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Airbus A320 crashed in Southern France

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Airbus A320 crashed in Southern France

Old 25th Mar 2015, 13:16
  #581 (permalink)  
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As a pilot I would have no objection to being videod whilst on the flight deck so long as this data is only for accident investigation and it will not be in the public domain.

When CVRs were first mooted in the UK the pilot unions and indeed the regulators I believe would only accept the idea being mandated so long as the actual recordings would notappear in the public domain although transcripts of conversations in accident reports would be acceptable.
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Old 25th Mar 2015, 13:16
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Quite apart from the autopilot flying the plane, I don't believe I've heard of automated communications facilities - ie, the plane's computer generating radio messages in an emergency situation? It's producing synthesized voice inside the cockpit - is there no value in it broadcasting 'Emergency: depressurisation!' to ATC or nearby aircraft?
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Old 25th Mar 2015, 13:19
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But he is still wrong. Take a look at this Embraer 145 manual, using the standard Eros oxy system.

.. Only normal (N) oxy selection is required for all flight conditions, and it is normally diluted.
.. Above 33,000' the mask auto switches to 100% oxy.
.. (The valves sense the pressure. Note that it says if there is a depressurisation the mask will auto revert to 100%.)
.. There is a backup manual 100% switch, if you require.
.. But constant flow (emergency selection) is only required to prevent the pilot breathing fumes.
.. (That is why it is called 'emergency selection', and not the 'above 35,000' selection'.)

This is what our system says too, if I can find the book...


Again, if you have a reference that says something different, then please provide it.
I have read the references and relates postings and must say that what you say is correct. Notwithstanding, it is my totally personal opinion, that setting "EMER"for mask breathing at FL 380 can't do nothing but help breathing. Would you elaborate on the possible negative consequences of doing that.
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Old 25th Mar 2015, 13:20
  #584 (permalink)  
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Good question. I haven't seen a trace of the Center Wing Box so far in the pictures. Nor a mark in the ground where it hit.
Sorry, this is a non-starter. They did a test of an F-4 Phantom hitting a nuclear power station concrete wall at 500mph, and the jet just disappeared. I won't post it here.
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Old 25th Mar 2015, 13:20
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By the look of things, whatever happened, prompted the crew to leave cruise alt immediately, but left the crew incapacitated in seconds, as they couldnít execute any logical subsequent actions, to save their pax (and their own) lives.

Rapid decompression due to structural failure (or even a collision with some FOD dropped from another passing plane) could explain this scenario.

One of the possible keys to unlock this mystery is the reaction of the pax and cabin crew; in 8 long minutes, were there any attempts made to call or text somebody? Or the event that rendered the crew incapacitated also affected the pax and cabin crew at the same time?
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Old 25th Mar 2015, 13:21
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An aerial photograph released by AAP appears to show the cockpit cab generally intact if I am not mistaken.
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Old 25th Mar 2015, 13:25
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Originally Posted by flyonthewall
...... The noise would preclude any communication either in the cockpit or with ATC....
But presumably would be pretty obvious on the CVR?
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Old 25th Mar 2015, 13:26
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Decompression has been ruled out by GermanWings. This leaves me completely clueless.
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Old 25th Mar 2015, 13:26
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Originally Posted by AfricanSkies
This bothers me. Here we have a flyable aircraft with an incapacitated crew. A CLEVER aircraft full of computers. It knows it's cabin altitude and it's altitude. It's got a terrain database. It's got a GPWS. It can tell if it's been suddenly depressurized. It's under control. But it can't automatically fly itself down to a safer altitude and then avoid terrain on autopilot?
Automation does not imply artificial intelligence. You're blaming a mindless machine... If someone is to be blamed, it is manufacturers, Thales, Honeywell, and Rockwell Collins.
Autopilot works on the principle of a computer - you tell the computer what you want it to do in each situation you program it for. It doesn't figure it out on its own.
If your point is "current air navigation / flight management systems are outdated", I'd agree 110%. There is so much more potential but not enough initiative. Or money.
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Old 25th Mar 2015, 13:28
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@wigyori: Good points, thanks. I see what you're saying about retail/industrial, and I wasn't quite suggesting that the airlines just pop down to the shops and buy a few GoPros off the shelf for each craft But nonetheless the technology is getting better and cheaper all the time, and one would imagine that principle would apply on an industrial scale just as it does in the consumer market, even if the actual numbers are higher.
There's no technical reason why video recording equipment could not be fitted, and data recorded in a similar way to how it's done with the CVR.

The pilot unions have been against this for years though on the grounds of privacy.
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Old 25th Mar 2015, 13:30
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This explanation might possibly help the oxygen debate:

"At 10,000 ft the partial pressure of the oxygen in the lung reaches 80 mbs. This is the minimum that a healthy person can tolerate and accordingly, above this height, the first symptoms of lack of oxygen, or hypoxia, appear. Between 10,000 and 15,000 ft the ability to perform skilled tasks such as aircraft control and navigation are impaired while between 15,000 and 20,000 ft there is a marked deterioration of performance, even of simple tasks, together with a loss of critical judgment and willpower. Thinking is slowed while muscular incoordination and clumsiness result. Above 20,000 ft the symptoms become severe, rapidly leading to unconsciousness.
The onset of hypoxia can be delayed by increasing the proportion of oxygen in the inspired air with the result that the partial pressure of oxygen in the lung is increased. Assuming that the pilot is breathing 100% oxygen, then the partial pressure of oxygen in his lungs will not fall below 130 mbs until above 34,000 ft. Above this altitude, even when breathing 100% oxygen, the partial pressure of oxygen in the lung will reduce, and breathing 100% oxygen at a height of 40,000 ft is equivalent to breathing air at 10,000 ft. Above 40,000 ft, hypoxia can only be prevented by employing pressure breathing."
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Old 25th Mar 2015, 13:31
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Decompression has been ruled out by GermanWings. This leaves me completely clueless.
source? press conference?
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Old 25th Mar 2015, 13:36
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More to do with the fact that a small pressure vessel will lose all the pressurization very rapidly. A large aircraft could lose a few cabin windows and easily hold the cabin pressure, not so of a corporate type jet.
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Old 25th Mar 2015, 13:44
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It does get one thinking about being caught outside. In the font loo, take a big gulp from the dropdown, hold your breath then scramble in. Down the back, grab one of the portables and take it with you...
Post Helios, there are SOPs for crew to enter the Flt Deck. I cannot envisage any Flt Crew remaining in the toilet during a gentle extended descent?
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Old 25th Mar 2015, 13:44
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Well, fro staters, the fact that you're using your oxygen far more quickly than the design scenarios account for.
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Old 25th Mar 2015, 13:44
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Re: the discussions on automatic terrain avoidance, I find it incredible that an Airbus which can automatically ensure it is not flown outside of it's flight envelope can still be flown into terrain

No doubt the cockpit was full of blaring sirens, the radar altimeter knew (or thought it knew) what was happening, GPS knew where they were, and yet the aircraft seems to have flown straight into a mountain

Assuming these things can be manually overridden, and accepting nothing is infallible, I've seen no explanation yet as to why it wouldn't be better for the aircraft to halt it's descent and possibly climb if it thinks it's about to fly into terrain with landing gear not down, and perhaps even inititate a transponder code to indicate it has just manually intervened and the pilots may be incapacitated

I would wager most SLF would gladly fly on an airline that implemented such a solution
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Old 25th Mar 2015, 13:45
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Germanwings crash: Evidence points to mechanical failure, say experts | News | Travel Trade Gazette

This may be the source that Aeromar was referring to wrt decompression being 'ruled out'.

Last edited by susier; 25th Mar 2015 at 13:46. Reason: Clarify point of link
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Old 25th Mar 2015, 13:49
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I notice that although almost of the plane seems to have been reduced to tiny fragments (according to media coverage so far), the large section showing the D-AIPX registration survived intact, and landed face up; a useful design feature.
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Old 25th Mar 2015, 13:50
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I'm not going to speculate, but as rapid decompression has been discussed, here is my tuppence worth.

Irrespective of what many here have stated, and despite how many times you practice in the sim, a rapid decompress at or above FL400 is certainly going to present any pilot with a major challenge. You can forget the procedure we are all ready for while sitting in our nice warm sim every six months, because the first sign of anything abnormal in real life is 100% for sure going to scare and confuse the cr@p out of you (quite probably, literally). There is one video posted previously that illustrates this very well....the pilot, who was fully prepared for the event, sat for about three or four seconds like a startled rabbit, and following this was unable to get his mask on without assistance. Again, this was someone who was fully ready and prepared to do only one thing....get his mask on!

It surprises me that some here are not able to imagine the physics behind what happens - all air suddenly expelled from your lungs, eardrums, and bodily cavities, and finding oneself shocked by the dramatic temperature reduction, terrible noise, fogged air and debris flying around the cockpit. Total confusion doesn't even begin to describe the state most of us would be in.

I would even go so far as to state that as airliners are now cruising at higher and higher levels compared with 30 years ago, a re-think on the rules is needed to get this uncomfortable elephant out of the room.

Last edited by deefer dog; 25th Mar 2015 at 13:58. Reason: change of title
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Old 25th Mar 2015, 13:51
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I find the concept of an automatic descent due to (insert failure scenario) , especially given the possibility of nonsense input which could trigger same, not a little disconcerting.
Agreed. Over the ocean auto descent after pressurisation failure might be useful but in busy European & US skies a plummet without some sort of ATC clearance could lead to more serious consequences. A mid-air would clearly be more hazardous than temporary hypoxia for some passengers.
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