|QUOTE (SmC12 @ Wednesday, May 1 2013, 13:31)|
|Yanking on the yoke may seem like the worst course of action, but at such a low altitude and a presumably fully loaded aircraft it would probably still have sent it plummeting to the ground, he probably thought applying thrust would maintain altitude. Letting the nose drop only works when you have the vertical space to do so, but this didn't look much higher than ~1,000ft.|
It is physically impossible to recover from stall with a nose-up attitude. Your aircraft is not generating enough lift to maintain altitude. That means it will start going down. That means the relative wind is going to start pointing up, and your angle of attack is going to increase. It doesn't matter what you do with throttle*. With nose-up attitude the only way you are going is down. This is why they teach you to pitch down no matter what. You cannot make it worse by pitching down. You cannot make it better by fighting it. You have to pitch down. It might not be enough, but doing anything else is dumb in any circumstance.
* The only exception are aircraft with enough thrust to fly vertically up, which is a handful of fighter jets and stunt planes.
|If the first odd maneuver was caused by the cargo shifting, wouldn't the cargo then shift again [this time forwards] if you let the plane's nose drop to avert the stall? So no matter what he was screwed?|
Unlikely. First of all, cargo shifting aft is a lot more dangerous than forward. Second, the fact that nose started coming down tells you that it never shifted center of mass further aft than center of pressure - that's when you're really screwed. So I doubt that forward shift would have put the center of mass out of the envelope.
Like I said, it's entirely possible that the whole thing was sealed the moment the cargo shifted. But while pitching down at least gives you a chance to recover, what the pilot did guaranteed crash. Even from 2,000 feet, it would be no different. People keep saying that he started to recover near the ground. He did not. He put the plane near horizontal, sure, but the plane was still moving down, meaning even if he had another 1,000 feet to go, the plane would have been stalled and keep on falling.
There was precisely one right thing to do, it's what they drill into your head all through the flight school, and the pilot instead did the worst thing you possibly could.
On a side note, I would argue that there was enough altitude to recover the very moment the airplane started pitching down, because he still had good air speed, and even a 747, the brick that it is, can do a 4:1 glide unpowered. With full throttle and 1,000+ feet to descend, starting with roughly the stall speed, you ought to be able to level off before slamming into the ground.
|Don't pilots tend to takeoff at steeper angles when flying out of Afghanistan, and come in to land at sharper angles too? In order to minimise the time when they are vulnerable to RPG and anti-aircraft fire. Pretty sure I read that somewhere.|
Indeed, they do. That has many interesting challenges, not least of which are higher take off and landing speeds.