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Relatives remember JAL crash victims on 36th anniversary

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Several things still bother me about this: Why did the Boeing repair crew use one row of bolts to fix that bulkhead instead of the prescribed two, and the JAL engineers accepted that, and nobody was ever charged for that.

As I've understood it, two skin sections (each section being a radially arranged segment of the circular bulkhead) are normally joined by two rows of rivets.

For the repair procedure, a splice plate was used to join two overlapping skin sections, requiring three rows of rivets. The splice plate is sandwiched in the overlap, and the upper skin section has an upper row of bolts and a shared bottom row. The lower skin section has a shared top row, and a lower row. The shared row is the same in both cases, with the rivets passing through one skin section, the splice plate, and the other skin section. Looking at the splice plate itself from the side, there are three rows: upper, middle, lower. It is the middle row that is the shared row.

Done correctly, this provides the needed strength, and ensures that two rows of rivets connect each skin section to the splice plate.

The error was introduced when, supposedly because of space problems, a second plate was used, creating a seam between the two plates. The result was that the upper skin section was now riveted to the main splice plate by a single row instead of two rows. This was the shared middle row in the splice plate. The other row, which should have been a second row through that skin section and into the splice plate passed instead into the additional plate.

This is how three rows used became only one row securing that upper skin section to the plate and the lower skin section, instead of two. Again, if I've understood correctly, this passed a Boeing inspection because a seal along the top of one skin section (which should have been present even if the repair was done correctly) made it impossible to see that there were actually two plates instead of one behind the seal line. The Boeing inspector didn't pick that up, should JAL have done? Hard to say, I would have thought.

If you need to know the whys of using the modified repair procedure, you would have to dig in way deeper. This is about as far as a description for the interested layman will take you, and it's still insufficient:

https://admiralcloudberg.medium.com/fire-on-the-mountain-the-crash-of-japan-airlines-flight-123-dadebd321224

0 ( +0 / -0 )

In 1987, a Japanese government investigation commission concluded that the accident was caused by improper repairs conducted by Boeing Co 

I like how this was included but not the fact USA military helicopters were on scene shortly after the crash and reported seeing Survivors but the Japanese government wouldn't give permission for the USA military to help so they had to leave.

It took many many more hours before the Japanese finally got anywhere near the site by that time it was to late.

This is nothing controversial or unusual, as the same attitude was used during the Hanshin earthquake with government indecision and hesitation being a common factor that regularly repeats itself as we are seeing again these days.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

@Tony, there’s absolutely nothing wrong with using second-hand parts. Parts have a service life and if there’s still time it’s good to go. Engine components are a good example. All airlines buy used parts, it’s a safe and regulated industry.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

There are a lot of conspiracy rumours... and one can tell that's very likely. JAL blamed Boeing for "improper repairs conducted by Boeing Co" but after that JAL kept only buying Boeing fleet until very recent Airbus 350 seemingly like planned compensation. Yet another, JAL still doesn't train their pilots for thrust vectoring in case the control surfaces are lost seeming they doesn't want to being up again.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Gaijinjland

The US could have been at the crash sight in less than an hour. Instead, Japan refused help.

I understand at the time the prefectural government was looking a legal issues --- involving a foreign military in a domestic rescue operation is not something that the law provides for. However, the central government could have stepped in and allow this. Totally inexcusable.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Boeing is to blame. It's amazing that the pilots were able to fly the plane for over 40min after the equipment malfunctioned. There would have been more survivors if the Japanese government allowed and accepted the assistance from the US military. Japan declined and it took the Japanese more than 9 hours to reach the crash sight.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

Delayed rescue...only 4 survivors while a few dozens probably were alive and may have been saved.

Cheap work for the cause of crash.

@Drlucifer

Japanese believe in fate.

Value of life not the same. (Covid crisis shows it, since Japan accepts people dying at home).

Cultural inacceptance of losing face make criticizing by media in particular politically unapplicable.

Still the same today...in my opinion.

RIP for the 520 victims.

1 ( +3 / -2 )

Hmm. Not entirtely accurate. The repairs were orderd by JAL but were carried out by Boeing technicians, who failed to follow Boeings official repair process. Boeing later admitted to the faulty repair.

However JAL inspections failed to pick up the faulty repair.

https://www.upi.com/Archives/1986/04/25/Report-citicizes-JAL-inspections/3547514789200/

and

Anothing I clearly remember is that the American military had personell and equipment for a night rescue and offered help, but the Nakano government refused and instead waited until it got light in the morning? Several people died on the mountain that night that did not need to.

Both of these points were covered in a Discovery Channel series ("Seconds Before Disaster" I think it was). A terrible tragedy that can and should have been avoided, made worse by the "oh no one can be alive, let's just wait until morning" attitude of the first response leaders.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

For what it's worth, an experienced pilot I had a conversation with some years ago did say that JAL had a reputation for using second-hand parts. Alright for a car perhaps, but surely not gor a plane!

-1 ( +3 / -4 )

Ah sorry I see some posters addressed both already.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

I remember that incident. One of the most horrifying plane crashes ever, as the passengers had to suffer through half an hour of increasingly radical roller coaster ride.

Several things still bother me about this: Why did the Boeing repair crew use one row of bolts to fix that bulkhead instead of the prescribed two, and the JAL engineers accepted that, and nobody was ever charged for that? Lawyers?

Anothing I clearly remember is that the American military had personell and equipment for a night rescue and offered help, but the Nakano government refused and instead waited until it got light in the morning? Several people died on the mountain that night that did not need to.

Somehow the press never followed up on either question.

7 ( +8 / -1 )

Boeing paid a lot of money to keep the J. govt and others quiet, and no one was ever punished for the faulty repairs. J. govt also refused the help of the Yokota AF base crack night rescue team. I guess they feared a loss of face. Every time I hear Kyu Sakamoto's famous song I am reminded of the crash. A sorry affair.

5 ( +6 / -1 )

Sad occasion I know but, he never knew his uncle. And bringing his 3 year old for what, education?

Sad yes, but this fella is milking it....

Hiroki Kobayashi, 36, who lost his uncle Hiroyuki Kato, who was 21

1 ( +2 / -1 )

Your additional observations about the aftermath leave many unanswered questions @smithinjapan 8:49am:

“There's also the fact that they refused assistance and put off rescue operations, also restricting people that could have helped, including media.” -

Exactly. Why ?

3 ( +5 / -2 )

Another great example of the higher ups not taking safety seriously. Timely

Following the investigation however, one the of the maintenance managers, Hiroo Tominaga and engineer Susumu Tajima committed suicide and the JAL President, Yasumoto Takagi resigned. Sadly, we haven't seen a similar response from Nagoya Regional Immigration Services Bureau.

5 ( +5 / -0 )

Then, perhaps some ‘clarifications & details may be due @InspectorGadget 8:31am: Hmm. Not entirtely accurate…

Nothing @7:08am was intentionally posted as ‘misinformation’. - The first para only highlighted the complete, previous JT article with more details was “no longer available”. The only remaining content online was the partial sentence in “quotes”. The onus here is on editors as to why it’s no longer available, mentioned nor reprinted in its entirety Today:

*- “Relatives commemorate victims of JAL crash on 35th anniversary” - Aug 13, 2020 “The technicians were ordered by JAL to repair planes as cost efficiently…” - MAEBASHI, Gunma The requested article has expired, and is no longer available. Any related articles, and user comments are shown below.© KYODO*

Boeing admitted their faulty repairs to the NY TImes in 1985 and later, JAL followed suit acknowledging their authorization, joint work, subsequent inspections and approval to put the aircraft back in service rather that the more costly and appropriate decision to dismantle & replace the aircraft ion their fleet. Since then the have been rather forthcoming with details of their negligence and the consequences of such failure.

For employees and the public, they have now opened the

Part of the museum’s documentation of the “faulty-repairs” and the failure to routinely inspect the repaired area before each flight are provided here:

- “5. The repairs were conducted by a 40-member team of Boeing engineers, inspectors and other members, from June 17 to July 11, 1978. JAL conducted an acceptance inspection of these structural repairs in accordance with the company standard, the official accident report said. The inspection comprised verification that each repair item had been accomplished as contracted, attendance at system function tests, confirmation of post-repair functional performance by test flight and a check of work records submitted by Boeing. Test flights were conducted by JAL and were attended by airworthiness engineers from the Japan Civil Aviation Bureau (JCAB). JCAB representatives inspected the repair plan, the process of repair by Boeing based on work records and the post-repair aircraft condition.” -

- https://flightsafety.org/aerosafety-world/past-issues/aerosafety-world-november-2009/precious-lives-expanded-version/ -

From that prior JT article and the more reliable, “first hand’ investigative sources, the secondary comments were offered. For those upset by the term “cost efficient”, it is not a fabrication and did originate with with this reader. - “Peace to All” here, may the deceased now “Rest In Peace” and may the families and survivors find there is always “Solace through Truth”.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

There's also the fact that they refused assistance and put off rescue operations, also restricting people that could have helped, including media.

I have always wondered, why rescue operations here are always easily called off before it even gets dark.

The rescue operation of the 6 year old in Kobe who found death was called of around 6pm, It is hardly dark at 6pm at this this time of the year. It just appears to me there is no strong desire to rescue lives. How about using floodlights or even small generators to carry out rescue operations in the night. A stitch in time save nine.

15 ( +15 / -0 )

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MZWqlTm31yw

2 ( +2 / -0 )

Until 9/11, that was probably the sickest civilian air crash ever. Not only because of the numbers involved, but because of the way they died: This was no quick explosion and death within seconds... For the last 40 minutes as the pilots struggled with a rudderless plane and no hydraulic controls, everybody knew they were going to die. Many tried to scribble last messages to loved ones, children wailed, people screamed and sobbed, some were chanting prayers.

To top it all off, after the crash several survivors in the rear section of the plane were left hanging upside down all night because the Japanese government called off the search even though nearby US military bases had night-vision technology and were trained to do night searches.

In the end, there were only 4 survivors, who all testified that after the crash there were tens of survivors who gradually died off during the night.

REQUIESCANT IN PACE

15 ( +15 / -0 )

Jesus if there weren’t bad enough current headlines already

0 ( +1 / -1 )

Boeing do not do maintenance on plane they sale,maybe shoddy work by the airline mechanic

Depending on the case, Boeing can provide aeronautical maintenance, modifications and enforce airworthiness directives.

1 ( +5 / -4 )

Such a tragedy and sad lives could have been saved if the Japanese authorities had allowed US military to help that night as survivors bled or froze to death.

5 ( +6 / -1 )

Boeing do not do maintenance on plane they sale,maybe shoddy work by the airline mechanic

-7 ( +2 / -9 )

snowymountainhell: "The last paragraph gives some but not ALL details of the proximate causes, JAL cost-cutting, lack of foresight and overall negligence that eventually, precipitated conditions to cause the crash."

There's also the fact that they refused assistance and put off rescue operations, also restricting people that could have helped, including media.

5 ( +9 / -4 )

Inspectorgadget - that's what I read about too.

They didn't use a second row of rivets, and never recorded that as they should have.

7 ( +7 / -0 )

I wonder why the sudden very idiotic "cost efficient" discussion here. The tailstrike repair was not conducted by Boeing Japan according to Boeing's own repair manuals, and that is proven to have led to this massive loss of life. That was the most cost efficient way to repair is, cheaper than buying a while new plane, for example... JAL themselves could not have pressured Boeing in any way here, as they have to follow the manuals in order to be able to re-homologate the plane, and this was not the place for developing and even cheaper method.

Japan had its hands also covered in blood - the government refused, very idiotically, the help offered by the US forces present nearby, and delayed rescue missions for hours. That is proven to have increased the loss of life by tens of people. Nobody went to jail for that either.

20 ( +23 / -3 )

> snowymountainhellToday  07:08 am JST

The last paragraph gives some but not ALL details of the proximate causes, JAL cost-cutting, lack of foresight and overall negligence that eventually, precipitated conditions to cause the crash. (These were covered in their earlier stories yet NOT reported again here for reasons unknown:

*“Aug 13, 2020 — The technicians were ordered by JAL to repair planes as cost efficiently” -*

Hmm. Not entirtely accurate. The repairs were orderd by JAL but were carried out by Boeing technicians, who failed to follow Boeings official repair process. Boeing later admitted to the faulty repair.

However JAL inspections failed to pick up the faulty repair.

https://www.upi.com/Archives/1986/04/25/Report-citicizes-JAL-inspections/3547514789200/

15 ( +16 / -1 )

Ue wo mu-u-ite ... Requiescat in pace all...

4 ( +4 / -0 )

This would give you a sense of the times

Climber's High is a 2008 Japanese film directed by Masato Harada. The film is about a newspaper editor who deals with the crash of Japan Airlines Flight 123

5 ( +5 / -0 )

Another great example of the higher ups not taking safety seriously. Timely

8 ( +11 / -3 )

The last paragraph gives some but not ALL details of the proximate causes, JAL cost-cutting, lack of foresight and overall negligence that eventually, precipitated conditions to cause the crash. (These were covered in their earlier stories yet NOT reported again here for reasons unknown:

“Aug 13, 2020 — The technicians were ordered by JAL to repair planes as cost efficiently” -

Japan’s Aircraft Accident Investigation Commission officially concluded that the rapid decompression was caused by a ‘cost-efficient’, yet, faulty repair ordered by JAL and conducted by Japanese technicians at Boeing after a tailstrike incident during a landing at Osaka Airport in 1978.

9 ( +14 / -5 )

I saw this on youtube. Very sad. RIP.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

“Rest In Peace” for the souls of all who were lost in this terrible tragedy. ‘Condolences’ offered to their surviving families.

9 ( +9 / -0 )

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