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Air Asia Indonesia Lost Contact from Surabaya to Singapore

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Air Asia Indonesia Lost Contact from Surabaya to Singapore

Old 22nd Dec 2015, 03:40
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Lorma
Did you notice in the Air France report the statement "we have no indications" I have wondered why more was not made of that statement. (Not disputing the report, but what was meant by that statement from the F/O)(so is the pfd blank in both these accidents? Or mentally blanked, funny on air Asia request of capt to 3)

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Old 22nd Dec 2015, 06:53
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CONF iture, re the THS and connected sidesticks questions, I sense a hamster wheel on the horizon... These have all been done over and over again on the AF447 thread.

Machinbird, I do understand what you mean by PIO, thanks. I've seen a small version of it when hand "flying" the simulator at cruise altitudes in Alternate Law. Certainly, few if any would be able to fly the early transports without the yaw damper! In this, I believe you would be correct regarding PIO!

However, for experienced, well-trained pilots who are accustomed to manual flying transports at high altitudes, it is a non-event in Alternate Law, as I suspect the triple would be. The airplane, (Airbus, but other types are also sensitive), does rock a bit and settles down; there's no lag in flight control response - one freezes the stick, as per Davies' statements, instead of applying inputs and it stops; QED. I'm not military so I haven't experienced what you talk about but I'm very experienced in transports of all types including the narrow-body & widebody Airbus.

I find it difficult to accept that such oscillations in an of themselves, lead to a continued NU pitch command without asking further questions regarding experience, training, background and so on, and the counterexamples (that control columns don't make a difference) are abundant. I'm not saying it can't occur, but CC or SS, stick-shaker or no, the data shows that all types had the control CC or SS buried, NU. I don't think the solution lies in connected sticks or stick shakers so while I remain open to an extended study and the data in the thesis showing PIO as a signficant, primary factor for all crews and not just inexperienced pilots we'll have to agree to disagree.

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Old 22nd Dec 2015, 08:25
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First I would like to express my gratitude to all the usual sciolistic reaction eliciters, who unfazed by repeated warnings their pet theories suffer from disconnection from reality, keep on providing some comic relief in this sombre thread. Then there are some pretty well-meant suggestions that, alas, are founded in misunderstanding of aerodynamics, flight controls, airliner operation and aviation psychology. All in all, I'd estimate that less than third of the posts around here contain anything that can be useful in understanding the QZ8501 crash - which is pretty normal for PPRuNe.

Regarding the issue of FBW Airbi not having stickshaker, estimate whether the aeroplane possesses sufficient natural pre-stall buffet and therefore require artificial stall warning system is left to development and certification test pilot and is somewhat subjective, yet the tests on 330s and 340s in the wake of AF447 have shown them to shake wildly before stall and it can be also seen on recently posted A320 video. Anyway, fact that aeroplanes were stalled with shakers & pushers operating was repeatedly stated on this thread. On the subject of automatic stall recovery, CONFiture has rightly pointed out it could present danger in itself if warning is unwarranted and that's why stick pushers have to be overridable (read the HTBJ, folks). Even for human pilot, stall warning isn't call to push mindlessly but to gather one's wits, realize aircraft energy state and do appropriate actions - which more often than not will be (approach to) stall recovery. Two widebodies were lost to overreaction to false stall alarm but it is easy for Joe PPRuNer to gloss over them; TWA 843 resulted in no casualties while Kenya Airways 430 happened in Africa.

"Protections" are possible because the system is digital and as we all know, anything that can be imagined can also be done with digital signals.
True, up to a point. Hard protections were indeed made technically and commercially feasible by the introduction of digital FBW but soft envelope limiting, similar to ones on B777 and called "Flight Augmentation", was available on early Airbus widebodies and Fokkers 100. As none of these were selling exceptionally well, there was no commercial pressure to defame such a system as "unnatural", "taking control from pilot" and "potentially unsafe".

How many serviceable large jet a/c stalled & crashed before FBW, and how many since?
Seemingly "classical" jets keep stalling & crashing even after FBW was introduced (Amsterdam, Comoros, Mali..) but the metric of how many is just plain wrong. Somewhat better would be how many per number of flights or how many per flight hour and with aviation expansion we have, statistical conclusion is overwhelmingly in favor of:

We are doing very good job of teaching pilots how not to stall the aeroplane.

IMHO, Peekay4 (thanks for the comments on Elmendorf catastrophe, I wasn't aware it was another stick-back-until-impact crash) and Unworry's nephew are on the right track. We are dealing here with pilots rejecting skills they were supposed to learn before first solo and some of them were extremely experienced so no amount of training or experience we provide today can change this. Of interest to me is dynamics of spatial disorientation in multicrew cockpits. We are not dealing with the amounts of G and angle rates of tactical jets so it's harder for us to get to get disoriented yet again facts of the accident fly in the face of the notion that if one pilot gets his vertical gyro between the ears toppled, the other will come to rescue. It seems almost as if disorientation is contagious. In most of the similar accidents so far, captain was PF so we could take some solace in notion it was about command authority gradient yet here very experienced captain failed to perform recovery (or any decisive action at all) so it's back to square one for HF research.
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Old 22nd Dec 2015, 08:40
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Agree with most of that, except I don't agree that "we're doing a good job of training stall recovery" - it's just that SOPs usually keep us out of trouble. I think that perhaps (note to self) rather than inventing all sorts of extra attention getters that will probably also be ignored by an undertrained, under experienced and panicking mind; the fundamental point here is that :

PILOTS SHOULD NOT PULL UP WHEN THEIR AIRCRAFT STALLS


When stalling is "trained" in the SIM, the trainee is typically told 'Right, we are going to do some stalls now. This is what you will see, this is how you get out of it. Ready? OK, here we go'. 'Hmm, yes, not too bad, let's try it again. That's better, good. {Tick}. Right, on to the next item.............'

So this is one for the TRIs, TREs and Training Managers: Do your pupils really, truly understand what they have just done? You are in the SIM and you have just told them they are going to stall. There is nothing else going on to distract them. You have explained what to look for, how to recover, and......they do it! Brilliant, they are now fully trained to recognise and escape from any stall {Tick}.

BUT, Will that cadet pilot be able to instinctively do the right thing six months later, on a dark and dirty night when they are not expecting to stall and have not been primed to react correctly? Over to you, Training Captains.



I remember when a very experienced training Captain did an absolutely textbook incipient stall recovery, (hello Rolf!). He had got slightly slow in the base turn, and neither of us had noticed owing to distractions (another note to self!) The stick shaker started and he instantly dipped the nose and gently applied power - perfect. Mind you, he did a lot of stunt flying at airshows and competitions, so he was well practised.

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Old 22nd Dec 2015, 08:53
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“… the opportunities for gaining experience have significantly reduced ... in rare situations”. “… then ask why & how?” (#3857 & #3862)

A backward looking ‘why’ often focuses on what went wrong, etc, ‘blame and train’, and thence ‘back to the old ways’. One difficulty is in understanding exactly what has changed (and why) and that this and/or the implementation of change might contribute to recent events. Thus there could be new hazards as well as impracticability in turning the clock back.

When looking forward, ‘how’ often focus on issues which we are familiar with – pilots’ training – and flight deck interfaces - automation. Whilst past operational implementation of automation may not have been ideal, the resultant level of safety is something to be valued, thus any change to automation will require a cautious approach. Furthermore, the timescale for change is relatively long; cf the A330 mandated pitot change, yet the holes all lined up; AF447.

Generally it is impossible to create experience of rare events. There is more opportunity for precursor events, but the rate of occurrence may not warrant further change and most outcomes are 'saves', but it should be possible to improve the process of 'experience' in normal operations.
This is not a call for more hand flying; the vast majority of precursor situations involved automated flight. The industry should consider improvement in the manner of learning, memory recall, and assessment of situations; these are generic thinking skills applicable to all situations – normal, the ‘seeable but improbable’, and the ‘unforeseeable’.

As an alternative or supplement to retrospective aircraft changes and oft ineffectual human training it should also be possible to reduce the frequency of encountering demanding situations. See BEA ASAGA study – need to simplify GA procedures, charts, ATC calls, radio and nav management, crew callouts, and SOPs.
Complex situations demand a combination of small, relatively easy, and quick changes, which can be managed both at middle management level and on the front line, independently of tedious regulatory change.

Experience is a quality which is held individually; individuals and operators can improve their level of experience with continual evaluation and understanding of normal operations, but this requires a willingness to do this, unfortunately this appears to be a quality lacking in the modern social climate.


Thinking critically
, civil operators can put aside the military aspects; for replacement examples choose amongst the range of posts in this thread.
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Old 22nd Dec 2015, 11:27
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Before trying to rise to any dangerous height a man ought to know that in an emergency his mind and muscles will work by instinct rather than by conscious effort. There is no time to think.
Wilber Wright address to the Western Society of Engineers, Chicago, June 24th, 1903.

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Old 22nd Dec 2015, 11:49
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You have explained what to look for, how to recover, and......they do it! Brilliant, they are now fully trained to recognise and escape from any stall {Tick}.

BUT, Will that cadet pilot be able to instinctively do the right thing six months later, on a dark and dirty night when they are not expecting to stall and have not been primed to react correctly? Over to you, Training Captains.


Excellently out. 100%. And it's not just stall training = tick. But there have not been too many occasions, recently, where the same fault in piloting skill has crashed an a/c. It really does need a fundamental review; as does the basic AB design of anything to do with the stalled condition. That includes how the a/c became stalled in the first place; what the pilot saw and felt, and what they did about it. Somewhere everything is not quite right. Improvements need to be made, but where and to what?
In the past if it was possible to connect a hydraulic unit the wrong way round and it caused a crash the root cause was researched and the threads or diameter of connectors changed. "it must not happen again." was the cry. A simple fix saved many lives, and this philosophy has carried forward. Is that way of thinking still prevalent with this repeated fault?
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Old 22nd Dec 2015, 12:21
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Originally Posted by IcePack
Air France report the statement "we have no indications"....what was meant by that statement from the F/O....so is the pfd blank in both these accidents?
I think the AF447 "no indications" statement meant no airspeed indications or possibly no flight director indications.

I have never read any information that either AF447 or AirAsia had blanked out or malfunctioning EADIs. In both cases the big blue/brown horizon on the PFD was accurately showing the extreme pitch angle the PF had commanded.

It appears the pilot's cognition had degraded so they could not mentally process that "blue is up and brown is down" and take the obvious action.

If so that is a more profound and basic issue than automation dependency. It involves human factors and psychology under stress. If they could not mentally process and act on the simple blue/brown PFD, it is possible they might not have reacted to stick shakers either.

It is possible that more research is needed on human behavior under stress. However it is difficult and expensive to obtain this, since authentically reproducing the environment is difficult and only a small % of the population will behave that way.
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Old 22nd Dec 2015, 13:10
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In alternate law, within the flight envelope aircraft behaviour in pitch is exactly same as in normal law, the complications are outside the envelope. In roll the max application of side stick the rate of roll is 30/sec which is double of normal law. The pilots had no experience of high altitude handling in roll in alternate law and yet they did not lose control in roll. AF and QZ were the results of irrational, bizarre, extreme and sustained elevator application. This could have been out of total unawareness of the fact that at altitude full elevator application is totally unwarranted and extremely dangerous. This knowledge can be instilled even without or a little hands on training. In my opinion lack of raw data skill is also not the reason but lack of even theoretical knowledge of cruise attitude could be. Even the ATHR fails at the last N1 and holds the status quo. Another reason may be it was a response of an individual frightened out of his wits by the entree into the unknown so it is not possible to seek any logic in their actions. No drastic changes in design are likely to be come due these two accidents. Some training to give high level handling is already initiated by airbus.
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Old 22nd Dec 2015, 17:52
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Originally Posted by FDMII
CONF iture, re the THS and connected sidesticks questions, I sense a hamster wheel on the horizon... These have all been done over and over again on the AF447 thread.
And for good reasons. On many aspects, AirAsia is a copy paste from AF447, and so only 5 years later.
  • Sidestick - Interesting how coupled sidesticks are lately appearing in the industry.
  • THS - Not a single data or comment on the THS in the AirAsia report - Shame !
One more thing : If the AirAsia crew had spent time to read the AF447 report and most part of our literature here on this site, I truly think they would be still with us.
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Old 22nd Dec 2015, 19:21
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CONF iture;
  • Sidestick - Interesting how coupled sidesticks are lately appearing in the industry.
That's as much marketing as it is lawyers talking. Like stick buzzers (as suggested above), it won't make difference. This isn't where the problem is.
One more thing : If the AirAsia crew had spent time to read the AF447 report and most part of our literature here on this site, I truly think they would be still with us.
You may "truly think" this but what you or anyone else thinks does not and cannot explain the accident and so cannot prevent a recurrence.

This already has the earmarks of the hamster-wheel. Standing down until something new comes along.
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Old 22nd Dec 2015, 19:56
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It appears the pilot's cognition had degraded so they could not mentally process that "blue is up and brown is down" and take the obvious action.
If so that is a more profound and basic issue than automation dependency. It involves human factors and psychology under stress. If they could not mentally process and act on the simple blue/brown PFD,


I wonder; is it really "human factors & psychology under stress"?

The better the basic training, and the more the recurrent practice, the less the stress when you are out of your comfort zone. If you have a strong inbuilt data base to call upon the more you can relax, analyse and react correctly when in an unexpected situation. I've been in aerobatic a/c & paragliders when it's all gone wobbly. The first thing was pause, then analyse then react. It was easy when you have oodles of air underneath you and knowledge to call upon. We've seen the airshow crashes where they did not have this luxury, but in the case of AF & QZ they did have such a luxury, and also most of the other stall crashes.

Sit on your hands was a basic theme drummed into me in my early days. It is also true on airliners & I drummed it into my students as well.

I still think that most SOP's emphasis is on keeping pilots well away from the edges of the envelope where these skills are required. In many ways I can agree with that idea. You do not train a taxi driver to handle a car like a rally driver, but you'd hope a professional limousine driver could handle a skid or drift without burying it in the hedge.
IMHO this lack of skill is not a fault of the new automatic FBW a/c, it is about not having a full understanding of how those automatics work and not having a full understanding of the true handling characteristics of the a/c, and not having consistent practice and recurrency training of both.
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Old 22nd Dec 2015, 21:57
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seems almost as if disorientation is contagious

@Clandestino:
Of interest to me is dynamics of spatial disorientation in multicrew cockpits. We are not dealing with the amounts of G and angle rates of tactical jets, so it's harder for us to get to get disoriented yet again facts of the accident fly in the face of the notion that if one pilot gets his vertical gyro between the ears toppled, the other will come to rescue. It seems almost as if disorientation is contagious. In most of the similar accidents so far, captain was PF so we could take some solace in notion it was about command authority gradient yet here very experienced captain failed to perform recovery (or any decisive action at all) so it's back to square one for HF <human factors> research.
An interesting point that you put forward here.

Some rough first impressions...

When i think about the books on the subject of SD, it seems like they often, if not always, focussed on single pilots in one way or another. Part of that is probably because a lot of research has been focussed on single seat fighters. But even in multicrew situations, i get the feeling (have to start rereading stuff with your observation in mind) they translate lessons learned back to an individual pilot and/or primairily his set of displays.

First book that i picked from the shelf here and quickly checked, titled "Spatial disorientation in aviation" (500+ pages), appears to confirm this.

A question that immediately popped up was - what would (a statistical group of) PNF's INSTINCTIVELY do when their respective airplane experiences an upset:
a. do they first try to understand what the PF is doing, or,
b. do they independently assess the situation first,

Followed by the question:
If they start with either a. or b., how likely is it that they stay either in a., or in b., or move from a. to b., or move from b. to a. And how likely is it that a PNF switches more than once (like a. to b. and then back to a.), And within what timeframe and situation can they do what.

When you take the mentioned book as an example, you can immediately say that the answer will be in statistical terms. Even 'simple' disorientations are unevenly spread over pilots. Even if they have had the same selection process and exactly the same type of high quality training.

If i try to recall the AF447 CVR Captain statements, it appears that he started with point a. And i wonder if he really ever got to b. Would have to reread that too.

This again shows the importance of a full (AirAsia) CVR transcript by the way.

More questions than answers i am afraid.
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Old 22nd Dec 2015, 23:17
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brown is down, blue is up

Dunno about the 'bird or Rat, but this is the attitude indicator I had to use in the T-33 and later in the first A-37 jets over in 'nam.




No horizon shades for up or down , just the roll arrow and the two legs on roll line.

Our IP's taught us to use "bar widths" for piitch when doing an ILS or PAR. After that, they taught us to use the small black line that surrounded the yellow main one, heh heh. Then they covered up most of our stuff and we were needle, ball and IAS. Gotta love it.

As many here have opined, we are losing basic airmanship skills and experience. Dunno what we can do about it except for we slf's to stop flying behind these nuggets, but I am getting more and more nervous.

Some here have opined that stall onset should be easy to recognize. I take issue with that opinion, as many of the new designs have subltle warning signs. The FBW types may even have more subtle warning signs due their super compensation for all kindsa stuff when the primary mode/law. The 'bus seems to be very gentle, and my Viper was so smooth that first deep stall was a surprise to a highly experienced test pilot. Testimony on request, but was posted on the AF447 thread. .... out!
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Old 23rd Dec 2015, 01:46
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Gums,

When my ANG unit transitioned from the "Hun" to the "Hawg", many were concerned we'd loose the instrument edge we had flying 170 knot finals on an MM-3 (at least it was white on top, black on the bottom). I'm beginning to think that level of proficiency in basics has gone. I'd hate to go from "glass" (Collins Fusion) back to the FD system I had in the C-5 and I flew a 2 NDB aporoach into Yerevan with threatening terrain, no map display, no FMS, no EGPWS.

The pilots grown up in glass cockpits can't transition back to something they never knew. The two cases (C-17 at Elmendorf and F-16) show it's possible to have out of control with even well-trained pilots, BUT neither of those accidents were in cruise with miles of airspace to work out the problem.

GF
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Old 23rd Dec 2015, 14:20
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Originally Posted by gums
"...As many here have opined, we are losing basic airmanship skills and experience..."
In the AirAsia case the PIC had F5 experience, upset recovery training in the 737, 4,678 hrs on type and 20,573 total hrs. He had received Alternate Law stall recovery training, and high altitude stall recovery training.

Unlike the old black/white horizon, the A320 PFD has a large blue/brown display right in front of each pilot. The EADI does not require mental interpretation of numeric values -- it graphically and colorfully reflects the aircraft pitch attitude:
http://cdn-www.airliners.net/aviatio.../8/1887874.jpg

There is no indication of dissimilar attitude readings between the PFDs or the backup display, hence no rational reason for the pilots to doubt the attitude indication. They were all showing blue, which means the aircraft was pitched way up. Why the pilots would not take the obvious action is a mystery. You would expect even a student private pilot to know and act better. This issue is apparently beyond basic airmanship, and involves psychology and human behavior under stress.

Of course the SIC was flying. But if this level of experience by the PIC is not sufficient to maintain CRM and intervene, then what is?
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Old 23rd Dec 2015, 15:22
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Whatever the reasons, I think pilots are losing their basic instrument scanning and flying skills - if they ever had them in the first place. I think three things need to happen:

1. The authorities need to look at the training regime in force when the pilots in control of the crashed aircraft were trained on that type. Had it changed and if so how? I personally think that something vital had probably been removed from the syllabus. It might not be something obvious, it might be something very subtle and seemingly unconnected, but something seems to be missing from some pilot's abilities and skills if their actions - which caused these crashes - are anything to go by. We need to work out what was missing from the training syllabus they did and put it back in - quick.

2. We need to introduce upset recovery practice to every SIM - like my training on piston engined aircraft for my ATPL - we had to close our eyes while the instructor would put the (real aircraft - we were actually flying) into an unusual attitude, for example nose high, turning left. On the command, we had to open eyes, and purely by reference to our instruments, had to take control and smoothly recover, rolling wings level, pitching back to a sensible angle and adjusting throttle to control speed. We should do this today in our jet SIMs. Eyes closed, and an unusual attitude selected with flight freeze on. At the command, open eyes (a split second after flight freeze is removed), and pilot has to recover. This would only add a couple of minutes to the SIM detail but would be very valuable.

3. All pilots, but particularly experienced captains need to be properly tested and their flying skills properly assessed - it is too often assumed that they know what they're doing and that their skills are still sharp. In my company I have witnessed a seasoned captain making a horlicks of something, but I am the one who gets the bollocking because I didn't call out or take control. Once, a senior training captain in the SIM made the wrong calls, wrong actions etc, during an EFATO, but the response from our TRE was 'yes ahem, OK then, right, now onto the next item.....' WTF ???? Had I performed as badly as that I would have been lucky to escape with my licence intact. There is a distinct element of the old boy network going on, where senior pilots rubber stamp each other's efforts in the SIM. The XAAs should run SIM tests, not TREs from the same airline as the pilots being tested.
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Old 23rd Dec 2015, 19:07
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Pilots need to train not only situational awareness concerning their plane, but also about their own state of mind, and an extra routine to learn: what to do first when they recognize "Gee, I am disoriented."
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Old 23rd Dec 2015, 19:15
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I guess this is another really close case.

A Boeing 737-53A passenger plane, operated by Tatarstan Airlines, was destroyed in an accident at Kazan Airport (KZN), Russia. All 44 passengers and six crew members were killed.
Flight U9-363 departed from Moscow's Domodedovo Airport (DME) at 18:20 local time on a scheduled service to Kazan (KZN).
During the approach to Kazan's runway 11/29 the airplane was 'not in a position to land', according to an initial statement by the Interstate Aviation Committee. TOGA (Take Off/Go Around) mode was selected and the autopilot switched off. The engines spooled up to takeoff power and the crew raised the flaps from 30 to 15. The airplane began to climb and the pitch angle increased to 25. Consequently, the indicated airspeed began to decrease. When the airspeed reached 125 knots, the crew reacted by pushing to control column forward. Up until that moment, from the execution of the go around, the crew had not used the flight controls.
From a height of 700 m the airplane entered a nose down attitude, reaching a -75 pitch.
The airplane impacted the ground at a speed of 450 km/h.
Time from the start of the go-around to the impact with the ground was 45 seconds.
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Old 23rd Dec 2015, 19:40
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At least some pilots appear to be lowering the nose, and hence the AoA, in an indicated stall ...

Incident: Cobham B712 at Brisbane on May 27th 2015, stick shaker activation in initial climb

Incident: Cobham B712 at Brisbane on May 27th 2015, stick shaker activation in initial climb
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