Legacy Pilots Turned Off Transponder, Brazil Says

By Robert Mark on July 3rd, 2007

Jethwhine’s man in Brazil, Marcelo Alves, said today´s edition of Folha de S. Paulo reported an important leak from the Brazilian Air Force investigation into last fall’s midair between a Gol Airlines Boeing 737 and a U.S. registered Embraer Legacy.

Folha says the Air Force is now convinced the Legacy pilots turned off the transponder by mistake and that the unit did not somehow fail as was previously thought. Details about exactly how the pilots turned off the transponder by mistake were not available.

The transponder issue was leaked to a Folha reporter yesterday in advance of the official Air Force document.

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2 Responses to “Legacy Pilots Turned Off Transponder, Brazil Says”

  1. Bill P. Says:

    That is such cxxp!
    Anyone who had read the air traffic controller’s description of the systemic errors in the brazilian ATC system knows what happened.

  2. Keith Peshak Says:

    1. On the “old stuff” all the pilot has is a blinking light (every transponder reply). Pilots have too much to do to watch see if a light is still blinking. On the “new stuff” for “big iron” even that isn’t there. In this specific system no “bong-bong” and no “red blinking light on the status panel” and no daughterly voice saying “your transponder is off”. Ergo, no way to know.

    2. This is a newly integrated system of two mutually exclusive boxes – transponder allows to be seen, TCAS sees. Takes a double failure to cause “can’t see and can’t be seen”. Honeywell integrated them (if one croaks they both croak). This is called a fundamental systems design failure. Ergo, why do we criminalize the pilots instead of the certifying entity (FAA)?

    3. Then there is the issue about “timed knobbing”, good ol’ 2006-19-04:
    http://rgl.faa.gov/Regulatory_and_Guidance_Library/rgAD.nsf/0/1BDDC176AC629452862571E70059100D?OpenDocument. This AD results from the transponder erroneously going into standby mode if the flightcrew takes longer than five seconds when using the rotary knob of the radio management unit to change the ATC code. Why would you design it that way? Why didnt the FAA catch this in certification? Can’t get no dumber than that!

    Learn about drop out & coast mode & track jump & phantoms & ring around (all FAA terms for the way radar normally operates) at http://www.collisionavoidance.org

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