Investigation of the Crash of
American Airlines Flight 587
American Airlines Flight 587 was an Airbus A300 that crashed shortly after takeoff from JFK airport in New York. The crash is currently under investigation by the NTSB The following is a brief description of the crash, an overview of the investigation, and related links.
On 12 November 2001, at approximately 9:17 a.m. local time, American Airlines flight 587, an Airbus A300-600, crashed into the Belle Harbor area of Queens, New York, several minutes after taking off from JFK International Airport. The plane was on a scheduled flight to Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic. All nine crew members and 251 passengers on the aircraft were killed, including five infants. Five people on the ground were also killed.
NTSB factual report
NTSB final report
Wikipedia entry on this crash
The NTSB calculated that the time between flight 587s liftoff from Runway 31L until impact with the ground was 103 seconds. The flight data recorder (FDR) recorded data for about 93 seconds after liftoff and the cockpit voice recorder (CVR) continued to record information until at or about the time of the planes impact with the ground.
Based on radar data, flight 587 took off approximately 105 seconds behind a Japan Airlines 747. The FDR indicates that flight 587 encountered two wake vortices generated by JAL flight 47. The second wake encounter occurs about 8 seconds before the end of the FDR data. For the first few seconds after the second wake encounter, the aircraft responded to flight control inputs. Both wake encounters averaged about 0.1 G lateral (side to side) movement. During the last 8 seconds of FDR data, the plane experienced three stronger lateral movements, two to the right of 0.3 and 0.4 Gs, and then one to the left of 0.3 Gs. These lateral forces corresponded in time with rudder movements. The NTSB continues to investigate the cause of the rudder movements.
The FDRs rudder data becomes unreliable about 2.5 seconds before the end of the recording, and sound spectrum analysis shows that engine sounds can be heard on the cockpit voice recorder beyond that point.
The rudder and tail fin were found first in the wreckage path, followed by the engines and then by the main wreckage impact point at the intersection of Newport and 131st Street, Belle Haven, New York.