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Air France A330-200 missing

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Air France A330-200 missing

Old 2nd Jun 2009, 08:34
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Once coming back from Salvador we encountered a line squall in approximately the same area. As we got closer i.e. about 80 - 160 nm we could see a dark spot on the radar i.e. a clear area of sky and that is where we went. However all hell broke loose as we entered what must have been a dying cell fortunately we where only in it long enough for me to get the engine and airframe ant-icing and ignition on before coming out the other side.

There was a BA behind us who I warned but was to late as they had also entered it as did TAP behind them. We spoke to them afterwards and they also had no returns on their radar

We were lucky in that it was very short lived and that the cell was in its decaying stages. As you can imagine there was a long discussion about what had happened between the three of us that where on the flight deck that night. The conclusion was that there was nothing we could have done to avoid it as there were no returns on radar and it was pitch black night so no chance of a visual sighting.

With regards to use of radar when I am CM1 I generally keep my radar on 80 with .5 down tilt with CM2 on the next range up. If I start getting returns I go down a scale when the returns are half way down my screen. With the CM2 also coming down that way i get the strongest returns for avoidance whilst using the CM2 to pick a route around what might be behind.
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Old 2nd Jun 2009, 08:44
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Please "captain" Moody refrain from any suggestive comments about 2 engined aircraft until all the facts are known.
Clearly you have absolutely no idea who this guy is.

You are referring to (probably) the only airline pilot in history to have flown a 747 in glider mode. He is as entitled as anyone I can think of to express his opinion on how many engines it's good to have available to relight, whether or not engine failure is implicated in this accident.
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Old 2nd Jun 2009, 08:53
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DaveReid

I think you have missed the point.

We can all have plenty of respect for what Capt Moody acheived that day, but it is far too early for him to blame this event on anything to do with ETOPS - how can anyone even hint that that was a factor without more evidence?
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Old 2nd Jun 2009, 09:03
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Ex Maintenance anything left behind or a dimmer low setting?

I believe that the A/C had only recently had a hangar medivac visit.

Could a spanner have been left in a sensitive location? It has recently happened to an A380 after delivery. A little rocking and rolling during CB avoidance could allow this excellent conductor to come in contact with a high current Bus bar.

The other problem in the past with unintentionally entering CBs was the WX radar display dimmer left in the minimum position. Highly unlikely that both could be left in the same position. Some airlines ask that the PFD and ND CRT displays be reduced to min to extend their serviceability. But unfortunately some crews turn both the ND and WX dimmers to the minimum position. The WX, as per SOPs, is off so there is no need to turn the WX dimmer down.

The next crew may be unaware as all would appear normal unless there was lightning seen to alert then to look ahead on the WX and realize that the dimmer was turned right down.
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Old 2nd Jun 2009, 09:05
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Some of you may be missing the point about the ETOPS factor. It's not so much the 2 v 4, but the fact that ETOPS constraints may have contributed in the flight having to flight plan and take a less than optimum routing in relation to the severe weather in the area. A four holer may have had more routing options available.
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Old 2nd Jun 2009, 09:28
  #426 (permalink)  
 
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Back on page 5, I pondered whether there was any history of rollback on CF6s. I could vaguely remember a safety notice when I was a user of CF6s, and I've found it in the FAA SAIBs.

This Special Airworthiness Information
Bulletin (SAIB) advises you, owners and
operators of all aircraft equipped with
General Electric Aircraft Engines (GE)
CF6-80C2 and CF6-80E1 series turbofan
engines of reports of on-going engine
flameout events during flight and two recent
incidents involving dual engine flameouts on
twin engine airplanes. These engines are
installed on Boeing B747, B767, and MD11
series airplanes and Airbus A300 and A330
series airplanes.

Background
Since the early 1990ís, there have been 32
reported flameout events on airplanes with
CF6-80C2 and CF6-80E1 series turbofan
engines. Two of these events involved total
power loss with a subsequent in-flight relight.
(Source : NE-07-01 October 12, 2006 Special Airworthiness Information Bulletins (SAIB))

Rollback occurs due to super-cooled water droplets in the vicinity of cu-nimbs. Just to throw a hypothesis in the pot, - ...Double engine failure, electrical load shedding and steady depressurisation (no more engine bleed air) = automatic ACARS message. Controlled descent on standby instruments, but an almost impossible ditching in the dark, with a break up on touchdown.
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Old 2nd Jun 2009, 09:34
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Originally Posted by weido salt
What I find disturbing is I have heard from informed sources, this.

"If the computers are knocked out by e.g., a voltage surge or spike, the crew are unable to control the aircraft."
Your "informed sources" are not very well informed.

It would be interesting to learn the content of the stream of maintenance messages. Were the failing systems in close proximity to each other? The space shuttle that disintegrated on re-entry registered a series of proximate failures before the catastrophic break up. Could the maintenance messages be indicative of a spreading fire in the avionics taking down systems one by one?
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Old 2nd Jun 2009, 09:35
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Certainly not an issue in this accident, but the comments about crews leaving radar switches in the dim position brings me to ask: how many of you fly along at night or in IMC (as I've seen many FOs doing) with 'TERRAIN' selected rather than radar?

It seems this is being taught by some trainers. Call me old fashioned, but I really don't like the practice.
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Old 2nd Jun 2009, 09:37
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A332 at Bangalore

@Stall Pusher:
Ok, now with a 'decent' internet access I found the info I was looking for.

F-GZCB <- grounded at Bangalore for some days with elec. problems
F-GZCP <- AF447

./J
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Old 2nd Jun 2009, 09:37
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I'm sorry but your all just as bad as each other and no better than Capt. Moody. It is all pure speculation as to the cause -even if it be informed speculation. There is unlikley to be a single cause for the loss of this aircraft and those on board. It does look as if weather may have been one factor and that there is evidence of loss of lx shortly thereafter. More than that is guesswork.

A ditching at night would be difficult for any crew, however experienced even when the sea state is calm. No wreckage has yet been located which doesn't mean anything except that a debris trail would be expected if the A/C broke up. If a dicthing was successful or then one would expect that EPRIB would have been activated or that there would be evidence of the ditching, rafts Lifejackets etc. seatcusions, plastic panels etc. which would by now have been located. There have now been reports of burning wreckage close to the expected track of the Aircraft - although this was from the commander of an aircraft inbound to Brasil who at the time was unaware of the accident -
"'There is information that the pilot of a TAM aircraft saw several orange points on the ocean while flying over the region ... where the Air France plane disappeared"
Sadly, the situation doesn't look good.
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Old 2nd Jun 2009, 09:41
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WEIDO SALT

I am not a "fly by wire" man.

What I find disturbing is I have heard from informed sources is this.

"If the computers are knocked out by e.g., a voltage surge or spike, the crew are unable to control the aircraft."

The Titanic? Hmmm... Hasn't it been stated by ABI's the A380 is "uncrashable"? Maybe they might take this opportunity to amend that statement, that reeks of arrogance, a little.
If all the electrics fail and the computers get knocked out, the airbus has a last resort: mechanical back up. It's only desinged to make it possible for the crew to remain straight and level flight, to recover any lost computers. Navigating and flying the aircraft to a safe landing in mechanical back up is probably as difficult as trying to land an aircraft with no flight controls on only it's engines.....

Mechanical back up, would indeed not give pilots sufficient control in extreme weather and turbulence conditions. Try to fly straight and level in these conditions with full control authority!

As this scenerio has always been waived off as "impossible" it is starting to look like it has indeed now happened... plenty to think about there in Toulouse
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Old 2nd Jun 2009, 09:42
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RE: Terrorism - Surely if it were the case an organisation would take responsibility? Otherwise, wouldn't its purpose be defeated?

On radars - Someone mentioned it earlier, but blackspots can produce some pretty heinous conditions. I'm not sure about the 330s radar, but on some of the older 744s i've seen wx literally 'pop' onto the screen within 20nm, being hidden previously by other walls of wx. In areas of exteme activity, i.e. frontal lines, tropical depressios, this could be potentially dangerous, with nowhere to turn...

I hope the investigators can ascertain the cause.
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Old 2nd Jun 2009, 09:43
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But don't forget, operations would push these aircraft as close to the most cost effective routings possible as well!
Surely, not through known severe weather! When I recently flew ATL-TPA we were informed by the F/D prior to departure that we would take a weather avoidance route which would (and did) add about 10 mins to the normal flight time. This on what is generally a short 1 hour flight!
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Old 2nd Jun 2009, 09:45
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Has anyone here found out what the electrical faults which grounded this AF A330 in Bangalore were? Parts had to be shipped out for the repair. Was it anythng to do with the weather radar?

Is there any legal requirment to turn back or land if you have to fly through severe storms with no radar to make your destination, or is it just the commander's discretion?

If due to an electrical failure the AF A330 had lost its weather radar, this could explain how it possibly suffered severe turbulence that may have contributed to the accident.
If I remember correctly,a few months back the crew of a Qantas 744 was forced to rely on weather reports from an Air New Zealand 772 when its own radar broke down and a Qantas A333 on its way to Shanghai from Sydney was force to turned back after a weather radar malfunction on board. So I guess there are legal requirement.
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Old 2nd Jun 2009, 09:48
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Surely, not through known severe weather! When I recently flew ATL-TPA we were informed by the F/D prior to departure that we would take a weather avoidance route which would (and did) add about 10 mins to the normal flight time. This on what is generally a short 1 hour flight!
I said CLOSE to most cost effective routings, no implications of taking it through severe weather... and even if operations planned it, the authority lies with the captain/crew to accept the routing or not!
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Old 2nd Jun 2009, 09:48
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ACARS messages regularly contain text input by flight crew, not just automated messages. Could the crew have tried to communicate via ACARS, if all other radio transmissions were out or not received?

Would that account for the 4-minute ACARS exchange AF is talking about?
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Old 2nd Jun 2009, 09:49
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Did the pilot of the TAM aircraft who saw several orange points on the ocean while flying over the region comment on the weather conditions at the time???
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Old 2nd Jun 2009, 09:50
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Sorry if this has been mentioned already- the posts keep changing & disappearing as I read-

I was under the impression that modern aircraft have ELTs which activate on contact with water or at a certain level of deceleration. So far I've heard no mention of any signal/pingers.

In the case of an in-flight breakup, would the ELT not activate then? Does it need either a) water or b)high deceleration g's (or whatever the technical term is) to activate?

From a cabin standpoint we have our portable 406 but I wasn't sure how the fixed one works. Cheers if anyone can clear that up.
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Old 2nd Jun 2009, 10:05
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The storms associated with the ITCZ are extremely active, with tops often over FL500 and massive vertical movement. There is often a 'black hole' caused by shielding which looks like a safe route but then closes up once you have become committed. The only option is to avoid the area with whatever deviation is required.

If the aircraft did break up due to severe turbulence then the first item to fail would probably be the engine pylons. This would tie up with the electrical and pressurization failure messages sent via the datalink.

Dave
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Old 2nd Jun 2009, 10:08
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A couple of questions for all the Airbus people on here?

Could the ACARS reported 'SHORT CIRCUIT' be a pre-cursor for the aircraft dropping into the 'ELEC EMERG CONFIG', resulting in the red ECAM message 'LAND ASAP'?

In the 'ELEC EMERG CONFIG' do you still lose AutoPilot, AutoThrust & Flight Director? Is the ALTN LAW at this stage or only after the PNF selects 'LAND RECOVERY?

With the Airbus's having Kapton (please forgive my spelling if spelt wrong) wiring, could the turbulence be sufficiently intense to cause the 'chafe'ing & 'arc'ing that we saw in the SwissAir MD-11 disaster?

I only flew the A330/340's for 3 years & that was quite some time ago, but please PM me if you don't feel you can post your thoughts on open forum.
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