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Airbus A320 crashed in Southern France

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Airbus A320 crashed in Southern France

Old 25th Mar 2015, 18:02
  #721 (permalink)  
 
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BigFrank,

I claim to accept the need for extreme prudence by the head of such an organisation in such circumstances as these.

I was however surprised that:

i) He said that he hadn't listened to the cockpit recording at all himself almost 8 hrs after it arrived on site.

ii) He refused to say if the voices were speaking in English or German
He's doing his job. The CVR is probably in Paris by now, being carefully disassembled, properly set up in a specially equipped sound proof room, then preferably having a full CVR team present to listen to the recorder.

That's the way it's done at the NTSB. I resume the French follow a very similar protocol.
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Old 25th Mar 2015, 18:03
  #722 (permalink)  
 
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Africanskies seems logical

All the emergency descend actions: set FL100 or secure altitude and initiate descend with AP, deviate from course, emit emergency message 7700, set passenger belt sign, let passenger oxygen masks fall down, could be initiated by one single command.
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Old 25th Mar 2015, 18:05
  #723 (permalink)  
 
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As a FWIW there have been multiple interviews broadcast on French TV with the several eyewitnesses (farmer, local villagers) who saw the A320 in the moments just before it crashed. All were deeply shocked by what they witnessed but not one, not a single one, mentioned another aircraft in the vicinity..... I wonder where the Mail/Twitter found "their" eyewitnesses....frankly I'd call BS on that story
To be honest the first eyewitness report I heard, sounded like a 'phoner, on the Beeb yesterday the witness mentioned that he had seen several fighters soon before and thought the Airbus was another at first. Presented purely for balance.
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Old 25th Mar 2015, 18:07
  #724 (permalink)  
 
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This question of 8 minutes vs. 18 minutes puzzles me. Likewise the media story about descent from 28,000 ft - IF the flight tracker was anywhere near accurate, which shows approximately 3 minutes at FL380 level off, then a descent at around :31 or :32 after the hour, end of data around :41 or :42 after the hour. A significant contradiction.
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Old 25th Mar 2015, 18:18
  #725 (permalink)  
 
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Bear in mind ACARS overland is typically crude VHF unencrypted data transfer, which spotters / ham radio types can receive AFAIK? So if anything dramatic was sent, somebody might have said?

I would think the BEA will prioritise what they do have in conventional data sources (CVR, FDR, Mode S, ADS-B, ATC etc.). AF447 resorted to ACARS due to a high level of integration, and absence of other sources...
LH a/c do send only very limited operational ACARS data due to a major disagreement with the pilot's union. Data are considered as personal and performance data of the flight crew that the employer may not have access to without proper request and worker's council approval.

All LH ACARS messages are encrypted.
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Old 25th Mar 2015, 18:22
  #726 (permalink)  
 
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Originally Posted by ATC Watcher View Post
yes, a lot .

It is quite traumatic for a controller I can tell you when you watch an aircraft you control go down.
This is a point that is not appreciated by many. Having someone die on your frequency is a very unpleasant experience and leads to continual thoughts that "perhaps had I done something differently...." It is even worse, when, as often happens, the flight crew is known personally to the controller(s).
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Old 25th Mar 2015, 18:28
  #727 (permalink)  
 
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Would the cabin crew have expected any communication from the flight deck following a depressurisation? I can see a terrible image of all pax and cabin crew sitting there with their oxygen masks on, waiting for the aircraft to level off. At what point would anyone think to ask whether the flight deck crew were OK, and try to gain access to the cockpit?
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Old 25th Mar 2015, 18:30
  #728 (permalink)  
 
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Opinions /CRM

A bit like CRM...it teaches you to never be too sure about your knowledge never mind how long you have been there....why not listen to a "younger" opinion. It can be wise not to be too self confident/arrogant.
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Old 25th Mar 2015, 18:33
  #729 (permalink)  
 
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Originally Posted by JamesT73J View Post
I think the blackened mountainside is just the rock colour.
I have been to the area several times. After heavy rain, the Ubaye river is so black it looks like used engine oil. That is all runoff from the same mountains.
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Old 25th Mar 2015, 18:35
  #730 (permalink)  
 
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Pace

Pace, that data on suicide is largely inaccurate. This is a real issue, much more frequent we would like to. Last year, Namibia crash, there are strong evidences of suicide.
The main problem is that too many consider this exceptional and rare, so there is no awareness protocol to evaluate and prevent.

http://avherald.com/h?article=46c3abde/0010&opt=0
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Old 25th Mar 2015, 18:37
  #731 (permalink)  
THUNDERTAILED
 
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Originally Posted by dlen View Post
Africanskies seems logical

All the emergency descend actions: set FL100 or secure altitude and initiate descend with AP, deviate from course, emit emergency message 7700, set passenger belt sign, let passenger oxygen masks fall down, could be initiated by one single command.
That's it. After perhaps a delay to see if the pilots react first. If they don't then do the necessary actions. Including intelligent MSA settings as per terrain database. And avoid weather and avoid mountains and avoid other aircraft. It's aware of all of these things via its radar, GPWS & TCAS. All the data is there it just needs a macro system to link all the threads together.

If you extend that train of thought it wouldn't take much but software changes to enable a ground based pilot to set up the approach and auto land at a safe place.
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Old 25th Mar 2015, 18:40
  #732 (permalink)  
 
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Originally Posted by Easy Street
Would the cabin crew have expected any communication from the flight deck following a depressurisation? I can see a terrible image of all pax and cabin crew sitting there with their oxygen masks on, waiting for the aircraft to level off. At what point would anyone think to ask whether the flight deck crew were OK, and try to gain access to the cockpit?
IF this turns out to be a drama with two unconscious pilots in a de-pressurized cockpit, that would become a very important question.
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Old 25th Mar 2015, 18:41
  #733 (permalink)  
 
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and as always ….

We have the media, popping up talking heads so that they can somehow claim a scoop. Surely it is time for professionals in this industry to take a stand and speak with a common voice.

The only information we have is that the aircraft crashed at this location and that nobody survived.
As soon as the investigators have information to release to the media, it will be released. END OF.

It is high time that more respect is shown for the families of those who lost their lives, by the media as well as other speculators and theorists.
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Old 25th Mar 2015, 18:45
  #734 (permalink)  
 
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Cruise: max pressure differential

Explained in simple words.
As soon as cruise height was reached the problem started, critically this was a sudden event likely linked to pressure: any loss of structural integrity (e.g. windscreen or other) started in coincidence with reaching max cabin pressure differential with the outside pressure. This timing cannot be a coincidence, the rest is hypoxia of all those on board whilst pilots being unable to do anything else except start descending; heading and speed remained constant until impact. No communication, aircraft continues with pre-set heading and speed: this is typical behaviour of aircraft with unconscious pilots in cockpit. It has happened before.
I have no doubts this was hypoxia (or unconscious pilots for any other reason). The fact that ATC lost contact and it quickly happened shortly after reaching altitude it would reinforce the hypoxia theory as a consequence of decompression, possibly caused by structural failure. I would exclude external factors at that altitude, the problem coming up at 1030/1031 time would confirm internal/external pressure extreme difference as likely trigger of decompression, in coincidence with max stress on structure, loss of fuselage integrity (aircraft still perfectly able to fly) with subsequent rapid hypoxia. To react to a decompression at that altitude is not as easy as thought or simulated, especially if cockpit environment is disrupted by the cause of the decompression (e.g. air coming in at very high speed). I have no doubts that these were excellent pilots who were not given a chance to follow standard simulator procedures, which can never cover all "real" scenarios.

Last edited by ILS27LEFT; 25th Mar 2015 at 18:46. Reason: correction
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Old 25th Mar 2015, 18:52
  #735 (permalink)  
 
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IF this turns out to be a drama with two unconscious pilots in a de-pressurized cockpit, that would become a very important question.
It's an important question but it was sort of covered earlier .... If there's a decompression and the aircraft doesn't start descending fairly promptly then it's probably reasonable that the Cabin Crew take some action and some are trained to do so

OTOH if there there's a decompression and the Flight Crew do start an emergency descent then one of the last things they then need is a Cabin Crew member trying to access the flight deck or trying to contact them via interphone.....it's nothing personal, but safely managing an Emergency descent can rapidly fill up the "capacity bucket".

Of course if you still want to go through the "what ifs" you then have to ask yourself - in the worse case if a cabin crew member somehow does gain access to the flight deck and finds that the aircraft is in an emergency descent with all pilots incapacitated what would they (the cabin crew member) do in the time available??

Last edited by wiggy; 25th Mar 2015 at 19:08.
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Old 25th Mar 2015, 18:53
  #736 (permalink)  
 
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We think about the most likely scenarios first. Extraordinary claims require extraordinary proof, etc.
This reminds me of an axiom in medicine: When you hear hoof-beats, you look for a horse, not a zebra.
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Old 25th Mar 2015, 18:53
  #737 (permalink)  
kwh
 
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So, is it time for a 'dead man's handle' on passenger jets?

In the light of more than one recent catastrophic incident where it seems at least possible that a depressurisation causing crew incapacitation was a significant factor, is it time for the automatics on modern passenger jets to be fitted with a software system that executes a pre-set sequence if certain conditions are true? For example, if cabin altitude is greater than 10K feet, and no significant control inputs or crew actions have been detected for a period of x minutes (where x is some agreed time period long enough not to be prone to false positives in the event of a crew responding normally to a depressurisation event), then would it be a good idea to let the automatics first announce to the flight deck that they are about to take control if nobody pushes a button in the next ten seconds, and then

1. Set a unique 'This is George, I have taken over because the crew is apparently incapacitated through hypoxia and this aircraft will be executing the standard set of pre-planned internationally agreed manoeuvres in ten seconds time' transponder code...

2. Terrain permitting, commence a circling descent to 10K feet, and hold altitude at 10K indefinitely until either a human wakes up and takes control or the engines flame out.

3. If terrain does not permit a circling descent to 10K, do something else sensible, standard and pre-agreed to get to a place where terrain does permit, and then descend/circle etc...

It _seems_ to me as SLF that at the moment there is a single point of failure, in the event of rapid decompression at high enough altitude - if for any reason, from mechanical failure to human error to who knows what, the person/people in the hot seat [and it is person singular if the other pilot is in the khazi] doesn't get oxygen out of the mask they put on their face when the cabin loses pressure, basically everybody on board the plane dies, possibly several hours later, possibly sooner if the aircraft starts descending before the pilot passes out, but their fate is irrevocably sealed. Against that, a 'dead man's handle' device might be a potential life-saver, no?
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Old 25th Mar 2015, 19:01
  #738 (permalink)  
 
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The only information we have is that the aircraft crashed at this location and that nobody survived.
As soon as the investigators have information to release to the media, it will be released. END OF.
We hear this time and time and time again, on every single accident thread. It's a RUMOUR network, so either people just accept that for what it is (speculation and theory), or the forum is locked away to pilots only. I don't see the point of comments like yours (though this will probably be deleted anyway!)
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Old 25th Mar 2015, 19:02
  #739 (permalink)  
 
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Originally Posted by Easy Street

Would the cabin crew have expected any communication from the flight deck following a depressurisation? I can see a terrible image of all pax and cabin crew sitting there with their oxygen masks on, waiting for the aircraft to level off. At what point would anyone think to ask whether the flight deck crew were OK, and try to gain access to the cockpit?

IF this turns out to be a drama with two unconscious pilots in a de-pressurized cockpit, that would become a very important question.
As Wiggy says, Helios lead to a change in some SOPs - certainly ours, for an apparent non-reaction to a decompression.

If this turns out to be a partial / incomplete reaction to a decompression, and there is something feasible the CC could have done (e.g. rouse pilots), then I suspect we will see SOPs change again. But there is only so much second guessing you can expect CC to do over our job.

As I posted earlier, if there was a complete decompression, pilots not on oxygen, and it took 5mins or more to get below ~25K' Cabin Alt, I am afraid my limited AvMed knowledge indicates your SOP is not going to further involve the pilots
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Old 25th Mar 2015, 19:16
  #740 (permalink)  
 
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@Wiggy

"He's the head of the organisation and judging by the TV coverage in the last 24 this gent has been working flat out (interviews, statements to French TV, meeting with the politicians) since the accident happened. I suspect he's been far too busy to listen to recordings, even if it was part of his job spec."

I take the point you make in the first sentence.

Yet I beg to disagree with the conclusion.

Given the magnitude of this catastrophic accident and given also the possibility of these cockpit recordings throwing significant light on the "mysterious" causes, I stand by my observation that his failure to listen to the cockpit recording is very striking.

Last edited by BigFrank; 25th Mar 2015 at 19:18. Reason: Add quotation marks around "mysterious"
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