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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 11th Jan 2015, 20:17
  #1781 (permalink)  
 
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Modern airborne radar is better than the "crap" we had 30 years ago? Surely you jest.

I could see the control tower on an airport from 5 miles out with the old radars, I could see individual airplanes parked on the ramp. I could see the weather clearly and make my own decisions as to the amount of water carried by parts of the cloud and thus make my own decision as to the parts to avoid. I flew years and years in the tropics and experienced hundreds of severe encounters at some of the worst levels (around 13,000 to 15,000 feet).

I give you the new radars are easy to use and they do the deciphering for you, but often they are wrong and always exaggerate. They are useless for fine work, cannot do even a small part of what was done by the older radars. They are cheaper to buy and to maintain, and are much lighter, so I see the reason for them, but don't kid yourself that they are better for the purpose they were built.
boofhead, thanks for that - have often wondered about these "modern" radars too
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Old 11th Jan 2015, 20:35
  #1782 (permalink)  
 
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RE Numerous posts

Safety vs cost and who decides: Black boxes have nothing to do with safety other than supplying new knowledge to prevent a similar future event. Ingenuity as per IanW, not bales of money, should be aimed at crash location improvements. But focusing money, attention, and ingenuity on wreckage location is attention not aimed directly at accident cause. Crash location improvements directed by hindsight have to wait for identical circumstances to recur, but even then black boxes cannot fully inform about the nature or extent of pilot confusion.

While holding the interest of many (including me), exactly how 8501 impacted the ocean is in many ways irrelevant to 'safety' because final impact most resulted from loss of control long before. Impact speed and attitude were not chosen by the 8501 pilots (unless Mr Snuggles is on to something). Falling leaf, spin, flat spin, or other descent profiles are mostly irrelevant because pilots don't train for them and pax jets aren't designed to complete or withstand recovery from them.

Accidents are ~0.001% (or pick a tiny %) of all flights. Some accidents such as airframe failure resulting from completely unforeseen forces or airframe inadequacies are unavoidable, but they get included in the 0.001%. 'Normal' rarely applies. What does usually apply is a confluence of events/circumstances peaking, like ocean rogue waves, in a very short amount of time, from a few seconds to hardly more than a minute. The last opportunity to avoid an accident is the time between the next to last and last decisions in a short chain. Accidents seemingly surrounded by normality, and accidents of an exceedingly rare confluence of factors, both share pilot confusion and inattention as high ranking primal causes.

One improvement would be better real time wx information (Langleybaston and ATC Watcher) to avoid the series of brand new surprises involved in 'picking your way through'. But there are numerous previous posts about the current limitations of both equipment and the operators of that equipment. Horizontal separation of five or fifteen miles from preceding flights no guarantee of identical weather.

The best solution would be to focus attention on how to elongate the time available to pilots to react to conditions to enable good decisions, better real time wx being one aspect. Time elongation is otherwise currently and systemically limited by both a very narrow range between overspeed and stall, and by momentary (where 60 seconds is a long time) failure of necessary instrumentation or agreement of automation components. More pilot time for thinking would prevent some accidents, time not currently available as events prove. My point is that accident prevention can't ignore the coffin corner of time, so while time needs to be addressed, the impediments are systemic. IanW's last paragraph in 1784 also applies.

Great set of Flt 1549 pics in MrSnuggles posts! Actual Utoob videos of the event show the angle of fuselage to water, which was notably glass smooth. The same impact angle where the point of impact chanced to be 20-30' fwd of that of 1549, and with the impact being not glass smooth but a 15' swell/wave instead could have holed the fuselage bottom of 8501 and directed a torrent of water into the fuselage, overpressuring the upper fuselage, parting the lower half of pressure bulkhead, and carrying away the aft floor, horizontal stab mounts (which escaped in 1549), FDR and APU. A lot of "could have's" remain.
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Old 11th Jan 2015, 20:38
  #1783 (permalink)  
 
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Have to agree with boofhead about the old radars. The "C" band would punch through everything and give you a clear picture of what lay behind the storm immediately ahead. Definition was absolutely superb. It was a sad day when they were removed for "progress" (cheaper).
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Old 11th Jan 2015, 20:42
  #1784 (permalink)  
 
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Modern Radar

I'm new to the blog, but very experienced with "old" radar. Many would argue that the old green screen radar scopes were more accurate. I agree in part, but I do not recall ever seeing a control tower or aircraft on the ground. I will admit I did not like the new digital color radar when it first emerged many years ago. In all fairness I always wanted to compare the old with the new in numerous difficult situations. Having 37 years with the airlines added greatly to my decision making process when interpreting course corrections for weather.

If you don't have this skill, avoid the situation to begin with or declare an EMERGENCY and turn around.
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Old 11th Jan 2015, 20:50
  #1785 (permalink)  
 
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Many thanks Mr. S, for the Hudson report link


Looks as if the pitch was 9.5 degrees and speed was 125kts, so I was mistaken about that.


Airbus ditching parameters:


'The January 21, 1988, Airbus certification test report stated that the fuselage of an A320 would "undergo no destruction liable to create a water passage" if the airplane ditched with the following parameters:


  1. landing gear retracted,
  2. 11 pitch,
  3. -0.5 glideslope, and
  4. flaps in landing configuration for minimum speed.


According to Airbus, the ditching certification criteria also assumed that engine power was available, that the descent rate was 3.5 feet per second (fps), and that the airplane landed longitudinal to any water swells. These criteria are consistent with the test results published in the NACA reports.'



There are similarities in that FR66 and aft of that were most severely affected (that is the point just forward of the rear door) however the VS was not caused to detach in that incident.


This point is interesting:


'As discussed previously, because of the operational difficulty of ditching within the Airbus ditching parameters and the additional difficulties that water swells and/or high winds may cause, it is very likely that, in general, after ditching an A320 airplane without engine power, the "probable structural damage and leakage" will include significant aft fuselage breaching and subsequent water entry into the aft area of the airplane. Therefore, it should be assumed that, after a ditching, water entry will prevent the aft exits and slide/rafts from being available for use during an evacuation.'

Last edited by susier; 12th Jan 2015 at 06:44. Reason: Add copy from report
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Old 11th Jan 2015, 21:21
  #1786 (permalink)  
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Regarding convection and why this flight had problems whilst others didn't, I feel it could have something to do with the fact that it was at a lower level (FL320) than any other flight (FL340-380).

In equatorial oceanic cumulonimbus, updraft strength can be enhanced above FL200 due to heat of sublimation of ice. Therefore it is possible that somewhere above this height and up to near FL320 the updrafts were especially strong but also still containing some supercooled water droplets and hence icing (observations showed -29 C at FL320, but in updrafts it could have been several degrees warmer than that). Flights higher up (-35 C at FL340, -40 C at FL360) were more unlikely to encounter supercooled water, therefore they may have escaped.

So, for 8501, possible airframe/sensor icing, affecting performance as the plane climbed to higher levels, and possible some ice crystal engine shutdown then to finish the job?

I have done a detailed analysis here.
 
Old 11th Jan 2015, 21:42
  #1787 (permalink)  
 
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Ber Nooly,

The higher you are the less airspeed due mach limitations. Hence less control surface effectiveness.
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Old 11th Jan 2015, 21:46
  #1788 (permalink)  
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4Greens

That's what I mean. Performance is compromised due to the combination of icing and altitude.
 
Old 11th Jan 2015, 22:31
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@neville_nobody

I don't think that Qatar's idea of recording cockpit voices then saving in a company controlled data centre is really going to do much other than get more pilots fired.
Interesting that on a pilots forum that this is a concern... shouldn't the concern be elsewhere?
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Old 11th Jan 2015, 22:33
  #1790 (permalink)  
 
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Quote: DaveReidUK
Sorry, but the world doesn't work that way. Safety is always a tradeoff against cost.
With all due respect in this case you are wrong.
We are not talking about ejector seats for every passenger. Just agreement by commercial airlines to use what Inmarsat are offering for free - a basic location service. Nor are we talking about full flight data telemetry by the micro-second that some nerds want.
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Old 11th Jan 2015, 23:30
  #1791 (permalink)  
 
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For those speculating intensely over the style of damage to the tail - you might want to see the following photos of the tail recovery from the Java Sea.
It wasn't lifted on board carefully, as it should have been - it was dragged aboard the recovery ship via a low-mounted winch with a horizontal winch cable.
This technique shows the Indonesians are inadequately prepared for wreckage recovery, with a shortage of adequate marine craneage, and they care little about preserving the wreckage in "as-found" condition, to be able to figure out impact forces, angles, speed, etc.
They are obviously relying on the FDR to provide all the info they need as regards the flight path and impact attitude.





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Old 11th Jan 2015, 23:45
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This technique shows the Indonesians are inadequately prepared for wreckage recovery,
Given the number of accidents in Indonesian waters (mainly ferries), you'd think they'd be experts. But presumably they rarely bother to retrieve the wreckage.

I'm surprised the tail wasn't at least contained in some kind of netting to keep the pieces together.
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Old 12th Jan 2015, 00:00
  #1793 (permalink)  
 
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In that last picture the aft exit isn't doubled over as it was in subsequent photos, and it looks like the VS may have been fully attached prior to recovery. I can even see a chord-wise crack forming as it is bent over the ship's stern. I wonder now about the fractured bulkhead as well.
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Old 12th Jan 2015, 00:02
  #1794 (permalink)  
 
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neville_nobody wrote: [11th Jan 2015, 06:41]

I don't think that Qatar's idea of recording cockpit voices then saving in a company controlled data centre is really going to do much other than get more pilots fired. Not hard in today's world of big data to scan everything flight conversation.
It's the beginning of the end IMHO.
JSmithDTV responded:
Interesting that on a pilots forum that this is a concern... shouldn't the concern be elsewhere?
JSmith
JSmith, why do you find that concern so unusual or "interesting"? Suppose you viewed a forum in which American police officers were discussing their professional concerns.

I'd wager a primary topic right now is recent demands to have American police officers always wear cameras and microphones while on duty, so that everything the officers say and do is recorded.

Some officers would be expressing concern how this could adversely impact them by invading privacy (e.g, recording comments about fellow employees, issues at home, or even that pretty female dispatcher). It also could lead to management overhearing adverse comments about supervisors or political figures, which might result in some officers being disciplined or fired.

Few, if any, employees are thrilled about having management monitoring every word said, let alone potentially storing it in a permanent (and searchable) database. Airline pilots are no different.

Access to CVRs presently is limited to serious incidents. Pilots understandably prefer to keep it that way. The concern expressed by Neville_Nobody is that if real-time streaming begins, it will be impossible to maintain that level of protection, regardless of what promises are made initially.

That seems like a legitimate concern, and certainly well within the bounds of what is an "appropriate" post on a professional pilot forum. (Speaking as a passenger who has a personal interest in airline safety, yet also recognizes the perils of surrendering all of our rights and privacy in exchange for an illusion of safety.)
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Old 12th Jan 2015, 00:04
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This technique shows the Indonesians are inadequately prepared for wreckage recovery, with a shortage of adequate marine craneage, and they care little about preserving the wreckage in "as-found" condition, to be able to figure out impact forces, angles, speed, etc.
Umm, they actually have engineers from Airbus advising. I believe the general plan is to cut up the tail section into several pieces and then ship them to Jakarta.
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Old 12th Jan 2015, 00:13
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It can't be beyond technical capabilities to stream both CVR and FDR, but keep the voice channel private, separate and only accessible with legal permissions.

For example, the voice data could be sent encrypted while the technical data is unencrypted, with the voice recording only able to be opened via a decryption code embedded in the FDR data. That way, it would only be accessed under the same circumstances under which CVRs are accessed today. After all, the main information that's needed is the technical data - I doubt many pilots' last words include co-ordinates?
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Old 12th Jan 2015, 00:32
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Originally Posted by AirScotia
It can't be beyond technical capabilities to stream both CVR and FDR, but keep the voice channel private, separate and only accessible with legal permissions.

For example, the voice data could be sent encrypted while the technical data is unencrypted, with the voice recording only able to be opened via a decryption code embedded in the FDR data. That way, it would only be accessed under the same circumstances under which CVRs are accessed today. After all, the main information that's needed is the technical data - I doubt many pilots' last words include co-ordinates?
I suspect that for commercial reasons all the data would be encrypted. There is no reason for the airline to hold the decryption key that could be held by a trusted third party repository say IATA. It would be possible for the data to require two decryption keys one from the repository and one from the airline. So access is only possible in the case of an accident and not for random trawling by bored airline management.
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Old 12th Jan 2015, 00:33
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Some officers would be expressing concern how this could adversely impact them by invading privacy (e.g, recording comments about fellow employees, issues at home, or even that pretty female dispatcher). It also could lead to management overhearing adverse comments about supervisors or political figures, which might result in some officers being disciplined or fired.
Ummm, this is being proposed to stop police brutality...not sure this is relevant to voice cockpit streaming debate.

Furthermore, in this day and age all of us are held under scrutiny in our daily lives/jobs to act a certain way. I can be fired now for saying something inappropriate at work. Your argument not to have this technology is to protect those that cant act professionally on the job?
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Old 12th Jan 2015, 00:34
  #1799 (permalink)  
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Qatar Airways is already testing live streaming of black box data according to this article.

Qatar Airways already testing live black box uploads | Plane Talking
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Old 12th Jan 2015, 00:49
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I suspect that for commercial reasons all the data would be encrypted. There is no reason for the airline to hold the decryption key that could be held by a trusted third party repository say IATA. It would be possible for the data to require two decryption keys one from the repository and one from the airline. So access is only possible in the case of an accident and not for random trawling by bored airline management.
Yes, that's an excellent way to do it. It's probably wise to encrypt it all anyway, so that nothing can be intercepted by a hostile third party. My main point was that the pilot-sensitive data would not be accessed unless regulatory permission was obtained. There should be no reason for pilots to be alarmed.

The regs would probably mandate that all data be destroyed / deep-archived within a set timeframe.
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