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Airbus A320 crashed in Southern France

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Airbus A320 crashed in Southern France

Old 24th Mar 2015, 17:20
  #221 (permalink)  
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According to the German newspaper Bild, the airframe had 58,300 hours in service and around 46,700 cycles.

The crash occurred at an elevation of 5,295' (1,614m).

The French Minister of the Interior has confirmed that one of the recorders has been retrieved. It's currently being examined by the BEA.
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Old 24th Mar 2015, 17:22
  #222 (permalink)  
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Reuters published this statement from DGAC: "The aircraft did not itself make a distress call but it was the combination of the loss of radio contact and the aircraft’s descent which led the controller to implement the distress phase."

It's hard to imagine the crew not making contact for the entire 8 minute descent unless they were severely impaired or somehow had an electrical failure leading to loss of all RMPs/transceivers.

Perhaps there was a slow decompression that left the crew somewhat impaired by the time it was clear there was a loss of cabin pressure leading to them selecting OP DES instead of donning their masks immediately.

If you listen to some of the ATC recordings of hypoxic pilots in the past you will understand just how much it can impair your thinking.
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Old 24th Mar 2015, 17:25
  #223 (permalink)  
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time of useful conscience

Time of Useful Consceince ---- check these sites :

Time of useful consciousness - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Here's another site with better info:

Cabin Decompression and Hypoxia

Folks, as former check airman on the 747-400, as SOP I would command a "simulated" RD in cruise to the crew who I was giving an IOE or check ride to.

Results would blow your mind ---- most "effed up" big time. So, I would leave the cockpit, tell them to bone up on procedures, and I'll be baaaack and run the exercise again.

Some didn't even know how to do a rapid RD properly, some couldn't even get the mask out of holder, some hadn't ever experience this exercise before, some did not know how to preflight the system, some didn't know where the sanitary wipes were, some didn't know how to re-install the mask after use.

It's your life and your pax lives ---- get smart and make the time to do it right.
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Old 24th Mar 2015, 17:29
  #224 (permalink)  
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Witnesses have described ... seeing fighter jets fly past, suggesting the passenger plane had been under military escort.

Actually, quite possible.

If there were military aircraft in the area, and ATC has an aircraft descending but not not responding, they would naturally try to arrange a military intercept. But the military would have to be quick, as they probably had less than ten minutes to get there.

From the phugoid oscillations and lack of response the most likely scenario is throttle-closed descent under no particular control - with the automatics just trying to maintain some kind of heading and a pitch attitude. Although this would probably mean greater airspeed oscillations than are apparent. If it is another hypoxia incident, this will have to go to the top of the LPC-OPC list, instead of the usual stuff.
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Old 24th Mar 2015, 17:36
  #225 (permalink)  
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I am confident that this incident had nothing to do with the terrain. The fact that there were hills just sealed their fate slightly earlier than if this had been flat terrain.
Apart from the fact that if they had been able to descend to sea level, one or both pilots may have regained consciousness (if decompression was indeed the cause) enough to establish level flight or a climb while they came round enough to recover the flight. That of course, is assuming a serviceable aircraft other the pressurisation problems.
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Old 24th Mar 2015, 17:36
  #226 (permalink)  
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from thebeeb

"The "black box" flight recorder has been found, the French interior minister says. The cause of the crash is not known and the plane did not send a distress signal"
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Old 24th Mar 2015, 17:38
  #227 (permalink)  
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Johngalt you are so right: at that altitude, unless you have practiced many times before, you do not have a chance of making it, you also must be ultra quick in reacting without much warning, sudden panic will also kick in (it is a real incident not a test, your life is at risk) and even the most experienced can easily go beyond the 20/25 seconds or whatever is needed. In many "real" experimental cases there is no even the realistic time to get the mask out within deadline. If the Alps were not there this aircraft would have carried on until the ground or fuel exhaustion. I am sure pilots have tried their best, it must have all happened too quickly.
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Old 24th Mar 2015, 17:38
  #228 (permalink)  
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If this is true, and I have no reason to refute this, that is absurd. The flight deck crew, in cases of in-flight decompression, are expected to retrieve stored oxygen masks within seconds of such an event? How bizarre. Surely there must be a better way?
Such as??

In probably >75% of occasions pilots need them, they will choose to put them prior the cabin alt the pax oxy drops. They are close to the pilots, who are practised in putting them on. They need to arrange them v their headsets, so an automatic drop would not help much.

In the A320, from the call of "Masks On" to having the mask inflated in your hand will be <5s.
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Old 24th Mar 2015, 17:39
  #229 (permalink)  
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Video of crash area

VIDEO FRANCETV. Crash dans les Alpes : les premières images des débris
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Old 24th Mar 2015, 17:42
  #230 (permalink)  
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If it were due to a decompression, and an emergency decent was initiated before incapacitation, how come the aircraft didn't level off at 10,000ft? The crew are unlikely to dial a lower altitude. It appears that a much lower altitude was commanded which makes no sense.
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Old 24th Mar 2015, 17:43
  #231 (permalink)  
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John Smith --- yes, that is what the sim is for, but now do it in "real life" in cruise at 39,000' over anywhere you pick --- results will suprise you.
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Old 24th Mar 2015, 17:45
  #232 (permalink)  
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I don't get how would they enter a controlled (presumably idle) descent with hypoxia setting in?
In an Airbus, one has to physically operate the ALT knob to initiate descent.
Someone had to consciously decide to leave FL380, not least very soon after reaching TOC.

Last edited by Wrist Watch; 26th Mar 2015 at 10:41.
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Old 24th Mar 2015, 17:46
  #233 (permalink)  
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Jonzaro, refers to tables for time of useful consciousness of between 15 to 45 seconds, however I suspect that the data comes from very fit military pilots under the age of thirty, so I would add that factors such as age, weight, fitness and smoking in particular could adverse factor, having said that, I cant really see why the mask couldn't be donned in less than ten seconds in most situation which should be sufficient for most pilots, even at 40,000 ft. However in Concorde the time was really critical, assuming total and sudden decompression.

As for the statistics from 2Planks, Airbus v Boeing, it sort of blows out of the water that Airbus aircraft are less safe.

Last edited by athonite; 24th Mar 2015 at 18:11.
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Old 24th Mar 2015, 17:48
  #234 (permalink)  
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Stand corrected as there are exceptions.

I gleaned my knowledge on a ME flag carrier. During the emergency brief by the crew, half the pax weren't listening. The part about turning off mobile phones must have not got through, as on descent below about 4000 ft I couldn't hear myself think, for Mobil phones giving audio signals of messages received.
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Old 24th Mar 2015, 17:49
  #235 (permalink)  
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The hypoxia theory is very plausible. But would not the pilots recover somewhat as the plane descended below 14,000 feet or so? Would the 5 to 6 minutes with low oxygen be sufficient to actually completely incapacitate all on board even below 10,000 feet as opposed to just making them temporarily unconscious down to that height?
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Old 24th Mar 2015, 17:51
  #236 (permalink)  
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Thanks for clarifying. And might one also add: if one is cognizant of the necessity to do so?

I'm not sure I understand why the flight crew's oxygen masks can't be deployed via drop-down as they are for us, riding in the back?
Is there a technical reason for this? I do understand that the oxygen devices for flight deck crew members are easily accessible IF they have the wherewithal to understand the need to do so. It's one thing to have to actively look for and then don such an apparatus but entirely different if it's hanging in front of your face, no?
rgbrock1, firstly, the oxygen system for passengers is chemically generated. When you pull the mask towards you this causes the system to operate for a limited period - long enough to get down to a safe altitude etc.

Crew oxygen operates from bottles charged with oxygen. Part of the crew checks is to ensure adequate oxygen is on board before flight by reading the gauge on the flight deck. There are also other routine checks which each crew member would do on their mask system to ensure it is fully serviceable. The crew system will operate for a much longer time than the passenger system depending on the number of crew members on oxygen (with could be 4 crew if 2 are jump seating) and the amount of oxygen that is on board.

Emergency descents and loss of pressurisation which involve donning the masks are regularly carried out in the simulator and pilots are trained to get onto oxygen ASAP as a matter of routine. Pilots are trained to fully understand the importance of getting on oxygen as THE number one priority.

As a crew member you don't have to look for it - you instinctively know where it is. In fact I could easily locate it within a split second with my eyes closed and be breathing oxygen within a few seconds.
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Old 24th Mar 2015, 17:55
  #237 (permalink)  
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I think that they are saying that the report came from 10 km from the crash site.
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Old 24th Mar 2015, 17:55
  #238 (permalink)  
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The hypoxia theory is very plausible. But would not the pilots recover somewhat as the plane descended below 14,000 feet or so? Would the 5 to 6 minutes with low oxygen be sufficient to actually completely incapacitate all on board even below 10,000 feet as opposed to just making them temporarily unconscious down to that height?
If there is a total decompression at 38K', you are not on Oxygen, and take >5 minutes to get below ~25K', your recovery options are not looking too good. Ever

(I think 3mins is the quoted figure where permanent damage becomes a possibility - many will last longer IIRC)
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Old 24th Mar 2015, 17:58
  #239 (permalink)  
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Can I suggest the small number of incidents makes any comparison Airbus v. Boeing meaningless with regard to the statistics.
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Old 24th Mar 2015, 18:02
  #240 (permalink)  
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departure delayed

Departure was delayed by half hour.The spokeswoman VP couldnt account for why it did when interrogated by a journalist. The plane is an older generation 320 (flew first Nov 1990?91?)..clocked over 58000 hrs. Why couldn't the senior executive answer a simple question as to delay reason? Surely they would know such basic info before facing the bullets in a press conferences? Better to always have Flt Ops personnel in these initial press conference rather than sales executives i would say...reflected poorly on German wings/Lufthansa.why wasnt Lufthansa ops expertise there..that they own GW..

Last edited by Trackdiamond; 24th Mar 2015 at 18:20.
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