In April 2013, a Boeing 747-400 crashed after taking off from Bagram Airfield in Afghanistan. The NTSB concluded that the cargo, several armored vehicles, broke free during take-off and shifted to the rear of the aircraft causing it to immediately stall.
RTI was asked to analyze video of the crash captured from a security vehicle’s dashboard camera. With the black-box disabled, the reconstructed flight data from the video became crucial in determining the characteristics of the flight.
RTI was asked to analyze the design of an Electronic Control Unit (ECU), a FADEC digital computer connected to a jet fuel control assembly designed specifically for turbofan fixed-wing aircraft engines.
By examining the thermal modeling of an exemplar ECU, RTI’s experts concluded the manufacturer did not conduct sufficient design review and application testing. Instead relying on previous helicopter experience, despite key differences in operating conditions.
En route from Detroit to Phoenix on August 16, 1987, Northwest Airlines Flight 255 hit a light pole in a rental car parking lot with its left wing when it stalled during takeoff and crashed.
Representing the aircraft manufacturer, RTI was asked to analyze the DFDR and reconstruct the flight from gate departure to the impact on takeoff. The CVR was synchronized and subtitled to create a complete animated sequence of events leading to the crash. We also depicted an animated ‘ghost plane’ to demonstrate the correct angle of takeoff.