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Air France A330-200 missing

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Air France A330-200 missing

Old 3rd Jun 2009, 20:20
  #761 (permalink)  
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protectthehornet, probe icing and the ACARS reported degradation of the flight control systems could be connected. Besides the electrical busses, the probes are also in common with the ADIRUs and the ISIS. I'll admit however that this scenario requires certain unusual assumptions to be plausible. However consider the possibility of trying to maintain control of the aircraft with degrading flight controls caused by probe icing, in severe turbulence. Since an AD exists for the A330 regarding probe icing, it is a known issue with reported effects and degradation of the flight control systems.

Last edited by Flight Safety; 3rd Jun 2009 at 20:38. Reason: to fix my poor grammar
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Old 3rd Jun 2009, 20:35
  #762 (permalink)  
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AF Track

The German news source Der Spiegel just posted an overlay of the A330 track with that of the IR sat image at the time of the accident.

If one where to judge by that, they flew right through the worst CB activity in the region.
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Old 3rd Jun 2009, 20:39
  #763 (permalink)  
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I agree with what You write,but:

'We only hear (but have no evidence or confirmation that it is "A330" wreckage) of "pieces" found and a 20km "oil slick".'

How many planes are missing at the South Atlantic?

Brazilians are pretty sure about having found the A330
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Old 3rd Jun 2009, 20:46
  #764 (permalink)  
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Found this

PY0FF assists in search for flight AF-447 | DX World of Ham Radio

Appears this radio operator was told to "keep quiet" even though communication was scare at the time. From one of the links translated:

But he upheld the reprimand. The fact is that, having disclosed the recorded conversation between the crew of two Hercules C-130 which were searches, along with an airplane house, had no access to any other communication
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Old 3rd Jun 2009, 21:00
  #765 (permalink)  
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Officials have released some details of these messages, ..... The report said the pilot sent a manual signal at 11 p.m. local time saying he was flying through an area of "CBs

Why would the Captain do this? A question to those still flying. Do you periodically, or ever, send a manual message to a maintenance center advising in-flight conditions? I know that I might advise center what my current flight level ride was, particularly if it was rough, but I don’t ever recall forwarding such info to flight ops. Now, if damage was suspected or potentially occuring to the airplane, then that’s a different matter. I just find it strange.
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Old 3rd Jun 2009, 21:06
  #766 (permalink)  
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Re ‘pitot icing’ (TAT probe icing) see http://www.pprune.org/tech-log/37578...ml#post4963257
Presumably any TAT anomalies could affect the ADC and ultimately the flight control system. However many of these systems have internal monitors, data cross comparators and validation routines which could eliminate erroneous information, although possibly degrading control system performance.

The links above primarily relate to engine ‘rollback’, which if the particular engine variant was susceptible (always a first time) would be a viable event in the reported atmospheric conditions. However, even with the loss of both engines the aircraft should be capable of flight to a lower altitude where, with improving conditions, systems and engines could be reinstated.
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Old 3rd Jun 2009, 21:08
  #767 (permalink)  
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Originally Posted by wes_wall View Post

Why would the Captain do this? A question to those still flying. Do you periodically, or ever, send a manual message to a maintenance center advising in-flight conditions? I know that I might advise center what my current flight level ride was, particularly if it was rough, but I don’t ever recall forwarding such info to flight ops. Now, if damage was suspected or potentially occuring to the airplane, then that’s a different matter. I just find it strange.

It can be quite normal. The message from the pilot would have been hand typed on the keypad and sent to Air France Flight Dispatch.

Separate function from the auto maintenance function.
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Old 3rd Jun 2009, 21:09
  #768 (permalink)  
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My personal opinion on the cause of the accident has not been offerred. As I said, the cause of previous accidents was often proven not to be related in any way to terrorism. To promote this theory was not my point.

I simply point out a change in behaviour from a few years ago by the important people in front of the cameras.

To eliminate the subject in the early stages over anything else? They could have picked many possibilities, or denied them, yet they really seemed to promote the idea that a thunderstorm broke up the aircraft.

Our colleagues who fly these machines every day they work now tell us that the theory is at the extremes of possibility.

The irony is that facts are facts, regardless of the reason. Whatever caused this tragedy, your odds of encountering the same problem if you fly on one of these are now considered the same whether freak of nature, a one-off, or anything else. That is why it makes no sense to exclude or promote an idea over another. The statistics of dying remain the same if you are SLF or crew.

I'd rather fly 6'000 miles (and often do) than drive, sail, walk or run. I will live longer by flying so I will continue to do so.
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Old 3rd Jun 2009, 21:36
  #769 (permalink)  

I Have Control
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Voice of Experience.

Recently flew an A330 at night through a massive and therefore unavoidable stormy area in the Med, painting green, no red/purple, climbing, lost airspeed indications, A/P disconnected, ditto A/THR, into Alternate Law, flying raw data. For about 16 minutes. No CB's, just icing and mod/severe turbulence. AOA discrepancy acc. QRH. Demanding.

Had this happened in a CB area, with wx radar u/s, things would have been even more awkward.

Had the AF crew experienced a reversion in bad weather, it is conceivable that the a/c could have been difficult to control. No difference in this situation between Airbus and B777.

All conjecture. But sadly much amateur guesswork posted here. I cannot comprehend why amateurs would wish to post their "ideas", any more than I would start posting my thoughts on neurosurgery on a dedicated website.

Many fools on this site. Pity the media pay it such attention. Perhaps that is why our PPL/SPL/aviation enthusiast pals feel the need to post. Devalues the discussion.
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Old 3rd Jun 2009, 22:15
  #770 (permalink)  
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Looks like they lost some navigation equipment, the radar among others. I personally don't like Airbus with all their fly by wire stuff... I think they might have been just overwhelmed by the failures and went into somewhat of a strong return which they couldn't see. Can't imagine handling a level 5 on standby instruments. That said, knowing the lousy WX enroute, without radar they should have made a precautionary landing in Recife or Fortaleza. A few hours into the flight, the copilots were probably flying and they might not have had the nerve to turn around without the captains permission. I was in this situation before; I'm just speculating, but me, without my radar working and other funny failures, considering the forecast......wouldn't have gone on. But then I'm a chicken. It is a big loss, and whatever happened, it seems like the crew was loaded up max.....well my five cents worth.....
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Old 3rd Jun 2009, 22:21
  #771 (permalink)  
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Buoys might have limited value in this search.

The pingers can nominally be heard for about 2 miles (10,000 ft) The depth of the ocean in this area appears to be about 10,000 feet, but varies between about 8,000 feet and 12,000 feet. It would be pure luck to drop a monitoring buoy in a position where it heard a pinger, given the depth in the area, and the fact that at the surface, the radius of success is substantially smaller than 2 miles..

The distance the pinger can be heard will also be affected by any thermal layers in the ocean, and the terrain where the wreckage came to rest, both reducing the range..

The search won't begin to be effective until towed sensors that work below the surface are deployed. I suspect they are being flown in as we discuss this.
The type of sonobuoy that the P-3 carries is an improved version of the type that has allowed us to track Soviet boomers around the world using only the passive-type sonar, that is listening only.

Generally, these are laid out in a pattern-grid field for SAR use. An Orion can typically carry over 4 dozen of these things or more for that purpose. They don't just plop one in the water in a random fashion.

As Bubbers correctly pointed out earlier, for effective active sonar searches, a side-scan array is the best option as would be for finding a DFDR/CVR using passive hydrophones. The aforementioned sonobuoys are most often used for SAR operations for temporarily marking a location at sea.

As an aside:
At the frequency of the DFDR/CVR pinger (37.5khz) the average absorption rate in sea water is between 6-10 dB/km. This does not take into account thermal layers. The relationship between absorption and frequency is more on a log scale rather than linear. Lower frequencies can travel further than higher ones, not unlike the audio range in air.

Last edited by vapilot2004; 3rd Jun 2009 at 22:37.
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Old 3rd Jun 2009, 22:24
  #772 (permalink)  
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Flight Planning, Severe Weather Recognition (S/A), Electrical Failure,Decision Making

Planning: did the crew evaluate the severe weather developing in the ITCZ? Were well informed?
Severe Weather Recognition: did they identify the problem of severe weather early? did they have the onboard equipment (WX radar, Comm for sigmets etc) functioning? The sat wx shows fast change in the wx situation the time of the accident.
Electrical Failures ACARS reports: did the onboard equipment gave the proper responce to the crew for the electrical failures? could the AF maintenance ground team help the situation? (HF and other links are available available)?
Decision Making: were well informed, not overloaded, to make the right descision and take proper action? did they have any option or there was no way out due to too late reaction after lost of all redundances of control?

We have to hear answers from the investigation board to questions of the circumstances how and why it happened and lessons learned.
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Old 3rd Jun 2009, 22:32
  #773 (permalink)  
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ditto A/THR, into Alternate Law, flying raw data
Royhudd, why/how did you end up in alternate law exactly?
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Old 3rd Jun 2009, 22:33
  #774 (permalink)  
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Details of F-GZCP ground collision in 2006.

DATE: 17.08.2006 LOCAL TIME: - LOCATION: Paris-CDG Intl AP (LFPG) COUNTRY: France
AIRLINE1: Air France TYPE: Airbus A321-211 REGISTRATION: F-GTAM C/N: 1859 AGE: 3 y + 9 m
AIRLINE2: Air France TYPE: Airbus A330-203 REGISTRATION: F-GZCP C/N: 660 AGE: 1 y + 5 m
OPERATION2: ISP FLIGHT No.: - FROM: Paris-CDG TO: Ouagadougou VIA: -

Both aircraft suffered damage in a ground collision at Charles de Gaulle Airport.
The tail of the A321 was substantially damaged when it was hit by the taxiing A330.

Damage to the latter was considered as minor.

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Old 3rd Jun 2009, 22:37
  #775 (permalink)  
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Admiral Ackbar:
I know that Air France has been spewing too much stuff (lightning, pressurisation ,electrical failure, etc.) that they shouldn't in these early stages of the investigation but a retired Air France pilot (Jean Serrat) on France 2's main news broadcast last night stated that internally at Air France people are talking about extreme icing conditions in the time period preceding the crash...

As I said, I think AF should be a lot quieter than it is about this incident but thought people might like to know
Sounds very similar situation to the Austral accident in Fray Bentos, where the pitot probe iced and caused the crash, when the plane entered a CB.
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Old 3rd Jun 2009, 22:55
  #776 (permalink)  
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AF Track

Here is the track referred to above, from the BBC web site. His weather radar must have been u/s.

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Old 3rd Jun 2009, 23:22
  #777 (permalink)  
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Red Paddy:
To me there is only one thing that could cause a shutdown that would leave non essential items operating while essential items such as the ADIRU's and ISIS shut down and that would be a fire in the avionics bay knocking out essential systems in an erratic manner and not shutting down non essientials first.
Paddy, my absolute sympathies to your neighbours, I understand that search for "the truth" is priority to them. There are multiple scenarios possible for that sequence of ACARS messages. I did not have the time to clearly verify how the mentioned systems are interconnected, but it is clear that PRIM1 and SEC1 are both at DC ESS as well as HOT BAT. So a massive failure at those could possibly lead to the picture we have and strike the aircraft at its very heart.

The computer systems are placed in a way in the e-bay that a local physical damage (bomb blast / fire) would not render e. g. all PRIM unservicable. This has been taken care for by design.

On the other hand, this alone does not render the plane uncontrollable. In essence, even only one backup ISIS could provide enough navigational aid to bring it back to earth in one piece (providing PFD or ND on its front), albeit I imagine the workload would be quite massive. If it were only the computers that were mentioned in the ACARS messages, it could possibly even still execute an automated ILS approach, if I'm not mistaken.

If the timing of the ACARS message correspond to the occurrence of failures over time is not sure at the moment. It could well be that the Maintenance Computer System, which collects these data, waits for several occurences of failure reports before relaying them to the home base. So for me it is not sure that really the AP disconnected at first, then the PRIM1 etc. It was not designed as a real-time DFDR backup, just for maintenance information and action, eliminating false alarms.

In an Airbus, you can go to 'Direct Law' (I think!). But, also as far as I know, that means that you won't have elevators or ailerons to fly with, just the rudder and the trim controls.......
Direct Law delivers full authority. But other than Normal Law, the Sidestick commands real rudder movements without limits, as opposed to protected roll rates / g-loads etc. (Saw it afterwards, was already answered by khorton and GlidingAerobats.)

As an add-on, if ADIRU and ISIS are completely non-functional, and you have no external horizon reference - is that even recoverable?
There is a gyroscopic horizon in the cockpit, if that's what you mean...
There is even 3 ADIRU (one would be enough), 2 ISIS (which can in a way replace the 3 ADIRUs), 3 PRIM (one would be enough), 2 SEC (which can provide backup to PRIMs) and so on... As said above, the ACARS messages alone do not indicate a helpless bird.

Lost in Saigon:
One very important piece of information is missing though. Was the cabin vertical speed indicating a climb or a descent?
I would very much argue this to be a climb, i. e. pressure loss. If it would be a descent, there had two independent computers to be failed *and* a source of overpressure to be present (aircraft descent, increased bleed air pressure), because the outflow valves would have to be stuck in their present position or being closed. But still to be verified, agreed.

Q. Which part of your aircraft is most likely to be struck?
A. The nose.
No, lightning bolts do not come from upfront like birds.

We only hear (but have no evidence or confirmation that it is "A330" wreckage) of "pieces" found and a 20km "oil slick".
As press has it, I think Brazil authorities confirmed that these were of AF447. But then, no information about where they derived this from...

If one where to judge by that, they flew right through the worst CB activity in the region.
To me, Spiegel is not exactly known as a sound aeronautics treasure of wisdom, so I would not bet my money on their published charts.

If anyone could provide me with the MSN number of the cited Qantas A332 (AF447 being MSN660), then I could check the make and model of the ADIRU of these two.
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Old 3rd Jun 2009, 23:30
  #778 (permalink)  
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NTSB to assist BEA

National Transportation Safety Board
Washington, DC 20594
June 3, 2009


The National Transportation Safety Board has accepted an
invitation from the French aviation accident investigation
authority, the Bureau d'Enquˆtes et d'Analyses (BEA), to
assist in the investigation of Air France flight 447, the A-
330 that crashed in the Atlantic Ocean off the Brazilian
coast on Monday morning.

NTSB Acting Chairman Mark V. Rosenker has designated senior
air safety investigator Bill English as the U.S. Accredited
Representative. The U.S. team will also include technical
advisors from the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA),
General Electric and Honeywell.

Information on the progress of the investigation will be
released by the BEA. The agency's phone number in France is
(33)1 49 92 72 00; their website is
http://www.bea.aero/index.php, and their email address is
[email protected].


NTSB Media Contact: Peter Knudson
(202) 314-6100
[email protected]
This message is delivered to you as a free service from the
National Transportation Safety Board.
Zeffy is offline  
Old 4th Jun 2009, 00:00
  #779 (permalink)  
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Add GPS header to ACARS

SLF query:
Wouldn't it make sense to add a GPS position header to the ACARS messages? As ACARS seems to just be company-internal, non-navigating instrumentation, this ought to be possible without a lot of certification/red tape and might speed up the search for a missing or even ditched plane the next time around ...

edmundronald is offline  
Old 4th Jun 2009, 00:17
  #780 (permalink)  
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Best Media report

the weather channel has just reported that two independent lightning observation newtworks say that the nearest lightning to the flight path was 150 miles away.
protectthehornet is offline  

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