Australia, New Zealand & the Pacific Airline and RPT Rumours & News in Australia, enZed and the Pacific

Virgin ATR grounded in Albury

Old 28th Apr 2014, 22:06
  #41 (permalink)  
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Google "Use of rudder on Boeing aircraft" and have a read. The IFALPA article especially.
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Old 28th Apr 2014, 22:50
  #42 (permalink)  
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Struggling here so, thoughts out loud.

Thanks Sarcs for the info as suspected, it just needed teasing out. Cock up was always the short price favourite; VARA would have done it all properly just ATSB systems, as usual. Chaz has the right of it on the rest though, all fairly normal routine events.

Chadzat "Two thirds are for completely 'normal' occurrences i.e. bird/wildlife strikes and wind-shear.
M12 # 90 "As best as I understood it (and yes this is a rumour) somehow the crew separated the control columns in flight (this can be done in case of an elevator control cable jam, but does require about 170 lbs of pull force)"

Somewhere in this, the aircraft was subjected to approximately 3.5G of force, causing significant stress and twisting forces to the vertical stabiliser. Believe the aircraft continued to operate for an additional 2 days. Understand the aircraft is likely to require a new tail.
S. Pete # 103 "The inference earlier in the thread is that the controls were inadvertently split by the two pilots and that during the ensuing mayhem large and opposite elevator inputs caused severe torsional forces on the tail".
Before I get savaged by a bunch of screaming Virgins (be still my beating heart), let me state that without any form of 'official' report to work with, I am speculating : without facts, just thinking out loud. Some of the reports and tales herein, considered at face value could be disturbing. I am not, as yet disturbed, just very curious. There is the potential here to create real headaches. I expect the ATR, ATSB and VARA troops at the coalface will do what they need to, diligently and without fear or prejudice, no doubt at all. ATSB troops have done all that and more before now; but, regrettably the shades of Pel Air linger, which creates a miasma of suspicion over any published outcome. The report on this incident needs, like Caesar's wife, to be above suspicion, without blemish and a benchmark for excellence; for everyone's sake. Lets try and keep them honest this time.

So many questions arise. It's my serious doubts over the integrity and competence of our present ATSB/CASA management ethos to allow production of a honest report and to transparently manage this domestic episode, hopefully avoiding another 'pilot error' cop out which prompts the questions. Nothing to do with VARA or it's flight crews.

So, for starters, is the split yoke story even true?? The very idea that two 'competent' pilots could manage to exert (accidentally?) enough 'diametrically opposite' force during the translation of a 'bumpy' situation, with enough 'grunt' to separate the yokes is, stand alone; (when you think about it): a terrifying thought. The notion that two of them even exercised any serious control force, let alone 114 lbs, in an 'opposite direction', while correcting a trimmed flight attitude deviation simply begs questions. Industry cannot wait for another two years just to see what the ATSB eventually makes of it all and I'd bet a beer VARA won't be waiting about. Were there two sets of hands on the controls?, if so, why?. Was the AP engaged?. Any ideas on Speed, ROD, configuration at the time? SOP's?

The turbulence about Canberra is, on rare occasions, as bad as anywhere in the known world. A known fact, operational wisdom handed down, from Father to son. Seconds may go by where the aircraft is simply not 'manoeuvrable'. A wise child will not, in the first instance overload the airframe. But rather offer short prayers to pagan gods that this all stops soon, stabilises the airframe attitude early and 'works with it' to go quietly through the lumps with light hands, tender words and an understanding of basic aerodynamics. Once reunited with terra firma, (and having recovered some cool); it is time to scream for the 'grown ups'. "Please sir, I've just given this airframe a hell of a beating, to the extent that the FA has broken a wing" (hint-hint). "Could you have a real butchers-hook at the old girl (not the FA ya pervert) and see that all is well".

Now I wonder, is there a specific briefing in the VARA port operations manual sections which clearly warns pilots of the so very real dangers which, once or maybe twice in a career, can be found on approach to Canberra. Or is there just some mind numbing CASA pacifying 'buzz words'; slightly hysterical 'guest etiquette' briefings and other associated, stultifying twaddle. Are there specific notes on how to manage a Canberra approach, when it's 'cooking'?. Notes specifying caution during certain temperature/ wind range combinations, noting the inherent stability of the weather patterns which "may" just start the pot boiling. Not knocking the crew or standards here, but forewarned and forearmed is always better.

Was the FA strapped down, long before the expectation of bumps?. Were the bumps forecast? Was the crew made aware that conditions that day were within the range of the real McCoy severe turbulence, Canberra style?, was a precautionary allowance made for just such an event (just in case)? You could reasonably expect the crew to have this sorted, so how come a busted leg?

Speculation, for example, has the damage done during turbulence event been camouflaged, i.e. by a weakened, but not busted internal part or structure, only revealing the flaw after further flight? This speaks highly of airframe design integrity, but does beg some questions. It would be prudent to examine the quality of initial reporting, the subsequent examination and Safety Management procedures.

Hindsight - Should the aircraft have been grounded, the tapes pulled and perhaps, some in depth analysis completed? On the face of it: granted with 20/20 hindsight and no hard data, the answer IMO, is Yes. Like we do for any reported seriously 'abnormal' event.

Fact - There is one savagely mauled aircraft shrouded and parked, which (in the fullness of time) could become more 'problematic' than it already is, (or needs be) if the ATSB insist on keeping to their beyond reason CASA dictated approach.

Don't know and pre-empting a report is really non of my business; but sometimes, when you get an itch you just have to scratch.

Just saying.

Last edited by Kharon; 29th Apr 2014 at 09:40. Reason: 114 is not 170. My bad, trusting other than manufacturer numbers.
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Old 29th Apr 2014, 00:33
  #43 (permalink)  
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I'd have thought a control column link breakage would be pretty obvious. I can't see the crew not picking it up for 2 days!!! I expect the ATR requires a preflight control check like every other aircraft I've ever flown.
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Old 29th Apr 2014, 01:42
  #44 (permalink)  
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I've never flown the type, but my understanding is the ATR has a clutch mechanism in the elevator control run to protect against control jams. If the differential force between the two control columns exceeds about 52kg, it will decouple the two control columns and each pilot then flies their half of the elevator separately. It's not designed to be recoupled in flight...

Last edited by muffman; 29th Apr 2014 at 03:13. Reason: Removed speculation
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Old 29th Apr 2014, 03:22
  #45 (permalink)  
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Still scratching away.

Solved a couple of puzzles: the force required to spit the yokes, through the pitch coupling system is 114 pounds (52 daN).

For those with a curious mind (or not type rated) the link- HERE – takes you to an ATR-F.C.O.M. which at least provides some clarification and information on the aircraft pitch control system. Pages 253, 257, 464, 465, 468, 490, 492, 493, and for Beer Baron, page 510 are of interest.

There is also an -AD -which turned up in the search, probably worthy of a read.

Curse this curiosity thing, there must be cure; of course I blame Marcus Aurelius.
"This thing, what is it in itself, in its own constitution? What is its substance and material? And what its causal nature [or form]? And what is it doing in the world? And how long does it subsist?"
That's it, now what's for lunch.

Last edited by Kharon; 29th Apr 2014 at 09:49.
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Old 29th Apr 2014, 04:09
  #46 (permalink)  
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I heard the turbulence was pilot induced and the control split is what has caused the damage?

Either way, I hope the folk at Skywest keep their noses clean!
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Old 29th Apr 2014, 04:12
  #47 (permalink)  
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If that was the case, please note speed limits on page 702 of Kharons document, with elevators uncoupled.
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Old 29th Apr 2014, 08:05
  #48 (permalink)  
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The SAAB also has a split roll capability. From memory it was to allow roll control
in the event one control channel jammed. As with the ATR if both pilots elect to control the aircraft but want to go in different directions the control channels will separate and in the words of Frank Spencer "we both have contro!".

The same thing happened to a Hazelton SAAB going into Bathurst when it very nearly stalled and came close to hitting the ground. Both pilots attempted to control the aircraft with the inevitable results. From memory that incident only came to light because a high profile "ironman" pilot was sitting down the back and reported it.
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Old 29th Apr 2014, 08:46
  #49 (permalink)  
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so an aeroplane that breaks in 1g unaccellerated flight is causing some questions now.

So, for starters, is the split yoke story even true?? The very idea that two 'competent' pilots could manage to exert (accidentally?) enough 'diametrically opposite' force during the translation of a 'bumpy' situation, with enough 'grunt' to separate the yokes is, stand alone; (when you think about it): a terrifying thought.
yes it is true. 0.8 of a second is all it took in a big bit of turbulence.

now that the world is awake I'll bow out and go back to my restoration work.
....I'm never going to be a passenger on an ATR. amazingly I really do think my homebuilt is safer to fly. toodle pip guys.
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Old 29th Apr 2014, 08:53
  #50 (permalink)  
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Aaaaand now we can get back to the 'Professional' in PPRuNe.......
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Old 29th Apr 2014, 10:26
  #51 (permalink)  
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So does that mean you also won't fly on a SAAB? Looks like you are stuck flying in the dash 8 or Metro for all your turboprop flights to regional destinations.
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Old 29th Apr 2014, 10:54
  #52 (permalink)  
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Looks like you are stuck flying in the dash 8 or Metro for all your turboprop flights to regional destinations.
Bring back the Otter!
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Old 29th Apr 2014, 11:53
  #53 (permalink)  
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Dash 8 has resettable elevator and aileron disconnects in flight.
Emb 120 are only ground resettable much to the embarrassment of a long ago flight west pilot
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Old 29th Apr 2014, 20:50
  #54 (permalink)  
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The Embraer ejet family (170/190) have the ability to split in pitch and roll
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Old 30th Apr 2014, 07:01
  #55 (permalink)  
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Oh dear! There will not be any aircraft left for W8 to pax in
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Old 30th Apr 2014, 07:58
  #56 (permalink)  
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Whoa, big hoss.

It is grossly unfair and professionally offensive to criticise either this or any another 'transport' class aircraft, or the operating crews during this passage of play. Even if speculation and 'informed', professional discussion are the meat and potatoes of the PPRuNe forum.

The ATR series, for those who have not had the pleasure; is a mighty fine aircraft. One which has seen and survived much hard service (and some abuse), in many tough ports, world wide, often providing survivability where little was available, (read the accident reports). It was designed, built and tested by professional engineers who have their names and; in some cases, their signatures on the type certification data sheet. The aircraft has, even after being in some manner 'abused', served faithfully and flawlessly, many times over, often above the call of duty. Same –same the trusty Dash, Saab and Twotter, the peerless Metro, Shorts and Fokker variants. They all fly lots of hours, countless sectors in a wide variety of weather conditions and made many 'safe' landings in some bloody awful conditions. They stand as testament to the visible, viable engineering and pilot skills, hard won over the decades. Cheap shots and bickering; - save them for the kids footy club.

There is no data to support a crew stuff up. I, for one have no doubt that VARA fulfil, at very least, the minimum crew competency requirements and would not allow any pilot to 'captain' an aircraft who was anything else but competent and qualified, same for the FO. I wonder if SLF have any idea of what it actually takes to 'qualify' an operation; such as VARA. Hint, if it were that easy and guaranteed profitable; every one would be doing it. There is little fun in the doing of it and you do need deep pockets to even contemplate such a venture. No one sane is going to bet all that on a 'dodgy' aircraft or a 'suspect' crew. Certainly no one with a business brain; it just don't make sense. QED.

So, must we look deeper? On surface hearsay, somehow and in some way, something got busted, and claims of "Bird strike" just don't (for me at least) seem to cut it. Perhaps that explains the almost indecent haste of the ATSB and the marked lack of a preliminary report.

So, what about it Beaker?, hows about throwing the hungry, unwashed a bone to chew on. Preliminary report 'on time', that sort of stuff. (It's probably there, but the 'new' ATSB site makes things remarkably difficult to find).

Heigh Ho. Back to my knitting.

Last edited by Kharon; 30th Apr 2014 at 08:05. Reason: Well, it's interesting - ain't it.
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Old 30th Apr 2014, 12:38
  #57 (permalink)  
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No shortage of emotion in that one.....
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Old 30th Apr 2014, 14:49
  #58 (permalink)  
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It is grossly unfair and professionally offensive to criticise either this or any another 'transport' class aircraft
utter dribble

an aircraft sits in albury that will be scrapped by its owner.
the mechanics who have looked at the aircraft believe that the entire tail would have parted company with the aircraft should it have flown again.

....but you are content that as long as the paperwork was in order, as long as it was certified then that would make it all ok.

are you nuts?

the aircraft was just flown in normal operations and it broke in fairly usual turbulence.
the disconnect of the two halves of the rudder is nothing but an inconvenience to be sorted on the ground by the mechanics.
what is the bother is that the structural integrity of the tail was so badly compromised that it came close to failing in flight. because of this VARA are going to scrap the aircraft.

so what you are all saying is that because it didn't actually crash and kill a hundred or so souls ah "nothing to see folks, move along now...she'll be right"

you have little idea just how stupidly incompetent I think you people are.
it is ok to have aircraft deficient in strength in RPT operations is it?

I think I'll stick to my homebuit.
at least I can take it to Vne and flog it through turbulence without it breaking.
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Old 30th Apr 2014, 15:40
  #59 (permalink)  
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I'll take a professional in a "compromised" airframe over an amateur at Vne through turbs in a homebuilt anyday of the week.
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Old 30th Apr 2014, 18:14
  #60 (permalink)  
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Double 8 and co,

You are all entitled to you opinion, but the aircraft speaks for itself, you can compare it to the Dash and that's it. all other aircraft are for bush pilots. I'm sorry to say the ATR and Dash are the only 2 built for real airlines. ATR are winning contracts all around the world ahead of the Dash for good reason with huge backlogs. It's it built and tested in Toulouse France by the same engineers and test pilots as Airbus.EADS, which owns 50% of ATR. It flies everyday in the Himalayas, Northern Russia to the dusty deserts of Pakistan with very few faults. I have flown it myself for 10 years and love the aircraft. My ten cent is wait for the report to come out. All I can say is an aircraft that weights over 22 ton can't be flown and flung around like a beach bacon/Barbie whatever..... or metroliner Get well soon to the cabin crew. As for not flying an ATR, great I'm not sure I would be too fond of your company.
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