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Air France A330-200 missing

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Air France A330-200 missing

Old 2nd Jun 2009, 12:11
  #481 (permalink)  
 
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One thing strikes me about this.

Air France immediately claimed that they knew the initial cause for this accident, lightning. I find that as unusual, in most cases airlines remain non commital until they have retrieved the the flight recording devices and any wreckage, unless the pilot has managed to radio in the problem beforehand. But in this instance they immediately came out with the statement that it was lightning.

This gives rise to two options, one AF are guessing and making a claim that they can't substantiate, which could be embarrassing for them if it turns out to be something completely different (especially if it were a bomb, although I am not making any suggestion).

Secondly, they have received a lot more information/data from the airplane (maybe even from the pilots, through ACARS as has already been suggested) than they're letting on.

Last edited by Road_Hog; 2nd Jun 2009 at 14:35. Reason: Spelling/Grammar
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Old 2nd Jun 2009, 12:15
  #482 (permalink)  
 
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DEBRIS floating on the Atlantic Ocean in the area where a missing Air France passenger jet is suspected of crashing has been sighted by crew on a French freighter, Brazilian media has reported.

The sighting by the crew on the Douce France is said to be in the same area off the coast of Senegal where a Brazil TAM airline pilot spotted what was thought to be a burning piece of wreackage.
Message 442 above. This was posted over 2 hours ago, has anything more been confirmed?
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Old 2nd Jun 2009, 12:20
  #483 (permalink)  
 
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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??
I can't imagine ACARS transmitting over SATCOM if the ac was descending at a very high rate (and all that come with doing such things...)
Also, ACARS doesn't have any backup power does it? So if there was a total loss of power causing the flight control systems to even fail, you would assume ACARS would go down as well....
Even odder, why can't they find the ELT (it would be a 406MHz one... right?), did it not work?
It is all very very odd, not enough information.....
For all I know it could be CI611 with load factor protection.....
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Old 2nd Jun 2009, 12:21
  #484 (permalink)  
 
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Message 442 above. This was posted over 2 hours ago, has anything more been confirmed?
Indeed.

It has been reported more or less 30min ago that Brazilian Airforce AWACS plane R-99 located some metal parts around 50Nm from the location where the TAM pilot spotted the "fire" and rescue teams are on the way to recover the pieces.
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Old 2nd Jun 2009, 12:23
  #485 (permalink)  
 
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Folha de Sao Paulo reports Brazil SAR having had radar returns from metallic debris in the vicinity of St Peter & St Paul Rocks, same area the TAM flight saw flames. The article mentions an oil sheen as well, and that positive identification will only be possible when first ships reach the area. I believe they may be referring to first naval vessels, and that the Marfret Douce France may already be in the vicinity.
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Old 2nd Jun 2009, 12:28
  #486 (permalink)  
 
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All of this fire and flames makes it sound almost like they had some sort of control when it hit, or rather not an uncontrolled from high altitude (very high velocity) impact... None of this adds up, although that could be why there was staggered messages from the ACARS, no SATCOM during dive or whatever, then once it manages to establish communications all the messages from during the dive are sent.... This really doesn't make much sense to me.....

Unless ofcourse the wreckage burns after floating back up...
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Old 2nd Jun 2009, 12:28
  #487 (permalink)  
 
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What about a survivable ditching

I find that this incident was treated as a crash much too early. They may have ditched. There may be survivors in life rafts. If they had total electrical failure, they may have ditched hundred of miles from where the electrical failure occurred. The Atlantic Ocean is vast and when they are hundreds of miles from the coast, the rescue planes can only spend a very limited amount of time doing actual searching, having spent a good part of their fuel getting to the search area and needing to keep a large portion to get back to their base. There are very few long range SAR aircraft available. From what I read in the news, France dispatched two aircraft, one Atlantic 2 and one Falcon 50. Thats very few aircraft to be searching the South Atlantic.
What did Brazil send? Their Hercules has long range, but the SAR Embraers 120s and E-99 I saw on the news certainly don't have the range to even reach the mid Atlantic, let alone search it. What did Dakar dispatch, I have no idea.
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Old 2nd Jun 2009, 12:35
  #488 (permalink)  
 
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I've had one very severe turbulence incident on an Airbus A300. In the twelve seconds during which we were out of control, the ECAM was producing a stream of messages for electrical and hydraulic failures, all induced by rapidly-fluctuating G forces. If we'd had datalink I assume these would have been transmitted too.
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Old 2nd Jun 2009, 12:36
  #489 (permalink)  
 
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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.
As I commented earlier, these cells are not uncommon in the ITCZ in my experience. I leave it to others to discuss at length the radar theory.

If the ACARS messages were sent on HF, there is a possibility they were logged by a hobbyist. I would guess the most likely ground squitter would be Albrook. ADS-B would be out of range of ground stations at 1090 MHz but the final track may have been recorded by airborne assets, many coastal areas are patroled by AWACS type aircraft. Some areas, like the western NOPAC, have you keep your squawk after normal radar contact is lost for this reason. Or, so I've been told. With ADS-B, the aircraft sends out a unique identifier regardless of the mode 4 setting.
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Old 2nd Jun 2009, 12:37
  #490 (permalink)  
 
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Unless ofcourse the wreckage burns after floating back up...
give a thought to what TWA800 looked like on the ocean surface from the air.

There are multiple fuel cells on the aircraft, some of which can be opened in an inflight breakup while others are opened when striking the water. Fuel floats and the fire stays above water while the heavy stuff sinks. Lots of airplane bits still float however.
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Old 2nd Jun 2009, 12:37
  #491 (permalink)  
 
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An awful lot is being made about about the 4 minutes of maintenance messages that were broadcast from the ac. But, would I be right in thinking that these mesaages alone won't provide an awful lot of valuable information, i.e. they won't tell the sequence of events that took place leading to the loss of the ac.

They might provide clues but on their own (without the ADR and CVR data) there is no context or chronological information.
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Old 2nd Jun 2009, 12:38
  #492 (permalink)  
 
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A Brazilian Air Force personnel just came out live on Brazilian television saying that search planes have found wreckage 650Km north-east from the Fernando de Noronha archipelago, and searches are now being carried out in that area, at 5 in the morning Brazilia time search planes found various types of wreckage 60Km apart from each-other including an aeroplane seat, some type of oil drum and oil. The Air Force is now working on collecting these items and looking at their serial numbers to be sure they belong to the AF A330.
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Old 2nd Jun 2009, 12:42
  #493 (permalink)  
 
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jtr, if your source are spot on, you are refering at a very very sensitive ''weak'' system on the 330, a multiple faulty IR and ADIRU signal....very very very tricky one, who can easily bring you down!

Remember Quantas last year, they had quite a ride with that one!
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Old 2nd Jun 2009, 12:49
  #494 (permalink)  
 
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DCate

The problem is the size off antena . In c band must be bigest and there are space limitation in the aircraft nose
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Old 2nd Jun 2009, 12:58
  #495 (permalink)  
 
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Originally Posted by DC-ATE View Post
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.
One reason for using high frequencies for airborne radar is to reduce the antenna size. An I-band emitter with a 3 degree beam width will have a relatively small dish. This will require a smaller radar bay than lower frequency radars in the C-band. assuming you mean the IEEE C-band
Typical antenna sizes on C-band capable systems ranges from 7.5 to 12 feet (2.5 to 3.5 meters) on consumer satellite dishes,
You also say that the C-band could 'see' through the cells. Could they actually see the cells at all? Clearly, for a weather avoidance radar, you need to see to avoid.
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Old 2nd Jun 2009, 12:59
  #496 (permalink)  
 
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"flames on water = ditching"

I'm astonished by the stupidity of some of these comments. TWA 800 was blown to pieces in mid-air yet still covered the ocean with burning fuel from the wing tanks. This one known fact should prevent a comment as idiotic as the one above. But as with everything in modern life, facts and logic take second place to foreskin and sensation. We're still basically a horny Aristotelian society whose brains remain at flight idle most of the time.

-drl
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Old 2nd Jun 2009, 13:02
  #497 (permalink)  
 
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from 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."
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Old 2nd Jun 2009, 13:14
  #498 (permalink)  

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Replying to post #487. Ditching has already been discussed and dismissed due to several factors amongst them the weather, the dark and the sea conditions found on the open sea as opposed to somewhere like the Hudson.

I've never sailed across the South Atlantic, only the North and the swells can be awesome, enough to toss a 70,000grt vessel, designed for those conditions, about so I don't see an airframe standing a chance. I do stand to be corrected though.
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Old 2nd Jun 2009, 13:23
  #499 (permalink)  
 
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Poison,

MSN660, in photos on airliners.net, would clearly appear to have the taller tail of the non-FBW A330. Also, the build date would suggest that it was produced before the FBW tails were added to the A330.

Have a look at the mod status in the front of your FCOM and confirm that MSN 660 was fitted with mod 49144. If it has, then I'll eat humble pie.
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Old 2nd Jun 2009, 13:43
  #500 (permalink)  
 
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Just a thought.

JSHG made the following post:
I've had one very severe turbulence incident on an Airbus A300. In the twelve seconds during which we were out of control, the ECAM was producing a stream of messages for electrical and hydraulic failures, all induced by rapidly-fluctuating G forces. If we'd had datalink I assume these would have been transmitted too.
What if the electronic systems responded erroneously to severe turbulence (source of ACARS messages) as JSHG experienced years earlier, and as a result backed themselves out of the control loop, to the point where the pilots could no longer control the aircraft? In other words, a cascade response of turbulence induced g-force "failures" that weren't really failures, but resulted in reduced flight surface control, in the middle of a severe turbulence encounter?
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