Wake Turbulence Epilogue

In the news today, Communication and Transportation Secretary Luis Téllez again discussed possible discrepancies with the certification of the pilot of the doomed flight two weeks ago in Mexico city.  (The first instance is mentioned in this past post on the cockpit voice tapes.)

To this point, I’ve tried to refrain from giving my own personal opinion on what the cause was, though I have strictly maintained that wake turbulence could have been a major factor.  That said, the significance of Téllez’s comments are hard to misinterpret: he is finding fault with both the pilot and the mechanism by which pilots gain and maintain their certification.  Recall the strange comments (see this past post on Mexican unions) made by the ASPA and SNCTA spokesmen just days after the accident… I wonder what ASPA has to say about wake turbulence and the possibility of pilot error now?  (You can draw your own conclusions!)

For more on my opinion regarding the possibility of wake turbulence, read through some of the past posts on the accident, many of which discuss it (especially the one on the unions).


I was not in Mexico City when Téllez was making today’s comments, having just hopped a flight home to San Francisco for the Thanksgiving holiday.  However, in a strange and bizarre coincidence, as we came in to land at SFO, on final approach and perhaps 1000 feet above the ground, the plane was shaken by two jarring and turbulent shocks…. and which immediately brought to mind the recent accident.  In our case, we were flying an Airbus 320, and the result of the shocks was, for the most part, lateral motion and a slight drop in altitude.  Of course, the pilots quickly recovered and we landed without further incident.  But, as we pulled up the the gate, the pursor (main flight attendant) came on the PA and announced:

“For those of you wondering what that large bump was right before landing, the pilot called to notify us that it was caused by the [Boeing] 747 in front of us.”

Some things you can’t make up.


San Francisco, CA


One Response

  1. Dr.Luis Tellez Kuenzler and Diana Pando: A two year love affair ends all over mexican news. Former President Carlos Salinas de Gortari accused by Tellez of bleeding and sacking millions of dollars from the country to his personal bank account.

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