Had Van Zanten applied full flaps during takeoff could the tenerife disaster been averted?

Please pardon my arrogance,i'm no authority in the subject.Pilots out there do answer this question.

In the tenerife airport disaster,had Van zanten deployed full flaps on seeing the pan am flight during takeoff roll, could he have managed to clear the plane just in time? (of course with full engine power,etc..)

I do agree there was hardly any time for the capt.to analyse.


wow thank you for so many answers.

Anyway i'm already completely aware about what were the other factors that were responsible for the crash.so please stick to the question.the question is just a reflection of my personal interest on the problem

11 Answers

  • 8 years ago
    Favorite Answer

    No. Two reasons. One is it takes quite a few seconds to extend full flaps on a 747 from takeoff position so there wasn't time to extend them even if he had selected them. Full flaps usually lengthen the takeoff run because the increase in the drag of full flaps more than offsets the increase in lift. That's why airplanes don't use full flaps in a normal takeoff.

  • Anonymous
    8 years ago

    No, that's highly unlikely to happen. The reasons are:

    - Assuming the KLM 747 used flaps 20 for take-off, still, they had crossed the proximity of maneuvering the aircraft off avoiding a collision. Even if he runs the flaps to full, he will have to prematurely rotate, because the flap extension won't be quick enough to reduce the Vr to a lesser speed.

    - Thick fog had limited the visibility and the crew spotted the other aircraft when they had crossed the threshold to practically avoid a collision by adding full flaps and rotating into the air.

    - Plus, the angle of attack of the KLM aircraft was way too high, needless to mention, out of desperation the captain rotated the aircraft into the air violently causing a tailstrike.

    Who wouldn't panic when they see a 747 taxiing head on, while on take-off roll and at 140 knots?!?!

    Many other things could've avoided the collision:

    - A more accurate and precise handling from the ATC. While the KLM co-pilot used an unusual phrase on the transmission to the tower saying "We are at take-off", the tower responded saying "OK". Reportedly, the controller crew had been listening to a football match on radio.

    - After the threat at Gran Canaria International Airport had been contained, authorities reopened the airport. The Pan Am aircraft was ready to depart, but the KLM plane and a refueling vehicle obstructed the way to the active runway. The Pan Am aircraft was unable to maneuver around the fueling KLM, reach the runway and depart due to a lack of just 12 ft (3.7 m) of clearance. Captain had decided to fully refuel at Los Rodeos instead of Las Palmas, apparently to save time. The refueling took about 35 minutes.

  • Anonymous
    4 years ago

    In Tenerife you are able to do such a thing you are feeling like any day of the entire year because of its climate, natural environments and tourist infrastructure made for fun for all your family which means this place is the perfect area for a great holiday and with hotelbye you will get it. In Tenerife are lots of points waiting for you to find and one of those is in the south west shore of Tenerife. A place that is a magnificent spot for seeing whales free in the ocean. As much as 26 species are found just down the coast, including baleen whales, killer whales, dolphins, pilot whales and also blue whales. In Tenerife you will also see The Teide National Park. At 3,718 metres, Teide volcano is Spain's best peak and their two ecosystems make the climb an experience saturated in contrasts.

  • ?
    Lv 6
    8 years ago

    The disaster could maybe have been avoided if he hadn't insisted on refuelling at Los Rodeos, and departed 35 minutes earlier than he did --- delays and bad weather never really helped anyone.

    The extra fuel weight made it impossible for the KLM jet to leave the runway. Of course, the fog, the amount of planes and the shoddy radio transmissions didn't help. Traffic congestion is never a good thing.

    In essence, the KLM jet was far too heavy to clear the runway before reaching the Pan Am jet.

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  • 8 years ago

    No. The flaps on the 747 are very slow to extend, and they create a ton of drag beyond the takeoff setting. There was very little time to react and pulling the nose of the aircraft up was a far quicker way to increase the coefficient of lift.

  • 8 years ago

    There isn't any flap setting that would have allowed his aircraft to clear the Pan Am aircraft.

    The captain had plenty of time to analyze, but he chose not to do that. Instead he wanted to take off right away. The disaster could have been averted if he had been a better pilot. Unfortunately, that is true for the majority of crashes.

  • 8 years ago

    No, nothing van Zanten can do after he saw the Pan Am will avert the disaster. The plane is too heavy from the fuel.

  • bounds
    Lv 4
    4 years ago

    all of it does not count on top and warmth nevertheless. places like Santa Ana, California-KSNA, the runway is somewhat short, in case you're in a DAL 757 going to KATL or everywhere kinda some distance, the pilot will defiantly prepare finished thrust on takeoff. additionally Chicago halfway-KMDW is one, the runways are very short there, that is all particularly southwest planes that fly out and in of there. yet I think of if a SWA airplane is going to love KPHX or somwhere around that variety they could be kinda heavy and do finished thrust, in the event that they're going to like KIAD or KBWI, in all danger no longer. Oh and one greater, KBUR-Burbank Airport is extremely small too. There are various greater, yet observe how none of those are in extreme warm places haha? So certainly it must be everywhere, particularly relies upon on your weight. wish this helps! : )

  • 8 years ago

    No, full flaps would create far more drag than they would extra lift.

    Proper CRM probably would have prevented it though...

  • 8 years ago

    the runway visual range was about 1000 feet in fog. at v1 that doesn't leave much time to do anything about it, and a 747 doesn't do *anything* quickly.

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