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April 11, 1979 - Image 7

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Publication:
The Michigan Daily, 1979-04-11

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The Michigan Daily-Wednesday, April 11, 1979-Pagq,7
FAA INVESTIGATES TWA JET MISHAP

Flight recording

WASHINGTON (AP) - A tape
recording of cockpit conversations
aboard a TWA jetliner that survived a
harrowing dive last week was
deliberately erased. Was it done pur-
posely, or. did a crew member do it
routinely, as one would turn off his car
lights?
That was a puzzling question facing
investigators yesterday as they sought
to learn why the aircraft barrel-rolled
twice and plummeted about five miles
before the pilot managed to bring it un-
der control over Michigan.
THE PILOT, Harvey Gibson of Las
Vegas, made an emergency landing at
Detroit Metropolitan Airport. Three of
the 87 persons aboard were slightly in-
jured.
The cockpit tape, which records con-
versations among the crew, and a flight
recorder were sent to the National
ITransportation Safety Board in
Washington for analysis. The flight
recorder, with such data as tern-
peratures, pressures, speeds, courses
and voltages, was in good shape. But
the cockpit recorder was blank.
Dennis Feldman, a spokesman for
the Federal Aviation Administration,
said Tuesday the cockpit tape had been
erased "by overt action. . . It was done
by pushing a button and electronically
erasing the tape."
HE SAID THE agency did not know
who erased the tape or why, anol was
t investigating.
"It is a violation to erase the tape if
there is an incident involved, and there
certainly was an incident in this case,
Feldman added. Violation could lead to
revocation of a crew member's cer-
tificate to fly, and a $1,000 civil penalty.
Safety board investigators expect to
interview the TWA crew members later
this week, and hope to learn then why
the tape was blank.
FLIGHT CREWS long have been sen-
sitive about the cockpit recorder

because it often records private
thoughts and conversations they'd just
as soon not have heard.
Before Feldman made his statement,
Jerry Cosley, TWA vice president for
corporate communications, said the
airline did not know whether the tape
was erased by the crew, whether there
was a malfunction, or whether the foree
of the five-mile dive fouled it up.
The Detroit News reported that Gib-
son had told investigators the plane
swerved into its roll as he took control
from the automatic pilot. He was said to

erased
have reported he took control boc 4e
the yaw dampener in the autopilof as
continually making corrections inthe
flight path toward the right.
Unidentified "veteran pilots" were
quoted as saying that if the yaw dan-
pener were not working correctly,,-
son's action could have throwtr'
craft out of control.
Cosley said investigators were
looking into the possibility that the ii-
cident began when an edge flap on the
front of the right wing may have failed
and moved into, an upright positiori,
pushing the plane down on one side,

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AP Photo
MAJOR CLEAN UP attempts were made Monday as Detroiters removed downed power-lines and tree branches, the result
of Sunday's spring ice storm. The storm, which cut power to at least 230,000 Detroit Edison customers, caused at least five
deaths.'
Detroit power outages continue

DETROIT (UPI) - Detroit Edison
Co. said -some 150,000 customers
remained without power yesterday due
to a killer ice storm, with full service
not expected to be restored before the
end of the week.
The giant utility called in nearly 200
repairmen from Chicago, Toledo, and
Consumers Power Co. in Michigan to
aid its own personnel in cleaning up af-
ter the storm that struck Sunday night
and Monday.
The one-two punch of the ice storm
and violent windstorm that raked much
of southern Michigan last Thursday
night and Friday blacked out a total of
about 340,000 customers, Edison,
spokespersons said.
THAT WAS worse than the "great ice
storm" of March 1976 that knocked out

power to about 320,000 customers over a
two-week 'period and caused between
$12 million and $15 million damage, the,
utility said.
One Edison official estimated the
"ballpark" cost of the latest storm at $7
million to $8 million.
Meanwhile, in Lansing, Gov. William
Milliken yesterday ordered an aide and
state police emergency services per-
sonnel to survey the damage from a
helicopter this morning. Milliken said
he will review the reports to determine
what assistance can be provided by the
state.
THE STATE has already provided
some help to the area by supplying
emergency generators and dry ice for
use by stricken commercial food com-
panies.

Working with Edison crews to fix
downed power lines and other damaged
equipment were 185 crew members
from Commonwealth Edison in
Chicago, Toledo Edison, and Con-
sumers Power, Connelly said.
Edison, which serves some 1.7 million
customers in southern Michigan, said
the cost of the clean-up eventually
would be passed on to consumers,
probably as part of a future rate case.
THE PARALYZING storm, which
was blamed for at least seven deaths,
forcedthe closing of city schools Mon-
day and yesterday and shut down
numerous suburban schools as well.
It also wiped out telephone service for
approximately 5,000 persons in the
Detroit area, said Michigan Bell
Telephone Co. *

This summer Parsons offers you the opportunity
to paint on the Rive Gauche, explore the
pre-historic caves of the Dordogne
region of France and study interior
design at the Musee des Arts
Decoratifs.

l e i [irl igttn

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Parsons School of Design,
66 Fifth Avenue
New York, N.Y. 10011.
attn. Dean Salvadori

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