Madrid crash jet flaps 'not set for take off'

The Spanish airliner that crashed at Madrid airport last month killing 154 people did not have its wing flaps set for take off, investigators said today.

The pilots were unaware that the vital devices, which provide extra lifting power, had not been deployed because a cockpit warning alert did not go off.



The findings are based on information from the MD-82's flight and cockpit voice recorders and contained in a preliminary report on the August 20 crash of the Spanair flight.



The report said further study was needed of a malfunction of an air temperature gauge outside the cockpit, which forced the pilot to abandon a first take off attempt. Spanair called it a minor glitch resolved by turning off the gauge because it was not an absolutely essential piece of equipment.



But the Spanish investigators said that this might have had something to do with the failure of the cockpit alarm that is supposed to sound when a plane trying to take off is not properly configured.



The data recorder showed no evidence of problems with the plane's two engines, it added.



But the flight recorder did reveal that from the time the plane's engines started on the runway until the crash itself, sensors measuring the position of the flaps gave a reading of "zero degrees," which means they did not extend as they were supposed to.



A loud alarm should have gone off in the cockpit, but "the cockpit voice recorder registered no sound from the take off warning system," the report said.



Some of the 18 survivors have said the plane struggled to gain speed and altitude during takeoff. The report said the plane only got 40 feet off the ground.



Investigators say the aircraft crashed tail-first, bounced three times as it skidded through a grassy area near the runway, then largely disintegrated and burned after coming to a halt at the edge of a stream.



The report said makers McDonnell Douglas recommended after a fatal MD-82 crash in 1987 in Detroit, Michigan, that airlines check the take-off warning system before each flight.



But Spanair's policy is to check the system before a plane's first flight of the day and during stopovers, but in the latter case only if an entirely new cockpit crew takes over for the continuing leg.



If one member of the cockpit crew stays on for the next leg, Spanair does not carry out such checks and this was the case of the plane that crashed, the investigators said.



The flight originated in Barcelona, stopped off in Madrid and was to go on to Las Palmas in the Canary Islands, and the pilot and co-pilot were not changed.



Spanair official declined to comment.

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
ebooks
ebooksA special investigation by Andy McSmith
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Bookkeeper / Office Co-ordinator

£9 per hour: Recruitment Genius: This role is based within a small family run ...

Recruitment Genius: Designer - Print & Digital

£28000 - £32000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This Design and marketing agenc...

Recruitment Genius: Quantity Surveyor

£46000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This property investment firm are lookin...

Recruitment Genius: Telesales / Telemarketing Executive - OTE £30k / £35k plus

£18000 - £35000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This company specialises provid...

Day In a Page

The difference between America and Israel? There isn’t one

The difference between America and Israel? There isn’t one

Netanyahu knows he can get away with anything in America, says Robert Fisk
Families clubbing together to build their own affordable accommodation

Do It Yourself approach to securing a new house

Community land trusts marking a new trend for taking the initiative away from developers
Head of WWF UK: We didn’t send Cameron to the Arctic to see green ideas freeze

David Nussbaum: We didn’t send Cameron to the Arctic to see green ideas freeze

The head of WWF UK remains sanguine despite the Government’s failure to live up to its pledges on the environment
Author Kazuo Ishiguro on being inspired by shoot-outs and samurai

Author Kazuo Ishiguro on being inspired by shoot-outs and samurai

Set in a mythologised 5th-century Britain, ‘The Buried Giant’ is a strange beast
With money, corruption and drugs, this monk fears Buddhism in Thailand is a ‘poisoned fruit’

Money, corruption and drugs

The monk who fears Buddhism in Thailand is a ‘poisoned fruit’
America's first slavery museum established at Django Unchained plantation - 150 years after slavery outlawed

150 years after it was outlawed...

... America's first slavery museum is established in Louisiana
Kelly Clarkson: How I snubbed Simon Cowell and become a Grammy-winning superstar

Kelly Clarkson: How I snubbed Simon Cowell and become a Grammy-winning superstar

The first 'American Idol' winner on how she manages to remain her own woman – Jane Austen fascination and all
Tony Oursler on exploring our uneasy relationship with technology with his new show

You won't believe your eyes

Tony Oursler's new show explores our uneasy relationship with technology. He's one of a growing number of artists with that preoccupation
Ian Herbert: Peter Moores must go. He should never have been brought back to fail again

Moores must go. He should never have been brought back to fail again

The England coach leaves players to find solutions - which makes you wonder where he adds value, says Ian Herbert
War with Isis: Fears that the looming battle for Mosul will unleash 'a million refugees'

The battle for Mosul will unleash 'a million refugees'

Aid agencies prepare for vast exodus following planned Iraqi offensive against the Isis-held city, reports Patrick Cockburn
Yvette Cooper: We can't lose the election. There's too much on the line

Yvette Cooper: We can't lose the election. There's too much on the line

The shadow Home Secretary on fighting radical Islam, protecting children, and why anyone in Labour who's thinking beyond May must 'sort themselves out'
A bad week for the Greens: Leader Natalie Bennett's 'car crash' radio interview is followed by Brighton council's failure to set a budget due to infighting

It's not easy being Green

After a bad week in which its leader had a public meltdown and its only city council couldn't agree on a budget vote, what next for the alternative party? It's over to Caroline Lucas to find out
Gorillas nearly missed: BBC producers didn't want to broadcast Sir David Attenborough's famed Rwandan encounter

Gorillas nearly missed

BBC producers didn't want to broadcast Sir David Attenborough's famed Rwandan encounter
Downton Abbey effect sees impoverished Italian nobles inspired to open their doors to paying guests for up to €650 a night

The Downton Abbey effect

Impoverished Italian nobles are opening their doors to paying guests, inspired by the TV drama
China's wild panda numbers have increased by 17% since 2003, new census reveals

China's wild panda numbers on the up

New census reveals 17% since 2003