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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 31st Dec 2014, 15:49
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slats11,

This:

that we repeatedly have the following situation:

Is exactly the problem with the pro-"lets throw more money at un-necessary additional tracking mechanisms" brigade ....

These scenarios that occur "repeatedly" according to you and your colleagues, are infact rare.

How may flights have occurred globally over the last decade ? How many flights encountered a scenario where additional tracking would have helped ?

Exactly. We're talking statistically insignificant numbers here. We're talking about a minute proportion of rare events that are rare in themselves (i.e. "untraceable" crashes in a world where aviation is the safest mode of transport and therefore any sort of crash is in itself a rare event already... let alone an "untraceable" one).

So please guys, give it a rest with the stupid tracking hamsterwheel. Or at least if you want to continue chattering about it, start a new thread elsewhere on PPRuNe because the subject of tracking is now 100% irrelevant in the case of Air Asia.
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Old 31st Dec 2014, 16:01
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As one track said, local people will soon find the site/debris in coastal waters.

Anyone who knows SE Asian water will testify that an aircraft coming down in day or night will be seen by someone.

I'm amazed at the obsession with speculation on possible scenarios when its fairly clear that the answers will be found in the wreck.
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Old 31st Dec 2014, 16:18
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Aviation safety expert and accident investigator C.B Sullenberger


Although I would rather listen to Sully than scary mary or peter Goelz

The issue is credibility of the source of knowledge behind the words expressed. Like what real experts do they go to for their own briefing before being interviewed
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Old 31st Dec 2014, 16:28
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Well I work in a managerial position in Asia with asians and I experience very little of that kind of behaviour. In my >30 years of experience I find it is the attitude of managers that most dictates the behaviours of subordinates. I really am sick of this nonsense, it rears its head in every thread involving an Asian airline and it smacks of cultural superiority. I've worked with Americans in American companies who spend every second trying to second guess their managers, pitifully fearful of spiteful reprisal at best and career assassination at worst.
In my experience (living in Indonesia with my Chinese-Indonesian wife), most of the alleged deference is cosmetic. What's usually really going on is a different style of discussion when it comes to manager/subordinate relations. The substance is the same, the window dressings are changed. I can see how people *think* there is deference. But IMO, there is a lot less than you would think. It's just that there is a right way and a wrong way to assert yourself, and that looks kind of funny from outside.
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Old 31st Dec 2014, 16:49
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@Super -- The concept is sound, but it's never as simple as it may seem at first. For example, you're going to use a distress frequency practically continuously (verbal reporting of all those figures is going to take the whole 30 sec) by an automated device with a non-zero probability of a latching type-1 error (continuous false positive)? With no ability to manually turn it off (see other comments for why that requirement) until the a/c reaches a maintenance hangar?? I can practically hear the outcry already.
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Old 31st Dec 2014, 17:22
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In AF447, we had considerable speculation about the accident chain. Once the recorders were read, we found an unanticipated scenario.

Possibly this flight got caught by the same engineering and training deficiencies as AF447, but it won't surprise me if there's a different accident chain.

Hopefully the recorder data will be published in the next few months.
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Old 31st Dec 2014, 17:23
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einhverfr, yes I'd agree.

Actually after working in Asia for a while western assertiveness can seem unnecessarily blunt. But you will get bluntness and individualism in Asia when the situation calls for it. I find it quite preposterous that some people think 4.3 billion people would rather die than challenge authority.
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Old 31st Dec 2014, 17:33
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The argument that an event is unlikely and therefore not worth planning for I find a bizarre argument in the airline industry and likely a worrying one from a customer point of view.

A plane may ditch successfully (it's happened) and there be survivors (it's happened) who will drown because SAR can't locate the plane (it's happened) in time .

I find nothing unrealistic about that comment, anymore so than needing all sorts of backup systems we have on our planes which will likely never be used.

The whole modern ethos behind aeroplane design is redundancy after redundancy for a very good reason. Yet some here are actually arguing that a foolproof system to locate a crashed plane is a crazy thing to develop.

I don't care about planning for the 400,000,000 flights a decade that go to plan, I care about the 1 that doesn't.
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Old 31st Dec 2014, 17:42
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The assumption is that if people are alive, they will take the PLBs/ELTs out of the plane with them and turn them on. The case for an auto-jettison ELT is for finding the plane when no one survives and for when the landing is bad enough that some may survive with no chance to get the beacons. Routine in flight tracking is a solved problem with equipemt now being rolled out, as has been mentioned in this thread a few times if you scroll up.
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Old 31st Dec 2014, 17:45
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@ft001,

You're arguing that risks should be engineered out regardless of how probable they are. Do you seriously believe that's the way aircraft are (or should be, for that matter) designed and operated?
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Old 31st Dec 2014, 17:49
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@Mesyfang

What I don't know is whether deference to authority is part of the culture in this part of the world
It is the rapidity in which statements like this are provoked, that make me wonder about the precise definition of 'professional' on this forum!
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Old 31st Dec 2014, 17:49
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You're arguing that risks should be engineered out regardless of how probable they are. Do you seriously believe that's the way aircraft are (or should be, for that matter) designed and operated?
Indeed and aside from the question about whether its technically possible or feasible to engineer out 100% of risks, @ft001 also seems to think money grows on trees...
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Old 31st Dec 2014, 18:04
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Originally Posted by 727forever
Quote: Back onto the hamster wheel again

Aircraft already have sufficient tracking. ADS-B and ADS-C and ELTs

With all due respect Ian, MH370 is still missing so I would not call that sufficient tracking. Tracking devices that can be turned off by crew or other persons and render the aircraft invisible except to ground radar is out of date thinking.
MH370 had sufficient tracking systems - some were turned off by the management trying to save pennies, others were 'turned off' by action of someone with access to the cockpit.

What you are talking about is a tracking device that cannot be turned off by someone in the cockpit. There was a continual argument on the gargantuan MH370 thread about having avionics devices on board that cannot be turned off by the crew if they malfunction. The general thought was that this was not a good idea. If you have someone in the crew that can disable all the power buses you are left with a battery powered device that cannot be switched off. I would point you to the fire in the Ethiopian 787 at LHR which resulted in considerable damage caused by a mis-assembled ELT, which is just such a device.

However, note that the existing roof mounted ELTs transmitting to satellite on 406KHz is something that would easily provide tracking and already exists.

There is no need for new equipment, there may be a need for automatically switching the existing tracking systems to an emergency mode. However, you cannot cater for a crew member deliberately disabling the devices (most aircraft fixed ELTs can be switched from the cockpit).
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Old 31st Dec 2014, 18:04
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I would like everyone to look for posts made by Ian W (sorry, can't provide post numbers because they are not always consistent) regarding technical abilities to trace and track airplanes, a task that is perfectly doable in this day and age. But.. someone has to pay for it. And, as said before, this technology works very well over land or in shallow (less that 100m deep) water.

What someone pointed out was that pingers for FDR/CVR and tracking in deep oceans are a bit behind. BEA suggested some solutions to that problem, and I have read some very interesting posts in the MH370 thread. Quick repeat: The big concern about deep masses of water is that water is very "resistant" to radio waves. They scatter within matter of a few metres. Sound waves are the absolutely best way to communicate long distances in waters, something all species of whales has taught us.

I am glad they seem to have found the wreck already. I was truly fearing a new MH370 scenario.
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Old 31st Dec 2014, 18:20
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Lots of interest in improving/innovating tracking/telemetry.

What I find curious is the, in contrast, often resigned attitude toward severe unpredictable weather...we know it happens, we can only go so far in preparing for it, often we're caught by surprise (several compelling anecdotes of such).

I'd like to think that 20 years from now, the current radar inability to detect a wx threat e.g. a high-velocity updraft (also alluded to in compelling anecdotes) will seem tragically archaic.
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Old 31st Dec 2014, 18:32
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Some questions for the Airbus gurus.

Would the automatics eventually recover from any condition resulting from a jet upset? Stall/Spin? Inverted?

So if all hell is breaking loose, would re-engaging the A/P and A/T be a viable option?

Mind you the Capt was an experienced F4 & F16 pilot, you'd think that inverted stall/spin recovery in IMC would be second nature to him.

Will the FBW allow the pilot to pull excessive G? Or will it try to protect the airframe even if it means contact with the ground will be inevitable?
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Old 31st Dec 2014, 18:42
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Originally Posted by Heathrow Harry
yeah but its a a beautiful part of the world and that's where future business opportunities are

TBH I doubt the safety record in SE Asia is as bad now as in Europe or the States in the 50's and 60's as long as you stay away from the bush airlines
There has been a lot of generalization about airline safety in SE Asia in this thread. Even suggestions to book tickets based on primary RADAR coverage of certain routes which of course is unrealistic for most mere mortal non-professional pilot humans. I've read most of this thread but I can't promise that I have read every post so apologies if this is duplicated info. While not directly pertinent to the specifics of 8501 the links below do offer some relevant info on air carrier safety based on real standards, not just hearsay or where the last few accidents have occurred.

What airlines and countries do the EU and US give thumbs up or down to?

Here are some resources that may help.

EU airline "Black List" or Community list of air carriers which are subject to an operating ban within the Community (PDF) Note some exceptions within the list
European aviation safety air-ban page
"To improve safety further, the European Commission – in close consultation with the aviation safety authorities of all Member States – has decided to ban certain airlines from operating in European airspace, because they are found to be unsafe and/or they are not sufficiently overseen by their authorities."


FAA list of countries with airlines they deem deficient based on ICAO standards (XLSX) Look for "Category 2 - Does Not Meet ICAO Standards" (Indonesia is in this category)
FAA International Aviation Safety Assessment (IASA) Program page
"The IASA program focuses on a country's ability, not the ability of individual air carriers, to adhere to international aviation safety standards and recommended practices contained in Annex 1 (Personnel Licensing), Annex 6 (Operation of Aircraft), and Annex 8 (Airworthiness of Aircraft) to the International Convention on Civil Aviation “Chicago Convention” (ICAO Document 7300)."
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Old 31st Dec 2014, 18:46
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Having read the majority of this thread and others in the past regarding real time tracking in finally find myself needing to ask the question loudly WHY are some people arguing so vehemently against it?
Multiple comments in all the threads indicate existing equipment is in place and potentially the service could be free. To my mind this is what could be called a no brainer so why the arguments against? Even supposing some cost and regulatory issues it is clearly something of benefit in multiple cases just in recent years. We are after all in the communication age not the stone age.
Allow me to propose a simple scenario. The plane you are on at FL350 has decided for whatever reason not to fly properly any more and for whatever reason no radio calls are made as the plane descends. Apologies for the simplistic scenario but in short this has just happened. Do you
A want to be on a plane where SAR is made aware in one or two hours later and your eventual location is known within a few tens of miles or even further if gliding from this altitude? (Previous poster mentioned 6 miles which alone gives a search area of 113 square miles!)
Or do you B want your position known realtime within a few metres on the surface and potentially (assuming a small simple bit of monitoring software) to have alerts out to emergency services before the flight is over whatever the outcome?
I am a regular Slf and occasional pilot and would like to reiterate my question why are folks still arguing against this?
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Old 31st Dec 2014, 18:47
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Originally Posted by strake
How much lower can humanity go? 20 years ago, we would have quietly kept our thoughts to ourselves about these poor people and waited to hear why such a tragedy happened. Now, their remains are discussed like carrion on the roadside. On newspaper websites, we see pictures of pixilated bodies and on TV, reporters breathlessly describe what might have occurred in dramatic and horrifying detail. What is it going to be like in ten years time?
What you are seeing a little of is the conversation that happens (or should happen) in any crew room. What could have caused an upset or crash is an immediate discussion topic. That is usually followed by what-if discussions with those experienced in the upset and recovery describing what they did or saw done to the less experienced. It is a way of learning about aviation without having to experience the emergency yourself. Then these ideas may be trialled in sim rides or the events added to sim rides so everyone learns from something that happened. Every accident and incident is and must be a learning experience; otherwise they may be unthinkingly repeated. Of course there will be speculation about what could go wrong but that only adds to the broadening of the knowledge base and increases understanding. In many places it can clear misconceptions both technical and interpersonal.

This is not a gruesome rubbernecking at an accident, this is people some of who fly the same type of aircraft in the same or similar environment getting their heads around the issues involved and assisting everyone to understand what could have gone wrong and, when the eventual reports of what is in the DFDR/CVR are published, there will be another burst of learning.

It may not be apparent to people not in the industry, but this forum greatly increases flight safety, by increasing awareness of issues and bringing in experts in the various disciplines who provide in depth knowledge of rare events and aircraft and systems capabilities and often long experience in aviation.

(Thanks to the moderators for making this possible ;-) )
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Old 31st Dec 2014, 18:51
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Would the automatics eventually recover from any condition resulting from a jet upset? Stall/Spin? Inverted?
Depends what you mean by "automatics"? FBW laws? Or Autopilot?

The FBW Laws will restrict, or return, the attitude to within the defined parameters. What the limits are (if any) depends on what Law is being used.

To have got into a Stall/Spin/Inverted either requires the laws to have degraded already, or a severe external event that overrode the controls. In extermis, it reverts to an "Abnormal Law" if it fins itself in a "UP", in effect acknowledging something has gone wrong and giving the best option for a (manual) recovery.

So if all hell is breaking loose, would re-engaging the A/P and A/T be a viable option?
The engagement conditions of the AP are quite strict, so unlikely.

Will the FBW allow the pilot to pull excessive G?
Normally no, but in some degraded modes yes.

Contrary to some others here, I would disagree there is a strong requirement for an Airbus pilot to always understand these laws, and know exactly what they are. 99.9% of the time, you fly it like a normal aircraft, and get nowhere near the protections. The only drill I can think of where you "use" a protection is GPWS "pull up"? As the laws degrade, there is a simple sequence (Normal - Alternate - Direct - Mech) but in fact there are multiple "sub-modes" - and sometimes you will not know the details. ECAM gives you some hints e.g. some Speed Protection might be lost, but who in their right mind is intentionally going to fly the aircraft is a manner requiring "speed protection"? Ditto Stall Protection - are you really going to fly differently if this is active or not?
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