Go Back  PPRuNe Forums > Flight Deck Forums > Rumours & News
Reload this Page >

Air France A330-200 missing

Rumours & News Reporting Points that may affect our jobs or lives as professional pilots. Also, items that may be of interest to professional pilots.

Air France A330-200 missing

Old 2nd Jun 2009, 10:48
  #461 (permalink)  
Join Date: Jun 2009
Location: Brazil
Age: 76
Posts: 35
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts

I am a humble PPL, 200 hours, but I am English and have lived in Brazil for 20 years
I am a newbie here, but have read this site for years and never commented. I joined because I feel I may be able to contribute with translations from Portuguese, as I work as a professional translator. Feel free to contact me if you wish, no charge of course..
I am not going to comment on possible causes of this terrible accident.
Gringobr is offline  
Old 2nd Jun 2009, 10:49
  #462 (permalink)  
Join Date: Oct 2003
Location: Behind you all the way!
Posts: 359
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Well said.


Thanks for that, so the aircraft is pretty much in 'MECH BACK UP' from the start of 'ELEC EMERG CONFIG.?'

Could a reversion to 'ELEC EMERG CONFIG' with a subsequent inability for the reinstatement of electrical services via the various available emergency back up generators be possible if there was also an 'ELECTRICAL SMOKE' problem that the crew were already dealing with?

I'm not trying to play Devil's Advocate here, Poison, but as a pilot with 20 years service under my belt & over 11,000 hours experience with 9,000 hours on B757/767 & A330/340 aircraft, I can't help but notice similarities with the SwissAir MD-11 crash i.e. Kapton wiring (common to both types)- 'Short Circuit' (reported by ACARS type system)- Loss of all electrics (would lead to our agreed 'Control Problem)'- ELEC EMERG CONFIG (specific to Airbus aircraft)- all for the crew to deal with at FL410, over the Atlantic at night in a violent storm.

I agree with you, a control problem leading to total loss of control with 2 serviceable engines seems the most likely but it's how you get to the 'Control Problem' I'm concerned about.

Even if it was what 'Capt Moody' seems to keep coming back to, the on board (electrical) fire with an attempted controlled ditching scenario, you can't dismiss that this A330 could have been fitted with Kapton wiring (the ones I flew certainly were) as was the Swiss' MD-11. And I think we (pilots as opposed to 'armchair flyers') have all seen on our CRM courses what the flight deck on that doomed MD-11 was like.

I hope to God the investigators get something out of this.

PM me if you don't want to continue this discussion in public.

DADDY-OH! is offline  
Old 2nd Jun 2009, 10:49
  #463 (permalink)  
Join Date: May 2005
Location: uk
Posts: 573
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Considering the scenario of an upset caused either by a faulty ADIRU or bad weather the crew could have easily found themshelves operating under the ABNORMAL LAW.

A completely different law emerges automatically when the aircraft is in an extreme upset as follows:
* pitch attitude > 50 deg nose up or > 30 deg nose down
* bank angle > 125 deg
* AOA > 30 deg or >-10 deg
* speed > 440 kts or < 60 kts
* mach > M0.96 or < M0.1
The abnormal attitude law is:
- PITCH ALTERNATE with no protection except LOAD FACTOR protection. No automatic pitch trim.
- ROLL DIRECT with full authority
After recovery the flight law reverts to:
The aircraft returns to a degraded mode (not normal law as usual) because there is a certain level of suspicion about its ability to control the aircraft (that is how could it have got to the extreme flight state in the first place? The protections should have intervened well before the pitch, bank, AOA, speed and mach limits above).

I wonder what indications the crew have to realise they have entered this abnormal law? It could be very difficult in a bussy and turbulent enviroment to give an adecuate response to this type of scenario.

What are your toughts??
eagle21 is offline  
Old 2nd Jun 2009, 10:50
  #464 (permalink)  
Join Date: Nov 2000
Posts: 645
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts

A german aviation mag has a recent map of the suspected crash site (source: Brasilian Air Force) with distances and ATC-regions.
Suche nach Airbus A330 von Air France im Südatlantik - FLUG REVUE
Kerosene Kraut is offline  
Old 2nd Jun 2009, 10:54
  #465 (permalink)  
Join Date: Apr 2009
Location: Sweden
Age: 63
Posts: 218
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
If ever Danny needed an excuse to limit PPRuNe to aviation professionals only
Why you so "serious professional Pilots" with so many concerns about all "non pilot idiots" start your own privet silent pilot network and only let in members with 10000+ hours and scanned pilot license.

speculation exist and will always exist whatever u feel, or is it just to get your own seriousness and ego confirmed?

This morality posts over and over are more pathetic then the others
eliptic is offline  
Old 2nd Jun 2009, 10:54
  #466 (permalink)  
Join Date: Aug 2006
Location: firmly on dry land
Age: 81
Posts: 1,541
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Originally Posted by Irishwingz
Some military aircraft have homing beacons,
Dedicated Search and Rescue Dedicated Search and Rescue aircraft have homing receivers that can be used to home on VHF or UHF beacons.

I am not sure if these work at the bottom of a deep ocean.
They don't, but dedicated anti-submarine aircraft and other dedicated platforms my drop hydrohpones that can detect sonic transmissions.

Is it surprising that large commercial aircraft do not have such devices, especially when operating in areas of non VHF & radar coverage?
No, it would cost money, lots of money, to install such homers in many aircraft. The use of such homers would then require crew training which would increase training time, working hours, require more aircrew etc etc.

However all aircraft are capable of localising a VHF or UHF beacon but they need lots of spare fuel to do so. The technique is simple but I shall not post it here.


FE Hoppy said some mil ac have ULF Homers and no training is needed. I would suggest that some training would be needed but concede it might not be very much. Equipment costs however would remain a significant hit on the bottom line.

Last edited by Wader2; 2nd Jun 2009 at 11:19.
Wader2 is offline  
Old 2nd Jun 2009, 10:56
  #467 (permalink)  
Join Date: Jan 2007
Location: England
Posts: 1,077
Received 1 Like on 1 Post
At night, probably in cloud, without ADIRU's and ISIS, they were in serious trouble.
ZeBedie is offline  
Old 2nd Jun 2009, 11:08
  #468 (permalink)  
Join Date: May 2004
Location: Mostly Shanwick/Gander OCA
Posts: 1
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
A lightning strike may cause an surge which in turn may cause transient electrical faults to be generated. Anybody who has had an APU/Gen trip on him will know that. These faults mostly clear out but some remain on the STATUS page (on EICAS) till the landing gear does a full extension and retraction cycle (i.e. next landing). This status message(s) may have been transmitted by ACARS to maintenance as the ACARS reporting logic does not factor in lightning strikes. It is plausible that the airplane may have had several lightning strikes and that caused several (maybe) erroneous messages to be generated. Also explains the 4 minutes of ACARS transmission (because a regular position report also takes a couple of seconds of transmission (VHF in progress, SATCOM in progress) etc whereas maintenance reports only go by a error code.Time in transmission, only a couple of seconds. 4 minutes of ACARS transmission would almost need a lot of status/failure messages to have been generated simultaneously---signature electrical surge behavior...Saying all this, still not good enough reason to bring an airplane down...
utsav is offline  
Old 2nd Jun 2009, 11:08
  #469 (permalink)  
Join Date: Apr 2008
Location: china
Posts: 5
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
The Aviation Herald

The Aviation Herald

New information provided by sources within Air France suggests, that the ACARS messages of system failures started to arrive at 02:10Z indicating, that the autopilot had disengaged and the fly by wire system had changed to alternate law. Between 02:11Z and 02:13Z a flurry of messages regarding ADIRU and ISIS faults arrived, at 02:13Z PRIM 1 and SEC 1 faults were indicated, at 02:14Z the last message received was an advisory regarding cabin vertical speed. That sequence of messages could not be independently verified.
num1 is offline  
Old 2nd Jun 2009, 11:09
  #470 (permalink)  
Join Date: Oct 2001
Location: Germany
Age: 63
Posts: 19
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
@ grebllaw123d: not correct. Newer A330s/340s have 'electrical rudder' as correctly stated by poison.
RealQuax is offline  
Old 2nd Jun 2009, 11:12
  #471 (permalink)  
Join Date: Sep 2005
Location: In the Plane
Posts: 17
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts

Yes I do understand that you think that I have made a mistake in my statement but I can assure you that I have not. You see having flown all of the A340 variations, which you may well have only flown the A340-300, I can tell you emphatically that the A340-500 and A340-600 no longer has mechanical backup but rather backup. And yes there is a difference. You see with mechanical backup you have mechanical control over the horizontal stabilizer and the rudder, but with backup you only have mechanical control over the horizontal stabilizer.

This is also the same for the MSN 660 which is now missing. It's flight controls are electrically controlled and are hydraulically operated but the stabilizer can be mechanically controlled. However like I said you would not know this if you only fly the A343 and yes it is the same as some of the older generation A330's but is not the same as MSN 660.

Now an apology is not required from you but please do your homework before you respond next time.
poison is offline  
Old 2nd Jun 2009, 11:13
  #472 (permalink)  
Join Date: Sep 1998
Location: wherever
Age: 55
Posts: 1,616
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Wader 2

ULF homing beacons are fitted to some mil aircraft that carry equipment that may need to be recovered. No crew action or training required to operate them.
FE Hoppy is offline  
Old 2nd Jun 2009, 11:14
  #473 (permalink)  
Join Date: Jan 2008
Location: Denmark
Age: 79
Posts: 158
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts

OK, I did not know that!

Does it then mean that there is no mechanical backup for the rudder in case all flight control computers fail?

grebllaw123d is offline  
Old 2nd Jun 2009, 11:15
  #474 (permalink)  
Posts: n/a
KTM 11, there is only one legal requirement for a functional WX radar on aircraft and this is tailored by every manufacturer for the specific type. Companies publish this requirement in the MEL or DDM (as applicable).
This "law" is only valid before commencing any flight.
When airborne it is the crew which has to decide the best course of action, and yes, there is the possibility that a return may be the best action.

I doubt that the AF crew had a chance to consider this option at all. With all details available here it appears that the wx radar was a "minor" problem they were dealing with.

Being sure that the crew followed law no. 1 precisely, "Fly The Aircraft", they faced a situation not covered in any QRH or manual.

It does not appear that any action they went for helped at all. Even well trained crew, unfortunately, can and will face unrecoverable situations.
Old 2nd Jun 2009, 11:29
  #475 (permalink)  
Join Date: May 2005
Location: Argentina
Posts: 169
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
I am NOT a bus driver but... reading all posts..

what if :
1) an electrical failure thus ...
2) a restricted (cable driven) surfaces movement and ..
3) weather radar not abailable ?? and maybe
4) a depressurization because of total electrical failure ? and
5) going around some VB tops at 35000 and
6) have to emergency descent with no radar and went into CB

is that scenario possible ??

Is a conclusion I have after reading almost of comments

MD-100 (fly-by-cable)
md-100 is offline  
Old 2nd Jun 2009, 11:48
  #476 (permalink)  
Join Date: Sep 2008
Location: MI
Posts: 570
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
golfyankeesierra -
The radarsignals are reflected by the heavy precipitation in the cells, back to the radar so they never reach the area behind the cells. That means that you'll never exactly know what is behind the first storm untill you passed it.
I don't know what 'bands' are being used these days, but your statement implies "X" Band Radar. Why airliners were ever fitted with 'X' Band, I'll never know. With "C" Band that we had, you could 'see' through cells with no problem.
DC-ATE is offline  
Old 2nd Jun 2009, 11:56
  #477 (permalink)  
Ber Nooly
Posts: n/a
I think Tim Vasquez' meteorological analysis posted earlier is a very good read. One of the possible scenarios he mentions is that if it encountered a vigorous updraft in a fledgling cell, of which there were quite a few developing at the time, then it wouldn't show on the radar, as the precip wouldn't have had time to develop yet. To me that seems more pausible than lightning, for what it's worth (ie. absolutely nothing)

Air France 447 - AFR447 - A detailed meteorological analysis - Satellite and weather data
Old 2nd Jun 2009, 12:02
  #478 (permalink)  
Join Date: Jan 2004
Location: Switzerland
Posts: 5
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
To have a better understanding of the A330 systems
SmartCockpit - Airline training guides, Aviation, Operations, Safety
Milka is offline  
Old 2nd Jun 2009, 12:08
  #479 (permalink)  
Join Date: May 2005
Location: uk
Posts: 573
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
I wonder if the last message received by AF would have been LO DIFF PR, meaning the a/c was descending at a very high rate.

Your toughts??
eagle21 is offline  
Old 2nd Jun 2009, 12:10
  #480 (permalink)  
Join Date: Sep 2005
Location: In the Plane
Posts: 17
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts

Let's make things a little clearer for everyone so I don't tie myself up and lead people down the wrong path as a result of my wording or not putting in all of the information.

On the 330 Airbus has "Normal Electrics" and "Emergency Electrics", when you have neither one of these situations you are then in what would be considered as as total electrical failure. But do remember that you have battery power but it is terribly limiting.

Even in an Electrical Emergency Configuration you have the Prim 1 and Sec 1 powered and hence control, although it may be in alternate law, is still available in pitch, roll and yaw. Not to mention that on the A330 in an Electrical Emergency Configuration the A330 has Autopilot 1 available, unlike the A340, since this is a requirement for the ETOPS certification.

Now what I was referring to was the total electrical failure which means that all flight computers are not powered. This will now lead to backup. But even with backup you can still have control over the rudder as the rudder is powered by the BCM (Backup Control Module) and this provides yaw damping and direct rudder command with the pedals. The BCM computer has it own electrical generator and is supplied by the Blue or Yellow hydraulic system.

But again let us say that even this BCM failed then the horizontal plane could be controlled by asymmetric power. But to get into this situation is so unlikely. The likely hood of the Electrical Emergency Config not taking place is very unlikely as I said. But if this does not take place then there could be a moment when all 5 computers may not be powered and then Backup will become effective. In backup you have mechanical control over the horizontal stabilizer and the control over the rudder, be it electric through the BCM if it is powered. In backup you are not expected to fly the plane accurately. It is a time when you are meant to restore the flight computers. That means you need to cycle the pushbuttons. But this is only achievable if there is power to the relevant buses. If my memory serves me right even the hot battery bus will power the Prim 1.

Airbus is not perfect but they sure have a heck of a redundant system and for an aircraft to suffer a total electrical failure, ie not to even be in Electrical Emergency Config is bizarre. But even with out this Electrical Emergency Config, no battery power is hard to fathom. And the loss of a BCM which is has its own electrical generator? Nothing is impossible but the situation is highly improbable.
poison is offline  

Thread Tools
Search this Thread

Contact Us - Archive - Advertising - Cookie Policy - Privacy Statement - Terms of Service

Copyright © 2024 MH Sub I, LLC dba Internet Brands. All rights reserved. Use of this site indicates your consent to the Terms of Use.