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Old 10th May 2012, 18:11   #181 (permalink)
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I wonder if flight recorders can survive this impact?
Short answer: Yes.

They are made specifically for this.

Look at http://www.caa.co.uk/docs/33/CASPEC10.PDF for some specifications. Most actual recorders exceed these substantially. The tough requirements are for the memory, not for the actual recorder.

Among the specifications: 1000 G acceleration along the most critical axis for 5 milliseconds, dropping a 500 lb steel bar from 3m onto the weakest point with an impact point no bigger than 32 square millimetres, etc.

The actual impact for the recorders will be relatively low, since they sit in the tail and in a head-on collision (we seem to be assuming CFIT, where the direction of travel is mainly along the plane's longitudinal axis) use the entire plane as a crumple-zone. Larger and much more fragile pieces seem to have survived in one piece.

A case in point to show that most memory modules are a lot tougher than required: AF447's memory survived a year in seawater where the specification only calls for 30 days.
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Old 10th May 2012, 18:13   #182 (permalink)
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If the pilot pulled up when he became aware of the high ground ahead, maybe after flying through some orographic cloud that had suddenly appeared, it is quite possible that the aircraft was flying nearly parallel to the tops of the trees beneath. If so when it eventually hit them, it could have been travelling at not much above, or even at, stall speed. If it was travelling almost parallel to the surface beneath, the actual deceleration distance would have been relatively large, which could explain the large pieces of wreckage. A bit like the A320 at Mulhouse, but with everything tilted up at an angle.
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Old 10th May 2012, 18:15   #183 (permalink)
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I think, judging by the impact slope being in shadow and the ridge behind in sunlight,depending on the time of day,i,e, morning,the impact pic was taken from the opposite side of that ridge, i.e west side, facing east..
While we are playing with Google Earth..maybe 6 42'36.82"S 106 43'59.62"E
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Old 10th May 2012, 18:35   #184 (permalink)
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Without seeing better pictures there can´t be said much about the impact speed. It could be anything from stall speed to max speed.

In 2007 a German Navy Tornado crashed in the Swiss Alps. Freshly refueld and just few minutes in the air, flying in the upsloping valley it ran out of power and therefore out of airspeed to make the ridgeline and basically stalled into the steep mountain side. It was bits and peaces afterwords. The WSO survived with luck (hanging on a ridge line with his chute) and could tell the story.

Loking at the pictures and the known request for lower altitudes (for sight seeing?) the crew might have faced a similar challenge, which they didn´t make.

That happens when the terrain outclimbs the aircraft.

Tornado crash
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Old 10th May 2012, 18:46   #185 (permalink)
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The terrain and impact point in the pictures in post 168 looks very much like the Hercules accident at Kebnekaise, Sweden: http://www.pprune.org/military-aircr...s-missing.html

Only time will tell if the situations that led to the crashes were similar.
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Old 10th May 2012, 18:52   #186 (permalink)
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Some models of Class A TAWS used in regional aircraft do not hold the entire world database of terrain.

The Honeywell MK VI EGPWS, for example, can hold one of three different databases - Americas, Atlantic, and Pacific. These correspond approximately to the Americas (north and south), Europe & Africa including the middle east, and Asia beginning at about India and going east from there.

If this aircraft was normally based in Russia, and if it used a TAWS that only held 'regional' databases, it would have had the 'Atlantic' database loaded into it at home. That terrain database does not include coverage for Indonesia.

If an aircraft equipped with a TAWS that contains regional (rather than worldwide) terrain coverage flies out of the area that the database covers, a TERR FAULT (as opposed to TAWS fault) message will be presented. This means that the 'enhanced', or look-ahead, functions of the TAWS are no longer available due to no geographical data being available... only the 'classic' GPWS modes will function.

The Sukhoi is a regional jet, it would not make economic sense to equip it with a TAWS database that contains the whole world. But - I am familiar only with the Honeywell EGPWS (TAWS) systems, not with those manufactured by other companies.
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Old 10th May 2012, 19:26   #187 (permalink)
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Yaw String;
I think, judging by the impact slope being in shadow and the ridge behind in sunlight,depending on the time of day,i,e, morning,the impact pic was taken from the opposite side of that ridge, i.e west side, facing east..
Yes, could very well be. Also, that coincides with an inbound airway, (R206) discussed in Gerry Soejatman's article in the Jakarta Globe.
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Old 10th May 2012, 19:43   #188 (permalink)
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Yes, could very well be. Also, that coincides with an inbound airway, (R206) discussed in Gerry Soejatman's article in the Jakarta Globe.
The Jakarta Globe article you cite has this puzzling update:

Update: Wreckage found, spotted from the air. Ground SAR teams reported less than 1 kilometer from scene according to Detik.com article. Aircraft appears to be relatively intact but need ground teams to assess the extent of damage and seek out survivors inside. This report was made public by Deputy SAR Ops, Hadi L. SAR will try to evacuate survivors and the deceased by air if and when possible.

The report also contradicts previous rumors of aircraft found split in two and bodies strewn around the place! As I said before: Disgusting misinformation not welcomed anywhere.
Superjet Disappears South of Jakarta: Notes From an Aviation Consultant | The Jakarta Globe

I'd say the pictures tend to confirm the earlier rumors, not the report of the 'aircraft appears to be relatively intact' that Gerry relates as he preaches about the evils of 'disgusting misinformation'.
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Old 10th May 2012, 20:06   #189 (permalink)
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V1... comparable aircraft like the E170 and F100 have EGPWS mk.V, loaded with a global database. Mark VI/VII are typically used for regional turboprops and as you say, usually only have a continental DB.
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Old 10th May 2012, 21:18   #190 (permalink)
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V1...The TAWS in this accident was ACSS T2CAS, according to their website they have worldwide terrain coverage: T²CAS® Terrain and Traffic Collision Avoidance System

I believe ACSS buy their terrain source data from someone else, unlike the Honeywell EGPWS that are more common in jet aircraft. Honeywell does it's terrain database in-house.
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Old 10th May 2012, 22:03   #191 (permalink)
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Superjet International

The crashed aircraft with mountains in the background on the front page...
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Old 10th May 2012, 22:04   #192 (permalink)

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Just curious. Was this the impact point image you used in your comparison to Kebnekaise?

Kebnekaise Impact Site Image
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Old 10th May 2012, 22:49   #193 (permalink)
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Moscow Times report...

Search and rescue helicopters and volunteers struggling through thick forest and mountainous terrain spotted bodies but no survivors on the Indonesian mountainside where a Sukhoi Superjet 100 crashed by the time darkness forced an end to the search Thursday night.

The loss of the twin-engine passenger jet, which disappeared from radar screens 21 minutes into a demonstration flight on Wednesday, put a freeze on the planned sale of 48 of the craft to Indonesian carriers, the Jakarta Post reported. But industry watchers are predicting a serious impact on all global sales of the new jet, especially if the accident turns out to be a result of technical failure rather than pilot error.

“We haven’t found survivors,” Gagah Prakoso, a spokesman for the search and rescue team, told Indonesia’s Metro TV on Thursday as he announced the discovery of the first bodies, Reuters reported.

Difficult terrain means rescuers will have to wait for the weather to clear before attempting to recover bodies using nets suspended from helicopters, rescuers said. But reports about the search in a mountainous and heavily forested region of the island of Java were confused, with some saying no one has yet reached the scene.

A Russian blogger who was meant to be on the flight said information about the progress of the recovery operation was confusing and contradictory.

“For especially hasty media: Not one person has been to the crash site yet,” Sergei Dolya, who has published photographs of the plane and its wreckage on his Twitter account, tweeted Thursday afternoon.

Writing from what he called the “headquarters” of the rescue operation, he said paratroopers trying to descend to the crash site by helicopter had been unable to jump, but 350 people were trying to climb an 80-degree slope from below.

“Every 10 minutes there is completely contradictory information. No exact info at all,” Dolya tweeted.

The wreckage was found at an altitude of about 1,768 meters on the slopes of the volcanic Mount Salak, about 64 kilometers from Jakarta, on Thursday morning. The plane apparently slammed into a spur of the mountain, not clearing the sheer face of the volcano only by several dozen meters. The aircraft apparently broke into several pieces.

There were 45 people on board, including eight Russian crew members, representatives of the several Indonesian airlines and local journalists who had been invited to join the demonstration flight.

Both Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev and Indonesian President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono have ordered the formation of special groups to ascertain the cause of the crash, but little progress will be made before flight recorders can be recovered.

Air traffic controllers say they lost contact with the aircraft after the pilot and co-pilot asked for permission to drop from 3,000 meters to 1,800 meters — an unusual maneuver so close to the mountain.

The area around Mount Salak has seen seven air crashes in the past decade, the Jakarta Post reported Thursday.

Sukhoi chief test pilot Alexander Yablontsev, with more than 25 years of flying experience, was at the controls. He piloted the jet on its maiden flight in 2008. His co-pilot Alexander Kochetkov, also a test pilot, graduated flight school in 2003. Neither had flown in Indonesia before, the Straights Times reported Thursday.

Magomed Tolboyev, a military test pilot and commander in the Interior Ministry, likened the crash to the crash of a Tu-154 in Katyn in 2010 that killed 96 people, including the Polish prime minister.

“It’s the same situation as with the Polish crew — poor flight planning. There is very difficult terrain in Java, so you need to plan every step of the flight to the centimeter,” he told Kommersant FM radio.

Sukhoi has insisted that all pre-flight preparations were conducted properly and that the plane was in good working order.

Roman Gusarov, editor-in-chief of the Avia.ru website, told The Moscow Times that reputational damage would be difficult to avoid, whatever the outcome of the investigation.

“Whether or not it turns out to have been a technical fault or pilot error, this is a heavy blow not only to the Superjet but to the whole of Russian aviation,” he said.

The Sukhoi Superjet 100 is the first civilian aircraft to be designed and built in Russia since the Soviet collapse, and it has been billed as the savior of the domestic aviation industry.

With a comparatively inexpensive $30 million price tag, Sukhoi sees it as a challenger to similar aircraft built by Brazil’s Embraer and Canada’s Bombardier, and it has gone to great lengths to bring in Western partners like Boeing and Italy’s Alenia Aermacchi in an effort to make it as modern as possible.

The Fitch Ratings Agency said in a note Thursday that the crash would negatively affect orders in the short term, but would have no impact on the BB/Stable rating of Sukhoi Civil Aviation, the plane’s manufacturer.

While no customer said it had canceled orders Thursday, spokesmen for Indonesia’s Kartika Airlines, which plans to buy 30 jets, and Sky, which plans to buy 12, both told Reuters that the airlines would now wait for the results of the crash investigation before deciding whether to go ahead with their orders. A third local airline, Queen Air, was considering buying six of the aircraft.

Meanwhile, the Indonesian government is considering a full evaluation of the safety audit certification process for all Sukhoi Superjet 100 aircraft that Indonesian companies buy to prevent another crash, the Jakarta Post reported Thursday.

“We can trace the safety audit certification to its factory in Russia, and we will compare their certification to ours,” the Indonesian Transportation Ministry’s air transportation director general, Herry Bhakti Gumay, told reporters in Jakarta on Thursday. He said the process would take about two weeks.

Experts now seem unanimous that the crash will have a serious impact on sales of the Superjet, differing only on whether or how quickly they can recover.

“It’s very early days. The first thing to establish now is the cause of the crash; if it was pilot error, then it could recover quite quickly. If it turns out to have been a technical fault, then there could well be a longer-term impact,” said Tom Chruszcz of Fitch. But he added that the significant support shown by the Russian government is in Superjet’s favor.

“I think the Russian state’s commitment to this project has been quite genuine, and I don’t see them abandoning the project now,” he added.

Gusarov was more pessimistic, comparing the crash to the fate of the Tu-144, a Concorde-like supersonic airliner that was unveiled with great fanfare in the 1960s but was withdrawn after proving unreliable and suffering two fatal air crashes.

Sukhoi would now have to pin their hopes on current Superjet operators Aeroflot and Armenian carrier Armavia to build up a successful operating record with the aircraft, he added.

There are currently only seven aircraft operating commercially — six with Aeroflot, which uses the craft for connections between Moscow and St. Petersburg, Minsk and Nizhny Novgorod, and one with Armavia, which flies the Superjet between Russia’s capital and Yerevan. Both airlines said Thursday that they would continue to fly the aircraft.

President Vladimir Putin sent a message of “heartfelt condolence” to Indonesian President Yudhoyono, adding that he had “issued the necessary instructions to the Russian representatives to take an active part in the ongoing investigation.”

Read more: Bodies, No Survivors Spotted at Superjet Crash | News | The Moscow Times
The Moscow Times
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Old 10th May 2012, 22:55   #194 (permalink)
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(Not a pilot) To me, the strength of the assertions are proportional to the strength of the underlying data. That is, the reporter overhears a second- or third-hand comment that the plane is in two pieces and reports it as such.

Then he has a report from an authoritative source that the plane is largely intact and reports that, naming the source.

I think the reporter was being responsible in describing what he knew and the likelihood that it might be wrong.
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Old 10th May 2012, 23:02   #195 (permalink)
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I hope the professionals won't start jumping all over me for this, but it seems to me as someone with a keen interest in aviation and safety, that Russian aircraft generally are solid and reliable, and that most of the documented crashes have been due to human error, which can of course include deficient maintenance or preparation. Design and construction faults do not seem to be a major cause.
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Old 11th May 2012, 00:26   #196 (permalink)
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I'm going to proffer an opinion on the "confused reports", I'm not saying I'm right however it may alleviate some confusion.
My previous post was an assessment of the images, which deliberately avoided any conclusions: having put the large jpg. files through several filters, the defined image of the witness marks from the initial impact show a relatively simple yet distinct sequence.
At POI the aircraft was quite possibly nose high relative to the terrain right wing down by approx 30 degrees.
How so ? The enhanced shadow IS very distinct, a "free transform" hi-gamma image of the aircraft itself drops in perfectly in this precise attitude. which has more than a passing resemblance to an escape manouver at a relatively low forward speed.

Above POI there is another shadow left and above what appears to be the tail come, the "shadow" matches that of the tail surfaces. Using the same technique it shows the aircraft pointing across the slope nose high right.

Notably none of the main wreckage mentioned appears to be present on the crash-site image image itself, presumably having slid down-slope, quite possibly remaining largely intact as some reports would have it, what we see is scatter.

NOTE PLEASE THAT THIS IS A VERY SUBJECTIVE VIEW, It is not my intention to present this as hard fact, just food for thought.

It's a terrible set of circumstances for everyone which ever way you look at it.
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Old 11th May 2012, 01:24   #197 (permalink)
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To quote myself.

Could it be the main picture is of an impact at an extreme attitude . . . the bulk of the aircraft then sliding down with parts still in tact?

Does anyone have any knowledge of how those leading edges affect the potential to climb rapidly.

Optimizing climb is one thing, but pulling violently to avoid something, only to be overridden by a computer, is another. Could it be this aircraft was capable of being pulled up hard enough to mush into the mountainside?
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Old 11th May 2012, 03:17   #198 (permalink)
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The similarities with the Air NZ 901 Mt Erebus crash are numerous.
1. Non scheduled sightseeing/joyride.
2. Pressure to put on a show for the pax.
3. Mountainous/Volcanic terrain.
4. Pilot in unfamiliar territory/weather conditions.
5. Descent below msa in marginal vmc ?
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Old 11th May 2012, 03:22   #199 (permalink)
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I read today that the cliff face is 80 degrees, almost vertical.

Heli pilots with good long line and rescue hoist skills are hard to find here

The russians are sending 2 BK-117s to help recover victims and aircraft components.
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Old 11th May 2012, 03:48   #200 (permalink)
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There is only one question that matters. Why did they choose to descend to only 1800 meters in a mountainous region, all the other factors already discussed are secondary to this fundamental question.

IMO it is past time to start asking hard questions about Russian airline operators and their continuing culture of risk taking behavior....
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