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Thread: US Jury Blames Rudder, Not Pilot For 1997 Silkair Crash?

  1. #1
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    Default US Jury Blames Rudder, Not Pilot For 1997 Silkair Crash?

    I do not pretend to understand a lot of things that happen in the USA, but how on Earth can this happen?

    (QUOTE)

    US Jury Blames Rudder, Not Pilot For 1997 Silkair Crash.

    Business Times - 09 Jul 2004

    SilkAir crash: US firm told to pay US$44m


    Los Angeles Superior Court jury says defects in rudder control system caused the crash


    (LOS ANGELES) Parker Hannifin Corp, the world's largest maker of hydraulic equipment, was told by a Los Angeles jury to pay US$43.6 million to the families of three people killed in a 1997 crash of a SilkAir Pte plane in Indonesia.

    The Los Angeles Superior Court jury on Tuesday determined that defects in a rudder control system caused the Boeing Co 737 to plunge from 35,000 feet, killing all 104 people aboard.

    The US National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) concluded that there were no mechanical defects and the pilot intentionally caused the crash.

    'We are incredulous,' said Lorrie Paul Crum, a spokeswoman for Cleveland-based Parker Hannifin, who said the company will appeal. 'This is the best case for tort reform I've seen yet.'

    The jury assigned the entire responsibility for the crash to Parker Hannifin, rejecting the option of apportioning any fault to SilkAir or Boeing, which manufactured the 10-month-old 737. Parker Hannifin was the only defendant.

    Boeing had settled earlier and SilkAir had paid about US$100,000 to each family under the Warsaw Convention, which limits airlines' liability in international accidents, said Walter Lack, a lawyer for the families.

    The case was the first US trial over the crash of SilkAir Flight 135, Mr Lack said. The trial established Parker Hannifin's liability and relatives of about 30 other people will now go to trial in the same Los Angeles court to determine how much Parker Hannifin owes them in damages, he said.

    'This is just the tip of the iceberg,' Mr Lack said. Another 40 cases are pending in federal court in Seattle, he said.

    SilkAir is Singapore Airline Ltd's regional unit, serving mainly tourists travelling to Asian destinations. SilkAir Flight 135 was travelling to Singapore from Jakarta when it crashed in December 1997.

    The NTSB said in a December 2000 letter to the Indonesian National Transportation Safety Committee that 'no airplane- related mechanical malfunctions or failures caused or contributed to the accident' and the evidence indicates the crash was caused by 'intentional pilot action'. The Indonesian safety agency gave no official reason for the crash.

    The US agency investigates major international accidents involving US air carriers or US manufactured jets. NTSB reports can't be used as evidence at trial under federal law, Ms Crum said. Mr Lack said factual statements from NTSB reports can be used, while conclusions and recommendations are barred by the law.

    Parker Hannifin intends to challenge that statute in its appeal as well as seek a legislative remedy, Ms Crum said. The verdict won't affect Parker Hannifin's earnings because the company is covered by insurance, she added.

    The case was brought by the families of Soen Lay Heng, 46, a Singapore resident who specialised in security printing; Merleen Tan Peck Jiang, 26, a Singapore resident who worked as a computer consultant; and Kenneth George Wilson, 44, a Scottish citizen living in Indonesia.

    The trial before Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Emilie Elias lasted six weeks. The jury deliberated for four days before delivering its unanimous verdict on all questions, Mr Lack said. - Bloomberg

    (ENDQUOTE)

    There was much discussion in our part of the World after this incident, and it was considered opinion that the Pilot commited suicide and purposely crashed the Aircraft.

    The NTSB later proved that there was nothing mechanically wrong with the Aircraft, and yet this US "jury" of ordinary citizens, after not being allowed to see the expert evidence, decides the complete opposite.

    How on Earth can this happen? [img]/forum/images/graemlins/confused.gif[/img] [img]/forum/images/graemlins/frown.gif[/img]

  2. #2
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    Default Re: US Jury Blames Rudder, Not Pilot For 1997 Silkair Crash?

    I suppose the jury can only give a verdict in accordance to the facts they have heard or have been given...

    All very suspicious if you ask me...

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    Default Re: US Jury Blames Rudder, Not Pilot For 1997 Silkair Crash?

    If you are so hell bent on this topic then I would suggest you lames ride the wave of this malaise. You appear to be fixated upon this bad judgement. If any of you folk know of bad jury decisions or judges making bad judgement direct you concern to lame for he will take up all of the bad slack. Lame reckons any aviation accident is a conspiracy redirect all things toward.

  4. #4
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    Default Re: US Jury Blames Rudder, Not Pilot For 1997 Silkair Crash?

    CPC,

    As usual, I have not got a clue what you are on about, or what you are smoking? [img]/forum/images/graemlins/confused.gif[/img]

    In this incident, the Captain after locking the F/O out of the cockpit and disabling the flight recorders, purposely crashed the Aircraft killing himself and all on board. [img]/forum/images/graemlins/frown.gif[/img]

    Now because the relatives have got as much money as they can from the Airline, they are suing this Company, even though the NTSB cleared the Aircraft of any mechanical defects at all.

    IF you are in fact an Engineer, I would have thought this would concern you?

  5. #5
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    Default Re: US Jury Blames Rudder, Not Pilot For 1997 Silkair Crash?

    Now it turns out that the "expert" hired by these American Lawyers, has still NEVER even seen this valve himself.

    JULY 18, 2004

    Stroke of luck in locating crucial valve
    While most of wreckage had been destroyed, valve was found locked in Indonesian official's safe

    THERE'S nothing left of the SilkAir Boeing 737 that went down in Indonesia in 1997, except for one little piece.

    All 600kg of the salvaged parts, save the servo valve, were destroyed by Indonesian Customs last August. They had been sitting in a warehouse since 1998.

    And it was by a stroke of luck that aeronautical engineering expert Frederic Wilken found the valve, a component in the Boeing 737's power control unit that controls the rudder's movements.

    Defects found in the cylindrical shaft - 2cm in diameter and about 30cm long - helped the Los Angeles law firm Lipscomb, Engstrom and Lack convince a Californian jury that the valve maker Parker Hannifin was responsible for the crash.

    The law firm engaged Mr Wilken to find the valve because 'no one would tell us where it went after it was inspected in May 1998,' said lawyer Walter Lack.

    The four-month search that began last November was the 'most frustrating' he's taken on, said Mr Wilken, 57, who has investigated more than 700 aircraft accidents in the last 30 years.

    Before he touched down in Jakarta, he was confident he knew where it was.

    From calls he had made, he learnt that the wreckage was in a warehouse for goods that did not get through Customs.

    The warehouse was searched, but the crates weren't there.

    Mr Wilken was six weeks into the search when he learnt that they had all been destroyed months earlier.

    'That was one of my low points,' he told The Sunday Times from Jakarta, where he is investigating two more plane crashes.

    His only hope rested in the Indonesia's National Transportation Safety Committee (NTSC) investigators who handled the probe back in 1998.

    Two weeks went by before he received a phone call that saved the day.

    'An NTSC investigator who was helping me was yelling and laughing. He said another investigator who was involved in the probe seven years back had actually locked the servo valve in a safe in the NTSC office.

    'He felt it was too important to leave it with the rest of the plane's remains!'

    Mr Wilken then met twice with the NTSC to persuade its officials to let him take the valve to the US where experts could run tests on it.

    They agreed only a day before he was due to leave for home. He scrambled to get air tickets for the two Indonesian officials appointed to carry the valve to the US.

    But hours before the plane was to leave for Singapore en route to Boston, one of the two said he couldn't go, because a meeting had come up suddenly.

    'By this time, I'd given up. I left the next day and told the investigator that if he gets there, call me,' he recalled.

    Three days and many cancelled and delayed flights later, the Indonesian investigator finally arrived in the US, carrying the valve in a sealed cardboard box.

    The next day, experts concluded that it did indeed have 'chip-outs' and numerous burrs that could have interfered with the smooth operation of the valve.

    Mr Wilken's job was done. He then took a two-week vacation in the Caribbean.

    Till today, he hasn't laid eyes on the servo valve.

    'Not once! I just hoped it was there and that it was the right piece.

    'Thank goodness it was!' --

  6. #6

    Default Re: US Jury Blames Rudder, Not Pilot For 1997 Silkair Crash?

    So this one little valve was capable of locking the cockpit door, disabling the flight recorders and causing complete loss of control...

    Yes, I would be worried too. First they blame this valve on all that, next the engineer who fitted it will get blamed because the hydraulic manufacturer has more money. [img]/forum/images/graemlins/confused.gif[/img]

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    Default Re: US Jury Blames Rudder, Not Pilot For 1997 Silkair Crash?

    And your conclusion lame is?
    Spit it out don't hide behind prewritten transcripts.
    What do you think happened?

  8. #8
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    Default Re: US Jury Blames Rudder, Not Pilot For 1997 Silkair Crash?

    CPC,

    Why do you have to mess up every thread. [img]/forum/images/graemlins/frown.gif[/img]

    IF you cannot say anything sensible, why on Earth keep posting? [img]/forum/images/graemlins/frown.gif[/img]

    The Captain locked the F/O out of the cockpit when the F/O went to the toilet, he then disabled the flight recorders and purposely crashed the Aircraft, killing himself and all on board. [img]/forum/images/graemlins/frown.gif[/img]

    Even someone with obviously limited knowledge should know that. [img]/forum/images/graemlins/mad.gif[/img]

  9. #9
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    Default Re: US Jury Blames Rudder, Not Pilot For 1997 Silkair Crash?

    [img]/forum/images/graemlins/laugh.gif[/img]

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    Default Re: US Jury Blames Rudder, Not Pilot For 1997 Silkair Crash?

    Jeez.. lame I was interested in your post and only wanted to find out what you thought not mess up you thread.
    You did the research and you conclude this crash was attributed to a random human occurance out of the control of good governance.
    There is little or no control that will stop this type of activity occuring in the future.
    Profiling the the cockpit boys may have some effect but little or no effect if the captain cracks up. Perhaps we need a system that will take control of the aircraft away from the pilot if he/she loses the plot.
    Someone told me they know of home based personal issues that find there way into the workplace with disasterous effects.
    If we are ground Engineers we have a better chance of controlling this problem through limited checks and balances. In the air well?
    If as you suggest this individual disabled the checks and balances then we have a situation.

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