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View Full Version : Air France flight from Rio to Paris disappears over the Atlantic



carioca1232001
06-01-2009, 08:04 AM
The AF Airbus 330 had 228 people on board and left Rio last night destined for Paris, with a stopover in Brasilia.

It was scheduled to arrive in Paris at 6 am local time. Air-traffic control in Brasilia wasn´t able to locate it sometime after it flew over the island of Fernando de Noronha in the north-east corner of Brazil .

Heartfelt condolences to the bereaved families and friends of the AF flight

mmd
06-01-2009, 08:08 AM
I heard about that on the news this morning. A terrible trajedy.

Phillip Allen
06-01-2009, 08:10 AM
dissappeared? that's it? any idea of where in that vast area it might have gone down?

The Bigfella
06-01-2009, 08:15 AM
They reported electrical problems after flying through a stormy area with strong turbulence.

carioca1232001
06-01-2009, 08:18 AM
Our daily help mentioned something to the effect - she heard it on the radio - that it may have gone down due to insufficiency of fuel.

Not that it hasn´t happened before, a screw-up by ground staff while refuelling an airplane, that would have had a tragic ending, had it not been for the expertise and sheer coolness of a couple of Air Canada pilots.

The Bigfella
06-01-2009, 08:28 AM
I think that may be a misunderstanding. The spokesperson said that the plane would have run out of fuel by now - ie it was well over-due.

carioca1232001
06-01-2009, 08:32 AM
They reported electrical problems after flying through a stormy area with strong turbulence.

Yes, Brazilian ATC received a message from the aircraft at 23:14 hs (our local time) confirming the above. I agree, misunderstanding regarding fuel insufficiency.

Tylerdurden
06-01-2009, 08:33 AM
It must have been at or near cruising altitude and I wonder why not or if it had checked in on HF. It must have been a cato for no signs to have occurred. I wonder how large a search area is being opened?

Tylerdurden
06-01-2009, 08:35 AM
Propagation is good across the bands so no reason there for lack of contact.

carioca1232001
06-01-2009, 08:37 AM
The Brazilian Air Force has been searching all night over the Fernando de Noronha archipelago.
The French are sending frigates over from Dakar (Senegal). They reckon it fell closer to Africa than to S America.

ishmael
06-01-2009, 08:38 AM
Do those planes carry decent life rafts? It seems like they should.

No epirb signal doesn't bode well.

WX
06-01-2009, 08:41 AM
If the electrics go can you still fly them? Could you glide one down and pancake it in the ocean?

Tylerdurden
06-01-2009, 08:42 AM
Do those planes carry decent life rafts? It seems like they should.

No epirb signal doesn't bode well.

They do not ditch well Ish. The NY case was everything going perfect and light wave action. The chances of a safe ditch in seas is below minimal. I think we have a Cato and in that case a debris field will be found. They have all kinds of flotation including rafts.

carioca1232001
06-01-2009, 08:52 AM
They do not ditch well Ish. The NY case was everything going perfect and light wave action. The chances of a safe ditch in seas is below minimal. I think we have a Cato and in that case a debris field will be found. They have all kinds of flotation including rafts.

What is a Cato ?

Well, the seat bottoms float, and the escape chutes(by the doors) are inflated automatically prior to deployment.

HF radio ? Only as a back-up, perhaps, although it used to be the only way out 40-50 years ago. I suppose comms is exclusively via satellite these days.

Tylerdurden
06-01-2009, 08:58 AM
What is a Cato ?

Well, the seat bottoms float, and the escape chutes(by the doors) are inflated automatically prior to deployment.

HF radio ? Only as a back-up, perhaps, although it used to be the only way out 40-50 years ago. I suppose comms is exclusively via satellite these days.

Cato= catastrophic

HF is still used extensively. If one cares to listen here is where to find them (commercial)

2850-3155 kHz 6525-6765khz
3400-3500 8815-9040
4650-4750 10005-10100
5450-5730 13200-13360
15010-15100

carioca1232001
06-01-2009, 09:00 AM
So they still use HF ? Unbelievable !

I suppose you would turn around and say: 'And why NOT ?' :)

ishmael
06-01-2009, 09:04 AM
I don't know about these matters, but if there's no signal from survivors yet it says to me this plane crashed hard and they are all dead.

God rest their souls.

Tylerdurden
06-01-2009, 09:06 AM
So they still use HF ? Unbelievable !

I suppose you would turn around and say: 'And why NOT ?' :)

It is very reliable and still thought of as when all else fails. I sometimes tune in but it takes knowing the conditions to figure what band has the traffic. New york center is always got something going on though its always routine. They have a remote station in Bolivia.

Katherine
06-01-2009, 12:23 PM
How very sad for everyone involved. Prayers to all.:(

There will always be some mystery surrounding those final moments.

Concordia...41
06-01-2009, 12:40 PM
Another reminder of how precious and fragile our existence is... :(

- M

carioca1232001
06-01-2009, 08:29 PM
Another reminder of how precious and fragile our existence is... :(

- M

I met with a lady friend of mine this evening, who was born and schooled in Boston, and moved residence to Rio when she met her other half, a Brazilian, at John Hopkins.

She looked desolate, not her usual self. Lost some dear friends on this flight.

The Bigfella
06-01-2009, 09:11 PM
Sorry to hear that mate.

I believe the search is basically half way to Africa. Last message from the plane was an automatic data message signalling multiple failures of its electric and pressurisation systems.

Hollingsworth
06-01-2009, 10:00 PM
Don't the automatic message systems also report position / coordinates? Why such a large search area?

PatCox
06-01-2009, 10:14 PM
This is something that you see in movies, an airline flight disappearing suddenly, no time to radio anything, but am I wrong, this does not happen, in the real world? This is such a rare occurrence, is it not, a translatlantic flight disappearing, with no radio transmission from the crew, like this? I have no memory of anything like this, this is like the Tom Hanks movie, or Lost.

Canoez
06-01-2009, 10:20 PM
If I recall correctly, there have been several cases where decompression of the aircraft at high altitudes has created "ghost aircraft" that flew on until they crashed. (A flight in Europe a while back and Payne Stewart's flight.) Hypoxia and Hypothermia were both considered to be the cause of death on the flights, not the ultimate crash. If the flight crew was otherwise distracted trying to get systems working and didn't get to oxygen in time, Ian's comment on the electrical and pressurization failure would be spot on.

A very sad tale how ever you look at it for all involved.

PatCox
06-01-2009, 10:40 PM
My understanding is that the flight crew will sometimes start wearing their oxygen equipment at first sign of trouble, I cannot believe that a commercial airline crew would simply forget to don their oxygen equipment and just asphyxiate with noone sending a radio message.

Some here have spoken of how it must have been a catostrophic failure, something that did not happen gradually, or with warning. One of the automatic messages sent by the craft, not by the crew, was that it lost cabin pressure, well, that does not necessarily mean that an intact aircraft was flying long without cabin pressure, it could mean that it was already in pieces and falling from the sky.

ishmael
06-01-2009, 10:47 PM
Shooting from the hip, forgive my directness, but this plane is down big time. An explosion, a crash head long into the ocean, but this plane is gone.

God rest their souls.

Paul Girouard
06-01-2009, 10:50 PM
The A-300's a fly by wire jets isn't it? No electrics or lose to may back-up systems in a lighting strike and maybe you lose control.

The F-18 a fly by wire and I know they have lots of back up / redundant systems

But without cables to move flight control surfaces and the "wrong" conditions I'd think you'd be screwed.

The Bigfella
06-01-2009, 10:55 PM
Yeah, I believe so. The Qantas jet that did the plunge a while back was the same as this one. I believe there was discussion about a board in the system that had been repaired, or was sent back to the states. I'll see what I can find. I recall it as something to do with the autopilot. The pilots managed to get it under control again but the severity of the dive caused a fair few injuries.

The Bigfella
06-01-2009, 11:01 PM
Here's a story on the incident that Qantas had with the same type of plane. It went up 300' while on autopilot then was reported as diving 8,000' in ten seconds (which sounds a bit much to me)

A COMPUTER glitch caused a Qantas jet to climb before nose diving over Western Australia, injuring dozens of passengers, air safety investigators say.

The Australian Transport Safety Bureau (http://search.news.com.au/search//0/?us=ndmnews&sid=5014090&as=news&ac=travel&q=Australian Transport Safety Bureau)(ATSB) today said an "irregularity'' in one of the plane's computers caused the dramatic altitude change yesterday that hurled passengers around the cabin.

The pilots of the Singapore-Perth flight made an emergency landing in Learmonth, near Exmouth in WA's north.

Passengers seriously injured in the incident were airlifted to Perth.
The same plane suffered a mechanical problem at Changi Airport (http://search.news.com.au/search//0/?us=ndmnews&sid=5014090&as=news&ac=travel&q=Changi Airport)last month.

The plane had a “fuel pump reset” before beginning a September 17 flight, a Qantas spokesman told news.com.au

“There was no delay at all in the month of September (involving that plane),” the spokesman said.

Perth man Tim McCabe, who was on board the plane at the time, said a pilot had told passengers that there had been a fault with one of the jet’s computers.

ATSB director of aviation safety investigation Julian Walsh (http://search.news.com.au/search//0/?us=ndmnews&sid=5014090&as=news&ac=travel&q=Julian Walsh)said the plane in yesterday's incident was travelling at 37,000 feet and 177km north of Carnarvon when it nose dived.

Mr Walsh said the pilots received messages about "some irregularity with the aircraft's elevator control system'', before the plane climbed 300 feet and then nose-dived.

"The aircraft is then reported to have abruptly pitched nose down,'' Mr Walsh said.

The elevator control system is the control surfaces on the tail of the jet which allow pilots to guide the plane's altitude. It is vital for stable flight.

Qantas said 74 people were injured in the incident, while the West Australian Health Department said 51 had been treated by three hospitals in Perth for fractures, lacerations and suspected spinal injuries.

The airline refused to speculate on the cause of the nose-dive as it began its own internal investigation.

The Airbus A330's cockpit voice recorder and flight data black box have both been removed, Qantas chief executive officer Geoff Dixon said.

"Our primary concern remains the welfare of our passengers and crew on board the flight, and we are focused on doing everything possible to assist them,'' Mr Dixon said.

Airbus was sending its own investigator from its French headquarters in line with standard practice, a spokesman said.

The safety bureau's comments about an irregularity seem to rule out initial talk of turbulence being responsible.

However, Qantas pilot and Australian and International Pilots Association president Ian Woods said it was a real possibility.

"When you cross those jet streams as you do from Singapore to Perth ... you run across the transition boundary,'' Captain Woods told ABC Radio today.

"It's at that point where you're crossing from smooth air to fast-flowing air, that there can be quite unexpected and significant turbulence.''

pila
06-01-2009, 11:03 PM
If it was ditched in darkness, with no electrical power for landing lights etc, not much chance of survival. I would think the sea would have big wave action out there if a storm was in the area. That would likely be a bad thing even in daylight hours, on a fairly calm ocean, given the usual swells.

The Bigfella
06-01-2009, 11:05 PM
OK - found a bit of an update on what happened on the Qantas flight. I wonder if this is related?

The Civil Aviation Safety Authority has just issued an urgent airworthiness directive (http://www.casa.gov.au/airworth/airwd/NEW/urgent.htm) affecting all 21 Airbus A330 wide bodied jets flown by Qantas (15) and Jetstar (6).
CASA says that in lay terms, pilots must now follow revised procedures to isolate a faulty Air Data Inertial Reference Unit or ADIRU like the one that imitated the malevolent computer HAL in the sci-fi classic 2001 (to insert our own colorful metaphor) in the emergency diversion and landing of Qantas flight QF 72 at Learmonth on 7 October.
The new procedures also put important limits on the transfer of fuel between tanks on the airliner for purposes of maintaining correct trim in the event that such a failure has occurred. It is not clear if this part of the directive refers to something that the Qantas pilots did in the course of bringing the flight safely to the remote airport.
There are three Northrop-Grumman ADIRUs on the A330. They are supposed to ‘vote’ and override a malfunctioning unit, and finding out why this did not happen on this flight is a key element of the investigation by the Australian Transport Safety Bureau in conjunction with French and US authorities, and Qantas and Airbus.

Paul Girouard
06-01-2009, 11:19 PM
If it was ditched in darkness, with no electrical power for landing lights etc, not much chance of survival. I would think the sea would have big wave action out there if a storm was in the area. That would likely be a bad thing even in daylight hours, on a fairly calm ocean, given the usual swells.



You'd think if they had a chance to glide in they'd have gotten off a mayday call or two.

I think it got a major lighting strike and either broke up due to the strike , or it went totally to $hit nose dive , spin , nose up , arse over tea kettle backwards making it impossible for the crew to get to the radio mic key to make the call.

capnharv
06-01-2009, 11:26 PM
IIRC, The A320/330/340/380 are completely Fly by Wire. The A300 that crashed in Queens was not. The A300 airframe design is quite old (dating to the 70's) and it's doubtful they would change the Flight Controls to FBW-recertification is a real pain and lots of money (changing from cables to FBW changes the cert basis).

As far as reaction time to a decompression, my flight test class said that you lose consiousness at 35K feet in about 10-15 seconds.

One last thing. I heard that the storm tops over the ocean can go up to 50,000 ft (vs about 35 over land). Since the max ceiling for the A330 is around 40-42,000, and the storm was supposed to cover a large area, they either had to tough it out or take a long detour.

Harvey

willmarsh3
06-01-2009, 11:28 PM
I met with a lady friend of mine this evening, who was born and schooled in Boston, and moved residence to Rio when she met her other half, a Brazilian, at John Hopkins.

She looked desolate, not her usual self. Lost some dear friends on this flight.


Very sad. I am so sorry for your friend. :(

carioca1232001
06-02-2009, 11:01 AM
Many thanks for the sympathy expressed on this thread for the lost lives. One looks at the passenger list and sees names of people that are familiar, be they in government, just-wed couples off to Paris for their honeymoon, whatever.The intensity of the feeling of sadness has something to do with a disaster coming home to roost.

A BAF spotter plane has located what seems like debris, plus oil and JP-4 slicks, some 600 km off the Island of Fernando de Noronha, suggesting perhaps that the Air France plane, on sensing a major fault in the electrical system, turned right in an effort to fly back to Brazil. They would need to pick up the debris and confer if indeed it hails from the doomed plane.

As for Airbus planes, a friend of mine commented that Brazilian commercial pilots are unanimous when comparing aircraft from Airbus and Boeing in flight:

'Boeing designs their aeroplanes to be simple to fly; you have to be quite a pilot to fly an Airbus, despite all the automation on board (or as a direct result of it)'

TimH
06-02-2009, 11:06 AM
Plane debris found in path Air France jet took

By MARCO SIBAJA
ASSOCIATED PRESS WRITER
http://www.seattlepi.com/dayart/aponline/27577.98Brazil-Plane.sff.jpg Relatives of passengers of the Air France flight 447 are pictured through a glass door as they react at the Tom Jobim Airport in Rio de Janeiro, Monday, June 1, 2009. Air France flight 447 carrying 228 people from Rio de Janeiro to Paris ran into a towering wall of thunderstorms and disappeared over the Atlantic Ocean Monday. (AP Photo/ Ricardo Moraes)
BRASILIA, Brazil -- Brazilian military pilots spotted an airplane seat, a life jacket, metallic debris and signs of fuel in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean on Tuesday as they hunted for a missing Air France passenger jet that carried 228 people. They found no signs of life.
The pilots spotted two areas of floating debris about 60 kilometers (35 miles) apart, about 410 miles (650 kilometers) beyond the Brazilian island of Fernando de Noronha, roughly along Flight 447's path from Rio de Janeiro to Paris, said Air Force spokesman Jorge Amaral.
"The locations where the objects were found are toward the right of the point where the last signal of the plane was emitted," Amaral said. "That suggests that it might have tried to make a turn, maybe to return to Fernando de Noronha, but that is just a hypothesis."
Amaral said authorities would not be able to confirm that the debris is from the plane until they can retrieve some of it from the ocean for identification. Brazilian military ships are not expected to arrive at the area until Wednesday.
The discovery came more than 24 hours after the jet went missing, with all feared dead.
Rescuers were still scanning a vast sweep of ocean extending from far off northeastern Brazil to waters off West Africa. The 4-year-old plane was last heard from at 0214 GMT Monday (10:14 p.m. EDT Sunday). If no survivors are found, it would be the world's worst aviation disaster since 2001.
Investigators on both sides of the ocean are trying to determine what brought the Airbus A330 down, with few clues to go on so far. Potential causes could include violently shifting winds and hail from towering thunderheads, lightning or some combination of other factors.
The crew gave no verbal messages of distress before the crash, but the plane's system sent an automatic message just before it disappeared, reporting lost pressure and electrical failure. The plane's cockpit and "black box" recorders could be thousands of feet (meters) below the surface.
The chance of finding survivors now "is very very small, even nonexistent," said the French minister overseeing transportation, Jean-Louis Borloo. "The race against the clock has begun" to find the plane's two black boxes, which emit signals up to 30 days.
Borloo called the A330 "one of the most reliable planes in the world" and said lightning alone, even from a fierce tropical storm, probably couldn't have brought down the plane.
"There really had to be a succession of extraordinary events to be able to explain this situation," Borloo said on RTL radio Tuesday.
French police were studying passenger lists and maintenance records, and preparing to take DNA from passengers' relatives to help identify any bodies.
France's Defense Minister Herve Morin said "we have no signs so far" of terrorism, but all hypotheses must be studied.
Alain Bouillard, who led the probe into the crash of the Concorde in July 2000, was put in charge of France's accident investigation team.
President Barack Obama told French television stations the United States is ready to do everything necessary to find out what happened.
On board the flight were 61 French citizens, 58 Brazilians, 26 Germans, nine Chinese and nine Italians. A lesser number of citizens from 27 other countries also were on the passenger list, including two Americans.
Among them were three young Irish doctors, returning from two-week vacation in Brazil. Aisling Butler's father John paid tribute to his 26-year-old daughter, from Roscrea, County Tipperary.
"She was a truly wonderful, exciting girl. She never flunked an exam in her life - nailed every one of them - and took it all in her stride," he said.
The Airbus A330-200 was cruising normally at 35,000 feet (10,670 meters) and 522 mph (840 kph) just before it disappeared nearly four hours into the flight. No trouble was reported as the plane left radar contact, beyond Brazil's Fernando de Noronha archipelago.
But just north of the equator, a line of towering thunderstorms loomed. Bands of extremely turbulent weather stretched across the Atlantic toward Africa.
France's junior minister for transport, Dominique Bussereau, said the plane sent "a kind of outburst" of automated messages just before it disappeared, "which means something serious happened, as eventually the circuits switched off."
The pilot had 11,000 hours of flying experience, including 1,700 hours flying this aircraft.
French Prime Minister Francois Fillon said that if the debris is confirmed to be part of Flight 447, "This will allow us to better determine the search zone."
"We are in a race against the clock in extremely difficult weather conditions and in a zone where depths reach up to 7,000 meters," he told lawmakers in the lower house of French parliament Tuesday.
The legislature held a moment of silence to honor the victims and the French soccer team will wear black arm bands and hold a moment of silence ahead of a match against Nigeria on Tuesday night.

carioca1232001
06-02-2009, 11:12 AM
TimH,
Our mails crossed. The debris could be from the crash, but they are not certain as yet.

TimH
06-02-2009, 12:03 PM
http://i.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2009/images/06/01/brazil.plane.jpg

Bruce Hooke
06-02-2009, 12:16 PM
One small point to note...I have seen various references to a "storm" in the area. In think this is a mistake. My understanding (and a small bit of experience) is that big thunderheads are pretty common near the equator, but they don't really create what we would call storm conditions on the ground over any sort of significant area. If you have experienced an afternoon thunderstorm that is the sort of thing we are talking about. But, the complex of thunderheads in an area may well have made it hard to avoid them in flight.

Bruce Hooke
06-02-2009, 12:18 PM
Another point to note...I can think of at least one other plane that basically fell out of the sky...there was that flight (I don't recall the details) that exploded as a result of a fuel tank issue off of Long Island, NY. It was not at cruising altitude but I think it was at fairly high altitude and as I recall there was no warning and no chance to broadcast a mayday. Such an event could take down a plane at altitude with no warning at all.

ishmael
06-02-2009, 12:36 PM
Whenever I get on a plane for a ride I kiss my symbolic rosary. I'm not Catholic, and don't have a rosary, but I do it anyway. Plane travel is very safe, statistically, but they do take you high up in the air.

The last time I rode in an airplane it was a podunk twin engine turbo prop. They were trying to set down in Marquette Michigan of all places, and the conditions on the ground were dicey. Ground fog which made it difficult to see the runway. I reached across the cabin and held my lover's hand. The pilot made two passes, and on the third set her down. The cabin broke into spontaneous applause. I remember the skip looking back over the cabin and grinning.

willmarsh3
06-02-2009, 01:22 PM
Another point to note...I can think of at least one other plane that basically fell out of the sky...there was that flight (I don't recall the details) that exploded as a result of a fuel tank issue off of Long Island, NY. It was not at cruising altitude but I think it was at fairly high altitude and as I recall there was no warning and no chance to broadcast a mayday. Such an event could take down a plane at altitude with no warning at all.

I think you are referring to TWA Flight 800.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/TWA_Flight_800

carioca1232001
06-02-2009, 01:44 PM
There seems to be a larger number of Airbus disasters than those involving other aircraft manufacturers, over the last decade.

Does anyone have an idea as to how the market share is carved up between the different manufacturers, for wide-bodied, long-haul aircraft ? (Boeing, Airbus, MD etc).

I´d imagine that Brazilian manufacturer, Embraer, is probably in first place for short-haul, regional jets. US airports are chocker-block-full of them.

TimH
06-02-2009, 01:46 PM
There seems to be a larger number of Airbus disasters than those involving other aircraft manufacturers, over the last decade.



Especially considering many Boeing planes are very old airframes.

capnharv
06-02-2009, 02:15 PM
I have read that (if true) this is the only A330 incident resulting in loss of life.

Paul Pless
06-02-2009, 02:23 PM
I have read that (if true) this is the only A330 incident resulting in loss of life.I believe its the second, the first incident was a training accident.

Canoez
06-02-2009, 02:36 PM
I believe its the second, the first incident was a training accident.

You thinking of the one in Toulouse that flew into terrain at the end of the runway during testing before delivery?

carioca1232001
06-02-2009, 03:10 PM
An article aired on the site of my Internet provider and published in the NYT, says that Hans Weber, president of Tecop, an aeronautical consulting concern in San Diego, has presented a hypothesis for the accident, on the basis of two major (and sudden) drops in altitude that occurred with Qantas Airbus aircraft in 2008:

As the A 330 is a fly-by-wire aircraft - Paul Girouard´s pointed this out earlier on this thread - the flight-control-surface actuators are little motors out in the wings and elsewhere, dispensing with hydraulic circuits and/or cables.

Apparently, fly-by-wire systems are programmed to take immediate action in the event of a perceived, dangerous change in attitude or course of the aircraft, and some Airbus aircraft are built in a way that the pilot is unable to over-ride this inbuilt safety mechanism.

On both the Qantas incidents, inertial sensors fed incorrect inputs to the control system, causing both aircraft to suddenly dive unnecessarily, to counter what was perceived as a dangerous change in attitude.

In like manner, if an inertial sensor erroneously informs the control system that the aircraft is virtually at stall, which in turn makes the aircraft dive down to regain airspeed, and if at the same time there is a gale blowing from ahead as is the case in a storm, the aircraft is going to have a tough time to regain normalcy, under the combined action of these two factors.

PS: There could be a case here for Airbus aircraft being too automated, with little or no over-ride capability. In fact, starting with the first Airbus models, the role of flight engineer began to get unseated. That is what I believe my friend tried to relay to me following his rapport with Brazilian commercial pilots.

Tom Wilkinson
06-02-2009, 10:01 PM
On fly by wire aircraft the flight controls are still hydraulically actuated. There just isn't any mechanical connection of the control surface to the yoke (or joystick in the airbus). The control surfaces are not run by little motors as you stated above.

PatCox
06-02-2009, 10:06 PM
Tom, if the hydraulics are localized, and controlled by electronic controls, thats basically the same as saying "little motors," its just that they are hydraulic motors, no?

Paul Girouard
06-02-2009, 10:22 PM
Tom, if the hydraulics are localized, and controlled by electronic controls, thats basically the same as saying "little motors," its just that they are hydraulic motors, no?




I think they'd be electrically actuated values that open electrically and close when power is removed . Which would be controlled by limit switches. When the surface moves and reaches the set limit the power is removed by relays or other contacts.

I never worked on a fly by wire jets so I am guessing based on what I know about normal jets.

Well hope Tom answers this as well or corrects me if thats not the case.

PatCox
06-02-2009, 10:40 PM
At an airshow, I once toured one of our airforce cargo planes, the largest, what is that, the galaxy? I remember they said you could fit 6 greyhound buses in it. And they pointed out all the control cables running through it, like the cables on a racing bike, and telling us that, although it might take enormous effort, the pilots had the capability to move all the control surfaces through sheer muscle power, if necessary.

Fly by wire always bothered me; I have to reboot my computer too often to trust anything controlled by a computer.

ishmael
06-02-2009, 10:50 PM
"I have to reboot my computer too often to trust anything controlled by a computer."

Ditto that.

The Bigfella
06-02-2009, 11:09 PM
At an airshow, I once toured one of our airforce cargo planes, the largest, what is that, the galaxy? I remember they said you could fit 6 greyhound buses in it. And they pointed out all the control cables running through it, like the cables on a racing bike, and telling us that, although it might take enormous effort, the pilots had the capability to move all the control surfaces through sheer muscle power, if necessary.

Fly by wire always bothered me; I have to reboot my computer too often to trust anything controlled by a computer.

I watched a program the other night on the Galaxy crash in Vietnam at the end of the war - the one with all the orphans on it - the elevators were controlled hydraulically - and control was lost when the cargo door blew out.

Paul - the crash at Toulouse you mentioned wasn't an A330 - it was a much older aircraft (new at the time) - IIRC it killed three handicapped kids who were being given a joyflight. It was through and through pilot error. Last I heard, he was flying in New Guinea - about the only place that would have him.

A friend of mine, now retired, was one of the most senior pilots at Air New Zealand. I remember discussing the 767 with him, back in the early-mid 80's - and it was the first commercial fly by wire plane to come out I believe. He had real concerns about it - again, based on how often his IBM PC used to crash.

Lauda Airlines lost a 767 (and a lot of people) due to a fly-by-wire issue.... the thrust reversed on one engine at high altitude.... from wiki....

The incident led Boeing to modify the thrust reverser system to prevent similar occurrences. Aviation writer Macarthur Job has noted that, "had that Boeing 767 been of an earlier version of the type, fitted with engines that were mechanically rather than electronically controlled, then that accident could not have happened."

Canoez
06-02-2009, 11:35 PM
Paul - the crash at Toulouse you mentioned wasn't an A330 - it was a much older aircraft (new at the time) - IIRC it killed three handicapped kids who were being given a joyflight. It was through and through pilot error. Last I heard, he was flying in New Guinea - about the only place that would have him.

Ian, it was an A330. See the incidents and accidents section in this:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Airbus_A330

carioca1232001
06-02-2009, 11:48 PM
I watched a program the other night on the Galaxy crash in Vietnam at the end of the war - the one with all the orphans on it - the elevators were controlled hydraulically - and control was lost when the cargo door blew out.

Do you recall the Turkish Airlines DC-10 that ploughed down minutes after it took off from Paris around March/April ´74 ?

Well, apparently, a (rear) cargo door on the fuselage came undone, the respective cargo compartment suffered sudden de-compression, and in turn, the passenger floor right above it crashed downwards, severing the elevator and rudder cables.


A friend of mine, now retired, was one of the most senior pilots at Air New Zealand. I remember discussing the 767 with him, back in the early-mid 80's - and it was the first commercial fly by wire plane to come out I believe. He had real concerns about it - again, based on how often his IBM PC used to crash.

Leaving all the controls on board to the mercy of electronic packages, with no back-up, is scary.

Now add insult to injury, by extensively automating in-flight procedures in a manner whereby the pilot has no means of over-riding these ?

Unofficially, it is said in aviation circles that to Airbus´credit is just not the fact that flight engineers have ceased to be part of an airplane´s crew, but also that pilot and co-pilot are allowed on board so as to make people feel more comfortable.

May I add that just last week a TAM (major Brazilian carrier) Airbus, while approaching for landing in São Paulo, got engulfed in a thunderstorm, the plane suddenly nose-diving and seriously injuring 30 passengers on board, some of whom required surgery to fix fractured limbs and bones.

This nose-diving bit on Airbus is getting too frequent for comfort.

And I am flying with the missus on a Turkish Airlines Airbus next week for a short holiday to Turkey!

The Bigfella
06-02-2009, 11:51 PM
Ian, it was an A330. See the incidents and accidents section in this:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Airbus_A330

Sorry - I wasn't referring to the A330 training crash, but to this A320 crash into a forest, back in 1988 - which is what someone was referring to I believe. There's plenty of videos around, not appropriate at this time or place though....

http://www.nytimes.com/1988/06/28/world/pilot-error-is-blamed-in-airbus-crash.html

carioca1232001
06-03-2009, 12:28 AM
Latest news ....a BAF Hercules has finally located debris and a large oil slick along a 5 km. extension of ocean, by the Archipelago of São Paulo and São Pedro, some 700 km north-east off the island of Fernando de Noronha (north-eastern Brazil).

Initial reports indicate that the debris is very fragmented suggesting that the aircraft structure either disintegrated violently at high altitude, or did so on striking the ocean....no bodies have been found at this time

The Bigfella
06-03-2009, 12:40 AM
I believe there are two oil slicks about 35kn apart.... which would indicate she broke up at high altitude.

capnharv
06-03-2009, 12:50 AM
The A330 has 3 central hydraulic systems. 2 of the systems have pumps driven directly from the engine and the other system is driven by electric pumps. So there's hydraulic tubes snaked all over the airplane.

Paul is correct that there are servo-valves on each of the actuators. They port hydraulic pressure to one side of the actuator piston or the other (depending on whether the surface moves up or down). The electrical signals to the valves come from pilot inputs via the Flight Control Computer. Servo-valves have been used on autopilots for 30+ years.

BTW, the 767 is not completely FBW. The spoilers are, but the rudder, elevator and aileron still have cables going to them. The 777 was the first Boeing Commercial jet to have no control cables.

I don't know the details of the Airbus Flight Control System, but I'm sure they have at least 3 independant control paths to each control surface. The purpose is to eliminate a single (or dual) failure of the flight controls. Even with the engines off they have some electrical power from the battery and hydraulics from the RAT.

We were in Boston (from Seattle) when the A300 went down in Queens in 2001, and came back from Orlando this weekend when AF 447 went down. I cringe when I hear of disasters like this.

Prayers for the deceased and their families and friends.

Harvey

pila
06-03-2009, 01:02 AM
Kinda makes me wonder if the computers/flybywire had a glitch that over-stressed the airframe and broke it up. Complicated and "modern" may not necessarily be "good".

On the other hand, DC-10s losing hydraulic lines, and flight control power, when an engine shells-out, aren't "good" either.
Two of those being the Chicago crash, and the more recent Souix (SP) City crash.

The Bigfella
06-03-2009, 01:09 AM
OVERSEAS air safety investigators are expected to look at problems that sent a Qantas A330 on a wild ride over Western Australia last year as they attempt to solve the mystery behind this week's Air France crash.

The Qantas incident last October, and another in December last year also involving an Airbus 330 near Western Australia, involved a problem with a unit called an air data inertial reference unit, which prompted flight control computers to twice pitch down the nose of one of the jets.

Fast action by the crew limited the extent of the plane's fall but 14 people were seriously injured.

The incidents raised questions about a potential wider problem with ADIRUs, which collect raw data on parameters such as air speed, altitude and angle of attack, and process the information before sending it to flight computers. They led to European authorities issuing a global alert to A330 operators.

After the Air France disaster, The Seattle Times reported yesterday that experts were already examining these malfunctions.

But Qantas played down any connection between the incidents; and the Australian Transport Safety Bureau said it had no plans to include the French crash in its investigation of the local malfunctions.

One reason for this is the planes involved in the Australian incidents were the bigger A330-300s, rather than the 200 series involved in the Air France disaster, and it is understood their ADIRUs are made by a different manufacturer to the ones in the French Airbus.

A Qantas spokesman said the ADIRU problem was extremely rare. "To date, the aircraft involved has operated without incident since it returned to service," he said, referring to the plane involved in the October incident.
The loss of the Air France plane after flying through a storm has marred an otherwise good safety record for the A330 family.

There are more than 600 A330s in service with 72 operators around the world. Between them, they have logged 13 million flight hours and 3.3 million flights. Notable incidents include the Qantas upset, a crash soon after take-off during Airbus flight trials in 1994 that cost the lives of seven crew, and a Dragonair encounter in 2003 in which severe turbulence injured 15.

But what had until now been the most spectacular incident occurred in 2001 when an A330-200 glided for 120km without power and landed safely in The Azores after it ran out of fuel over the Atlantic.

What happened in the latest incident is still in the realm of speculation but experts and pilots doubt a lightning strike alone would have brought down the Air France plane. Planes are often struck by lightning -- estimates are that jetliners average one to two hits a year -- and it is rarely disastrous.

Modern jetliners are designed so that electricity from a strike flows over the skin of the aircraft and exits though another part of the aircraft, often the tail. Shielding and surge protectors also guard critical interior components against induced currents.

A former A330 pilot said yesterday that strong turbulence mentioned by the Air France captain in his last message could have been responsible for the aircraft breaking up if load limits on the plane had been exceeded.

"When you're going through the edge of the (storm) cell, you can sometimes go from a sudden downdraft to a sudden updraft," he said.

Paul Girouard
06-03-2009, 01:34 AM
What happened in the latest incident is still in the realm of speculation but experts and pilots doubt a lightning strike alone would have brought down the Air France plane. Planes are often struck by lightning -- estimates are that jetliners average one to two hits a year -- and it is rarely disastrous.

Modern jetliners are designed so that electricity from a strike flows over the skin of the aircraft and exits though another part of the aircraft, often the tail. Shielding and surge protectors also guard critical interior components against induced currents.



They hit lots of birds as well , it always doesn't go well.

Tom Wilkinson
06-03-2009, 04:31 AM
Tom, if the hydraulics are localized, and controlled by electronic controls, thats basically the same as saying "little motors," its just that they are hydraulic motors, no?

www.andytracy.net/files/29HYD.doc

skuthorp
06-03-2009, 06:38 AM
Well the recorders are in vry deep water, last about a fortnight in those conditions someone says.

Tylerdurden
06-03-2009, 06:48 AM
My question is, was there any missile ex's going on there at the time.;)

carioca1232001
06-03-2009, 08:05 AM
I believe there are two oil slicks about 35kn apart.... which would indicate she broke up at high altitude.

Slicks, 35 kilometres apart, is news to us. The US has also chipped in with its resources, so there may be other data finds that haven´t surfaced here as yet.

carioca1232001
06-03-2009, 08:45 AM
www.andytracy.net/files/29HYD.doc

A great deal of aircraft-specific jargon, which makes it difficult and tedious for the layperson to follow through, but are we to understand that Pat Cox was right or wrong ?

'Small electrical motors' is the term used by the NYT , in an article which occupies half a page of one of our major newspapers this morning, after being put up for display on a local Internet site yesterday.

The Bigfella
06-03-2009, 09:20 AM
Slicks, 35 kilometres apart, is news to us. The US has also chipped in with its resources, so there may be other data finds that haven´t surfaced here as yet.

Sorry mate - I definitely read that somewhere, but can't spot it in my usual sources now.

Tom Wilkinson
06-03-2009, 09:25 AM
The flight controls on the airbus are controlled by hydraulic actuators, not tiny motors and they are not similiar to motors. The actuators are controlled by servovalves, mounted in the actuator and receive from some tyoe of motion transducer, probably lvdt. I have no direct experience on the 330 but will soon as we just picked up a bunch with the merger. I have a month of 330 training coming up in november.

The systems involved are difficult to discuss without getting into aircraft specific jargon. Hence it gets dumbed down to the point of being meaningless.

767 is not a fly by wire aircraft either. Some of them do have full digital control on the engines, none have fly by wire flight controls. 777 was boeings first FBW commercial plane.

carioca1232001
06-03-2009, 09:53 AM
The flight controls on the airbus are controlled by hydraulic actuators, not tiny motors and they are not similiar to motors. The actuators are controlled by servovalves, mounted in the actuator and receive from some tyoe of motion transducer, probably lvdt.

A kind of hydraulic motor, then, that imparts motion to the aerodynamic control surfaces ?

Is the motion transducer all-mechanical, with no electrics to it ? Does it output its findings directly to the hydraulic actuator, much like a stand-alone sensor/controller ?


The systems involved are difficult to discuss without getting into aircraft specific jargon. Hence it gets dumbed down to the point of being meaningless.

Not if you look at it from afar. Granted, 'small electrical motors' does not apply, specially if it is all hydraulics and mechanical devices.


767 is not a fly by wire aircraft either. Some of them do have full digital control on the engines, none have fly by wire flight controls. 777 was boeings first FBW commercial plane.

A good friend of mine worked on the very first digital controls for GE Turbines at the Massachussetts plant. This was more than 20 years ago. To wisen up, they put him under the wing of (then) MIT guru, Michael Athans.

So FBW is here to stay. But does the 777 have just about every in-flight procedure automated, with little or no over-ride capability from the pilot ?

Tom Wilkinson
06-03-2009, 10:16 AM
The actuators are controlled by servovalves which are electrically controlled. The servovalves receive electrical feedback from the lvdt (transducer) to know when the flight control has reached the desired position. The force used to move the flight control is hydraulic. Fly by wire simply means that the system is purely electrically controlled, there is no means of mechanical reversion.

Hydraulics is simply the motive force, it can't "control" anything without mechanical or electrical input.

Boiengs philosophy is different from airbus in that pilot input on an airbus cannot usually take the plane out of a safe operating envelope defined by the flight computers. Boeing planes give pilots the final authority. The 777 is no different.

TimH
06-03-2009, 10:33 AM
The 787 will be Boeing's first ever exclusively fly by wire commercial airplane.

George Roberts
06-03-2009, 10:33 AM
"Granted, 'small electrical motors' does not apply, specially if it is all hydraulics and mechanical devices."

Part of the problem in discussing these things is terminology. Certainly there is an electric motor or equivalent that produces mechanical motion by a hard link or hydraulic pressure or some other equivalent.

At the logical level there is no difference between direct controls via cables, or virtual controls via computer input and computer signals.

Tom Wilkinson
06-03-2009, 10:49 AM
The 787 will be Boeing's first ever exclusively fly by wire commercial airplane.

What 777 system is not fly by wire?

htom
06-03-2009, 11:05 AM
My condolences for the lost, and sympathy for their friends. The Sky can be as unforgiving of error as The Sea. May God have mercy on their souls.

TimH
06-03-2009, 11:14 AM
What 777 system is not fly by wire?

Boeing continued to the chose conventional control systems for its 757 and 767 aircraft but Airbus went ahead and introduced digital fly-by-wire in its A320 airplanes. It was only on the Boeing 777 that the Company finally decided to introduce the digital fly-by-wire controls. Thus, this concept which is basically the result of wanting to put a man on the moon, have today become an accepted part of modern aviation design.

Although the Boeing 777 and the Airbus 320 series and later, adopted this new concept, there are slight differences in their applications. Airbus has taken a much different philosophical approach to using computers than Boeing. The European airplane maker designed its new fly-by-wire jets with built-in protections or hard limits.

The Boeing Company, on the other hand, believes pilots should have the ultimate say, meaning that on the Boeing jets, the pilot can override onboard computers and their built-in soft limits. The issue is, should pilots or a computer have the ultimate control over a commercial jetliner as the plane approaches its design limits in an emergency? There were strong arguments by pilots on both sides of the debates. Some pilots were of the opinion that computer protection of the A320 is very good whereas other pilots support the Boeing philosophy that they must have the final say in controlling the airplane.

Both have valid arguments. In 1995, a Boeing 757 crashed into a mountain while trying to land at Cali in Columbia, killing 159 people on board. In this accident, the warning system on board had alerted the crew that they were about to crash onto the mountain. The Captain executed a climb but forgot to retract the speed brake. On an A320, Airbus points out, the protection in the computer would have retracted the speed brakes automatically. But Boeing argues that, the jet would have hit the ridge even if the speed brakes had been retracted. Airbus planes with their fly-by-wire technology and 'automatic protections' have also crashed. In fact, six of the A320s have so far been lost. One of the very first A320 jets crashed shortly after the jet entered service in 1988, raising many questions about the Airbus philosophy.

The pilots were making a low-and-slow fly-pass during an air show in Habsheim, France. They were supposed to fly by with the gear down at about 100 feet. Instead, they came in at less than 30 feet off the ground. When the plane gets below 50 feet, the computer assumes the pilots are trying to land. The plane did exactly what it was supposed to do and crash-landed onto the trees.

Gary E
06-03-2009, 11:31 AM
Something tells me that Boeing would never be where it is today if the 707 that Tex Johnson flew had those FBW limitations....

Roll it again Tex
http://www.flightschoollist.com/blog/?p=931

If you want FBW for your boat, look here
http://www.tecnautic.com/

ishmael
06-03-2009, 11:39 AM
Hm. Just seat of the pants because I don't know how these airplanes fly, but it sounds to me returning a direct control to the pilot would be in order. What's a pilot for otherwise, if they can't control the surfaces of the aircraft?

Tom Wilkinson
06-03-2009, 11:51 AM
Boeing continued to the chose conventional control systems for its 757 and 767 aircraft but Airbus went ahead and introduced digital fly-by-wire in its A320 airplanes. It was only on the Boeing 777 that the Company finally decided to introduce the digital fly-by-wire controls. Thus, this concept which is basically the result of wanting to put a man on the moon, have today become an accepted part of modern aviation design.

Although the Boeing 777 and the Airbus 320 series and later, adopted this new concept, there are slight differences in their applications. Airbus has taken a much different philosophical approach to using computers than Boeing. The European airplane maker designed its new fly-by-wire jets with built-in protections or hard limits.

The Boeing Company, on the other hand, believes pilots should have the ultimate say, meaning that on the Boeing jets, the pilot can override onboard computers and their built-in soft limits. The issue is, should pilots or a computer have the ultimate control over a commercial jetliner as the plane approaches its design limits in an emergency? There were strong arguments by pilots on both sides of the debates. Some pilots were of the opinion that computer protection of the A320 is very good whereas other pilots support the Boeing philosophy that they must have the final say in controlling the airplane.

Both have valid arguments. In 1995, a Boeing 757 crashed into a mountain while trying to land at Cali in Columbia, killing 159 people on board. In this accident, the warning system on board had alerted the crew that they were about to crash onto the mountain. The Captain executed a climb but forgot to retract the speed brake. On an A320, Airbus points out, the protection in the computer would have retracted the speed brakes automatically. But Boeing argues that, the jet would have hit the ridge even if the speed brakes had been retracted. Airbus planes with their fly-by-wire technology and 'automatic protections' have also crashed. In fact, six of the A320s have so far been lost. One of the very first A320 jets crashed shortly after the jet entered service in 1988, raising many questions about the Airbus philosophy.

The pilots were making a low-and-slow fly-pass during an air show in Habsheim, France. They were supposed to fly by with the gear down at about 100 feet. Instead, they came in at less than 30 feet off the ground. When the plane gets below 50 feet, the computer assumes the pilots are trying to land. The plane did exactly what it was supposed to do and crash-landed onto the trees.

Giving the pilot final authority over the actual input given to the plane does not change the fact that the controls are fly by wire. Fly by wire is a reference to how the controls are physically actuated, not the philosophy behind where those control inputs come from.

The 777 does actually have one cable controlled system and has manual reversion capability but I wouldn't want to rely on it to make a safe landing. If that plane gets down to that low a level of functionality you are in very deep trouble.

If the only connection to the control actuators is electric and not mechanical it is a fly by wire system. The 777 has that.

Tom Wilkinson
06-03-2009, 11:55 AM
Something tells me that Boeing would never be where it is today if the 707 that Tex Johnson flew had those FBW limitations....

Roll it again Tex
http://www.flightschoollist.com/blog/?p=931

If you want FBW for your boat, look here
http://www.tecnautic.com/

No reason he couldn't do that in a FBW Boeing aircraft.

Tom Wilkinson
06-03-2009, 11:58 AM
Hm. Just seat of the pants because I don't know how these airplanes fly, but it sounds to me returning a direct control to the pilot would be in order. What's a pilot for otherwise, if they can't control the surfaces of the aircraft?

Who says they can't control it. It is simply a different method of control. One mfg has hard software limits and the other doesn't. There are sound arguments behind both philosophies.

TimH
06-03-2009, 12:00 PM
Giving the pilot final authority over the actual input given to the plane does not change the fact that the controls are fly by wire.

True, but my earlier statement was that the 787 will be Boeings first "exclusively" FBW passenger plane. Meaning the pilot cannot over-ride.

The scariest part of this crash is that we may never know what happened. If the black boxes are irretrievable we may just have to wait for this to happen again.

Tom Wilkinson
06-03-2009, 12:57 PM
True, but my earlier statement was that the 787 will be Boeings first "exclusively" FBW passenger plane. Meaning the pilot cannot over-ride.


That is a significant departure from Boeing philosophy. I can't find anything from Boeing, or anyone else for that matter, that indicates that to be true.

Your definition of fly by wire and mine differ apparently.

Tom Wilkinson
06-03-2009, 01:13 PM
The gag order still stands on a lot of that info. FOIA's are in the courts about it. Good luck with that.

Well, Tim is getting that info from somewhere. I am asking where. Is that ok with you? The info I have on the 787 indicates that the flight controls use the same design and operation philosophy as the 777.

see pdf page 4
http://www.boeing.com/commercial/aeromagazine/articles/qtr_1_08/AERO_Q108_article2.pdf

Tom Wilkinson
06-03-2009, 01:16 PM
The gag order still stands on a lot of that info. FOIA's are in the courts about it. Good luck with that.

And I don't need the foia to know that I can override the autopilot on a boeing 777 manually.

Tom Wilkinson
06-03-2009, 01:24 PM
Actually I was commenting on the subject matter, both sides of the coin. Didn't mean to rustle feathers. You guys have at it.;)

So be a little less cryptic in your posting. You gag order comment doesn't address anything, and the way boeing planes work is fairly well established. They don't have hard software limits on anything prior to the 787. There isn't a lot of info available on the 787 since it hasn't been put in service yet.

TimH
06-03-2009, 02:20 PM
I got that off the web, but I just sent an email to a buddy who is an engineer at Boeing. He should know.

carioca1232001
06-03-2009, 07:18 PM
The actuators are controlled by servovalves which are electrically controlled. The servovalves receive electrical feedback from the lvdt (transducer) to know when the flight control has reached the desired position. The force used to move the flight control is hydraulic. Fly by wire simply means that the system is purely electrically controlled, there is no means of mechanical reversion.

Hydraulics is simply the motive force, it can't "control" anything without mechanical or electrical input.

Hydraulic elements can also be used to emulate units like integrators, differentiators, summers etc., though in aircraft they appear to do no more than the 'brawn' part, the brain behind the control being implemented through electric/electronic devices. Ultimately, the true brain behind it all is the person/team who designed the control, is it not so ?


Boiengs philosophy is different from airbus in that pilot input on an airbus cannot usually take the plane out of a safe operating envelope defined by the flight computers. Boeing planes give pilots the final authority. The 777 is no different.

Cheers to Boeing ! The French are known to sin when it comes to their infatuation with 'automatique'. Have you ever come across a French (clothes) washing machine ?!

TimH
06-03-2009, 07:23 PM
Well they arent offering much hope for solving this one.

And apparently nobody (I know) at Boeing knows if the 787 will be strictly FBW. The avionics are similar to the 777 and still being produced by Honeywell, but its going to have different hardware and software.

I believe they are too lazy to find out for me (hence the name Lazy B)

Bob Adams
06-03-2009, 07:32 PM
Boeings philosophy is different from airbus in that pilot input on an airbus cannot usually take the plane out of a safe operating envelope defined by the flight computers.

Well, the stabilizer and rudder coming off an Airbus over Queens due to pilot inputs seems to contradict that. I've been leary of Airbus ever since the 1988 airshow crash where the plane decided that flying so low and slow, the silly pilot simply must really mean to land, no matter what his inputs show. I still say,dispite the apparent bias against anything American made, if it's not Boeing, I ain't going. My sincere condolances to all the victims of the Air France accident's families.

carioca1232001
06-03-2009, 07:37 PM
.....If you want FBW for your boat, look here
http://www.tecnautic.com/

Are you being sarcastic ? !

Some time ago an avid fisher at our Yacht Club went out 70 miles into the ocean with his brand-spanking-new 50 footer sport-fisher, imported from the US. This boat ran him close to 1.5 million dollars + import taxes (another eight-hundred thousand dollars)

The FBW throttle controls froze up for some petty reason, leaving him and his crew completely stranded. Were it not for another 50 footer that was in the vicinity and towed him back to port, his boat could have rolled over in the swell.

Steve Paskey
06-03-2009, 07:50 PM
I believe there are two oil slicks about 35kn apart.... which would indicate she broke up at high altitude.

There's new information to support that conclusion. The latest from AP, courtesy of an unnamed aviation official familiar with the investigation ...


The pilot sent a manual signal at 11 p.m. local time saying he was flying through an area of "CBs" — black, electrically charged cumulonimbus clouds that come with violent winds and lightning. Satellite data has shown that towering thunderheads were sending 100 mph (160 kph) updraft winds into the jet's flight path at the time.

Ten minutes later, a cascade of problems began: Automatic messages indicate the autopilot had disengaged, a key computer system switched to alternative power, and controls needed to keep the plane stable had been damaged. An alarm sounded indicating the deterioration of flight systems.

Three minutes after that, more automatic messages reported the failure of systems to monitor air speed, altitude and direction. Control of the main flight computer and wing spoilers failed as well.

The last automatic message, at 11:14 p.m., signaled loss of cabin pressure and complete electrical failure — catastrophic events in a plane that was likely already plunging toward the ocean.

ahp
06-03-2009, 08:36 PM
I cannot imagine what it must have been like on the plane during the final 15 minutes. Was there any way that the cockpit crew could have detected and avoided the meat grinder they were about to fly into? Also, what is the maximum altitude that plane could reach?

carioca1232001
06-03-2009, 08:58 PM
.... I've been leary of Airbus ever since the 1988 airshow crash where the plane decided that flying so low and slow, the silly pilot simply must really mean to land, no matter what his inputs show.

There was an accident here in São Paulo with an Airbus, some 2-3 years ago at the 'domestic' Congonhas airport, close to the centre of the city. The aircraft landed way ahead of the touch-down area.....on a rainy day......disaster laid in waiting ....


... I still say,dispite the apparent bias against anything American made, if it's not Boeing, I ain't going. .

Things American-made that do not cut it ?..........some aspects of American foreign policy ! The rest is OK !

The Bigfella
06-03-2009, 09:17 PM
Well, the stabilizer and rudder coming off an Airbus over Queens due to pilot inputs seems to contradict that. I've been leary of Airbus ever since the 1988 airshow crash where the plane decided that flying so low and slow, the silly pilot simply must really mean to land, no matter what his inputs show. I still say,dispite the apparent bias against anything American made, if it's not Boeing, I ain't going. My sincere condolances to all the victims of the Air France accident's families.

I'm equally happy to step on to either manufacturer's product...



Two firms—Boeing Company and Airbus Industrie—dominate the 100-and-more-passenger-aircraft industry. The principle focus of this study is the safety posture of the two firms’ products. We first discuss the competitive nature of the industry and previous research in commercial aviation safety before presenting a statistical analysis. The article then examines the data using the least squares regression method and the logit method; it also reviews the relationship between the variables using correlation matrices. The data investigation yields statistical evidence that over the 9-year period between 1990 to 1998, there was no significant difference in safety records between the Boeing and Airbus product lines. A data analysis for the past 4 years of the same period, however, indicates that Airbus is improving its safety posture when compared to the recent safety record of Boeing products.


http://pwm.sagepub.com/cgi/content/abstract/5/2/147

ishmael
06-03-2009, 09:47 PM
I'll bet there were no computers in this bird's wings. Once, a good thirty years ago, longer, I flew in the copilot's seat of a Ford trimotor. It was running groceries and this and that between the mainland and islands in Lake Erie. They called it the "Tin Goose."

Riding shotgun was not all that fun. I was deaf for a week after listening to that Wright rotary engine just outside my window. One other thing, the dash had the airspeed indicators stuck at 85. We slowed down, we sped up, 85. Rather remarkable that the plane was allowed by the FAA to fly, but I'm glad it was.

paladin
06-03-2009, 11:54 PM
Nothing was wrong with the air speed indicator...that was correct...take off speed...cruising speed....maximum diving speed....maneuvering speed....85 mph not knots.....

The Bigfella
06-04-2009, 12:26 AM
More debris from an Air France jet that came down in the Atlantic has been spotted from the air, but investigators are pessimistic about finding the black boxes that could explain the tragedy.

A Brazilian air force plane fitted with a special sensor found 10 items, some metallic - including an object seven metres in diameter - and a fuel slick 20km long early on Wednesday, spokesman Colonel Jorge Amaral told reporters.

The extra debris was found 90km south of the spot where planes found objects including an airline seat, a life-vest and cables on Tuesday.


more.... http://www.smh.com.au/world/air-france-crash-black-box-hopes-diminish-as-more-debris-found-20090604-bvxp.html?sssdmh=dm16.380183

carioca1232001
06-04-2009, 08:20 AM
Steve Pakey quoting another source:

Quote:
The pilot sent a manual signal at 11 p.m. local time saying he was flying through an area of "CBs" — black, electrically charged cumulonimbus clouds that come with violent winds and lightning. Satellite data has shown that towering thunderheads were sending 100 mph (160 kph) updraft winds into the jet's flight path at the time.

Ten minutes later, a cascade of problems began: Automatic messages indicate the autopilot had disengaged, a key computer system switched to alternative power, and controls needed to keep the plane stable had been damaged. An alarm sounded indicating the deterioration of flight systems.

Three minutes after that, more automatic messages reported the failure of systems to monitor air speed, altitude and direction. Control of the main flight computer and wing spoilers failed as well.

The last automatic message, at 11:14 p.m., signaled loss of cabin pressure and complete electrical failure — catastrophic events in a plane that was likely already plunging toward the ocean.

Talking to friends last evening, one of them mentioned that Brazilian pilots who fly on this route and who commented on the AF crash, complained of dastardly weather conditions, at the highest of altitudes, a condition that did not exist a decade or two ago.

I have scant knowledge of 'earth warming' but the person who brought up this subject yesterday is currently reading Thomas Freidman´s book on the same subject. She says that there could be something in it.

carioca1232001
06-04-2009, 08:29 AM
I'm equally happy to step on to either manufacturer's product...



http://pwm.sagepub.com/cgi/content/abstract/5/2/147

Sorry, though in the back of my mind, there a lot more Airbus mishaps than Boeing.

How about the one in Toronto, a couple of years ago, when in broad daylight , an Air France Airbus landed halfway up the runway, rolled off the tarmac, though finally stopping by some trees, by the confines of a major highway ?

Miraculously, no one was killed, the plane was immediately engulfed by fire and AF hush-hushed the whole thing. The media had nothing more to say, either. End of story.

The Bigfella
06-04-2009, 09:15 AM
Sorry, though in the back of my mind, there a lot more Airbus mishaps than Boeing.

How about the one in Toronto, a couple of years ago, when in broad daylight , an Air France Airbus landed halfway up the runway, rolled off the tarmac, though finally stopping by some trees, by the confines of a major highway ?

Miraculously, no one was killed, the plane was immediately engulfed by fire and AF hush-hushed the whole thing. The media had nothing more to say, either. End of story.

Pilot error.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Air_France_Flight_358#Conclusions

Andrew Craig-Bennett
06-04-2009, 09:39 AM
Here is a complete list of fatal accidents involving an Airbus A340 in the past seventeen years since the plane was introduced:

- 0 -

TimH
06-04-2009, 10:56 AM
We fly planes into hurricanes to take measurements. I find it hard to believe a new plane could be knocked down by the weather. Im more inclined toward technology failure - as in the computer over reacted to the turbulence and did something that caused the plane to crash.

ishmael
06-04-2009, 11:06 AM
It's all over but the shouting now. 200 plus dear souls lost to the ocean and the air. God rest them.

I do hope if there's some fluke in the Airbus they get it figured out.

P.S. Chuck, flying in that old airplane was a hoot. I still am a little deef in my right ear. There was no window, no glass anyway, and that Wright was right there. Coulda just about touched it if I'd had a mind to. I remember hearing that the "Tin Goose" took a hard fall some years after I was a passenger. No longer in the air.

John of Phoenix
06-04-2009, 11:48 AM
Two debris fields indicate a catastrophic in-flight breakup. Thunderstorms are bad news for airplanes - even at distances of several miles.

One of the case studies when I went through accident investigation school was the in-flight breakup of a B-58, a supersonic bomber, during a test flight that involved tangling with a thunderstorm. The crew wound up ejecting but even their escape capsules were ripped apart by the forces of the storm.

There’s never been an airplane made that can handle a thunderstorm.

----------------
Fly by wire with computer limitations is fine in most circumstances but in an emergency I'd want to have physical linkage and no limits on pilot input.

Canoez
06-04-2009, 11:56 AM
I don't know if this is apocyphal or not but :


"There is no reason to fly through a thunderstorm in peacetime." - Sign over squadron ops desk at Davis-Monthan AFB, AZ, 1970

TimH
06-04-2009, 12:09 PM
I flew into Indiana last summer. There was a huge storm cell surrounded by blue skies near the airport. We too the time to fly a circle around it and the pilot was talking about how cool it looked. My connecting flight was cancelled because of it.

TimH
06-04-2009, 12:31 PM
RIO DE JANEIRO, Brazil (CNN) -- Conflicting reports emerged Thursday about what caused an Air France jet carrying 228 people to crash into the Atlantic Ocean as the hunt for evidence intensified.
Image released by the Brazilian Air Force shows oil slicks in the water near a debris site.
Investigators have not determined what caused the plane to crash. The flight data recorders have not been recovered, and the plane's crew did not send any messages indicating problems before the plane disappeared.
A Spanish pilot said he saw an "intense flash" in the area where Flight 447 came down off the coast of Brazil, while a Brazilian minister appeared to rule out a mid-air explosion.
Meanwhile, a report in France suggested the pilots were perhaps flying at the "wrong speed" for the violent thunderstorm they flew into early on Monday before the Airbus A330's systems failed.
Le Monde newspaper reported that Airbus was sending a warning to operators of A330 jets with new advice on flying in storms.
As several ships trawled the crash site in the Atlantic, Brazil's defense minister said a 20-kilometer (12-mile) oil slick near where the plane, en route from Rio de Janeiro to Paris, went down indicated it probably did not break up until it hit the water.
If true, that would rule out an in-flight explosion as the cause of the crash of Air France Flight 447, Defense Minister Nelson Jobim told reporters.
However, both pilots of an Air Comet flight from Lima to Lisbon sent a written report on the bright flash they said they saw to Air France, Airbus and the Spanish civil aviation authority, the airline told CNN.
"Suddenly, we saw in the distance a strong and intense flash of white light, which followed a descending and vertical trajectory and which broke up in six seconds," the captain wrote.
Air Comet declined to identify the pilot's name, but said he waited until landing to inform Air Comet management about what he saw. Air Comet then informed Spanish civil aviation authorities. The Air Comet co-pilot, and a passenger aboard the same flight, also saw the light.
But Robert Francis, former vice chairman of the U.S. National Transportation Safety Board, said the question of determining where a plane broke up "is a very difficult one to deal with." He told CNN's "Anderson Cooper 360" that "there are lots of things that cause a plane to go out of control."
He added that extremely strong winds are not unusual near Brazil. Pilots who fly over that part of the world keep track of radar and "are very, very wary about the weather as they go back and forth down in that area."

carioca1232001
06-04-2009, 02:29 PM
Pilot error.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Air_France_Flight_358#Conclusions

Would the same verdict be applicable to the Turkish Airlines Airbus that 'undershot' the runway in Schipol (Amsterdam) just a few weeks ago ?

If so, the pilot and co-pilot payed dearly for it, and so did about a dozen other passengers.

Hush-hush, again.

Off the top of my head, I can recall landing mishaps, some fatal ones, with China (or Taiwan Airlines?), Ariana (Afghan Airlines), Indian Airlines etc..

As I had mentioned earlier, Brazilian pilots consider the Airbus a demanding aircraft to fly.

Perhaps the developing nations have not invested enough man-hours to train their Airbus pilots ?

TimH
06-04-2009, 02:31 PM
I just read that pilots switching up from the 777 to the 787 will require but 5 hours of additional training.

Tom Wilkinson
06-04-2009, 02:51 PM
I just read that pilots switching up from the 777 to the 787 will require but 5 hours of additional training.

That tends to support the argument that boeing has not changed their control philosophy. I beleive some of that was covered in the link I provided earlier.

TimH
06-04-2009, 03:01 PM
That tends to support the argument that boeing has not changed their control philosophy. I beleive some of that was covered in the link I provided earlier.

You are probably right.

TimH
06-04-2009, 05:03 PM
Anyone know what they mean by "flying at the wrong speed"?

The agency warned against any "hasty interpretation or speculation" after the French newspaper Le Monde reported, without naming sources, that the Air France plane was flying at the wrong speed.

The Bigfella
06-04-2009, 07:39 PM
Would the same verdict be applicable to the Turkish Airlines Airbus that 'undershot' the runway in Schipol (Amsterdam) just a few weeks ago ?

If so, the pilot and co-pilot payed dearly for it, and so did about a dozen other passengers.

Hush-hush, again.

Off the top of my head, I can recall landing mishaps, some fatal ones, with China (or Taiwan Airlines?), Ariana (Afghan Airlines), Indian Airlines etc..

As I had mentioned earlier, Brazilian pilots consider the Airbus a demanding aircraft to fly.

Perhaps the developing nations have not invested enough man-hours to train their Airbus pilots ?

Actually, that was a Boeing 737 - 800, not an Airbus. This article says they were flying too slow, so quite possibly so.

http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/news/world/europe/article5801684.ece

carioca1232001
06-04-2009, 07:55 PM
Actually, that was a Boeing 737 - 800, not an Airbus. This article says they were flying too slow, so quite possibly so.

http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/news/world/europe/article5801684.ece

Right you are, mate!

All I can say is........ when I see something fall short - or long - while landing, Airbus comes to mind !

And I am flying Airbus overseas next week....... .

My missus has seen such a lot of Airbus faults reported on the box/media this week that she told me seriously a few minutes ago:

I think we should cancel the trip ! I´m not going on that crate !

The Bigfella
06-04-2009, 08:14 PM
I haven't dug into these lists yet.. but there's the very short list of Airbus fatalities and their causes (all on 1 page).

http://www.ntsb.gov/ntsb/


and the same search string using Boeing instead of Airbus produced 15 pages of fatality results for Boeing

I've shortened the link, because it didn't work - worth a try though... easy enough to get it to work from the link I've got here now. I used 1962 to present, which is the whole database and predates Airbus, so the equivalent Boeing list would come down in size. As I said earlier though, they are broadly equivalent, both extremely safe forms of transport - far safer than getting in a car or bus.

TimH
06-04-2009, 08:54 PM
Airbus is the new kid on the block.

carioca1232001
06-04-2009, 09:30 PM
The new kid on the block may be trying to draw attention to itself, by re-inventing the wheel.

Bigfella says that by analysing statistics alone, Airbus and Boeing appear to be broadly equivalent in matter of safety.

That either make of aircraft is much safer than a bus or car .....well, they constitute very, very different forms of transporting goods and people.

Although aircraft and road vehicles both use heat engines for propulsion, that is about all they have in common.

Tom Wilkinson
06-04-2009, 09:32 PM
Airbus has delivered 5662 aircraft of which 5417 are still in service. Boeing has delivered over 14000 aircraft so the numbers will certainly be skewed. Both are safe.

PatCox
06-04-2009, 09:45 PM
Bigfella, if one kind of airplane has a significantly larger number of "pilot errors" than another airplane, could this not confirm the suggestion that the airplane is harder to fly? After that stretched DC-10 cargo plane flipped over on landing a month or so ago, there was some comment that that airplane was particularly touchy on landings.

PatCox
06-04-2009, 09:47 PM
The long-term reliability of airplane jet engines is amazing to me; what with the incredible RPMs of the turbines turning in a hot environment, its kinda miraculous to me they are so long-lived and reliable, apparently much more so than piston engines. Is it because they are meticulously maintained?

Tom Wilkinson
06-04-2009, 10:07 PM
The longest I have seen one stay on wing is a bout 26,000 hours. Rolls-royce rb211-524 on one of our l-1011's. I think it's a combination of good maintenance and good design. Some of them do have their issues though, and few of the newer engines stay on anywhere near that kind of time. 10-15k hours is probably a good average. I don't pay much attention to it anymore, but we typically change a couple of them every night.

carioca1232001
06-04-2009, 10:08 PM
The long-term reliability of airplane jet engines is amazing to me; what with the incredible RPMs of the turbines turning in a hot environment, its kinda miraculous to me they are so long-lived and reliable, apparently much more so than piston engines. Is it because they are meticulously maintained?

Though they´ve come a long way since Frank Whittle, the ex-pat Brit, who took his invention to the US in the late40´s/early 50´s !

I´m sure that a great deal of high-tech tools are employed for maintenance (x-ray techniques etc), but a mech. engr friend of mine who did a stint in the Portuguese Air Force told me the following:

How do you think they go about balancing the fan that one sees up front, when one of the vanes has a piece chipped off ? Well, the technician identifies a diametrically opposed vane and takes an equivalent size chip off it !

PatCox
06-04-2009, 10:19 PM
Tom, how many hours a year does one of those engines run? Seems to me, they never really cool off during their working life, do they? I am still amazed.

carioca1232001
06-04-2009, 10:26 PM
The AF Airbus 330 that crashed earlier this week was put into service in 2004.

It had logged 19,000 flying hours, or roughly 3,800 hours per annum / or 10 hours every single day (on the average).

Tom Wilkinson
06-04-2009, 10:33 PM
10 hours a say is probably a good average so I would guess 3-4k per year.

The balancing story is cute but we actually add weights inside the spinner. Most of the newer aircraft have all the vibe survey equipment right onboard so we can correct a vibration issue pretty easily. We used to have to hook up a bunch of test equipment and do several engine runs. Now it is possible to fix a vibe issue right at the gate.

I have never trimmed a perfectly good blade just to balance the fan. They are changed in pairs though.

Paul Girouard
06-04-2009, 10:56 PM
Thats way better than a Prowler we'd drop a motor IF it made 500 hours , they have extended that a bit now , still under 1000 hours, I think 800 hours. GE J-52 P408's motors.

Of course a tactical jet has a harder life , lower to the deck so it's easier to FOD a motor especially on the boat. Suck up a nut / bolt / or other FOD and you've got a engine change on your hands. There was nothing we could do about dinged blades , well except change the motor.

We'd rarely make it to a 500 hours inspection , most motors got FODed before that many hours.

What kind of inspection cycle are commerical jets on? Does it depend on type equipment? They do "daily and / or turnarounds on them don't they???

The Bigfella
06-04-2009, 10:57 PM
The new kid on the block may be trying to draw attention to itself, by re-inventing the wheel.

Bigfella says that by analysing statistics alone, Airbus and Boeing appear to be broadly equivalent in matter of safety.

That either make of aircraft is much safer than a bus or car .....well, they constitute very, very different forms of transporting goods and people.

Although aircraft and road vehicles both use heat engines for propulsion, that is about all they have in common.

The only reasonable way to compare (in my opinion) between forms of transport would be to analyse on the basis of opportunity for an accident to occur - be that number of trips taken or number of kilometres travelled per person or something similar.


Bigfella, if one kind of airplane has a significantly larger number of "pilot errors" than another airplane, could this not confirm the suggestion that the airplane is harder to fly? After that stretched DC-10 cargo plane flipped over on landing a month or so ago, there was some comment that that airplane was particularly touchy on landings.

It wouldn't confirm it, but it would open a line of investigation. So far we have a sample of two... one from Boeing and one from Airbus - hardly a reliable sample set to draw conclusions from. There's all sorts of other factors that come into it - level of pilot training, company attitude towards pilots who "waste fuel" by pulling out of a landing approach for a go around, for example.

One thing I did see in looking at a couple of incidents was another A340 incident (no injuries again, IIRC) in South Africa where the plane took off after the end of the runway - again damaging the plane. I think (but may be wrong) that it was Etihad again... who from memory did the same thing with an A340 in Melbourne a couple of months back. The cause in Melbourne was someone in the cockpit entering a value for the aircraft takeoff weight that was more than 100 tons in error - too light. The aircraft computer then applies minimal takeoff power - until the pilot craps his pants and takes over, jamming the throttles open. I'd have thought that it would be pretty simple to make sure there was an element in the computer that also required runway length to be there (which could be checked against a database). Get x% down the runway and the computer should know what's needed.

pila
06-05-2009, 12:11 AM
Trouble with that is, the computer knowing all that would have to be redundant, with a back-up etc.
Even student pilots of small airplanes are taught to fly by different methods than the old days. If the radios quit (navigation) they don't seem to know where the hell they are. Of course, they may have a GPS in their phone too:) This so-called modern society relies on electronic gadgets too much. (IMO):)

carioca1232001
06-05-2009, 12:11 AM
The only reasonable way to compare (in my opinion) between forms of transport would be to analyse on the basis of opportunity for an accident to occur - be that number of trips taken or number of kilometres travelled per person or something similar.

One rarely sees a car or truck catch fire or blow up on its own due to structural failure, although in the latter case it is liable to veer off the road and/or hit another vehicle coming the other way.

The majority of road accidents are due to cars and buses knocking into each other for a host of reasons, including faulty brakes,overspeeding, drunken driving etc, or aren´t they ?

Or as one South African transport specialist put in the 70´s: Most accidents in SA are due to the fact that the main highways are so lightly loaded, that people think they are the only ones on the road that day !

Not that airplanes haven´t run into each other in the airlanes, but it is rather rare, lower by several orders of magnitude.

Some 3 years ago a Boeing 737 went down over the Amazon, when an Embraer executive jet being ferried over to the US, ran into it. There were mutual accusations of whose transponder was off and whether ATC-Amazon were the principal culprits. Another in-flight collission occurred over NYC in the 60´s, no sooner than jet travel was inaugurated.

The Bigfella
06-05-2009, 03:17 AM
How many people die in major airline accidents? Not many. Maybe 1 in 100,000 deaths at a guess, or lower. Plane crashes on scheduled airlines are very few and far between - they rarely happen.

Its certainly very few compared to how many fly.

Of people I know or know via immediate contact friends, more have died of terrorist attack than by airline crash. By the time I was 21, I knew more than 20 people who'd died in car and motorbike crashes. Light aircraft is a different matter... I only knew two people who have died in plane crashes - one an Australian champion stunt pilot, the other a childhood friend who manufactured ultralight aircraft and died in one of his own.

Andrew Craig-Bennett
06-05-2009, 05:18 AM
The longest I have seen one stay on wing is a bout 26,000 hours. Rolls-royce rb211-524 on one of our l-1011's. I think it's a combination of good maintenance and good design. Some of them do have their issues though, and few of the newer engines stay on anywhere near that kind of time. 10-15k hours is probably a good average. I don't pay much attention to it anymore, but we typically change a couple of them every night.

That rings a bell!

I was with the Swire Group in Hong Kong when Cathay were racking up incredible hours with that engine model and indeed that aircraft model!

The RB211-524 was a gold mine for us.

I recall Peter Sutch saying in the pub, around 1990, that CX had planned to dispose of all their L1011s by that date but in fact they had done the opposite and at that moment they owned every single RB211 engined L1011 on the planet!

CX were getting 17.5 hours out of the 24 in flight out of their RB211 engined 747's at that time - and Frank Whittle's son was a 747 captain with them.

Andrew Craig-Bennett
06-05-2009, 07:39 AM
I'm sorry to say that we have made a complete mess of the the sea, and pretty much every square mile will have trash floating on it. People don't usually notice it because they are not looking - the searchers for the aircraft wreckage are looking, so they found plenty.

carioca1232001
06-05-2009, 07:56 AM
....The RB211-524 was a gold mine for us......

But I do recall that in the late 60´s/early 70´s, there was a great deal of anxiety at RR and British circles, whether the RB211 would actually be selected as the defacto powerplant of the Locheed Tristar.

To start with there had been enormous cost overruns and such, and I think the US manufacturers were also keen on hopping onto that train themselves.

Seems that aside from making it into the Tristar, it set an unprecedented milestone for longevity and reliability. Good for Frank Whittle and his male heir at CP !

carioca1232001
06-05-2009, 08:00 AM
The AF flight 447 mystery continues without a solution in sight. The debris picked up by the BAF is not related to it.

carioca1232001
06-05-2009, 08:05 AM
....Its certainly very few compared to how many fly. .....

No manner of doubt, Bigfella.

Large airplanes and road vehicles are what elephants are to mice.

You may compare their respective mortality rates, but it is not very meaningful, at least to me.

ishmael
06-05-2009, 08:08 AM
Hm. Ya know planes do just from time to time vanish. It's a vast expanse of water them oceans.

I think it was the French explorer, Lasalle, who when he got to Lake Ontario(I'm making this up a little as I go along) knelt down and tasted the water. It was one of those adventurous Frenchmen. Hm, said he, this water is sweet, not salt.

Andrew Craig-Bennett
06-05-2009, 09:36 AM
Another flight nearby saw a bright flash and falling burning debris similar to Flt 800. One has to assume if it went CATO the debris will be similar also. Not easy to pick out. Like I wrote earlier it would be nice to see the passenger manifest. The prior bomb threat and no reported claims leaves a smell.
I know most everyone is looking to pilot /airframe failure but in my mind its unlikely the bird CATO under any of those conditions without any warnings transmitted. That the auto system reported yet the pilots did not alone is alarming. First thing short of regaining control over water is a mayday. Under most emergency it happens at the same time.

That's my train of thought, also. Bombs do get put aboard aircraft, not always for "political reasons".

CX lost one over Vietnam, long ago, because a Thai policeman wanted to get rid of his mistress; he insured her life, sent her on a shopping trip to Hong Kong and put a bomb in her handbag. CX have had their own baggage screening ever since. He was never brought to trial.

carioca1232001
06-05-2009, 05:25 PM
Some kind of hit most likely, business/personal or political. I am leaning towards business as if it were political they would have all the answers already scripted.

A slightly new twist on the accident investigation as reported on our internet provider.

First of all, the Public Prosecutor´s Office in Paris has launched an inquiry into 'involuntary homicide', but is not targeting any particular person for the time being.

The Judge, Sylvie Zimmerman, has advised the next of kin of the initiation of such proceedings.

An Iberia (Spanish Airlines) pilot who was ten minutes behind AF flight 447 on the same route, side-stepped the thunderstorm and was some 30 miles distant from it. While preparing for the flight, this pilot saw the weather forecast and decided to take on extra fuel etc. in order to steer away from the nasty stretch of weather.

Bob Adams
06-05-2009, 06:11 PM
An Iberia (Spanish Airlines) pilot who was ten minutes behind AF flight 447 on the same route, side-stepped the thunderstorm and was some 30 miles distant from it. While preparing for the flight, this pilot saw the weather forecast and decided to take on extra fuel etc. in order to steer away from the nasty stretch of weather

A prudent pilot.

The Bigfella
06-05-2009, 07:56 PM
Unfortunately for the conspiracy theorists, it seems that the data transmissions are showing that the pilots took the autopilot off, slowed down too much and stalled. It is difficult to recover an aircraft like this from a stall in clear air, let alone in a thunderstorm.

JBreeze
06-06-2009, 07:30 AM
....... pilots took the autopilot off.........

Has that been determined?

From what I've read, it seems that the Airbus, in extreme weather that requires surface movements that exceed programmed limits, basically shuts down the autopilot and tells the captain "here - you fly it"

Lots of good discussion by Airbus drivers and other pilots at:

http://www.pprune.org/rumours-news-13/

Also about things like the "coffin corner" here:

http://www.iasa-intl.com/folders/belfast/AF447.htm


http://www.iasa-intl.com/folders/belfast/AF447_files/coffincorner-3.jpg

Are Air France and Airbus trying to set this up as "pilot error"?

If I were frequently flying in a location subject to the weather that was experienced in the area of the AF447 flight, I might prefer to go with Boeing and an experienced flight crew, if possible........

Taylor Tarvin
06-06-2009, 08:22 AM
It is difficult to recover an aircraft like this from a stall in clear air, let alone in a thunderstorm

In a thunderstorm yes, otherwise you lower the nose and your out of the stall.

The Bigfella
06-06-2009, 09:46 AM
They are dribbling the information out it seems. I think they said on the radio tonight that there were 24 automatic data messages sent by the plane.

Tom Wilkinson
06-06-2009, 10:08 AM
The messages sent via acars supposedly were over a 4 minute period. That indicates to me that the plane was relatively intact for a significant amount of time after whatever initiated the event.

link to acars messages is below

http://img32.imageshack.us/img32/7547/acarsaf447d.png

I don't know the source of that info so I can't verify it but it does match info I have seen in other reports.

JBreeze
06-06-2009, 12:06 PM
More from the BBC:

http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/world/americas/8086860.stm

"Speaking at a press conference in Paris, the director of France's air accident investigation agency, Paul-Louis Arslanian, said a total of 24 error messages were received in the final moments of Air France 447, as its systems shut down one by one.

But he said it was impossible to tell from the plane's signals why the autopilot was not on.

Faulty speed meters

Mr Arslanian confirmed that the missing jet had had a problem calculating its speed, adding that it was a recurring problem on the A330s and that Airbus was undertaking a replacement programme.

"We have seen a certain number of these types of faults on the A330," Mr Arslanian said. "There is a programme of replacement, of improvement."

But he insisted the planes were safe in the meantime.

The deputy head of the French weather service, Alain Ratier, said the weather pattern was normal at the time that Flight 447 disappeared."

I'd hate to be high up in that coffin corner, have the autopilot disengage, and not know what my speed is :(

Paul Girouard
06-06-2009, 12:22 PM
Those Airbus jets seem to be POS! "If it's not Boeing I'm not going" comes to mind here.

This incident seems to really stink , what else have they been hiding??

Tom Wilkinson
06-06-2009, 12:29 PM
While am am a bit biased towards boeing products they have not been without fault. Several issues with uncommanded rudder movement on the 737 is one flaw that comes to mind.

JBreeze
06-06-2009, 02:07 PM
Two bodies recovered:

http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/brazil_plane

CK 17
06-06-2009, 03:59 PM
There's a lot here and I haven't read all of it. It addresses the weather at the accident site.

http://www.weathergraphics.com/tim/af447/

Paul G.
06-06-2009, 07:59 PM
Condolences to the families, but why does a single air crash generate so much emotionality. Surely the death toll daily worldwide from car accidents is horrific?

Cant work it out myself....

Taylor Tarvin
06-07-2009, 07:47 AM
Condolences to the families, but why does a single air crash generate so much emotionality. Surely the death toll daily worldwide from car accidents is horrific?

Cant work it out myself....

Sinply because of the number of people involved at one time.

carioca1232001
06-07-2009, 10:43 AM
Sinply because of the number of people involved at one time.

And when the airplane and passengers disappear into thin air.

Another aspect, of course - and I am not being callous, just realistic - is the socio-economic level of the persons who´ve lost their lives.

Our newspaper this morning recalls the sudden disappearance in 1979 of a Varig (Brazilian) cargo flight from Tokyo, laden with art pieces, 45 minutes after it took off for LA. No bodies (five crewmen), nor airplane wreckage, was to be found, ever.

What did cause a lot of commotion here was the fact that Captain Araujo perished in that disaster.

The same pilot who 6 years earlier, in May ´73, successfuly belly-landed a 707 in a cabbage field in Orly (Paris), after a (lit) cigarette butt thrown into the toilet garbage bin, started a fire that raged through the top of the fuselage. He decided to do this rather than have the crippled airplane crash down on houses by the airport perimeter.

He allegedly told the tower: 'We are going to die and there is no point of taking other people´s lives. I am going to risk a belly-landing, in the green belt outside Paris'.

All the crew and a couple of passengers - the ones who did not heed the crews´advice to stay put in their seats and huddled up front with the crew - survived. The rest perished from the toxic fumes given off by the plastic trimmings. The 707 was intact, an incredible feat, excepting for the upper fuselage that was consumed by flames.

It was an inaugural flight, lots and lots of VIPs on board.

carioca1232001
06-07-2009, 09:26 PM
Two bodies recovered:

http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/brazil_plane

As more bodies are recovered - today there were another17 (seventeen) - post-mortem examinationss may be able to ascertain the cause of death, as for example, asphyxiation, drowning, fire etc..

In turn this data may narrow down the scenarios for what may have happened on AF flight 447, if it disintegrated at altitude or if it plunged downwards into the ocean.

BTW, why would anyone, in this day and age, use a pitot tube at high altitude to determine air-speed ? Could it not be determined, at least as precisely, through GPS usage ?

By all means, keep a pitot tube at hand for back-up.......but as a principal sensor on a sophisticated auto-pilot ?

S/V Laura Ellen
06-07-2009, 09:32 PM
BTW, why would anyone, in this day and age, use a pitot tube at high altitude to determine air-speed ? Could it not be determined, at least as precisely, through GPS usage ?

By all means, keep a pitot tube at hand for back-up.......but as a principal sensor on a sophisticated auto-pilot ?

What do you have against a pitot tube? They are accurate, simple and can be self contained. Ideal qualities for a dependable instrument.

carioca1232001
06-07-2009, 10:29 PM
What do you have against a pitot tube? They are accurate, simple and can be self contained. Ideal qualities for a dependable instrument.

Nothing against the tube, nor its inventor, Mr Pitot, who discovered its usefulness while dipping it in the Seine.

Good for lab work, for say, computing the thrust of a propulsive duct from measurements of dynamic fluid pressure.

Liable to get clogged with impurities and even ice-up in an aircraft.

How did they measure altitude in the days before the advent of the radar altimeter ? Measure static air pressure and relate it to the 'hypothetical atmosphere at sea-level' ?

Paul Girouard
06-07-2009, 10:46 PM
Liable to get clogged with impurities and even ice-up in an aircraft.

Pitot tubes are heated , no freezing / ice-ing up that way.

How did they measure altitude in the days before the advent of the radar altimeter ?

By the pitot tubes and a altimeter. RatAlt's can get you in trouble just as easy doing low levels as they can't "see" hills or Mtn's at least not until it's to late.:eek:



Measure static air pressure and relate it to the 'hypothetical atmosphere at sea-level' ?



I'm not sure how they worked in a Prowler exactly , but when we ran the TTU-205 altimeter / airspeed tester, the altimeter's one in front , one in the back seat , (so the ECMO's could watch both airspeed and altitude , if they fell below prescribed / set numbers they could eject or punch out, as we liked to refer to ejecting)
would read altitude. So yes, some type of barometric pressure read via the pitot tubes.

The tubes had a ram air hole in the front , and smaller hole , 4 IIRC, about 5" back on the sides that picked up the barometric pressure.

It's a good safe simple system , why change it to something way more complicated that can break or go wonky due to electrical spikes , gear / equipment / black box failure?

PatCox
06-07-2009, 10:51 PM
My $200 GPS in my car tells me my speed, always exactly on, with the speed on the speedometer.

JBreeze
06-07-2009, 10:55 PM
What do you have against a pitot tube? They are accurate, simple and can be self contained. Ideal qualities for a dependable instrument.

Pitot-tube icing was suspected in the October 1997 crash of an Austral Lineas Aereas DC-9 in Uruguay that killed all 74 people onboard. The flight-data recorder showed odd airspeed readings and that the crew had adjusted settings in ways suggesting they thought they were flying much slower than the plane, built by McDonnell Douglas, was actually moving. Investigators concluded those settings caused the pilots to lose control of the plane, which plunged into swamps, according to the Aviation Safety Network, a crash database.

A Continental Airlines MD-82 built by McDonnell Douglas skidded off the runway at New York's La Guardia Airport in March 1994 after the crew aborted takeoff due to strange airspeed readings. Investigators from the National Transportation Safety Board later found the crew failed to activate the pitot tubes' heating, allowing them to get clogged with ice or snow. Nobody was killed.

The NTSB cited similar issues with incidents during two flights of Boeing 717 jetliners in 2002 and 2005, in which the pitot-tube heating system was temporarily inactive for unknown reasons.

In February 1996, a Boeing 757 crashed shortly after takeoff from the Dominican Republic, killing all 189 people onboard. Flight-data and cockpit recordings showed the crew got confused by conflicting speed readings and stalled the plane, which plunged into the ocean.

Investigators concluded that wasps may have nested in the pitot tubes as the plane, operated by Turkey's Birgenair, sat grounded for several days. The tubes are supposed to be kept covered when a plane is parked, but a witness recalled seeing them exposed.

Wasp nesting in pitot tubes was again cited in a March 2006 incident, where the crew of a Qantas Airways Ltd. Airbus A330 slammed on the brakes during takeoff from Brisbane, Australia. Nobody was injured.

There are more examples, including one where the covers on the tube were not removed before take-off........

It appears that a heavy jet, flying at high altitudes, needs very accurate air speed information in order to stay out of the coffin corner....sometimes a discrepancy of just a few knots can lead to disaster

capnharv
06-07-2009, 10:59 PM
I'm no expert, but I think one problem with using GPS instead of Pitot pressure is that (from what I've seen) GPS averages speed/altitude based on the signal rate to/from the satellite. Sometimes you need the autopilot/FCC to calculate in milliseconds, and direct Pitot pressure is right there.

I think another issue is the vulnerability of the GPS system to space debris, solar flares, etc.

Thanks,

Harvey

CK 17
06-07-2009, 11:01 PM
BTW, why would anyone, in this day and age, use a pitot tube at high altitude to determine air-speed ? Could it not be determined, at least as precisely, through GPS usage ?



All a wing responds to is the air going over it and the angle of attack of that air. Only a pitot tube can measure airspeed (air over the wing).

A GPS measures speed over the ground or speed towards a waypoint--this can be way way different than air over the wing.

I hope this helps.

Tom Wilkinson
06-07-2009, 11:04 PM
Nothing against the tube, nor its inventor, Mr Pitot, who discovered its usefulness while dipping it in the Seine.

Good for lab work, for say, computing the thrust of a propulsive duct from measurements of dynamic fluid pressure.

Liable to get clogged with impurities and even ice-up in an aircraft.

How did they measure altitude in the days before the advent of the radar altimeter ? Measure static air pressure and relate it to the 'hypothetical atmosphere at sea-level' ?

Radio altimeters are only used in low level flight <2500 ft or so. Static ports are used at altitude.

Tom Wilkinson
06-07-2009, 11:06 PM
All a wing responds to is the air going over it and the angle of attack of that air. Only a pitot tube can measure airspeed (air over the wing).

A GPS measures speed over the ground or speed towards a waypoint--this can be way way different than air over the wing.

I hope this helps.

That is exactly why pitot speed is so important. Ground speed really doesn't matter to the aircraft systems, airspeed is what matters and it has to be measured directly.

PatCox
06-07-2009, 11:15 PM
Thanks, ya'all, of course, you are right, groundspeed is irrelevant to the aerodynamic equations, and yes, when in my boat, I will note the "groundspeed" I get from the GPS, but I do notice that the attitude of the boat and the size of the wake will indicate a different speed through the water, and the current.

PatCox
06-07-2009, 11:17 PM
S0, noone has said it outright, they may have tried to slow down to an appropriate speed to encounter severe turbulence, but because their pitot-tube calculated airspeed indicaters showed the wrong speed, they may have slowed much more than they intended, to the point they stalled, in the midst of a violent storm?

carioca1232001
06-07-2009, 11:17 PM
I'm not sure how they worked in a Prowler exactly , but when we ran the TTU-205 altimeter / airspeed tester, the altimeter's one in front , one in the back seat , (so the ECMO's could watch both airspeed and altitude , if they fell below prescribed / set numbers they could eject or punch out, as we liked to refer to ejecting)
would read altitude. So yes, some type of barometric pressure read via the pitot tubes.

The tubes had a ram air hole in the front , and smaller hole , 4 IIRC, about 5" back on the sides that picked up the barometric pressure.

It's a good safe simple system , why change it to something way more complicated that can break or go wonky due to electrical spikes , gear / equipment / black box failure?

I do see your point, and I am in favour of keeping things simple, specially if the alternatives are dicey and unreliable.

But GPS is reliable, so much so that it is deployed pretty extensively in a military context, or is it not ?

On the other hand, people with considerable military experience have pointed out on this forum how vital it is to be able to read a map, use a compass and exercise basic navigational skills.

Surely, couldn´t aircraft be equipped with both, the modern and the traditional ??

BTW, I had forgotten about Doppler radar that permits measurement of in-flight velocity.

carioca1232001
06-07-2009, 11:22 PM
That is exactly why pitot speed is so important. Ground speed really doesn't matter to the aircraft systems, airspeed is what matters and it has to be measured directly.

Yes, I get it now, much obliged to you and CK 17. Simply cannot be substituted !

Paul Girouard
06-07-2009, 11:55 PM
Surely, couldn´t aircraft be equipped with both, the modern and the traditional ??



The Prowlers I worked on 20 years ago did use SINS, Ship Inertial Navigation System. you'd hook up the SINS cable during preflight and the aircraft would link up with the ship so they could find thier way back home. But I know the aircrews also did hand calculations "Just in case" , things didn't go "normal".

I'm sure that system has been updated and improved upon . I'm also sure USN aircrews still do the hand calculation's , "just in case". There's old pilots and bold pilots , but theres no old bold pilots" with the exception of maybe General Yeager:D

Here's a question for you pilots. Couldn't the aircrew have figured they where to slow by combining RPM's , EGT , and some other instrumentation? Or would that be to much to ask of them?? Maybe thats where the Flight Engineer would have earned his keep??

carioca1232001
06-08-2009, 12:02 AM
....... Here's a question for you pilots. Couldn't the aircrew have figured they where to slow by combining RPM's , EGT , and some other instrumentation? Or would that be to much to ask of them?? Maybe thats where the Flight Engineer would have earned his keep??

Now that´s a good question, for more than one reason !

ishmael
06-08-2009, 12:42 AM
Last I heard, this morning on our public radio, the instruments on the plane were wonky. Airspeed indicators. Airbus had issued an alert that the instruments were incorrect back in January, told the companies which fly this plane to change them, but they hadn't been changed out on this airplane.

I'm not a pilot, but I imagine that if you don't know how fast you are flying the rest of the stuff, about what to do in a crisis, is moot. You make all kinds of bad decisions.

God rest their souls.

Paul Girouard
06-08-2009, 12:45 AM
So even if you combine altitude or lose of altitude you still screwed with out the air speed? Is that right?

It was a question, maybe a stupid one eh! :p

paladin
06-08-2009, 12:59 AM
Keep the nose down and the airspeed mid range and the deicers hot.

ishmael
06-08-2009, 01:14 AM
"So even if you combine altitude or lose of altitude you still screwed with out the air speed? Is that right?"

Paul,

Like I said, I'm not a pilot, but I imagine not knowing what is going on with your air speed , and maybe other glitches, doesn't help when you are flying into thunderheads.

Here is what I imagine happened, again, not knowing. They thought, the crew on deck, that they were flying just fine. But they didn't have the air speed to keep the bird on the wing. And this is where a real pilot, not a bus driver, might have stepped in and said, "Give this bird some throttle, we're dropping out of the sky."

Just a guess. I imagine it happened so quickly that the guys piloting the plane were eating their supper and weren't paying that close attention to the altimeters, which I don't think were wonky. It's remarkable how quickly thirty thousand feet vanishes.

Hard to say, just a guess.

Tom Wilkinson
06-08-2009, 02:34 AM
If that is how you imagine this went down, you really need a better imagination.

CK 17
06-08-2009, 08:56 AM
The Prowlers I worked on 20 years ago did use SINS, Ship Inertial Navigation System. you'd hook up the SINS cable during preflight and the aircraft would link up with the ship so they could find thier way back home. But I know the aircrews also did hand calculations "Just in case" , things didn't go "normal".

I'm sure that system has been updated and improved upon . I'm also sure USN aircrews still do the hand calculation's , "just in case". There's old pilots and bold pilots , but theres no old bold pilots" with the exception of maybe General Yeager:D


Even though we now navigate by a mordern GPS/FMS unit with a moving map display, company procedures require an extra 30 minutes of flight planning time in order to--among other things--manualy plot out or course when conducting navigation where long range nav unit(s) are our only source of guidence.

The reason is simple. If it goes out, you can dead reckon from your last know postion on paper. We even have to carry an E6B flight computer and up until sept 11th we had to carry navigators dividers. We keep track of these calculations on a chart with a pencil line on it. Then we get on the HF and give the time crossing a given fix, estimate for the next along with speed, alt, weather and someother things I'm sure I'm forgetting.


Here's a question for you pilots. Couldn't the aircrew have figured they where to slow by combining RPM's , EGT , and some other instrumentation? Or would that be to much to ask of them?? Maybe thats where the Flight Engineer would have earned his keep??

YES!! There's a chart in the 727 AOM that can be used for just this purpose. Enter the chart at the current weight and alt. It will give you the body angle to fly at a given power setting.

Of course if all your instruments are out the body angle would be hard to find. Doing all this in the confusion of blundering into a violent thunderstorm can be down right imposible. Blundering in this context means not realizing just how strong it is. In the equipment I'm qualified in, weather radar use over water is not as clear cut as over land. I rely on the reflection of the ground return behind a storm to help determine the strength of the storm. This combined with the controllers radar makes for a fairly reliable method of avoiding thunderstroms. None of this is available over water. It could tke several minutes to get permission to deviate around weather using a HF radio conection through a third party privat contractor. Some of these procedures may have been modernized in new equipment.

In a strong enough thunderstorm, you can't focus on your instruments even if they are working. Your eyeballs hit their limit switches, your thrown about violently. Add to this instrument failure and trying to find a "peanut" gyro and I can see how this happened

Taylor Tarvin
06-08-2009, 08:57 AM
Like I said, I'm not a pilot,


You should have stopped right there.

CK 17
06-08-2009, 09:11 AM
Like I said, the passenger manifests tell a story too. When answers/excuses come before the recorders are recovered it gives good reason to ponder. Means, Motive, Opportunity.


And timing it to take place inside a violent thunderstorm is a real trick of forcasting and timing genius.

PatCox
06-08-2009, 10:03 AM
Witness myth being formed. It starts with a mystery, and then begins the speculation, "this could be what happened," and then the speculators make the leap to "this must be what happened." Wellstone was assasinated, Jesus must have risen from the dead, the Trade Centers were brought down by controlled demolitions.

Taylor Tarvin
06-08-2009, 10:16 AM
Not saying it happened but many of you have made up your minds already. Having flown in that area I can say thunderstorms are pretty much guaranteed to occur during a flight. That Airbus airframe has flown through much worse in the past without incident. Maybe it was global warming?:rolleyes:

And precisely how do you know that an Airbus airframe has flown through worse?

Oyvind Snibsoer
06-08-2009, 01:35 PM
My BiL works in aviation (helicopter emergency medical services - paramedic). Told me he listened to a conversation on the flight radio a few years back. A Dash-8 inbound to Bergen had been hit by lightning and ALL electronic instruments had been wiped out. This was the proverbial dark and stormy night, and the only instruments the pilot had were the analogue backups. Air traffic control had him on their radar and guided him down, but he said that was one nervous sounding pilot.

I imagine that if something similar happened to an airplane way up high in that "coffin corner", it could be quite a difficult situation to recover from.

marshcat
06-08-2009, 01:44 PM
Good article on the 'Coffin Corner' and 'Mesoscale Convective Systems' (big systems of big thunderstorms here (http://trueslant.com/milesobrien/2009/06/08/the-coffin-corner-and-a-mesoscale-maw/), along with some great graphics:
http://trueslant.com/milesobrien/files/2009/06/af-447-meteosat_flight-300x215.jpg
http://www.weathergraphics.com/tim/af447/af447-profile.jpg
[/URL]The site (True/Slant) is new, and is sort of a group of free lance journalists that have banded together. Article about the site itself [URL="http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2009/06/07/AR2009060702180.html"]here (http://trueslant.com/milesobrien/files/2009/06/af-447-meteosat_flight-300x215.jpg).

rbgarr
06-08-2009, 02:12 PM
I suppose making the black boxes buoyant with an EPIRB would be too expensive?

Taylor Tarvin
06-08-2009, 02:16 PM
Jumping to Pilot error, Weather, or mechanical failure without considering foul play is just ridiculous.

I wouldn't jump to anything, but then what do I know I'm only one of those multi tens of thousands of hours pilots. You made a definitive statement that Airbus airframes like the one involved in AF447 have been through worse turbulance. I see you managed to delete that post. You then went on to say that after years of operating around the world how could they not have experienced turbulance like that. If you are going to make a statement like that I would think you would be able to back it up with something other than "oh yeah, yo momma". At no time in regular day to day operations would you encounter turbulance like that found in thunderstorms. But what the heck you've been a passenger down there so you know everything about SA operations. If you really want to know how very experienced pilots could possibly end up in a CB (I doubt you really do, wouldn't fit you MO) look up radar attenuation.

PatCox
06-08-2009, 02:41 PM
Taylor, you are clearly a sleeper agent of the vast conspiracy, sent here by your overlords to spread disinformation and to discredit one of the few humans who has figured out whats really up, and neutralize him before he wakes up the sheeple to the Astounding Truth which he perceives, because of his Extreme Intelligence and Personal Integrity and Bravery which allows him to Buck the Unthinking Assumptions of the Herd.

Taylor Tarvin
06-08-2009, 02:49 PM
Taylor, you are clearly a sleeper agent of the vast conspiracy, sent here by your overlords to spread disinformation and to discredit one of the few humans who has figured out whats really up, and neutralize him before he wakes up the sheeple to the Astounding Truth which he perceives, because of his Extreme Intelligence and Personal Integrity and Bravery which allows him to Buck the Unthinking Assumptions of the Herd.

OK you've outted me, now what do I do?

TimH
06-08-2009, 05:00 PM
Sounds like a good job for trained dolphins,

"a U.S. defense official told CNN that the U.S. Navy will contribute two high-tech acoustic devices to listen for emergency beacons still operating in deep water."

Bruce Hooke
06-08-2009, 05:11 PM
Again, how can any of you rule out foul play? Is having an open mind to the possibility sign of an unbalanced mind? Cops must be nuts then.

I am not ruling out foul play, but I am also not going to give it terribly serious consideration unless or until something more than the highly circumstantial evidence you have laid out is produced.

Bruce Hooke
06-08-2009, 06:57 PM
Its no more circumstantial than the thundy storms did it.

Both may be based on "circumstantial" evidence but the circumstantial evidence in favor of thunderstorms having played a key role appears to me to be built on evidence from past problems that experienced pilots say could in their opinion do a plausible job of explaining the crash, whereas the "evidence" I have seen presented in support of the foul play so far basically seems to be that some people were on board that someone powerful might want dead (probably true of most international flights), a bomb threat days before (where the article cited says an in the air explosion still seems unlikely) and that someone with relatively little experience disagrees with the opinions of professional pilots and aircraft mechanics. Hardly very convincing.


Just one possibility suggested amongst many but its the one many attack. Why is that I wonder?

Because the evidence for it is so flimsy.

Hwyl
06-08-2009, 07:01 PM
Well they've got the tail now so there should be a ton more evidence.

Once again it's nice to have Taylor Tarvin's view on this.

I must say I'm disappointed at the earlier posts implying that airspeed and Speed over ground as measured by GPS are the same thing, and this on a boat forum

carioca1232001
06-08-2009, 07:22 PM
.......I must say I'm disappointed at the earlier posts implying that airspeed and Speed over ground as measured by GPS are the same thing, and this on a boat forum

Some of us may have been riding camels for sport before boats aroused our interest, so time to forgive and forget ;)

As both air and water are fluids, one being compressible the other not (for most practical purposes), the same physical laws apply provided compressibility is not involved.

We had a Fluid Mechanics lecturer at university whose pun (intended) on 'Pitot dipping his tube into the Seine....' was very effective in evoking sniggering and peals of laughter among aspiring engineers.:) Don´t think he was anti-French, though

Bob Adams
06-08-2009, 07:25 PM
Well they've got the tail now so there should be a ton more evidence.

Once again it's nice to have Taylor Tarvin's view on this.

I must say I'm disappointed at the earlier posts implying that airspeed and Speed over ground as measured by GPS are the same thing, and this on a boat forum

Well, they got the vertical stabilizer, I guess composite floats. It's a shame they didn't find the actual tail fusalage, thats where the FDR resides.

carioca1232001
06-08-2009, 08:25 PM
Posted by carioca 1232001:

I heard on a news flash this afternoon - and it wasn´t repeated at prime time, an hour ago - that AF pilots were contemplating going on strike, to vindicate their grievances concerning the Airbus 330 aircraft.

Very often news flashes comprise pure, journalistic, sensacionalistic tripe, but there you are !

On the front page of a major newspaper this morning, one of the smaller headlines draws attention to the AF pilots threatening to go on strike .

But there you are, again !

Taylor Tarvin
06-08-2009, 09:41 PM
Mark, I believe all aspects of this crash need to be investigated. It would be wrong for any investigating agency to dismiss any plausable scenario. My problem is with personal opinion that might be misconstrued as fact. I apologize for the passenger reference, I didn't realize the extent of your aviation experience. I'm afraid in the end those who believe an explosive device brought this flight down are going to be disappointed. If you are at all interested why I think this let me know. As it is a little long winded I won't waste everyones time.

carioca1232001
06-08-2009, 10:38 PM
Mark, I believe all aspects of this crash need to be investigated. It would be wrong for any investigating agency to dismiss any plausable scenario. ........ I'm afraid in the end those who believe an explosive device brought this flight down are going to be disappointed. .....

This particular accident ? Yes, you are right !

I am skeptical about the Varig 707 cargo flight that disappeared in 1979, 45 minutes out of Tokyo.

The Captain was Araújo, who in May´73 successfully belly-landed a 707 on the outskirts of Paris. This planes upper fuselage was ablaze and he landed it intact ! Some Captain !

The cargo flight was carrying a full load of art pieces to LA, a detail which the media seem to have revealed just recently. Were these art pieces insured for a handsome sum ?

Oyvind Snibsoer
06-09-2009, 07:38 AM
Sounds like a good job for trained dolphins,

"a U.S. defense official told CNN that the U.S. Navy will contribute two high-tech acoustic devices to listen for emergency beacons still operating in deep water."

I suppose an AUV - Autonomous Underwater Vehicle - would be a more appropriate tool. These are small, usually torpedo shaped, submersibles that are capable of diving down to some 4000+ meters and follow a predetermined route, with no strings attached to the surface. AUVs can usually carry a variety of payloads, such as side scanning sonars or passive listening devices. The larger models may stay submerged for three days or more before resurfacing to have their batteries recharged or replaced.

Phillip Allen
06-09-2009, 08:02 AM
I would tend to agree with you on that as most likely it was a series of events leading to the crash like in most instances. What bothers me is the fact of the bomb threat and the high profile/High risk passengers have only been mentioned in passing in just a couple of reports. There had been threats against one of those arms trading activists.
I am not a big fan of the Airbus for reasons you probably understand but hold the french aviation authority's in pretty high regard due to past history. We will see whats has occurred.
No harm no foul as its all speculation. I only raise the specter of it because of my strong distrust of government and the military industrial complex. I don't expect others to feel the same.


Mark, you are being alarmist...you are suggesting we focus on the bomb thing to the exclusion of other more likely scenerios...first scare em then they become more biddable...I don't like mob thinking. that's what has gotton us where we are

carioca1232001
06-09-2009, 08:04 AM
I suppose an AUV - Autonomous Underwater Vehicle - would be a more appropriate tool. These are small, usually torpedo shaped, submersibles that are capable of diving down to some 4000+ meters and follow a predetermined route, with no strings attached to the surface. AUVs can usually carry a variety of payloads, such as side scanning sonars or passive listening devices. The larger models may stay submerged for three days or more before resurfacing to have their batteries recharged or replaced.

The media dispalyed an image of a bright yellow AUV being shipped to the search area. They mentioned capability down to 4 k metres.

TimH
06-09-2009, 10:32 AM
Ill bet a dolphin has better sensors.



I suppose an AUV - Autonomous Underwater Vehicle - would be a more appropriate tool. These are small, usually torpedo shaped, submersibles that are capable of diving down to some 4000+ meters and follow a predetermined route, with no strings attached to the surface. AUVs can usually carry a variety of payloads, such as side scanning sonars or passive listening devices. The larger models may stay submerged for three days or more before resurfacing to have their batteries recharged or replaced.

Bruce Hooke
06-09-2009, 10:56 AM
Ill bet a dolphin has better sensors.

But dolphins cannot dive to anything close to the depths we are talking about here.

TimH
06-09-2009, 11:08 AM
But dolphins cannot dive to anything close to the depths we are talking about here.

Im not suggesting the dolphins retrieve the boxes, just locate them from the surface. They can communicate with each other for hundreds of miles (whales can anyway). Ill bet they would do a better job than a human contraption.

Bruce Hooke
06-09-2009, 11:48 AM
Im not suggesting the dolphins retrieve the boxes, just locate them from the surface. They can communicate with each other for hundreds of miles (whales can anyway). Ill bet they would do a better job than a human contraption.

Interesting idea but I do wonder, based on what I've heard, whether even dolphins up near the surface of the ocean could hear the pinging from the boxes. The report I heard suggested that the noise made by the black boxes under water is nowhere near as load or as good at carrying long distances as the sounds made by whales and dolphins.

TimH
06-09-2009, 12:01 PM
They are known to have acute hearing. Not sure if the pinging boxes are in their range though.

Oyvind Snibsoer
06-09-2009, 03:31 PM
The thermal layers in the ocean would block any signal originating from the bottom, even if it was quite powerful. You need sensors that can get beneath these layers if you're going to have a remote chance of finding anything. Which means either a ship towing a variable depth sonar, a submarine or an AUV. Most subs can't operate at these depths, and an AUV is significantly more efficient than a towed sonar.

WX
06-13-2009, 07:52 AM
Woman misses flight and lives...dies in a car accident.

http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/news/world/europe/article6479203.ece

TimH
06-13-2009, 12:54 PM
you cannot escape fate.