly true, and unfortunately a cause of much misunderstanding. The crew were in fact given a printout of the route, and entered it into the aircrafts computer themselves. They failed to look at the plan closely enough, but it cannot be said that they weren't told.124.197.15.138 (talk) 20:24, 28 November 2009 (UTC)

Erm, no. The original INS co-ordinates provided by the airline's Navigation Section to the flight crews included an error that resulted in the previous flights flying some way out over McMurdo Sound, the intended course in fact bringing the flight over Mount Erebus itself. The original flight plan assumed a safe height higher than the mountain, so this was not in itself dangerous. On actual flights however it was normal to descend to below 5,000 ft to allow passengers a better view, as was well known by the airline's management, although they later denied this despite published accounts of the flights stating so. As the erroneous course placed the aircraft out over the Sound, and away from the mountain, this error did not matter much and it was not noticed on previous flights.
Immediately before the accident flight however the error was discovered by the Navigation Section and corrected and the updated INS co-ordinates given to the crew without the flight crew being informed of the correction. The crew therefore thought that the course being flown would fly them as usual in towards the mountain from a safe area out over the waters of the Sound.
Instead, the aircraft's INS flew the aircraft on the originally-intended course, and in misleading visibility, i.e., a true white out, the crew flew the aircraft right into Mount Erebus. If the INS co-ordinates had remained as they had been previously, i.e., with the error uncorrected, they would not have been near the mountain and the accident would not have occurred. That is rather the point of the matter.
Logic and common sense would seem to dictate that if you know a crew are going to be flying at low level in the vicinity of a mountain that any change in their programmed course needs to be conveyed to them while they can still do something about it, rather than allowing them to only find it out for themselves upon impact.
The right time to notify Capt. Collins of the change was the evening before the flight when he was planning the journey and still had time to take the change into account and to factor-in its implications. Not to change it without telling anyone. If that was the only option, they should have done nothing, left the error uncorrected, and waited until he had returned.
... and what makes this accident so sad is that not only did so many people die due to a simple error, the people responsible instead of admitting their (honest) mistake, then tried to cover it all up - with the co-operation of the NZ Government and some of its departments - in a way that was almost laughable, their lies being so poorly thought out and transparent that they must have failed to notice that Mahon was a barrister and high court judge, and had spent most of his career in court listening to better and more accomplished liars than themselves, whose, if one watches the Royal Commission's proceedings, attempts at obfuscation appear positively amateurish. — Preceding unsigned comment added by 95.148.220.131 (talk) 13:52, 9 September 2015 (UTC)

Time[edit]

I'm not sure that the times given are in NZST, they could be in NZDT as the crash took place in November when NZ was using Daylight Time. Evil MonkeyHello 10:23, Apr 20, 2005 (UTC)

The same thought just occurred to me! I think NZDT would be in effect in late November 1979. -- FP 10:33, Apr 20, 2005 (UTC)

There's a little confusion over time - the New Zealand mainland was operating on NZDT, but McMurdo Station was operating on NZST. I am trying to fix that. Lcmortensen (mailbox) 01:12, 30 November 2009 (UTC)

GA Review[edit]

This review is transcluded from Talk:Air New Zealand Flight 901/GA2. The edit link for this section can be used to add comments to the review.

Reviewer: Mûĸĸâĸûĸâĸû 20:18, 1 December 2009 (UTC)

GA review – see WP:WIAGA for criteria

  1. Is it reasonably well written?
    A. Prose quality:
    Section "Recovery efforts" contains a lengthy quote, plus a bad reference for the quote; see WP:NPS.
    B. MoS compliance:
  2. Is it factually accurate and verifiable?
    A. References to sources:
    See comments below.
    B. Citation of reliable sources where necessary:
    Significantly lacking in sources in some areas. Some sections have only a single source for several paragraphs of material. See comments below for specifics.
    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 copyright tagged, and non-free images have fair use rationales:
    See comments
    B. Images are provided where possible and appropriate, with suitable captions:
  7. Overall:
    Pass or Fail:
    I cannot, in good faith, expect this article to fix the above problems in the week provided by placing the article on hold. Should the above problems be addressed, however, Flight 901 could very easily become a GA, if not better.


Specific comments[edit]

References

  • The lead should not contain any references, since the purpose of the lead is to summarize important points, not introduce new material.
  • I'm not sure why "Unless otherwise stated, all times are New Zealand Standard Time (UTC+12)" requires a citation.
  • The references section contains a series of references at the bottom that are not used inline. (NZAVA Operation Deep Freeze - The New Zealand Story, 2002., Operation Overdue–NZAVA Archives 2002., &tc.) The section reads like someone's notes as to possible sources for expansion of article coverage.
  • The following sections rely on a single source: Changes to the coordinates and departure; Accident inquiries (top); &tc.
  • There are entire paragraphs with not a single citation. Examples: in section "Circumstances", see paragraph 3 ("Eventually, the Captain...") and paragraph 5 ("The flight had...").
  • Section "Appeals" is unsourced and contains a quotation. Sections "Official accident report", "Mahon inquiry" are unsourced.
  • Reference 16 ("NZPO1 NZAVA–see Bibliography.") directs one to see the Bibliography, but there is no Bibliography, nor is this reference listed in "External links" or "Footnotes".

Quotations

  • Section "Recovery effort" contains very long quotation that might very well be the whole of the primary source. This information should be incorporated into the rest of the text. See policies/essays: WP:NPS, WP:Quotations
  • The quotation in section "Appeals" should have a reference to the source.

Images

  • File:Tail_of_Air_New_Zealand_Flight_901.jpg -- the fair use rationale on this image is questionable, especially the bit about replaceability.
  • File:Flight901Sitrep4.jpg -- lacks a fair use rationale for use in this article.
  • Note: The images may very well be ok, but the other issues of the article so outweigh its importance that it fails GA anyway.

File:Air New Zealand Flight 901.jpg Nominated for Deletion[edit]

Icon Now Commons orange.svg An image used in this article, File:Air New Zealand Flight 901.jpg, has been nominated for deletion at Wikimedia Commons for the following reason: Deletion requests May 2011
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Route map request[edit]

Could we please get a route map for this article? I'm having difficulty picturing where the bulk of the 5,360 miles (8,630 km) is spent when the return trip from Christchurch to Auckland is only 464 miles (747 km). The only map I see linked is this reference. However, that's more of a crash map than a route map. – voidxor (talk | contrib) 07:05, 8 January 2012 (UTC)

Most of the distance was spent flying to and from Antarctica. The travel agent brochure at NZ History Online for the November 1979 flights has the full route map [1]. Lcmortensen (mailbox) 09:12, 8 January 2012 (UTC)
A quick Google search will point to various sites with map images, such as this site [2]. So, it'll be a matter of just picking one. KyuuA4 (Talk:キュウ) 22:25, 6 February 2017 (UTC)

Radar[edit]

Paul Holmes recent book makes much of the proposition that a DC-10 radar cannot detect anything other than moisture, and therefore would not show a mountain. Does anyone feel up to writing a section on the radar? The other technical aids are covered already. — Preceding unsigned comment added by 124.197.15.138 (talk) 21:50, 28 January 2012 (UTC)

I'm no radar expert, but how does that happen? Mountains are way, way larger than raindrops. No diffraction limit problems here. Can snow on the mountain completely absorb radar and not reflect it back, while still reflecting off moisture? And why wouldn't they have air traffic-capable radar? Or was it a seperate system and they were not looking at it cause they didn't expect any nearby air traffic? Sagittarian Milky Way (talk) 21:28, 18 June 2012 (UTC)
Disclaimer - I'm not an expert, but I am well read. Also I don't have access to the book being referred to, so I'm making a few assumptions about what may or may not be in it, hopefully someone with the book can take my advice and figure out whether the book would make any type of useful reference.
The aircraft radar being referred to is probably solely designed to help avoid dangerous weather, thunderstorms and the like. If it's not designed to help you navigate, no-one will use it to navigate. It may have been turned off, and even if it was turned on it is probably not actively referred to in flight unless you're worried about "thunderstorms ahead". So yeah, it only shows clouds and rain - because that's what it's supposed to do.
The aircraft did have a ground proximity warning system, but as the wikipedia article on that says: "Traditional GPWS does have a blind spot. Since it can only gather data from directly below the aircraft, it must predict future terrain features. If there is a dramatic change in terrain, such as a steep slope, GPWS will not detect the aircraft closure rate until it is too late for evasive action." Using the technology of the time, and the requirements of the time, it was not designed to prevent pilots from flying directly into VERY steep terrain. Again as the wikipedia GPWS article indicates, it wasn't until the late 90's that systems were developed that had earlier warnings for more complicated situations. And they don't use radar, they use current position and speed in combination with high resolution maps and a computer to predict danger. And I wonder if such systems have Antarctic data.
We need to be careful here not to engage in original research. And I'd be hesitant to quote the book of a journalist if he's making up stuff on his own. Does he specifically quote or reference any other experts? Or is he pulling something out of thin air (as some people are won't to do) by hanging his opinion on some obscure technical detail he doesn't understand, and saying "if only the weather radar could have been used to navigate". That's .... right out of left field unless there are real aviation experts who think commercial passenger flights SHOULD have ground mapping radar used for navigation.
I think it's interesting to note that even with the warning they did get (six seconds), they couldn't do anything because they were operating at their minimum airspeed. I believe you don't dare climb or turn violently when you're at minimum airspeed, otherwise you'll stall and that's just flat out worse.
CraigWyllie (talk) 00:45, 27 December 2012 (UTC)
Weather radar in jetliners can be and is used to map ground terrain, including land that is covered with ice and snow. I know, because I used it that way many times when flying the most northern Pacific routes to Japan, to ensure that we did not intrude upon Soviet Air Space. That became a mandatory, additional backup navigation procedure, after the shoot down of KAL 007. All that is necessary, is for the plane's antenna to be tilted down enough to show where the land ends, and the water starts. It was so precise, that the coast line contours of Kamchatka Peninsula, which displayed on our radar screens, matched the shoreline contours drawn on our navigation maps. It also enabled us to detect how many miles we were from that shoreline, at any point along our planned INS route.
A necessary part of detecting T-storms during cruise flight is to ensure the antenna is tilted UP high enough so it will NOT paint terrain below, which can easily be confused for heavy percipitation ahead, if the pilot is not aware he has tilted the antenna down, too much.
The official accident report confirms weather radar can be used to map terraine below, in this paragraph from page 14:
The aircraft was equipped with a Bendix RDR 1F radar which had a digital indication. This equipment has both weather and mapping modes. Although it is not approved as a navigation aid, some pilots of previous Antarctic lights reported that the radar indications of high ground correlated well with the contours which they observed visually in VMC. Expert opinion from the aircraft manufacturers was that the high ground on Ross Island would have been clearly indicated by the shadow effect had either pilot studied the radar presentation during the aircraft’s descent to the north of the island.
EditorASC (talk) 07:14, 24 May 2013 (UTC)

IIRC, the weather radar did not give adequate warning of the approaching mountain because in the Antarctic the snow is so cold and dry that it does not always reflect radar waves like normal rain and snow would. — Preceding unsigned comment added by 80.7.147.13 (talk) 19:10, 22 December 2013 (UTC)

Archived references not used in the article[edit]

--Jetstreamer Talk 18:10, 21 August 2013 (UTC)

Recent additions[edit]

I think it's time to start a new thread regarding the addition of recent content [3] [4]. First of all, the accident is not the 18th worst in aviation history because accidents with more fatalities include collisions between two aircraft and the they cannot be considered individually. Furthermore, WP:VERIFY requires a citation exactly supporting the material added. Given that this is not the case for second citation of the first diff, it borders WP:ORIGINAL. The same applies for the first citation added in the second diff. The 18th worst accident stuff appears nowhere in first citation of the first diff, and the resemblance between the article and that source is astonishing. Clearly, there's a violation of at least two policies in the diffs provided, so I'm removing these edits in a week or so unless strong arguments for keeping them are given.--Jetstreamer Talk 11:08, 11 May 2015 (UTC)

Agree, I removed it 124.149.118.17 (talk) 12:00, 11 May 2015 (UTC)
Paragraph removed [5] per WP:SILENCE.--Jetstreamer Talk 22:38, 17 May 2015 (UTC)

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"(as the crew assumed)"[edit]

Paragraph two of this article includes the text: "(as the crew assumed)".

In the context of this article, this text implies that the flight crew made an assumption in the absence of reasonable and proper factual data, which of course is untrue, as the crew had been briefed by the airline's navigation section 19 days earlier (as is discussed elsewhere in this article). The crew's "assumption" was therefore based on the data presented by navigation experts at this briefing and therefore was not an assumption, but a belief reasonably based on the content of the briefing.

To represent this belief on the part of the flight crew as an assumption is, in my opinion, inaccurate and an affront to the professionalism and integrity of the flight crew of flight 901. I have no doubt that the authors of this article had no such intent and I therefore respectfully submit that the word "assumed" should be replaced by "believed" in this paragraph.

Thanks for all your great work.

Selwyn James Scj242 (talk) 04:23, 24 November 2016 (UTC)

@Scj242: go on and change it yourself; if some editor disagrees, we'll discuss it later. This great work of ours can be your great work too. --Deeday-UK (talk) 12:58, 24 November 2016 (UTC)
I have changed 'assumed' to 'had been led to believe'.

"Mahon Report"[edit]

There is an external link to the release of Mahon's report, the link claims "In para. 377 of his report,[29] Mahon controversially[30] found that airline executives and senior (management) pilots had engaged in a conspiracy to whitewash the inquiry, accusing them of "an orchestrated litany of lies" by covering up evidence and lying to investigators."

I don't know why the word "controversially" is used. The conspiracy was only ever denied by executives and senior management; the general public accepted the proof provided in the Mahon report.

I respectfully suggest removing the word "controversially" from the sentence.

Thedoctor98 (talk) 05:09, 29 January 2018 (UTC)

I respectfully suggest you to be bold and do it yourself. That's the spirit of Wikipedia. --Deeday-UK (talk) 10:19, 29 January 2018 (UTC)

That is one of the problems with Wikipedia - people just changing things without discussing the matter first. Now I've put it out there and nobody disagrees, I can change it. But not before. Thedoctor98 (talk) 05:54, 30 January 2018 (UTC)

A user on 12 February 2018 undid the removal of the word "controversially" because "This assertion is supported by the article body". However, there is nothing in the article body that suggests the findings of the Mahon inquiry was controversial to anybody OTHER than the management of Air New Zealand. Just because people are found at fault does not mean the decision is a controversial one. Thedoctor98 (talk) 02:48, 15 February 2018 (UTC)

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