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-   -   Air France A330-200 missing (https://www.pprune.org/rumours-news/375937-air-france-a330-200-missing.html)

Iceman49 1st Jun 2009 22:34

DC-ATE Thunderstorms. IF (big IF) this was the cause (we'll probably never know for sure) of this, it's a shame. When will pilots EVER learn to respect thunderstorms ?!?! Thunderstorms have claimed far too many aircraft and lives already. There is absolutely NO excuse to be anywhere near those things.....especially in the middle of an ocean!

Never worked with a pilot that did't respect thunderstorms and weather.

flyguy121 1st Jun 2009 22:39

Crashes are hardly ever the result of only one thing gone wrong.

Jets flying through thunderstorms and taking lightening stikes happens on a DAILY basis. There is an awful lot more to this accident than that !!!

jz123 1st Jun 2009 22:44

How about the ELT? Does that work underneath water?


woodpecker 1st Jun 2009 22:44

A few years ago on a B777, to see the ITCZ while northbound (from a couple of hundred miles) sparking away at night AFTER the radar antenna had failed (as Steve suggests, two radar systems but the data from a single antenna), together with ACARS and Satcom down left me with only one option... Lagos.

Joetom 1st Jun 2009 22:46

Qantas plane given 'piggy-back' ride across Pacific by another aircraft after it had to fly blind with equipment failure | Mail Online
The above link may be of intrest to some, also the paste below.
Centralized maintenance computer–Airbus

A significant step forward for Airbus maintenance is the centralized maintenance computer. "Formerly, built-in test equipment was scattered and you had to work on several computers on the aircraft," Tessier said. Now the CMC gives comprehensive information (including history of parameters) in plain English. Some pieces of information are in hexadecimal format but "these are very specific details that only the manufacturer is interested in," Boniau added.

Datalink via the satellite-based ACARS system allows real-time monitoring of in-flight aircraft. Data are received in Charles-de-Gaulle and forwarded to other bases if necessary. "This way, we can anticipate what kind of maintenance equipment and spare parts are needed at the next stopover," Boniau said. Sometimes, experts can even find a solution that can be performed during flight. "This is often a reset of the system," Boniau said.

Smilin_Ed 1st Jun 2009 22:47

Radios Don't Work Under Water

How about the ELT? Does that work underneath water?
No, and they don't transmit four minutes worth of data after water contact, either in a crash or a controlled ditching.

Sonar pingers do send out sound waves after water immersion. They are installed in the data recorders and the batteries last about 30 days.

Re-Heat 1st Jun 2009 22:58

There is a huge amount of unremitting drivel written on this website, some of which seems unfortunately to be read by Richard Quest...

Apart from a strong of ACARS messages, nobody here knows a thing about what happened last night. Uninformed speculation about the manufacture of an extensively tested and operated aircraft with experienced crews serves absolutely no useful purpose to anyone.

At this stage, we know only that a tragedy occurred and that the aircraft reported numerous failures caused by circumstances unknown.

I suggest that anyone wishing to speculate about any of those matters, either in the media or elsewhere, consult a list of all accidents since the Wright brothers took to the skies, and list out all possible accidents that have occured since then.

Anything else is uninformed speculation.

Airbubba 1st Jun 2009 23:01

If they were on top, the moon was up last night while AF 477 was in flight.

I hit the ITCZ mostly in Asia. There are cells that tower in the moonlight but are all but invisible on radar. You can be cruising along fat dumb and happy and suddenly find your self in a cell. I try to stay high but keep a good stall buffet margin in case the bumps start.

wileydog3 1st Jun 2009 23:02


Airbuses from A320 onwards need some electrics to operate flying controls.

Farfrompuken 1st Jun 2009 23:17

There may be considerable difficulty in avoiding storm cells in that part of the world, particularly if there's a broad band of them.

I've been through the ITCZ many times en-route to Ascension. Sometimes you've just got to to for the 'Least Bad' option as depicted by your wx radar/Mk1 eyeball. Not fun.

No-one here on this forum, or elsewhere it seems, knows what happened so some of the crass comments appearing here are way out of line.

RIP to all involved.

AMF 1st Jun 2009 23:20

Seems to me that given the forecast and reported (by the Captain to his Company) "hard" turbulence due to dynamic CB activity over the area they were in, and the aircraft was operating at 35,000' loaded with fuel for Paris, the starting point for speculation (if you must) would be the possibility of a jet upset/loss of aerodynamic contol situation if the aircraft entered moderate-to-severe turbulence (such as you'll find above and around developing CBs), warmer ISA deviations than forcecast with even light to moderate turbulence, or an unfortunate combination of both.

Heavy weights while operating from the mid-30s up combined severe turbulence can lead to a hairy "test-pilot" situation very quickly. Cruise altitude tables etc. do not account for it, and although an airliner is stressed to survive severe turbulence encounters with "merely" broken equipment,components and/or injured passengers and crew while the wings stay on, the stresses involved in recovering from a jet upset/loss of aerodynamic control at altitude can quickly exceed those parameters. Having to recover from one at night while possibly descending through or into the CBs that put you there in the first place reduces everything to a strong odds-against situation.

Data messages indicating failed/failed electrics and/or components during prolonged moderate - severe turbulence as they get bounced around wouldn't suprise me, but the sudden loss of an aircraft directly due to a CB-generated lightning strike is almost a non-starter theory given what you're also finding along with it (possible extreme turbulence, hail shafts) while operating heavy at high altitude.

Just my 2 cents, and a tangental reminder for all of us operators to heed the red flag of moderate or > turbulence being forecast at altitude enroute and carefully consider the aerodynamics for our given weights and temps for likely encounters. You never want to get into a boxed-in situation where conditions dictate you must descend to maintain aerodynamic control but descending also means you're no longer able to deviate around tops of CBs but rather find yourself more in the #@[email protected]

Oh, and anyone downplaying CBs because "they flew through one and it came out Ok" is, quite simply, an idiot for so many reasons and at so many levels they don't belong in a cockpit where they have to routinely deal with grown-up weather conditions. They sound like the worst kind of severe-weather neophyte probably not even understanding the the differences between airmass and steady-state and what they produce, what K Index and Skew-T are, and couldn't you the relationship between the reflectivity dB on their own contouring airborne radar and it's relationship to the probability of turbulence/severity and hail/diameter encounters let alone the basic, proper use of tilt and gain.

stadedelafougere 1st Jun 2009 23:27

Post 299
It is not improbable, in case of partial Electrical or Network failure to have several maintenance messages/alerts appearing on the WD / sent to the ground; the big question is : are these messages related to one another (originating from the failure of a unique system) or are they independent (weather conditions put the aircraft under so much stress that several systems fail within a few seconds).

AF , BEA and Airbus must have been working on it today/yesterday.
We know no communications were made between A/C and ATC at the time of the disaster, but knowing what was said within the cockpit and the noises in the cokpit (CVR's recording suggesting a lightning strike?) + FDR telling us what weather was encountered.

Let's hope the wreckage will be found soon and the DFDRs localised promptly as this accident may also cast doubts onto the specifications that current A/C must satisfy. I already hear you scream but what if extreme weather conditions were met (hail, lightning, turbulence, heavy gusts, ... or combinations) and brought this airplane down?
We will need the DFDR to cut speculation short but most of all to know what happened to flight 447. Media already start using movie-like headlines about this accident.

PUG128 1st Jun 2009 23:34

Hi all. First post on PPrune, unfortunatly for the worst reasons :(
First things first: I'm just an aviation enthusiast, nothing more... A "MSFS Pilot" as you (pro) guys like to refer to us. I just hope that doesn't make me some kind of "persona no grata"...

That said, just a couple thoughts about this:

Besides the ACARS (automated) message(s), there isn't (AFAIK) a single registered (reported) comm attempt or distress message. Not on HF, not on VHF (guard, for instance), SATCOM, nothing that we know about.
That just makes me believe in an (unknown caused) explosive decompression that also rendered the aircraft's comms U/S. The "decompression" alarm (ACARS) may somehow corroborate it.

Forget the "causes" (T/S, CB, severe turbulence) and focus on the "outcome": it was fast. Way too fast.


DC-ATE 1st Jun 2009 23:38

Flyinheavy -

What makes You possibly think and write such a nonsense?
I do not know any pilot in an airline cockpit who would knowingly fly into a storm cell.
Well, I won't go through and list all the accidents that were the result of a thunderstorm encounter. The statistics are readily available elsewhere and besides, I said IF...BIG IF. I was merely pointing out that pilots have been known to fly into or near TRWs with fatal results. The record speaks for itself.:(

JLPicard 1st Jun 2009 23:38

Other a/c
No one has news about others traffics in the same area at the time?
Would be interesting hear about their crossing to avoid useless speculations....just my opinion

godspeed...to our mates in the plane and to all people onboard

AMF 1st Jun 2009 23:41

flyguy121 Quote:

Jets flying through thunderstorms and taking lightening stikes happens on a DAILY basis. There is an awful lot more to this accident than that !!!
This is ABOSOLUTE rubbish! Lightning strikes yes, but jets flying through thunderstorms on a daily basis? Who? Where? Pilots avoid and deviate around thunderstorms on a daily basis, and inadvertent encounters flying through the guts of one will more than likely result in damage or injury if they're lucky. If jets were flying routinely flying through thunderstorms every day we'd also routinely be losing aircraft to microbursts/etc near airport boundaries and suffering jet upset/hail-encounter losses at altitudes.

I cringe to think of non-pilots reading that statement, and have nightmares of pilots inexperienced with severe weather taking it on. What did you do, amble through a dissipating airmass shower once that was contouring red and came this this conclusion that it's no big deal?

Contrary to what you've asserted, there ABSOLUTELY DOES NOT NEED to be "a lot more to an accident" than flying through a thunderstorm....it's one waiting to happen. The bloody record of CB-produced accidents proves it.

ZeBedie 1st Jun 2009 23:42

Cabin fire or a bomb would be far more likely than severe weather to bring the aircraft down. I wonder why AF are concentrating on wx rather than the more likely scenarios? Maybe we'll never know the truth?

PUG128 1st Jun 2009 23:42

(quick and dirty translation of DenisG's post):

"Brazil's "substitute president, José Alencar, has stated tonight that he has received "vague" news about the whereabouts of the AF's Airbus A330 that has disappeared this sunday with 228 souls on board, between Rio and Paris.

"There's a vague report of a brasilien aircraft, from TAM, that would have saw something catching fire somewhere in the [Atlantic] Ocean. That was the plane that arrived this dawn", stated Alencar while questioned if the brasilien government had any preliminary information about the Airbus location."


mingocr83 1st Jun 2009 23:47

"Brazil's "substitute president, José Alencar, has stated tonight that he has received "vague" news about the whereabouts of the AF's Airbus A330 that has disappeared this sunday with 228 souls on board, between Rio and Paris.

"There's a vague report of a brasilien aircraft, from TAM, that would have saw something catching fire somewhere in the [Atlantic] Ocean. That was the plane that arrived this dawn", stated Alencar while questioned if the brasilien government had any preliminary information about the Airbus location."
This is the correct translation.... follow this statement..

discuz 1st Jun 2009 23:47

Would it be possible that the crew was only able to communicate through ACARS, hence the 4 minute communication? From what I've read on ACARS sites it's not just limited to automated technical info:

N156DL B767-3P6[ER] 25354/406 1506 PQ-DK [A40-GR]
Delta Airlines USA DL0124 Atlanta GA USA-Brussels Belgium
Using Ground Station E Amsterdam (AMS) .Message No. M57A
IN RANGE TYPE REPORT/23 Atlanta Hartsfield Int. Airport GA USA / Brussels Airport Belgium .N156DL

9V-SPA B747-412 26550/1040 ER-AF
Singapore Airlines SQ0308 Singapore Singapore-London Heathrow United Kingdom
Using Ground Station X Birmingham (BHX) .Message No. 203A
Message Type H1 CENTRAL FAULT DISPLAY (Up/Downlink)
#T2B/ London Heathrow Airport UK KKSQ London Heathrow Airport UK KDSQ. ENGINEER NEEDED

(source: Vliegtuigen en Communicatie:Acars Wacars Analyser - Stego)

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