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Old 14th Jun 2009, 07:59
  #1439 (permalink)  
Join Date: Oct 2005
Location: Away
Posts: 300
What has changed?

There are five official, damning reports on A330 and A340 aircraft operated by major airlines suffering complete failure of all flight instruments in flight. Pitot probes iced up in meteorological conditions at night, by day, in cloud and in clear air.

Each reported incident occured recently, to a point, and all are of great import. On each occassion, the pilots recovered the airplane. You can do that in clear air, with a visible horizon. The AF447 pilots had neither.

What irks me almost beyond words is the guff masquerading as insightful comment about what happened, and why. The authorities love it. Fluff hides the truth, yet the traveling public and readers on this site seem to demand it. All the better to ignore the horror of the reality of getting onboard an Airbus, perhaps.

Few are willing to tackle the real issues, being twofold: The extraordinary failure of the A330/A340 pitot protection system, and how any civil aviation authority continues to allow the types to fly.

Five genuine, reportable, damning, official and utterly honest incident reports written by experienced, major airline crews - pilots who are at the coal face on these types, show beyond doubt crucial failings in the pitot static heating systems of the A330/A340 type.

Yet this airplane continues to ply the airways.

Yes, turbulence exists. Yes, thunderstorms are wonders of nature. Yes, they should at all times be avoided. No, the AF447 pilots were not incapable of knowing these absolutes of flight. No, most of the subjects being discussed here are not useful, not at all. But yes, they are a knee-jerk reaction to the horror of falling out of the sky from 35,000 feet, and are understandable.

The accepted, official reports of job specific inequities in the ice protection pitot system on the A330/A340 series is the real issue. It is what Airbus are desperately trying to buy time to correct. It is what the CAAs around the world need to address. It is what this site should finally, openly acknowledge using previous reports from real pilots who fly these airframes, not what frightened, horrified passengers who have stumbled upon PPRuNe ask of how the poor souls on AF447 died, of whether the airplane broke up, of why the pilots failed to avoid a Cb, of the possible terrorist connection with two known named people onboard, of whether an empty crew seat indicates the flight attendants did not know what hit them; red herrings all, some of them farcical, some innocent, but all of them as red as the anger in my face.

In aviation, as in life, failure to identify the root cause of a problem is to see it repeated. I don't, for the life of me, know how anyone can buy an air ticket without first asking if the flight will be on an A330. Oh, yes, that's how. We keep the information hidden. We damn those who try to raise the failing of the type by not just ridiculing the messenger, but the pilots of the doomed flight.

But what would I know? I'm only a pilot. And these are only official reports.

Last edited by 4PW's; 14th Jun 2009 at 08:10.
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