I have already written an article on this horrendous crash in Tenerife, which killed over 500, the worst aviation disaster ever.
I am no aviation analyst but, in my humble opinion, three parties were at fault.
- KLM – For taking off when they did not have clearance to do so
- Pan Am – For not turning off on the correct intersection (C3) between the runway and the taxiway
- The Spanish Aviation Authority – For not installing ground radar at an airport known to suffer from being fog bound, thus preventing air traffic control from seeing the movement of all aircraft
I want to concentrate on what the Pam Am pilots did not do. They had clear instructions from air traffic control to turn off at intersection C3, which required the pilots to execute two 148 degree turns.
The US analysts on the programme deemed that it was “not logical” for the Pan Am plane to turn off at C3 when C4 had only 45 degree turns.
If they had used the C3 intersection, the turns would have been more difficult than for C4 but a plane can do a 360 degree turn if needed and indeed the KLM plane did a full 180 degree turn at the end of the runway. Or to put it another way, the crash would not have happened and all of those lives would have been saved.
In simple terms, the Pan Am pilots disobeyed a clear instruction from air traffic control. Both the programme and the NTSB whitewashed over this fact.
I am sorry to say that, in my opinion, the US produced Air Crash investigation programme wants to rewrite history, to protect the reputation of the US pilots and to protect the reputation of Pan Am, the darling of the US aviation industry. It certainly did not help that the US NTSB were naturally biased towards Pan Am.
A great deal of the programme concentrated on the pressures that the KLM captain was under and the errors that he made and seemed to have ignored the disobeying of orders of the Pan Am crew.
It is said that an air accident is never caused by just one thing. In this horrendous accident, there were three causes that I have stated above.
The programme has been cleverly written to assuage the Pan Am crew and air traffic control of any fault. The only party who was never at fault was the Tenerife air traffic control.
This goes to further strengthen my opinion that Air Crash Investigation and the NTSB are totally biased towards the US aircraft industry and the programme is a mere propaganda exercise.
It would seem, in my opinion, that all the NTSB and, indeed the US FAA, want to do is to:
- Protect Boeing and the rest of the US aviation industry at all costs
- High jack as many investigations that they can, in pursuant of the above
- To do as much damage to the European aviation industry as possible
However, they were trumped by Nikki Lauda’s investigation of the Lauda Air Flight 4 Thai crash
If he had not kept on digging, no one would have known the real truth
If you watch Air Crash Investigation, I would suggest that you take the findings with a pinch of salt.