View Full Version : Update on Thai Airways Flt 261 A310 Crash Surat Thani

22nd Jan 2004, 23:53
Have had an approach from the makers of the Mayday Program series asking if any further information has been forthcoming on this very aged investigation. They evidently deem it worthy of an episode.

I cannot seem to locate anything, so perhaps someone here knows something that I could pass on. ([email protected]).

I would have dredged up the thread but the Pprune search function has been disabled.

I think that this FAA AD (http://www.airweb.faa.gov/Regulatory_and_Guidance_Library/rgAD.nsf/WebCurrentADFRMakeModel/98DD0B63A36A6B108625696000621533?OpenDocument) (based on an Airbus input) may be relevant.


Feather #3
23rd Jan 2004, 00:06
I strongly suspect the AD applies to the Nagoya prang.

G'day :)

Lu Zuckerman
23rd Jan 2004, 02:45
Can anybody tell me who makes the flight control computer for the A-310 and the A-300-600?

:E :confused: :E

Phil Squares
23rd Jan 2004, 04:18
Not having flown the 300 or 310, just the 320, they are not FBW. Therefore, there is no FCCs. :cool:

Colonel Klink
23rd Jan 2004, 04:37
Neither is the B737/757/767 FBW, but they all have FCC's. It is the computer that drives the Flight Directors, not the FBW system!

23rd Jan 2004, 07:39
Just a chip in but the A300-600 was a fly by wire aircraft...


24th Jan 2004, 03:10
Hi, the A300-600 is not FBW neither the A310 as I fly both, the FD take many signals, like for attitude from the IRS, speeds and alt from CADC ( Central Air Data Comp ) and protections from FAC ( flight Augumentation Comp ) but to be honest I have no clue who makes them,

24th Jan 2004, 05:13
A 310-200/300 and A 300-600(R) aircraft have nothing to do with FBW!!!

Nevertheless there are two identical Flight Control Computers(FCC1 and FCC2) Systems each of which allows to select the following APFD functions:
-stabilizing the airplane around its center of gravity while holding VS and heading(basic modes).
-flying the airplane on an acquired flight path(hold modes).
-aquisition of a new flight path(modes with arming,capture and hold/track/active phases).
-automatic landing with roll out.
-automatic selection of a related autothrust mode in accordance with selected APFP vertical mode.
-flying the airplane in accordance with FMS commands in a vertical(PROFILE) and/or horizontal(NAV) mode.

Does that help?

Lu Zuckerman
24th Jan 2004, 08:34

That being the case, can you tell me who makes the flight control computers??

:E :E :confused:

Ignition Override
24th Jan 2004, 09:18
There must be many non-pilots on Pprune who don't even know what a flight mgmt computer (FMC) is.

And they can't understand the difference between a FCC and a FMC? :hmm:

Does Airbus use the acronym FCC for what Boeing and others manufacturers call FMC? If these terms are interchangeable in this context, then it could be confusing. Beginning with the B-757/767, the autopilot(s) have the autopilot/flight director systems (AFDS), as described by others here, and IRS for navigation, using VORs to cross-check.

Without fly-by-wire systems, pilots must use awareness and airmanship to avoid exceeding safety/system limitations, i.e. stalling or exceeding g-limits or maximum speeds. Many of us hand-flew the 757 up to FL 180 or even higher. We flew most visual and ILS (with my HSI in the VOR mode) approaches by hand, only very rarely letting the airplane land itself-contrary to many passengers' flawed assumptions (as with so many of their misconceptions).:rolleyes:

24th Jan 2004, 11:04
IO, there are guys who still fly older aircraft (Classic 747s, DC10s, 1011s etc., and have never experienced FCC or FMC. Most will recognize FMS, PMS, TM etc, however.

24th Jan 2004, 11:33
The A300-600R has electrically controlled spoilers making it LBFBW ( Little Bit Fly By Wire )

24th Jan 2004, 12:41
11 Dec 1998 ( over 5 years ago) A310-200 of Thai Airways International crashes on its third go-round on a non-precision approach in poor visibility from a steep very nose-high attitude killing 101 of the 146 pax and crew. The ILS was out of service at the time due to works in progress.

I had heard rumours that a high-ranking Thai politician had "invaded" the cockpit to insist that the pilot land and there was speculation that the known use of onboard mobile phones may have affected the aircraft's flight instrumentation. This latter idea may not be that far off base considering that two 747-400 incidents (SIA and QF) had inexplicable losses of PFD's across the cockpit in the last two years.

Anybody have any aeromed / physiological explanation for such a gross pitchup (stab? runaway trim?). Pilot incapacitation? Struggle in the cockpit?

But over five years later and Airbus/French BEA and the Thai authorities are no closer to delivering a Report? What did the CVR and DFDR disclose? What about the Abidjan A310 accident? What is the bottom line there? Aviation regulators seem to be able to mark time on investigations where the manufacturer doesn't want any notoriety or disclosure of proprietary safety matters.


I stand corrected. The BEA Abidjan Report (in French only) is here (http://www.bea-fr.org/docspa/2000/5y-n000130/pdf/5y-n000130.pdf) - in a large download pdf file

24th Jan 2004, 17:15

BAE SYSTEMS Avionics (formerly GEC-Marconi Avionics) at Rochester in Kent, UK make the Airbus FCCs

24th Jan 2004, 18:05
A300-600 flaps were also FBW

24th Jan 2004, 19:53
I don't know. wub could be right(Marconi/BAE).

Ignition Override:
My airline could just survive even taking into account limited knowledges and restricted capabilities of their Ckeck-and Training Captains. And yes, we heard about FMC and FCC once.
BTW: In this case Airbus calls the black box mentioned above FCC1 and FCC2. Look up AOM A306/A310 Chapter 3 "Automatic Flight." For you it might be confusing, but surprise surprise:

We also have a Flight Management System (FMS) to provide automation of flight management tasks on ground and inflight.
The FMS consists of two Flight Management Computers(FMC) and two Control Display Units(CDU). Airbus and Boing use nearly the same idioms and I had the pleasure to fly some of their very fine aircraft without getting confused.

Yes, slats and flaps are electrically signalled by two identical SFCC's(Slats Flaps Control Computers) The power unit motors for flaps are supplied by yellow and green hydraulic systems.
If you call that FBW, feel free. For me an aircraft is FBW type, if the primary flight controls in roll, pitch and yaw (ailrons, elevators, rudders) are controlled by computers and signalled electrically only.

It is a bit complicated. A Donald Duck explanation: it has to do with the PF who is pushing the yoke down while AP is trimming up more in AF mode(go around initiated by pulling TOGA levers), ending up in a high nose up condition and low airspeed. AP disengagement in due time would have prevented this. It happened to Interflug, Tarom and others who never reported after a lucky recovery. In some cases fatal. Try to find a link for you with a thorough finding. Sorry for Donald Duck.:D

Have a nice day

24th Jan 2004, 20:40
Captain 104

Hadn't realised that it was a replay of Nagoya.There are plenty of analytical links to that (mostly courtesy of Peter Ladkin -see below). Any further evidence anywhere of what was concluded wrt Surat Thani?

link one (http://www.five-ten-sg.com/risks/risks-18.33.txt)

link two (http://www.techfak.uni-bielefeld.de/~ladkin/nagoyarep/nagoya-top.html)

link three (http://www.techfak.uni-bielefeld.de/~ladkin/nagoyarep/nag-contents.html)

link four (http://www.rvs.uni-bielefeld.de/publications/Incidents/DOCS/ComAndRep/Nagoya/NagoyaWB.html)

link five (http://www.rvs.uni-bielefeld.de/publications/Incidents/DOCS/ComAndRep/Nagoya/nagoyarep/nagoya-top.html)

link six (http://sunnyday.mit.edu/accidents/nag-1.html)

link seven (http://sunnyday.mit.edu/accidents/nag-contents.html)

link eight (http://catless.ncl.ac.uk/Risks/18.33.html#subj5)

link nine (http://www.mail-archive.com/[email protected]/msg00127.html)

24th Jan 2004, 21:15
You got a real nice link collection there. Even from the UNI Bielefeld.( They have a wast collection of computer related in/accidents). Thank you very much. May I add a Donald Duck approach to data base?

To be honest: I don't have any specific reliable information about Thai, its just a strong guess. No further evidence. :cool:


Lu Zuckerman
25th Jan 2004, 00:12
Design specifications initiated by Airbus required all subcontractors to complete a Failure Mode Effects Criticality Analysis (FMECA) on every supplied component, sub system and system. The FMECA was to be constructed in such a way that the failure mode and it’s effect was to be shown down to the smallest piece part of an equipment.

Marconi who built the Flap Slat Computer (FSC) refused to comply stating that it was too time consuming and too costly. What they did was to add up the failure rates for each type of component in the FSC and then total up all of the different sums. This gave a predicted failure rate for the components but it did not account for the effects of those failures on the computer and its’ function in the Flap Slat System.

To top that off Marconi refused to supply Lucas (the constructor of the Flap drive system) with a full up FSC. What they did was to provide one control lane of the full up computer which allowed Lucas to operate their “iron bird” extending and retracting the Flaps but the single lane not having redundancy and the ability to isolate failures meant that the flaps were inadequately tested. However even without adequate testing, the Flap system was certified.

On the first revenue flight by Lufthansa to Cairo the flaps could not be retracted after landing. The aircraft had to return to Frankfurt in a non-revenue status with the flaps almost fully extended. The computer could not detect nor could it isolate the fault.

Although the German contractor that designed the Slat drive system had a full up computer their FSC was unable to detect a run-away when hydraulic pressure was applied to their “iron bird”.

I can only assume that this non-compliance by Marconi on the FSC was carried over to the Flight Control Computer.

Adding to the above the Flaps and Slats were not grounded to the wing structure.

All of the above was provided to the FAA, DGCA, CAA and the LBA and nothing was done to either chastise Marconi or recertify the Flap system.

:E :E

25th Jan 2004, 12:27
That then makes it ALBMFBW !

Lu Zuckerman
25th Jan 2004, 21:49
To: nilnotedtks



:confused: :E :E

I'll give it a shot. Air Launched Ballistic Missile Fly By Wire

Al Zimer
26th Jan 2004, 12:05
From an Aussie in Thailand.

For background your best bet would be the archives at the Bangkok Post.

In the weeks following the accident there were generally two theories -

1 - that there was a problem with the aircraft. If, subsequently, there was found to be a problem, this would have been trumpeted loud and clear. But as this has not happened, it gives more credence to the second theory.

2 - one of the passengers who died in the crash was the sister of a cabinet minister. The theory was that, after the second aborted approach, the captain announced they were going to the alternate. On hearing this, the lady passenger phoned her brother, who then spoke to the captain and layed down the law. At one stage, about 2 weeks after the crash, the govt announced that they would investigate phone company records and announce any findings. Nothing was announced!

And the investigation drifts in to the memory hole (which is the way it happens in Thailand if there may be something embarrasing if the truth is disclosed)

26th Jan 2004, 13:19
This is more or less where I thought the matter stood - and I do recall hearing about the politician's intervention (but thought that he'd been on board and actually enetered the cockpit).

I'm not 100% sure about the Thai track record for sweeping unsavouries under the carpet. If they do have such a record then I guess the producers of the Mayday Program will be interested in that aspect also.

Keep the inputs coming. Those who've seen the "Mayday" series will possibly agree that is up to a National Geographic Channel/Discovery Channel standard of unsensationalist (but graphic) reportage. It increases public awareness and can help to apply pressure where it's needed.

Dagger Dirk
26th Jan 2004, 22:50
Talking about track records, I'm familiar with the Nagoya development but thought that there'd been an Airbus fix after that (CWS, autopilot, auto-trim or something of the sort). Short of someone sliding the pilot's seat back unexpectedly (or the seat sliding back of its own accord) - or pilot incapacitation, I cannot think of any physiological phenomenon from my avmed training that would cause a go-round to end up at that sort of pitch-up angle. Runaway trim/stab?

This would seem to be one of the few nasty major accidents of the last ten years with no really adequate explanation (and seemingly none forthcoming). i.e. unless Airbus know, but are treating it as proprietary.....

27th Jan 2004, 06:39
Having had the dubious pleasure of performing the VOR at Suratani in poor WX, the one in force at the time put you through the C/L to have to perform quite a sharpish right/left to get on the runway axis at <500'.

Not much fun in a L-31, even less on the A-300/310.

In the simulator on a hand flown approach IF yes IF at the <200' AGL point you trigger the TOGA and do little or nothing to the trim of about 6 units nose up, you will in about 8 seconds be at 500', 50/60 deg nose up and something of the order of <100 kts IAS.

Now these poor sods were on the third approach, possibly under external pressure of a political kind, doing a MA in a waterfall, got a possible glitch in the system from multiple phone activations, if they had a partial EFIS glitch in attitude,which I have had from Phones of the earlier type or were just tired and confused in an unusual situation , there goes the ball game real easy.

How many of us actually do an ALL engine manual MA in the renewal or reval process, we practise the hell out of the slower engine out one but not the all engine one.

Blue side up, brown side down


27th Jan 2004, 17:09
There must be some kind of official report about. After five years???

27th Jan 2004, 17:39
I'm not 100% sure about the Thai track record for sweeping unsavouries under the carpet.

I'm afraid the following sad tale from Reuters which ran this morning should answer that one....

Thais, Indonesia rattled by bird flu cover-up row

By Darren Schuettler
BANGKOK, Jan 27 (Reuters) - Charges of a cover-up have rattled governments in Thailand and Indonesia where people say they were kept in the dark over Asia's deadly bird flu, drawing comparisons to China's slow response to SARS a year ago.
"Why did the government cover this up?," asked a distraught Chamnan Bounmanut, whose six-year-old son Captan died on Monday, Thailand's first victim of the disease which killed another boy on Tuesday.
"If the government was open to the public, we would have been able to protect ourselves. Nobody wants to die," a grieving Chamnan said after a Buddhist prayer ceremony for his son.
A year after Beijing tried to cover up SARS -- another disease that crossed from animals to humans, killed 800 people and frightened the world -- Bangkok and Jakarta are under fire from farmers, media and trading partners for their handling of the bird flu crisis.
The European Union said on Monday it did not trust the Thai government after EU Health Commissioner David Byrne was told during a visit to Bangkok last week there was no bird flu just days before the first human cases were announced on Friday.
"Reliance on Thai assurances is not the best way forward," EU spokeswoman Beate Gminder told reporters in Brussels. The 15-member bloc would demand independent verification of Thai measures to wipe out the disease before it considered lifting its ban on imports of Thai chicken, she said.
Australia also urged Asian countries to join forces and be honest about outbreaks of bird flu to ensure the virus does not spread as SARS did.
China tried to cover up SARS after it surfaced in late 2002, but months later Communist party chief and State President Hu Jintao ordered health authorities to come clean.
The health minister and Beijing's mayor were sacked, but the tardy response tarnished China's image abroad.
"I think on this broader question of avian flu, countries in the region must learn from the SARS experience, and that is 'fess up as soon as you find a case, as quickly as possible'," Foreign Minister Alexander Downer told Australian radio, using slang for confess.
Bangkok's Nation newspaper published a copy of what it said was a Health Ministry letter sent to doctors in the northeast province of Khon Kaen on December 26 asking them to look out for the disease.
"This disease can spread from poultry to humans who have direct contact with sick chickens. This disease has a very high death rate and can cause severe economic impact," it said.
The ministry's Dr Krengsak Wethiwuttajarn confirmed he had written the letter, but declined to comment further.
Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra, facing his biggest crisis since sweeping to power in 2001, insists his government did not try to hide the outbreak and it was working hard to stamp out the virus.
But some U.N. officials say they are still not getting enough details on the crisis from the government.
"Most of the information we get is from the press and this is also not sufficient hard information," said Hans Wagner of the Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO).
"We have offered to the government our technical assistance and we have not received any request from the government".
Indonesian farmers, facing the loss of billions of rupiah, slammed their government for saying previously Indonesia was free of the flu.
The government had blamed the deaths of thousands of chickens in East Java and on the tourist island of Bali on Newcastle disease, a virus harmless to humans that does not affect the safety of poultry meat.