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Armenian A320 crash whilst attempting to land in bad weather

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Armenian A320 crash whilst attempting to land in bad weather

Old 5th May 2006, 06:05
  #41 (permalink)  
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This was in response to Evening Star's post


Originally Posted by AN2 Driver
Hi,
interesting to hear from someone involved with the weather there. I was and am a tad confused by the METAR's coming out of there, going something like BKN006 OVC027CB. Any OVC -- CB condition is something that will catch attention, but a broken layer below that, and the overcast is a bit on the unusual side for this central european met observer.
Can you give a bit more information on this? How would you rate the met conditions as they were reported there with what your experience shows?
And miss stuff like this? Your loss, but I prefer hearing from people who seem to go pretty deep into the met side, even if they are "only" SLF.
Best regards
AN2 Driver

I agree entirely that this type of contributor would be a valuable asset, and indeed spells out why the qualifying ‘Professionals', should include people of a scientific and engineering background.
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Old 5th May 2006, 09:55
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Guys

Do not mean to step on anyones toes here but instead of going on about mobile phones and such lets try and keep the tragedy in full focus shall we .

113 people are dead , thats someones mother , father child brother . . . .

someone said it was flying at 250 kmph . . . your average speed on final approach after full configuration is 140 knots + - 10

In the event of going around they would have applied TOGA power asked for Go around flaps which is 1 knotch up , retract the gear on +ve climb and away you go . . . . engine spool up depending upon type is anywhere between 8 - 10 secs .... and NO you WONT STALL

Thats why I was asking earlier if there was shear and or burst actuvity . . . . in that event even with TOGA power you just sink like rock !

I read somewhere the aircraft made a sharp turn . . . why was this ? apparantely wx was below minima in that case why didnt he divert in the first place ? which leads me to speculate that they had a fuel issue .

Any more info welcome .
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Old 5th May 2006, 10:18
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airfranz

Ref fuel. Now I have seen another quote from Armenian CAA saying 10.2t fuel on departure. This is not a kind of round number so I think we can take this as a fact for a while.
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Old 5th May 2006, 13:08
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The GulfAir 072 Accident Report

LINK
Page 56 - Spatial Disorientation Studies (Somatogravic Illusions)
.
Not sure that the lengthy Pprune thread on GF072 is still available on Pprune.
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Old 5th May 2006, 13:15
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Originally Posted by panda-k-bear
Such idiotic speculation is not only irresponsible but dangerous.
You might be interested in the notes of Russian Interfax News Agency telling the astonished reader, that bodies and part of the wreckage have been found 250-300 meters off the shore, not 4nm off the shore at the crash site.

http://www.interfax.ru/e/B/0/28.html?id_issue=11510864

The text (just in case the link deactivates):

Originally Posted by Interfax
More bodies found at A-320 crash site
ROSTOV-ON-DON. May 5 (Interfax) - Another two bodies - presumably victims of the Armenian Armavia A-320 airliner crash on May 3 - have been found off the coast of Sochi's Adler district, a spokesman for the search operation headquarters told Interfax.

A part of the plane, presumably its fuselage, has been found at some distance from the crash site, the spokesman said. The bodies were found 250-300 meters off the coast.

An Emergency Situations Ministry motorboat will recover the bodies and take them to the shore.

The bodies of 50 people from the A-320 plane have been found. Of them, 41 have been identified.
About an hour earlier Interfax reports:

http://www.interfax.ru/e/B/0/28.html?id_issue=11510826

Originally Posted by Interfax
A-320 crash site located - Levitin
SOCHI. May 5 (Interfax) - The site of the May 3 crash of Armenia's Airbus A-320 passenger airplane has been located, Russian Transport Minister Igor Levitin told journalists on Thursday.

"The exact crash site has been located. Its coordinates have been defined. The signals received by French services and the Emergency Situations Ministry's data suggest that this is the exact area," Levitin, who is also overseeing the investigation into the crash, said.

No large parts of the plane have been found at the site, the minister said. "There were a lot of them. But they were not large," he said.

The crashed plane had three flight data recorders, he said.
While I don't want to take any conclusions at this point, it is certainly interesting to note the distance, the wreckage is apparently spread over.

Simon

Last edited by Austrian Simon; 5th May 2006 at 13:35.
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Old 5th May 2006, 13:42
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Dani

The photo to which you are referring is I think an AP image. The caption that accompanies it is:

"The tail fin of an Armenian passenger plane, which crashed off Russia's Black Sea coast, is seen in the harbor at Sochi Wednesday, May 3, 2006, after it was found at sea and brought ashore. The Airbus A-320, which belonged to the Armenian airline Armavia, carrying 113 people crashed in stormy weather early Wednesday off Russia's Black Sea coast as it was headed in for landing, killing everyone on board, emergency officials said. It was the worst air disaster in Armenia's recent history. (AP Photo/Sergey Ponomarev).

It appears to me that it was not found amongst the houses. Note that the rudder is defintely attached.

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Old 5th May 2006, 22:46
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First of all I am grateful for the supportive reception given to comments by a non-aviator. I should stress, in considering what I write, that I am a hydrologist and normally meteorology is merely a means of producing rain for the rivers I study. However, the disciplines are linked, my first degree involved a dissertation on thunderstorms and I am an observer for the Tornado and Storm Research Organisation. Therefore, while it is not directly my discipline, I have a strong scientific interest/responsibility in at least recording anything in this field that I view as significant.

interesting to hear from someone involved with the weather there. I was and am a tad confused by the METAR's coming out of there, going something like BKN006 OVC027CB. Any OVC -- CB condition is something that will catch attention, but a broken layer below that, and the overcast is a bit on the unusual side for this central european met observer.

Can you give a bit more information on this? How would you rate the met conditions as they were reported there with what your experience shows?
If I read the METAR correctly, the most interesting things that I note are the variability of the wind, the number of temporary changes over a short time and presence of cumulonimbus. This accords rather well with my observations during July 2004 and August 2005 in Rostov Region. In each case, there was evidence, or it was possible to infer, electrical activity in the vicinity but not close to my observations. The wind suddenly became sharply variable with, in two cases, a significant downward component.

Work in the USA on tornado formation shows a similar, but seemingly not identical, pattern. In particular, Lemon and Doswell III (1979) report "observations reveal the existence of a downdraft (originating at 710 km AGL) on the relative upwind side of the updraft". In Russia, Kochin (2001) ties downdraft activity to changes in electrical charge within the thundercloud (also interestingly, but in noting the METAR temperature seemingly not relevant in this case, commenting that this occurs in the 20C zone "where lightning strokes to aircraft are observed most frequently").

One additional observation from my time in Adler, and in particular one trip into the mountains, is how the mountains appear to have a strong localising effect on thunderstorm activity. It seems that a storm in one valley will remain isolated from neighbouring valleys. However, using the work by Lemon and Doswell III, there is strong reason to believe that the winds associated with a storm will not remain quite so isolated. I do wonder if the variable wind in the METAR might also include, or even mask, a similar downdraft component.

Once again, I stress that I am not qualified to make any specific suggestion as to what went wrong with Flight 967, and I note a number of alternative ideas are under discussion. All I can do is give what scientific facts that are available to me and appear useful in the hope that it contributes, in a positive manner, to the discussion.

As you will appreciate, I have spent a considerable time in Russia and find great sadness in this tragedy. Today was a day of mourning in Russia and Armenia.
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Old 6th May 2006, 09:51
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where pilots face difficulties landing

NOVOSTI: World at a glance: where pilots face difficulties landing.
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Old 6th May 2006, 10:05
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From the Novosti site link posted about the most difficult airports to land at;
Landing in London's Heathrow airport is complicated by side gushes of wind.
Doesn't make their evaluation of 'difficult' airports that acurate in my mind.

PP
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Old 6th May 2006, 15:32
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P Pete>
My guess is that the translator of the article had even less aviation knowledge than the author.
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Old 7th May 2006, 02:25
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Originally Posted by ukwannabe
Not fiction but fact from a 20+year airline captain.
And this was on a clasic B737. So beware, there's always something waiting to surprise you.
Words of wisdom
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Old 7th May 2006, 11:51
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While there is no shortage of articles concerning the dangers of Somatogravic Illusions during a GA or take off, I sometimes wonder if crashes blamed on this phenomena are really due to lack of instrument cross-reference skills. High performance fighters being catapulted at night from aircraft carriers seldom crash after take off even though this illusion may be present. This suggests current basic instrument flying skills play a significant part in reducing the effect of the illusion

With 90 percent of flying in airliners being on automatic pilot it is well documented that pure flying skills requiring reversion to basic instrument flying are degraded. A GA around on a black wet night followed by a circling approach is a difficult manoeuvre at the best of times. Depite furious button pushing by the crew, it may be the automatics simply cannot keep up thereby forcing the pilot to revert to manual instrument flying skills for which he is not fully competent. It takes just a few seconds to get into an unusual attitude under these conditions and if the pilot is not competent at low altitude raw data UA recoveries then likely it is curtains for all aboard.
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Old 7th May 2006, 13:19
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Centaurus,

Agree! That's why many 'bus companies expect their pilots to fly xx number of hand flown approaches per week/month and many also require the pilots to hand fly the approaches during their sim checks.

Basic IF skills are never a load to carry. Lose them at your peril.
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Old 7th May 2006, 16:28
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According to the Novosti, the "crew commander (-> Captain?) was one of the most experienced pilots and had flown Airbus airliners for years".
Media quoting the chief of Armavia's A320 fleet: the 40-year-old pilot in question had 5,700 hours of pilot flight time, of which 1,200 were on Airbuses.
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Old 8th May 2006, 10:09
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Centaurus...
"A GA around on a black wet night followed by a circling approach is a difficult manoeuvre at the best of times. Depite furious button pushing by the crew, it may be the automatics simply cannot keep up thereby forcing the pilot to revert to manual instrument flying skills for which he is not fully competent. It takes just a few seconds to get into an unusual attitude"
A Go-around on an A320 does not require furious button pushing.
The automatics keep up very well.
Of the five airliners in my logbook the A320 is the easiest to fly manually on instruments - especially on black wet nights.
It takes a sustained deliberate action to put an A320 into an unusual attitude - and even then it won't be very unusual.
Cheers
TP
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Old 8th May 2006, 10:54
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Tyro Picard. Thanks for your info. I must admit I have never had the pleasure of flying an A320 but from all reports from colleagues who fly the type it is a delight to fly. Perhaps my wording of "unusual attitudes" was at fault. Except to make the point a significant uncorrected nose low attitude below the horizon is enough to cause a crash in IMC at low altitude in most jet airliners, including the foolproof A320 maybe? The A320 Gulf Air Bahrein crash comes to mind.
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Old 8th May 2006, 12:37
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So it doesn't stall eh?

Well what happens if one of the crew on passing "F" speed at acceleration altitude selects "Flap zero" instead of "Flap one"? Easily done.
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Old 8th May 2006, 13:01
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Centaurus,

First the cause is all still conjecture!

High performance fighters being catapulted at night from aircraft carriers seldom crash after take off even though this illusion may be present. This suggests current basic instrument flying skills play a significant part in reducing the effect of the illusion
But they do crash and over the years a significant number of fast jets have been lost both at sea and overland in IMC. I agree that basic instrument skills are vital.

It doesn't matter how good your instrument cross check is, you will be effected by samatographic illusion if you accelerate without visual cues. As I am sure you know, the rate of perceived pitch up is directly proportional to the rate of acceleration.

Even looking at a modern generation Head Up Display, which gives far more useful flightpath information than the average PFD, it is easy to be seduced by the illusion. If you are doing 300kts, IMC in a turn and then plug the burners in, I know of few pilots that will keep the aircraft absolutely level. Most guys are initially seduced by the illusion and then make adjustments to recover level flight. The extent of the excursion depends on how rapidly you scan.

We all get distracted and a go-around is one of the highest workload events carried out by most airline crews. I have seen numerous errors during go-arounds both in the sim and on the line. These errors sometimes lead to a breakdown in cross-cockpit duties which lead to distraction and a reduced instrument scan rate. Old chestnuts like 'ANC' are all well and good but the fact is people still screw up even without seductive illusions.

In an ideal world, there would be no illusions and no one would get distracted leading to a mistake. Sadly, it aint an ideal world and the death of a few of my friends over the years illustrates the point!

Schnowzer
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Old 8th May 2006, 13:33
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Well what happens if one of the crew on passing "F" speed at acceleration altitude selects "Flap zero" instead of "Flap one"? Easily done
I believe that would lead to "alpha lock", when the aircraft is below a specific speed or when a specific AOA is exceeded, slats will not retract from 1 to 0. Correct me if I'm wrong.
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Old 8th May 2006, 14:31
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Dreamland,

Alpha lock function is active if AoA >8.5 or speed is lower than 148 knots.

The alpha lock function is only active with the flap lever at position 1. i.e. if you select flap zero they will not move if AoA is too high. However, if the lever HAS BEEN moved to zero, and AoA subsequently becomes excessive - THE SLATS WILL NOT BE LOCKED - they will continue to retract to zero .......

Man Flex

There is a "gate" at positions 1 and 3 to prevent excessive selections. Seems to work - I've been on the Bus for nearly 6,000 hours and have never gone from 2 or 3 to zero in one move.

A4
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