BLOGGER'S NOTE. How quickly things change. In a heartbeat. From discussing pretzels and fruity juice cocktail to "Hang on. What the hell is this?". In this case, it looks as if mechanical failure was at fault, but how strange, the change - from major to minor - from lighthearted banter to certain death.
September 8, 1994
USAir, Flight 427
On a flight from Chicago to Pittsburgh, while on approach, the aircraft went into a sudden nose dive and crashed into a wooded ravine 6 miles northwest of the airport. The accident was caused by a loss of control of the aircraft resulting from the movement of the rudder surface to its blowdown limit or an uncommanded rudder reversal. The rudder surface deflected in a direction opposite to that commanded by the pilots as a result of a jam of the main rudder PCU servo valve secondary slide to the servo valve housing offset from its neutral position and overtravel of the primary slide. All 132 aboard were killed.
CAM-1 = Captain
CAM-2 = First Officer
CAM-3 = Cockpit Area Mike (cabin sounds and flight attendants)
RDO-1 = Radio Communications (Captain)
APP: Pittsburgh Approach
CAM-3: They didn't give us connecting flight information or anything. Do you know what gate we're coming into?
CAM-1: Not yet.
CAM-3: Any idea?
CAM-3: Do ya know what I'm thinkin' about? Pretzels.
CAM-3: You guys need drinks here?
CAM-1: I could use a glass of somethin', whatever's open, water, uh, water, a juice?
CAM-2: I'll split a, yeah, a water, a juice, whatever's back there. I'll split one with 'im.
CAM-3: Okey-dokey. Do you want me to make you my special fruity juice cocktail?
CAM-1: How fruity is it?
CAM-3: Why don't you just try it?
CAM-2: All right, I'll be a guinea pig.
CAM-3: [Sound similar to cabin door closing]
The crew receive instructions to reduce speed to 210kts, maintain FL100 and contact Pittsburgh
Approach at 121.25.
CAM-1: Two ten, he said?
CAM-2: Two ten? Oh, I heard two fifty ...
CAM-1: I may have misunderstood him.
Pittsburgh Approach asks Flight 427 to turn left heading 100.
CAM-3: [Sound of cockpit door opening]
CAM-3: Here it is.
CAM-1: All right.
CAM-2: All right. Thank you. Thank you.
CAM-3: I didn't taste 'em, so I don't know if they came out right.
CAM-1: That's good.
CAM-2: That is good.
CAM-3: It's good.
CAM-2: That is different. Be real good with some dark rum in it.
CAM-3: Yeah, right
APP: USAir 427, Pittsburgh Approach. Heading 160, vector ILS Runway 28 Right final approach course speed 120.
CAM-2: What kind of speed?
RDO-1: We're comin' back to 210 and, uh, one sixty heading, down to ten, USAir 427.
CAM-1: What runway did he say?
CAM-1: It tastes like a...
CAM-1: There's little grapefruit in it?
CAM-3: Yeah. You saw that from the color.
CAM-1: Else is in it?
CAM-2: Uh, Sprite?
CAM-3: Diet Sprite.
CAM-3: And I guess you could do with Sprite. Probably be a little be
RDO-1: Cleared to six, USAir 427.
CAM-2: Oh, my wife would like that.
CAM-1: Cranberry, orange, and Sprite.
CAM-2: Yeah. I guess we ought to do a preliminary.
Pre-landing checks take place; Approach requests a left turn heading 140, and speed reduction to 190kts.
CAM-3: [Sound similar to flap handle being moved; sound of single chime similar to seat belt chime]
CAM-2: Oops. I didn't kiss 'em goodbye. What was the temperature? Remember?
PA: Seatbelts and remain seated for the duration of the flight.
PA: Folks, from the flight deck, we should be on the ground in about ten more minutes. Uh, sunny skies, a little hazy. Temperature ... temperature's, ah, 75 degrees. Wind's out of the west around ten miles per hour. Certainly 'ppreciate you choosing USAir for your travel needs this evening. Hope you enjoyed the flight. Hope you come back and travel with us again. This time we'd like to ask our Flight Attendants please prepare the cabin for arrival. Ask you to check the security of your seatbelts. Thank you.
CAM-3: [Seatbelt chime]
RDO-1 : Did you say Runway 28 Left for USAir 427?
APP: Uh, USAir 427, it'll be 28 Right.
RDO-1: 28 Right, thank you.
CAM-1: 28 Right.
CAM-2: Right, 28 Right. That's what we planned on. Autobrakes on one for it.
CAM-1: Seven for six.
CAM-2: Seven for six.
CAM-1: Boy, they always slow you up so bad here.
CAM-2: That sun is gonna be just like it was takin' off in Cleveland yesterday, too. I'm just gonna close my eyes. [Sound of laughter]. You holler when it looks like we're close. [Sound of laughter]
APP: USAir 427, turn left heading one zero zero. Traffic will be one to two o'clock, six miles, northbound Jetstream climbing out of thirty-three for five thousand.
RDO-1: We're looking for the traffic, turning to one zero zero, USAir 427.
CAM-3: [Sound in engines increasing rpms]
CAM-2: Oh, yeah. I see the Jetstream.
CAM-3: [Sound of thump; sound like 'clickety-click'; again the thumping sound, but quieter than before]
CAM-1: Whoa ... hang on.
CAM-3: [Sound of increasing rpms in engines; sound of clickety-click; sound of trim wheel turning at autopilot trim speed; sound similar to pilot grunting; sound of wailing horn similar to autopilot disconnect warning]
CAM-1: Hang on.
CAM-2: Oh, Shit.
CAM-1: Hang on. What the hell is this?
CAM-3: [Sound of stick shaker; sound of altitude alert]
CAM-3: Traffic. Traffic.
CAM-1: What the...
CAM-1: Oh God, Oh God...
RDO-1: 427, emergency!
CAM-2: [Sound of scream]
CAM-1: Pull... pull...
CAM-1: [Sound of screaming]
CAM-2: No... END OF TAPE.