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Air France A330-200 missing

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Air France A330-200 missing

Old 1st Jun 2009, 16:04
  #161 (permalink)  
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Sorry, folks, nobody is sitting on any orange rafts. If there was the remotest possibility of that the airline would be the first to believe it. And they have stated there is no hope.

If the ACARS reports were the result of the beginning of an in-flight break-up sequence due to extremely severe turbulence (which can, btw, destroy any aircraft) all electrical power would have been lost immediately afterwards. One assumes AF speculated about a lightning strike as a way of explaining the sudden loss of the transponder at altitude.

The puzzle is what they were doing flying "into" (AF's word, not media's) a thunderstorm.

As far as searches are concerned, the priority will be the black boxes, although if there was a sudden in-flight break-up, they will show nothing after the power loss. No one will attempt to recover engines or anything else, in fact, that is not relevant to the investigation.

As for the power-off qualities of the A330, donít forget the Air Transat pilot who glided one over 20 minutes to a safe landing on the Azores after fuel exhaustion at FL30 or so.

As a previous poster mentioned, composites do not necessarily behave well in lightning strikes. The Super Puma crash in the North Sea after a tail rotor failure showed unexpected vulnerability to lightning and the presence of much higher discharges from lightning than was provided for in the lightning protection standards. This has much to do with particular composite designs and of course it will have no applicability to this disaster unless it is proved this plane was hit by lightning. If it was, the wreckage will show it.

Last edited by Frangible; 1st Jun 2009 at 16:17.
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Old 1st Jun 2009, 16:06
  #162 (permalink)  
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The Americans were lifting Russian submarines from the Atlantic in 1974.
Glomar Explorer
cost in excess of $200 million dollars - 1974 or 1975 dollars, so of the order of a billion now: see www.globalsecurity.org/intell/systems/jennifer.htm
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Old 1st Jun 2009, 16:07
  #163 (permalink)  
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How come an official AF-Representative is clearly talking about lightning strike as most probable cause in these eraly hours afte the accident???

What a muppet.
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Old 1st Jun 2009, 16:13
  #164 (permalink)  
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This is fact:

The planes was close to an area of intense CB and TS activity.

Very few people has dared inside a TS, but almost every pilot have seen pictures of what happen to a plane that had ventured inside a Thunder Storm.

The selector of bright/intensity of the WX in the ND of the A330/340 sometimes brings to confusion. How many times an A320/330/340 pilots knows that his radar is ON, but he is unable to see anything in the ND because the WX bright is at the minimum intensity and he didnt notice.
Normaly the big selector must by related to the screen and the small one to the WX presentation. In the Airbus the small selector is related to the ND and the big one to the WX presentation. And normaly the big selector moves the small one, because this selectors are switched in the Airbus, this is not the case in these planes.
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Old 1st Jun 2009, 16:16
  #165 (permalink)  
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Outhouse Is Right, Lets Focus On The Electrical And Pressn Faults Stated By Af. Everything Else Is Just Pure Speculation.

There Is A Lot Of Redundancy In These Acft So Hence They Don't Just Break Up Or Fall Out Of The Sky.

If Anyone Knows What 'airman' Did Report (airbus' Auto Fault Reporting System Af Is Referring To) Or If There Were Any Add's Or Mel's That The Aircraft Was Carrying Before Departure Then That Would Be Worth Knowing.

But All The Rest Isn't Really Worth Anything At This Point. I Think We Just Need To Sit Tight For A Little While..
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Old 1st Jun 2009, 16:17
  #166 (permalink)  
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Positive lightning?

Airfrance is a western airline with a reasonably good reputation for maintenance (even if their customer service is debatable). The plane type involved is reasonably modern and we would assume that the pilots would be looking to minimise turbulence by trying to avoid the cb cells. As other posters have noted, normally lightning strikes are of discomfort but no major concern.

There is a rarer (<5%) but documented phenomenon known as positive lightning which can come from the top of the 'anvil' to the ground some distance away from the storm. These have between 10-100 times the power of normal strikes and have been implicated in some crashes including Pan Am 214 in 1963 and the in-air breakup of a glider in 1999. Even the most modern planes would have a serious problem with such a strike.

Anyway hoping nothing of the kind happened and that somehow the plane managed to ditch.
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Old 1st Jun 2009, 16:17
  #167 (permalink)  
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One assumes AF speculated about a lightning strike as a way of explaining the sudden loss of the transponder at altitude.
When will everyone finally understand, that the transponder has no role whatsoever in a non-radar environment?? There're no radars in the middle of the ocean, so it's not interrogated, therefore it's not replying to anyone...
if it was lost while still under radar control, at least there would be an idea where to start the search.
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Old 1st Jun 2009, 16:19
  #168 (permalink)  
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I suspect in this day and age they'll have no problem finding the recorders.
The FDR and CVR have beacons which should be capable of sending out a signal for 30 days or so making it easier to pinpoint their location on the sea bed.
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Old 1st Jun 2009, 16:25
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"So my question is simple, does the airbus have the capability to survive a weather related loss of control at cruise or would the control movements required to recover the plane lead them selfs to catastrophic failure?"

1) probably you don't want to use rudder in cruise.

2) the amount of movement of the other control surfaces is decided by the computers. The Bus is not so stupid as to decide to break itself.
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Old 1st Jun 2009, 16:26
  #170 (permalink)  
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Originally Posted by Broomstick Flier
Brazilian Air Force just made an announcement with the following facts. Local times(LT) are given based on Brasilia official time (valid for this area)

19:30LT/22:30Z: Departure from GIG

22:33LT/01:33Z: Last contact made on VHF with Cindacta III (Recife Centre) on INTOL position (more or less 310Nm from Natal VOR, on UN873 airway), informing it was estimating TASIL position (around 670Nm from Natal VOR on the same airway) at 23:20LT/02:20Z

22:48LT/01:48Z: Flight left area covered by Recife Centre ATC radar, and it was cruising normally at FL350 with TAS 453KT

23:20LT/02:20Z: No radio contact was made (this time the flight would be already talking to Atlantico Centre on HF) and Dakar Oceanic was informed about this.

Today morning, Air France informed that around 50Nm after TASIL position, the flight informed (my remark: not sure if via SATCOM, ACARS message or both) electrical problems and pressurisation problems as well.


INTOL position is the boundary between Reciffe control and Atlantico control. TASIL position is the boundary between Atlantico control and Dakar control.

AF447 passed INTOL at 01:33 UTC and were estimating over INTOL at 02:20 UTC

No one has said that AF447 had any contact with Atlantico control. This would normally happen as soon as you leave Reciffe control at INTOL.

It appears that the authorities only became concerned when AF447 did not contact Dakar control at TASIL.

Does anyone familiar with this route know if it is normal to transit Atlantico without calling in?

If they were supposed to call Atlantico, but did not, I suspect their problems may have started much earlier that anyone thinks at this point.

Last edited by Lost in Saigon; 1st Jun 2009 at 16:57.
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Old 1st Jun 2009, 16:27
  #171 (permalink)  
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not in disagreement but a mere correction.

therefore it's not replying to anyone...
If the Xponder is on it will communicate with other TCAS equipped Aircrafts in the vicinity of the ill-fated airplane.
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Old 1st Jun 2009, 16:32
  #172 (permalink)  
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True, I was referring to the term "transponder loss at altitude" only, from the ATC point of view.
Thanks for the addition though.
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Old 1st Jun 2009, 16:40
  #173 (permalink)  
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Average depth of the Atlantic is said to be around 11,800ft. The Mid Atlantic Ridge is in the area and it is more than 20,000ft deep,

Recovering the CVR and FDR is going to be an incredible and technologically daunting task.
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Old 1st Jun 2009, 16:40
  #174 (permalink)  
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Not sure about Atlantico/Dakar, but NY Oceanic and Gander Oceanic AF uses CPDLC to make position reports, there world normally be an HF frequency assigment as well I'm assuming?

I'm also assuming that since the Air force has not said there was a position report via CPDLC then it did not occur.
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Old 1st Jun 2009, 16:42
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You may recall that they were able to find and retrieve the forward cargo door from the United 811 accident from the bottom of the Pacific. Also, the Russians were able to retrieve the black boxes from KAL 007.
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Old 1st Jun 2009, 16:43
  #176 (permalink)  
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"The plane "crossed through a thunderous zone with strong turbulence" at 10 p.m. Sunday and an automatic message was received fourteen minutes later reporting electrical failure and a loss of cabin pressure."

As reported int he Toronto Star.

Over top of CB at 35'000 having to descend for loss of cabin pressure, not a good scenario.
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Old 1st Jun 2009, 16:43
  #177 (permalink)  
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Does anyone familiar with this route know if it is normal to transit Atlantico without calling in?
Its not right, but Atlantico is often very difficult to contact on HF. I'm on my 6th ASR about it. Only N'Djamena and Luanda are worse. So whilst its not ideal, no, its not unusual to have loss of comms.
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Old 1st Jun 2009, 16:43
  #178 (permalink)  
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Is this the first loss of an ETOPS twin in the ETOPS portion of the flight?

ETOPS has been around for a quarter of a century, I can't think of another instance of this type of mishap.
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Old 1st Jun 2009, 16:47
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I remember flying Varig from Europe to Rio in 2001 on a MD11, it was about the same time of year and we had an incident in or around the ITCZ.

I was partly sleeping at the time, but I woke up with a start with people and paraphernalia flying around the cabin and me being held in place by my seat belt. This wasn't just free fall, we went down ! After a period of about 5 seconds (seemed like an eternity), there was one hell of a bang and the aircraft went careering upwards. I remember looking out of the window and seeing the wing nav lights going up past my field of view, the wings must have resembled a "V" shape, then it all steadied out again, and cabin staff and pax patched each other up.
We carried on to Rio though without any divert - so there is some serious wx in the ITCZ this time of year.

My question(s), if anyone can answer it (them).
I'm in the field of Aviation Satellite comms and whilst I know the hardware and RF methods, I'm at a loss to know what data is actually transmitted.
So, if the ACARS message regarding the Electrical Malfunction (and "possible" cabin de-pressurisation) was received, would it not be normal practice to add a few more bytes of data and include the a/c position ?
If the ACARS was automatically generated due to an anomaly in the A/C systems, I would have thought a position report would have been a part of the sent datagram for safety reasons ?
Is there a required standard format for content of ACARS messages, or is it left up to the company in question ?
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Old 1st Jun 2009, 16:48
  #180 (permalink)  
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Just to Bring corrections, it seams that both the CEO of Airfrance (Gourgeon) and the head of communication made statements about this tragic accident, and not a mere muppet.

Of course everyone could speculate about what caused the loss of thies aircraft and the probable loss of its occupants. So far, it seams that a failure message mentioning the electrics was sent via ACARS to the MCC, and maybe, a loss of pressurization (how can those two events be related?) which remains to be confirmed.
The sending of the ACARS message does not necessarily mean that the event affect the safety of the on-going flight. Besides, we have absolutely no idea (only AF, airbus and the BEA know that) what electrical failure was reported (total failure, partial failure??).
For sure, recovery of the black boxes is needed for both the airline (and probably the insurance company) and the manufacturer (with underlying national interests since France is twice as involved by the operating company and by the manufacture). I hope the French government will do whatever it can to find these precious black boxes that will probably reveal how the slces of swiss cheese lined up to lead to this dramatic event.
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