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Old 27th Jun 2009, 23:07
  #103 (permalink)  
411A
 
Join Date: Mar 2000
Location: Arizona USA
Posts: 8,575
Synopsis;
Tuesday 23 June, 2009 10am enroute HKG to NRT. Entering Japan airspace.

FL390 mostly clear with occasional isolated areas of rain, clouds tops about FL410.
Outside air temperature was -50C TAT -21C (your not supposed to get liquid water at these temps). We did.

As we were following other aircraft along our route. We approached a large area of rain below us. Tilting the weather radar down we could see the heavy rain below, displayed in red. At our altitude the radar indicated green or light precipitation, most likely ice crystals we thought.

Entering the cloud tops we experienced just light to moderate turbulence. (The winds were around 30kts at altitude.) After about 15 sec. we encountered moderate rain. We thought it odd to have rain streaming up the windshield at this altitude and the sound of the plane getting pelted like an aluminum garage door. It got very warm and humid in the cockpit all of a sudden.
Five seconds later the Captains, First Officers, and standby airspeed indicators rolled back to 60kts. The auto pilot and auto throttles disengaged. The Master Warning and Master Caution flashed, and the sounds of chirps and clicks letting us know these things were happening.
The Captain hand flew the plane on the shortest vector out of the rain. The airspeed indicators briefly came back but failed again. The failure lasted for THREE minutes. We flew the recommended 83%N1 power setting. When the airspeed indicators came back. we were within 5 knots of our desired speed. Everything returned to normal except for the computer logic controlling the plane. (We were in alternate law for the rest of the flight.)

We had good conditions for the failure; daylight, we were rested, relatively small area, and light turbulence. I think it could have been much worse. The Captain did a great job flying and staying cool. We did our procedures called dispatch and maintenance on the SAT COM and landed in Narita. That's it.

Email direct from the NWA pilot concerned.
The A-330 clearly has some problems that need to be corrected, poste haste.

PS:
Crew members names removed to protect confidentiality.
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