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Airbus A320 crashed in Southern France

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Airbus A320 crashed in Southern France

Old 24th Mar 2015, 16:34
  #201 (permalink)  
 
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A French article I read stated the French KC135 orbiting is there to support communications for SAR operations due to sketchy radio transmissions in the mountainous terrain.
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Old 24th Mar 2015, 16:34
  #202 (permalink)  
 
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Originally Posted by GearDown&Locked
Curious about those phugoid oscillations. Shame we don't have a speed trace to compare.
Back about #158 Wrist Watch posted some GS and ALT data. The GS varies from 330KTS IAS by less than 10KTS most of the way down.
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Old 24th Mar 2015, 16:37
  #203 (permalink)  
 
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There are more images of the crash site at:

AirLive.net: BREAKING Crash of an A320 in south of France - more details

However, despite so much speculation, there is an expectation that the FDR/VCR will be recovered fairly quickly, despite the difficult terrain, and the accident investigators have the debris field in an area devoid of snow, so the answers about the likely cause will be very much quicker to reach than for other high profile air accidents in the past year. At this stage there are many possible scenarios so it would be best to wait until the investigators have real evidence so that the event is understood - speculation is not really helping at this point in time.
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Old 24th Mar 2015, 16:38
  #204 (permalink)  
VJW
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fireflybob - Statistically there were less crashes in 2014 then in the recent past, but there were more fatalities in 2014 as the result of a plane crash then at least the 3 years prior. Think it matters little how many crashes there are compared to the amount of people that pass away as a result of one, which I believe is far more important.
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Old 24th Mar 2015, 16:40
  #205 (permalink)  
 
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Originally Posted by cirr737 View Post
Depends if the selector is in the 100' or 1000' detent, so you could even get zero with a quick spin.

What bugs me with the hypoxia hypothesis, is that the first actions are to put your masks on and establish comms, and only then do you start the descent...
You want to stay concious so it makes perfect sense to get on O2 ASAP.You then need to know if you're carrying out just the PM actions or just the PF actions. So you check the other guy is ok, then down you go performing your own actions. If the other guy ain't communicating then you're on your own and must do both the PM and PF actions.
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Old 24th Mar 2015, 16:44
  #206 (permalink)  
 
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What bugs me with the hypoxia hypothesis, is that the first actions are to put your masks on and establish comms, and only then do you start the descent...
I agree, which is why I suggested 'creeping hypoxia' due to failure to pressurise successfully. I do however find it difficult to understand how at least one of the pilots wouldn't have managed to get some oxygen, even in a partially hypoxic state but as I posted earlier, hypoxia affects perception before it affects consciousness and to put the mask on you need to be aware that you need the mask in the first place.
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Old 24th Mar 2015, 16:48
  #207 (permalink)  
 
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Additional details from the French press

Le Monde:-

The French Transport Minister's initial statement that a voice Mayday was transmitted is authoritatively contradicted. The DGAC duty engineer (ingénieur de permanence) declared an emergency on his own authority when the aircraft failed to respond to repeated ground transmissions and deviated from its assigned heading and altitude.

When he did this, in conformity with established anti-terrorism protocols a fighter aircraft was scrambled to try to make visual contact with the missing aircraft, along with a police helicopter.

The nearest road is 7 km (4 miles) from the crash site, and it's now snowing there.

La Provence:-

Quoting a rescuer on site: "Everything is pulverised. You can't distinguish the outline either of the aircraft or of the bodies."

A lieutenant-colonel of the Gendarmerie: there are perhaps half a dozen substantial chunks of the airframe left; everything else is in very small pieces. The débris field extends over an area of a hectare (2.5 acres).

According to Germanwings, this specific aircraft has had trouble with its computing apparatus of late, which was substituted before the accident.
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Old 24th Mar 2015, 16:49
  #208 (permalink)  
 
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I agree, which is why I suggested 'creeping hypoxia' due to failure to pressurise successfully. I do however find it difficult to understand how at least one of the pilots wouldn't have managed to get some oxygen, even in a partially hypoxic state but as I posted earlier, hypoxia affects perception before it affects consciousness and to put the mask on you need to be aware that you need the mask in the first place.
Yes... but! The ECAM will throw it right into your face when your cabin altitude is excessive (but still way below critical altitudes) - it is not as subtle as it was on the 737 in the Helios case...

I hope it is a genuine accident, I really to hope for the sake of all of us and our industry... but I have a gut feeling it could have been foul play...
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Old 24th Mar 2015, 16:53
  #209 (permalink)  
 
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In reality, it is possible that they started the initial emergency descent with a simple spin down of the Alt selector and a pull to get it into open descent. With no other inputs the rate of descent of c3000fpm would be normal, although over high ground you'd normally select the msa
It seems the most logical explanation for starting a "normal" controlled descent as the available data suggests.

Incapacitation of the crew could’ve occurred quickly, as they apparently failed to navigate (at least away from high ground) and communicate (mayday if anything).
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Old 24th Mar 2015, 16:53
  #210 (permalink)  
 
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Posted by McBruce

Talking to a colleague last night while at altitude prior to this news becoming knowledge to ourselves about a few recent uncommanded nose downs in the Airbus, I wasn't aware of these events. To his knowledge LH had one recently (true?) which took considerable effort of the crew to disconnect the AP to regain control. I know very little of the Airbus, just know that situations like this are sadly more frequent. It's need a little red switch that disconnects all flight computers for any moment of binary madness. I find it hard to believe it was ED CFIT.
fireflybob - Statistically there were less crashes in 2014 then in the recent past, but there were more fatalities in 2014 as the result of a plane crash then at least the 3 years prior. Think it matters little how many crashes there are compared to the amount of people that pass away as a result of one, which I believe is far more important.
VJW, the point I was making by the question:-

Statistically, is this true?
was with respect to "uncommanded nose downs in the Airbus" which I believe is what the original poster was referring to when he commented "I know very little of the Airbus, just know that situations like this are sadly more frequent."

So I was not referring to overall yearly accident statistics.
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Old 24th Mar 2015, 16:57
  #211 (permalink)  
 
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Will be interesting to know what was in the hold (If anything) - Hopefully a manifest will surface if there was anything weird.

The strange blip on the data of 14,000 could be explained by something going off in the hold (Think someone said a previous spike was recorded by FDR due to a tyre exploding in a hold.

A rapid descent due to cabin depressurisation and something being not tied down properly (LiPOs for instance) and bashing about could cause a serious problem.

Again, the lack of contact with ATC is the confusing one, which would suggest a high likelihood of hypoxia....

Very strange - but then again, most incidents tend to be a strange train of events rather than a single point of failure.
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Old 24th Mar 2015, 16:57
  #212 (permalink)  
 
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All this talk about hypoxia, it's a while since I flew the A320 but seem to recall that if the cabin altitude exceeded 10,000 feet you would get a master warning which I would defy any pilot to not be aware of.

Of course, the crew has to get on oxygen asap as a first action etc and this assumes the oxygen system was charged and operating normally.
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Old 24th Mar 2015, 16:58
  #213 (permalink)  
 
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Creeping hypoxia

I agree with the creeping hypoxia theory mentioned above, this would be compatible with the facts we have seen, e.g. the perfect straight line flying (unchanged heading) with descending without any radio communication. Both incapacitated and unable to inhale the necessary O2 before it was too late to recover from hypoxia and from descending into terrain. They probably only managed, already partially incapacitated but clearly unaware or unable to use masks, to enter the descending phase and then they could not complete the rest of the other instrumental changes meaning their plane continued descending without pilots until impact.
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Old 24th Mar 2015, 17:08
  #214 (permalink)  
 
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Could it have been a member of cabin crew who made the 'emergency, emergency' call ha

Unlikely. If the flight deck crew were incapacitated then the cabin crew would have been too. They were at TOC - the cabin crew would already be standing and moving about the cabin, probably with the carts. This involves physical activity. The flight deck crew remain seated. What I'm saying is the cabin crew would probably have succumbed to incapacitation first.
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Old 24th Mar 2015, 17:08
  #215 (permalink)  
 
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I have no idea what happened and am not going to speculate why 1000s of people are now mourning the loss of relatives but I will post these statistics to try and introduce some facts to reduce the number of tasteless posts in the AvB argument:


Number of hull losses per million flying hours to the end of 2013:


A318-321: O.24
B737 600-900: 0.27


A330: 0.30
B777: 0.40


A340: 0.69
B747 400: 0.93
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Old 24th Mar 2015, 17:09
  #216 (permalink)  
 
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Assuming the route that was shown on FR24 earlier in this thread is broadly accurate, is that the expected track for flights on this route ?
If you look at yesterday's flight, you'll see that it follows the same track. In fact if you zoom in and superimpose the two images, you'll find the last recorded position only a couple of huindred metres off the track of the previous day's flight.

As to why they fly that way, we'll have to wait for a real -erm - professional pilot.
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Old 24th Mar 2015, 17:10
  #217 (permalink)  
 
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effect of sudden decompression at high altitude
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Old 24th Mar 2015, 17:12
  #218 (permalink)  
 
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As to why they fly that way, we'll have to wait for a real -erm - professional pilot.
fizz57, all over Europe there are preferential routes depending on origin and destination. It's a bit like a one way street system like we have on the roads.

Also there are military training areas which need to be avoided.

Aircraft rarely fly in a straight line between departure and arrival airports.
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Old 24th Mar 2015, 17:13
  #219 (permalink)  
 
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Cellphones only work within 4000' above ground level.

Anyone who doubts the danger of lack of oxygen and it's creeping effects, should do a session in a decompression chamber. I've witnessed people, so "drunk" from lack of Oxygen, they were incapable of putting a mask on, leave alone being incapable of writing their own name.

If decompression was the case in this disaster, then they all may have just gone to sleep. There are worse ways to go out.
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Old 24th Mar 2015, 17:14
  #220 (permalink)  
 
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Here's a link to a table of times of useful consciousness.

At 31,500 ft depending on circumstances and activity / stress levels it's somewhere between 15 & 45 seconds.

Last edited by Jonzarno; 24th Mar 2015 at 17:15. Reason: Typo...
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