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Virgin ATR grounded in Albury

Old 30th Apr 2014, 22:22
  #61 (permalink)  
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I agree with W8 on the ATR, it's had a very chequered history, whilst it has good economic credentials it has had a lot of accidents and incidents due icing.

Some excerpts from a few different online sources;

Roselawn accident;

3.2 Probable Cause
The National Transportation Safety Board determines that the probable causes of this accident were the loss of control, attributed to a sudden and unexpected aileron hinge moment reversal that occurred after a ridge of ice accreted beyond the deice boots because: 1) ATR failed to completely disclose to operators, and incorporate in the ATR 72 airplane flight manual, flightcrew operating manual and flightcrew training programs, adequate information concerning previously known effects of freezing precipitation on the stability and control characteristics, autopilot and related operational procedures when the ATR 72 was operated in such conditions; 2) the French Directorate General for Civil Aviation's (DGAC's) inadequate oversight of the ATR 42 and 72, and its failure to take the necessary corrective action to ensure continued airworthiness in icing conditions; and 3) the DGAC's failure to provide the FAA with timely airworthiness information developed from previous ATR incidents and accidents in icing conditions, as specified under the Bilateral Airworthiness Agreement and Annex 8 of the International Civil Aviation Organization.
Contributing to the accident were: 1) the Federal Aviation Administration's (FAA's) failure to ensure that aircraft icing certification requirements, operational requirements for flight into icing conditions, and FAA published aircraft icing information adequately accounted for the hazards that can result from flight in freezing rain and other icing conditions not specified in 14 Code of Federal Regulations (CFR) Part 25, Appendix C; and 2) the FAA's inadequate oversight of the ATR 42 and 72 to ensure continued airworthiness in icing conditions.[5]
In short ATR knew there was problems with the aircraft in icing and did not promulgate this to operators.

While the ATR 42 and ATR 72 aircraft are now compliant with all icing condition requirements imposed by those 18 ADs, the de-icing boots still only reach back to 12.5% of the chord. Prior to the accident, they had extended only to 5% and 7%, respectively. They still fail to deal with the findings of the Boscombe Down tests, conducted by British regulators, which demonstrated that ice could form as far back on the wing as 23% of the chord, and on the tail at 30% of chord. Both percentages remain well beyond the limits of the extended deicing boots, installed in compliance with those FAA ADs.
The fix to the wing/de-ice boots did not even address half the recommendation of the investigators.

It is likely that the lack of further ATR icing accidents is attributable to the changes in pilot operating procedures, as well as the moving of those aircraft to operating areas where severe icing is not a problem, rather than to the modest extension of the de-icer boots to 12.5% of the chord.[7]
None of the other turbo-props operated in Australia have this record.

If you think the problem was fixed this is a summary of the accident flight Aero Carribean 883, November 2010;

The Instituto de Aeronáutica Civil de Cuba took responsibility for investigating the accident in Cuba with assistance from ATR and the French Bureau d'Enquêtes et d'Analyses pour la Sécurité de l'Aviation Civile (BEA).[19][20] On November 16 the investigation authority presented the final report following analysis of the flight data and cockpit voice recorders. It concluded that a combination of extreme weather conditions caused severe icing which along with bad crew operating procedures ultimately led to the loss of the aircraft in a similar set of circumstances to the American Eagle Flight 4184 incident which occurred with the same type of aircraft in 1994. ATR confirmed that the aircraft was in optimal technical condition.[citation needed]
The report available online for TransAsia Airways cargo flight 791 is worth a read as well. 2002 accident very similar circumstance to Roselawn.

The 2012 UTAir accident in Russia probably had a similar cause but the ice accumulation possibly happened prior to take-off.

One thing is absolutely clear with the ATR, that is you must identify and exit severe icing very quickly or bad things can happen. Other Turbo-props like the Dash and SAAB are susceptible to icing but only to the normal stall issues, all problems these aircraft have had is too low speed with ice. The ATR problem is not a normal stall, it is a control hinge reversal that renders the aircraft almost uncontrollable if not accounted for early on, this can happen at high speed. A big problem with high wing aircraft like the ATR is you can not see how much ice is accumulating on the upper surface of the wing and where. The consistent rate of accidents following Roselawn and possibly numerous undisclosed incidents shows that if mishandled in icing this aircraft is still very unforgiving. If you compare this to the various Dash models there are very few instances of problems in icing, different wing design, these aircraft can motor through large amounts of icing and only need to change level when speed becomes an issue. This also accounts for the big difference in accidents, the ATR-72 having 7 fatal accidents (4 icing related) vs the Dash 8 300/400 having only two (all crew related). I did not include the ATR 42 and Dash 8 100/200 but the ratio is similar, but far less due icing.

Hopefully the 500/600 series ATR have modifications that fix the problem and it never shows again.

Last edited by 43Inches; 30th Apr 2014 at 23:10.
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Old 30th Apr 2014, 22:54
  #62 (permalink)  
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43Inches, have you flown the ATR, any model?

w8, i thought you were bowing out? Furthermore, if you think we are incompetent, just imagine what some of us think of you.
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Old 30th Apr 2014, 23:02
  #63 (permalink)  
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I have not flown it, I have flown in it and probably would do so again with reputable operators.

What I have been told by those that have is that training now focuses on these events, where as pre-Roselawn it was basically all blamed on pilots. I've flown other large turbo-props and have experienced severe icing on a number of occasions. In any turbo-prop it can overcome the de-ice systems very quickly and performance loss is rapid.

What I'm pointing out here is that the aircraft does not have a great history, it requires vigilance when operating in and around icing or it can bite a lot harder than other turbo-props in this regard.
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Old 30th Apr 2014, 23:17
  #64 (permalink)  
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What I would say to you is that your obsession about ATRs and icing isnt healthy (not the first time you have mentioned it on these forums), especially if you have not operated one in and around icing conditions or at all for that matter. Yes, I have flown them.

I think any turbo-prop operated for prolonged periods of time in Severe Icing will 'bite hard'. Should I mention Colgan Air? There are no aircraft that I know of certified for flight into Severe Icing Conditions. Happy to be corrected.

But back to the twisted tail of doom and w8s VNE 4g pull ups.
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Old 30th Apr 2014, 23:24
  #65 (permalink)  
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The Colgung air Q400 was not icing related, if you watch the the FDR recreation they left the PLs at flight idle during configuration until the aircraft stalled, the reaction to the stall was what then caused the accident.

There are no aircraft that I know of certified for flight into Severe Icing Conditions.
This is correct however you will encounter severe icing on occasion without it being forecast, sometimes it's easy to get out of other times it can take a while to get to a point to shed the ice.
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Old 1st May 2014, 00:00
  #66 (permalink)  
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Have a look at 'Unheeded Warning', written by an American Eagle ATR pilot.

Here you will gain an insight into global politics and the high price of grounding an aircraft.
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Old 1st May 2014, 01:37
  #67 (permalink)  
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'Unheeded Warning',

The article – HERE – is well worth a read, particularly for Prop jet pilots in this neck of the woods, where the freezing level is often high with plenty of moisture (and mixing) when the cloud tops are just 'out of reach'. Boser, the editor has been fair though and mentioned other nasty icing incidents which have occurred with other types. Was it a SAAB ? at Bathurst? had a nasty go with ice one dark and stormy. I believe one of the most worthy elements of any PJ type rating is a look at the certification standard which define the various types of 'icing' and the protection required for flight in those icing conditions. The 'type' of icing, for which the aircraft is certified to operate in, may surprise some.
• Freezing rain (FZRA): Precipitation at the ground level or aloft in the form of liquid water drops. The raindrop diameters are greater than 0.5 mm. Freezing rain exists at air temperatures less than 0degC (supercooled), remains in liquid form, and freezes on contact with objects on the surface or airborne.

• Heavy icing: A descriptor used operationally by flight crews when they report encountered icing intensity to air traffic control. The rate of ice buildup requires maximum use of the ice-protection systems to minimize ice accretions on the airframe. A representative accretion rate for reference purposes is more than 3 inches (7.5 cm) per hour on the outer wing. A pilot encountering such conditions should consider immediate exit from the conditions.

• Light icing: A descriptor used operationally by flight crews when they report encountered icing intensity to traffic control. The rate of ice buildup requires occasional cycling of manual deicing systems to minimize ice accretions on the airframe. A representative accretion rate for reference purposes is 1/4 inch to one inch (0.6 to 2.5 cm) per hour on the outer wing. The pilot should consider exiting the condition.

• Moderate icing: A descriptor used operationally by flight crews to report encountered icing intensity to traffic control. The rate of ice buildup requires frequent cycling of manual deicing systems to minimize ice accretions on the airframe. A representative accretion rate for reference purposes is 1 to 3 inches (2.5 to 7.5 cm) per hour on the outer wing. The pilot should consider exiting the condition as soon as possible.

• Severe icing: A descriptor used operationally by flight crews reporting encountered icing intensity to traffic control. The rate of ice buildup results in the inability of the ice protection systems to remove the buildup of ice satisfactorily. Also, ice builds up in locations not normally prone to icing, such as areas aft of protected surfaces and any other areas identified by the manufacturer. Immediate exit from the condition is necessary.
While acknowledging the 'ice' problems, we digress. As far as anyone knows, this incident was structural and unless the chook they allegedly hit was frozen solid, still in the bag, then icing has little to do with the event being considered.

Anyone know if the ATSB have broken cover yet on this event? they are overdue.

Last edited by Kharon; 1st May 2014 at 01:48. Reason: Bad link to AOPA (USA).
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Old 1st May 2014, 03:39
  #68 (permalink)  
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'Unheeded obfuscation'

Anyone know if the ATSB have broken cover yet on this event? they are overdue.
According to the ATSB investigation number AO-2014-032 page, the Prelim report is still outstanding but the bureau still stand by their intention of putting out a final report within several months. Which would be a world record for the bureau on what is obviously a complex and very sensitive investigation:

The ATSB has commenced an investigation into an ATR72, VH-FVR near Sydney NSW on 20 February 2014.

During cruise, the aircraft encountered severe turbulence resulting in a cabin crew member receiving a serious injury.

As part of the investigation, the ATSB will interview the aircraft crew and operator.

A report will be released within several months.
The stated good intentions of the ATSB in investigating these two, apparently related, accidents (ATSB classification) is all well and good but are they in fact contravening their obligations under Annex 13 paragraph 7.4...

7.4 The Preliminary Report shall be sent by facsimile, e-mail, or airmail within thirty days of the date of the accident unless the Accident/Incident Data Report has been sent by that time. When matters directly affecting safety are involved, it shall be sent as soon as the information is available and by the most suitable and quickest means available.
Or is it ICAO that are sitting on the Preliminary report?? If so the ATSB (much like the Malaysians have done) should have made a media statement stating the reason for the delay so that all interested parties are kept informed. To do nothing only further adds to the distrust the industry has with the bureau after the findings of the Senate PelAir inquiry.

Perhaps the importance of the issuance of the Prelim report is perfectly highlighted by the speculation, Chinese whispers, conspiracy theories etc already displayed in this thread. If we had the prelim report we would all be able to see where the investigation is being 'scoped' and where the good investigators on the coalface are indeed looking for the answers to how an apparently certified and proven HCRPT turbo-prop could be so critically bent that it may end up being written off. To not have any facts revealed so far does the worldwide aviation industry (& travelling public) a huge disservice and does nothing to enhance, the already dodgy, credibility of the ATSB...

Q/ Not to discredit the professional investigators at the bureau (I truly believe they are doing their jobs to the best of their abilities and resources available to them) but is the middle to executive management in total disarray since the PelAir debacle has been publicly revealed??

Example:Yesterday I went to the ATSB website and noticed that the weekly summaries link had been deleted and in its place was this: ATSB National Aviation Occurrence Database This probably explains why the weekly summary lists were nearly 2 months behind... Maybe this bureau initiative will end up being extremely useful but at the moment it appears to be yet another barrier to accessing any useful safety information derived from the many, responsibly notified, incidents/accidents... What is more staggering is that this change to accessing the ATSB database was totally un-notified or adequately explained... Err..WTF is going on at the ATSB??
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Old 1st May 2014, 05:36
  #69 (permalink)  
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The simplest explanation is that the ATSB is doing its level best not to rock the Boat, not the CASA boat, not the Departments Boat and especially not the Ministers Boat.

Nothing must be published that reflects poorly on Regulator, Department and by implication the Minister. This includes any comment on an operator which calls into question CASA regulation and oversight of the same.

To put that another way, until the ATR incident can be blamed on pilot error or unforseen weather nothing will be reported.

By way of example. the British Government ordered a review into the horrific conditions for the British wounded in the Crimean war of 1853 - 1856. Their finding was that it was all caused by the non arrival of a shipment of hay due to weather, so no ones fault of course.

You can already see that approach in ATSB incident reporting here:

21/12/2013 201312681 Incident No Port Macquarie Aerodrome NSW ATR - GIE Avions de Transport Regional ATR72-212A Air Transport High Capacity Passenger G CTAF During the landing in windy conditions, the aircraft bounced and the tail bumper struck the ground.

That is an example of justifying the conclusion in advance.
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Old 1st May 2014, 14:47
  #70 (permalink)  
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We are getting closer to the MARK NOW !!!

Once again Sarcs, another top posting !

Kharon, your research is outstanding: however I know that this one is " a so called experienced now unlucky colour of green " FO who's had a Barry Crocker.

When the Skip says:" Slow down " why not just reduce the power / raise the nose ???

why are you sitting in MY CHAIR I'll show you how to fly this boat !!!

j3pipercub is on the $$$ now: As in HB, an oz knows not to fly into CB - with a SIGMET CURRENT FOR TURB - at VMO without your mouthgard in.

The thing of interest is why didn't the dept release spare airframes to replace the (now flagpole/ground based unit) grounded one: or do they feel somewhat responsible for forcing VARA to this so called " experienced os " factor to be more the issue atm ???

We really want VARA to succeed & relieve the bush from the Qprop overpriced cancer: But gee Warren, you should of never allowed this to happen under your watch...

ACCOUNTABILITY: Do both Dept's know the meaning of this word ???
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Old 1st May 2014, 19:33
  #71 (permalink)  
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Loud and clear DoC. That possible scenario was discussed. Years back, (in the day), a couple of major carriers had similar issues, some of the BA episodes come to mind. The speedy resolution was truly a benchmark in what, these days is called "Safety Management". No one got fired; but major changes were made to the 'cardboard cut out' pilot model (HR), some attitude changes were enforced (vigorously) (flight ops), some additional training modules developed (training) which cured many issues. The whole process, ably assisted by the CAA was open, honest, very quietly but very effectively executed. Defining the root cause and creating 'real' solutions has probably saved more lives than crucifixion.

Whatever happened, the outcome must not be another slam dunk, supported by another round of Senate or ICAO investigation; the last one still makes me cringe. . I read/hear (somewhere) that CASA have stepped away from 'investigation' this time and are doing this one according to Hoyle (wonder why?).

Aside: one problem with cockroaches is, the moment the lights are off they think they can sneak back to continue the feast. Old technology eh.


a. Turbulence reports must include location, altitude, or range of altitudes, and aircraft type, and should include whether in clouds or clear air. The degree of turbulence, intensity, and duration (occasional, intermittent, and continuous) is determined by the pilot.

1. Light. Loose objects in aircraft remain at rest.

2. Moderate. Unsecured objects are dislodged. Occupants feel definite strains against seat belts and shoulder straps.

3. Severe. Occupants thrown violently against seat belts. Momentary loss of aircraft control. Unsecured objects tossed about.

4. Extreme. Aircraft is tossed violently about, impossible to control. May cause structural damage.

b. Report Clear Air Turbulence (CAT) or CHOP if used by the pilot to describe the type of turbulence.

The link – HERE – may be of some value, especially to those with a penchant for calling 'Severe wind shear' on final; but that's a story which will keep for another day. Remember the yarn about the boy who cried wolf, once too often.

Last edited by Kharon; 1st May 2014 at 20:41. Reason: Forgot a bit; second coffee clarity.
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Old 3rd May 2014, 10:28
  #72 (permalink)  
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Duty of care,
Would you tell us where you get this solid info from ?
You seem to be so certain about what happened...

It s already your second post against a crew member...
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Old 3rd May 2014, 16:36
  #73 (permalink)  
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Kharon, would you make a report if you knew no other "low level" turboprops were following or would you minimize radio chatter as we've been trained to do?
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Old 3rd May 2014, 20:50
  #74 (permalink)  
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pireps are radio chatter?

they also help forecasters for next time
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Old 3rd May 2014, 21:56
  #75 (permalink)  
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MM – I only posted the 'definitions' to clarify and define turbulence in 'official' (standard if you like) jargon. As for reporting, general questions are very hard to answer, but most 'seasoned' aircrew can (mostly) tread the fine line between wasting time and giving a heads up to those who need to know. They also know why, when and how to make a Pirep which is correctly phrased, useful, informative, quickly and easily disseminated. The USA have a good 'system' which is tied to the national weather base; interesting stuff. Have a Google, there's some good info available.....

Speaking of which has anyone managed to dig out the forecasts (area and TAF) for the time/day in question? I've not had a lot of luck (admittedly, Sunday half hearted).
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Old 3rd May 2014, 22:29
  #76 (permalink)  
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You are joking MM?

How do you really know? How do you know that another aircraft is on descent in the same area? You don't, so make the report. Worried about radio chatter? This is safety we are talking about, moderate and severe should be reported always. These types of turbulence have the potential to cause serious injury if the occupants of the aircraft aren't prepared.

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Old 9th May 2014, 11:27
  #77 (permalink)  
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The info i have recieved relates more to crew competency than the aircraft which looks like a write off. What is going on at VARA? CASA won't allow any more ATR's to be added either.
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Old 9th May 2014, 11:40
  #78 (permalink)  
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What is going on at VARA? CASA won't allow any more ATR's to be added either.
CAsA did a similar thing to the then Virgin Blue back in around 2001 or thereabouts. The new kid on the block was bringing in an additional aircraft every 6 weeks or so, sometimes less, so Fort Fumble panicked and put the brakes on VB until they ramped up supporting departments manpower and supporting systems etc to handle the additional workload that is generated during a rapid growth phase. CAsA had been used to the QF/AN duo where the wheels turned relatively slowly. This new LCC thing spooked the laconic CAsA retirement village.
Could be a similar sort of concern once again. Or there could be some serious and systemic safety concerns that have the Regulator rattled? Then again maybe all of CAsA's limited supply of inspectors are off sick, on annual leave, filing paperwork and drinking coffee so they have asked VARA to slow up?
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Old 9th May 2014, 12:26
  #79 (permalink)  
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CASA won't allow any more ATR's to be added either.
I hear that Virgin want to add more E190s to their fleet, ATR replacements?
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Old 9th May 2014, 12:31
  #80 (permalink)  
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Virgin ATR grounded in Albury

So, what was the result of the ATR in question? Was it written off or reinstated? Can't see a complete write off for an a/c with a perfect hull but a severely damaged tail plane.
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