Homework Question on X-31 Crash
Watch the X-31 Crash video:
- What do you feel was the leading cause of the X-31 crash?
- Given that question, identify a risk and mitigation process that was not carried out during the final flight of the X-31 that could have prevented the crash if it were in place.
Homework Answer on X-31 Crash
According to the crash video, this accident involved an aircraft that was on an experimental mission in 1995, evidence gathered during the investigation pointed out that the accident was caused by the aircraft providing false airspeed information to the computers managing and controlling the flight thereby prompting the aircraft to lose control and crash. Investigations elaborated that the pitot system was responsible for providing air speed data to instruments located in the cockpit, the flight control computers and the mission control center (Spalding, 2007).
However, as the flight was approaching the final portion, it is alleged that ice formed in and around the Pitot tube leading to transmission of false data to the flight control that automatically misconfigured the flight for a lower speed approach. Consequently, this made the flight to begin oscillating in all directions making it difficult for the pilot to control, prompting him to eject successfully before the plane crashed.
Assertively, most aircraft accidents are caused my human error risks; the pilot did not perform the take off checklist properly. This is because experts have pointed out that in most cases pilots do not expect the pitot system to fail and as such the pilot should ensure that he recognizes the potential of air speed indicator to malfunction. Aviation students are taught to always look for secondary indicators that help verify an emergency, the accident would have therefore been prevented if the pilot would have taken into account that the pitot system may fail and in the process provide false data.