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Flight 401 Normal - Faulty Auto Pilot

Definition: Although the crash was ruled pilot error, there were those who had testified that the auto pilot mechanism on these aircraft's could be disengaged by simply bumping the flight stick.

 

Both passengers and crew alike referred to the flight as being normal. "Routine," was a term often used. Flight Attendant Beverly Raposa, recalled that after the decent into Miami International had been aborted, the go-around flight was smooth, with no indication of there being anything wrong until impact.

So, why did the aircraft fall into the swamp that night?

The answer came in fragments. First, Eastern captain Daniel Gellert testified to the NTSB on February 6th that he had noticed that the altitude hold function could be disengaged by bumping the control column. Many pilots doubted Gellert's testimony, but the incident was strikingly similar to a situation encountered by Thomas Oakes, another Eastern pilot. Oakes had been one of the first captains qualified to fly the L-1011. He had the altitude hold function disengage on a flight on January 8th, ten days after the crash of flight 401. Oakes testified that he and the co-pilot noticed the malfunction and proceeded to reset the autopilot and then trip it off by bumping the control column several times. They noted this behavior in their log book. Although these seemed to be freak occurrences, Eastern took it seriously to send a printed notice to all it's L-1011 pilots on January 15th.

Collections:

Eastern Flight 401

 

Related Categories:

| Repo, Donald Louis | The Ghost of Flight 401 (TV Movie 1978) - IMDb | Loft, Robert Albin | About Flight 401 | Flight 401 - Possible Explanation | Lockheed L-1011 Cockpit | Lockheed L-1011 Landing Gear Lever | Lockheed L-1011 Inside the Hell Hole | Flight 401 - Flight Log | Ghosts of Flight 401 - 1 | Ghosts of Flight 401 - 2 | Ghosts of Flight 401 - 3 | Ghosts of Flight 401 - 4 | Ghosts of Flight 401 - 5 | Ghosts of Flight 401 - 6 | Official Eastern Air Lines Flight 401 - History, Photos, Survivors and Tribute | The Flight 401 Was A Normal Flight | Johnson, Charles | Flight 401 - Autopilot indicator | Song - The Ghost of Flight 401 - Lyrics | The Ghost of Flight 401: Mystery Files | Flight 401 - First Response | Marquis, Robert | Flight 401 - Survivors and those who were lost | Raposa, Beverly | Ghosts of Flight 401 - 7 | The Ghost of Flight 401 (TV 1978) - YouTube | Flight 401 - Flight Crew Fatal Photograph | Possible Curse of Seminole Indians | NTSB Crash Report (Flight 401) | Miami International Airport Sighting | Flight 401 Crash Site Hauntings |

Resources:

  external linkEastern Airlines Flight 401 - Crash Investigation, Findings and Passenger List - Official Eastern Air Lines Flight 401 - History, Photos, Survivors and Tribute

 

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