Two separate flights crash under similar winter conditions. Is there a connection? Could these deaths have been prevented?

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Episode cast overview:
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Narrator (voice)
Matthew Cooke ...
Captain Morwood
...
First Officer Mills
Martin Harper ...
First Officer Rachuba
Shauna Bradley ...
Flight Attendant Hartwick
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David Rohrer
Kris Saric ...
Frank Black
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Two separate flights crash under similar winter conditions. Is there a connection? Could these deaths have been prevented?

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12 April 2010 (UK)  »

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Seriatim.
23 September 2016 | by (Deming, New Mexico, USA) – See all my reviews

A US Air flight attempts a mid-winter take off from La Guardia in New York and plows into Flushing Bay. The narration takes us on a flashback to a similar incident in remote Dryden, Ontario.

An Air Ontario Fokker F-28, having waited for an hour for clearance, takes off from the small field in a snow storm and about one hundred yards later, waddles and lands in the trees. Most of the passengers survive but 24 do not.

The culprit: Several unfortunate coincides, an impatient pilot and a layer of snow and ice on the wings; not the leading edges because they're heated internally, but the rest of the wings' upper surfaces. Too much ice, too little lift, so the flight couldn't get airborne.

The design of the Fokker F-28 made them particularly vulnerable to "wing contamination" so the investigators, knowing there were hundreds of the same model in general use, issued an interim warning. It didn't reach the US Air flight at La Guardia fifteen months later. The US Air flight had been de-iced but was delayed at the runway for 35 minutes, which was enough. The accident left 27 dead. The links between the two crashes were finally discovered and corrective measures employed.

These episodes are well written. The technical details should bother no one, and the computer-generated images are so precise that at times it's difficult to separate the newsreel footage from the fakes. This episode is also notable for its use of Shauna Bradley as the actress who plays the role of the flight attendant. Hold, thou art so fair.


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