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

lomapaseo 1st Jun 2009 13:36

As usual I have lots of questions.

I take note of the reports of severe weather as only of secondary interest at this time (may or may not be germain)

However the reports of multiple electrical system degradation is to me significant so hence my questions.

So far no reports of pilot communications of an event

1. Was the electrical system malfunctions associated over a time frame or only a single transmission?

2. Are these kind of transmissions altitude sensitive? (could they occur at very low altitudes during damage when striking the sea etc.)

the above are general questions and may not be applicable to this incident

B772 1st Jun 2009 13:37

I am very surprised by the statement "aircraft went through a thunderstorm". I thought most widebody Airbus pilots knew there were 'whispers' about the tailplane in turbulence.

Bingaling 1st Jun 2009 13:38

With reference to the report that the aircraft had sent a message about an electrical failure. There is nothing synister involved there.

All Airbus aircraft periodically send text messages back to the home maintenance base during a flight. These inflight messages regarding any systems faults or failures are collated and then printed out in the cockpit automatically after landing.

The engineering department will have received these messages while the aircraft was in flight, so that they can troubleshoot and fix the problem once the aircraft lands. This saves time and inevitably money for the company.

On nearly EVERY airbus flight there will be a report of some (usually very minor) fault reported to the company during a flight.

The cause of this accident will be known thoroughly upon full investigation.

In the meantime, there is a possibility, however slight, that these people may still be alive.

gchriste 1st Jun 2009 13:40

Just heard one mention of this on I think CNN, and have not heard it again in the past 15 minutes.

News person stated that they had just received information that after the message about the electrical short circuit, the plan continued for some hours more under autonomous control.

They did not say where this information came from, but I wonder if there is something to this and why the confusion around the time contact was reported as lost. Could it be voice communication was lost around 3 hours after takeoff, but the plan was then tracked for another couple of hours until it was closer to the African coast.

Just watching other news feeds now to see if anyone else mentions this.

le Pingouin 1st Jun 2009 13:41

Xeque, the only firm evidence is the ACARS messages. In the absence of other evidence it's usual to wait until fuel exhaustion before you assume an aircraft has gone down.

Cows getting bigger 1st Jun 2009 13:41

Not jumping too far ahead, I'm wondering how the authorities will go about finding this particular needle in the haystack. Who has the capability and how much effort will be expended to find evidence if indeed the aircraft is now at the bottom of the Atlantic? I presume that there are very few countries who have the capability to scour the oceans.

slingsby 1st Jun 2009 13:42

Sorry to report but USGS reporting 4.7 seismic event 610nm north of Fernando Island - repeat of SR recorded event?

Flightsimman 1st Jun 2009 13:44

That SIGMET looks pretty scary off the coast of West Africa.

midnight cruiser 1st Jun 2009 13:49

Does the CF6 have rollback issues/history (engine icing near CBs?) - Double flame outs would cause electrical system load shedding which would I guess, cause a maintainance event on the ACARS.

Jotape - I'd say Toronto was a pretty major prang, and the Concorde crash was caused by more than just a piece of metal. Further back there was the airshow strimmer at Habsheim, the Strasbourg crash (Air Inter), the 744 off the runway into the drink in the S Pacific etc. (and thats just off the top of my head)!

-JC- 1st Jun 2009 13:49

Does Atlantico have CPDLC capability in that area ? Anyone know how often CPDLC/ADS position reports are sent to ATC ?

cirr737 1st Jun 2009 13:51

@slingsby

If you review the earthquake data, you can see that this is just a co-incidence

1) It happend at 00:47Z, so way to early.
2) The quake was located 10km below the surface


ot = 00:47:04.33 +/- 0.60 CENTRAL MID-ATLANTIC RIDGE
lat = 4.971 +/- 15.0
lon = -32.615 +/- 5.6 MAGNITUDE 4.8 (GS)
dep = 10.0 (geophysicist)


airseb 1st Jun 2009 13:53

no cpdlc with Atlantico yet and certainly not with Sal. very very sad day for all of us

md4490 1st Jun 2009 13:59

What about other reports such as Tam or any other crossing flight about the weather conditions...anybody?

mary meagher 1st Jun 2009 14:00

Lightning protection
 
Checkboard mentions in message 80 that "aircraft are highly protected against lightning......."

The UK air accident investigation board a number of years ago was able to measure the voltage of a lightning strike that melted the controls of a K21 glider over Dunstable, and came to the unsettling conclusion that it far exceeded the protection provided for airliners at that time.

Could this be relevant?

solmark 1st Jun 2009 14:07

assuming AF447 did ditch, what are the chances of finding it in such a remote area?

latetonite 1st Jun 2009 14:07

Looking at the significant wx charts kindly provided by XP Morten, it does not look they were going for a smooth ride.

barrymah 1st Jun 2009 14:08

same for rochambeau/piarco? Dakar?

airsound 1st Jun 2009 14:09

Coupla things, which may or may not be relevant.

Earlier, the Brazilians said they were basing their search round Fernando de Noronha (maybe because they had aircraft there) - but there were also reports that the incident was about 300km from Natal, which is in the same area.

That ties in roughly with something happening 4 hours into the flight, because that seems to be in the same area, rather than closer to Africa.

Finally, I don't think anyone has mentioned the ITCZ, which must be somewhere round this area at this time of year.

sean

airsound

Rollingthunder 1st Jun 2009 14:13

http://newsimg.bbc.co.uk/media/image...crash2_466.gif

betpump5 1st Jun 2009 14:14

The worst thing is that we may never know what happened. If indeed it was severe storms, then the a/c could be spread over a very large area. This would have been increased further due to the time it takes SAR to reach the possible area.

By then the most important equipment (Black Box for example) could be sitting at the bottom of the Atlantic.

Does anyone have any opinions on the viability of locating and scavenging the bottom of the ocean for wreckage and more importantly, the black box? What is the cut-off point when the authorities just give up?

EchoIndiaFoxtrot 1st Jun 2009 14:19

Earlier, the Brazilians said they were basing their search round Fernando de Noronha (maybe because they had aircraft there) - but there were also reports that the incident was about 300km from Natal, which is in the same area.

I think they probably started searching from Fernando de Noronha as this was the last place where radar contact was made according to the Brazilians.

The timeline as I see it in GMT would appear to be -

2200 GMT AF447 leaves Rio
0133 GMT Last radar contact made with AF447 at Fernando
0214 GMT Automated signal sent by AF447 at unknown location and no further contact
0910 GMT AF447 due at Charles de Gaulle

Broomstick Flier 1st Jun 2009 14:22

Facts
 
Brazilian Air Force just made an announcement with the following facts. Local times(LT) are given based on Brasilia official time (valid for this area)

19:30LT/22:30Z: Departure from GIG

22:33LT/01:33Z: Last contact made on VHF with Cindacta III (Recife Centre) on INTOL position (more or less 310Nm from Natal VOR, on UN873 airway), informing it was estimating TASIL position (around 670Nm from Natal VOR on the same airway) at 23:20LT/02:20Z

22:48LT/01:48Z: Flight left area covered by Recife Centre ATC radar, and it was cruising normally at FL350 with TAS 453KT

23:20LT/02:20Z: No radio contact was made (this time the flight would be already talking to Atlantico Centre on HF) and Dakar Oceanic was informed about this.

Today morning, Air France informed that around 50Nm after TASIL position, the flight informed (my remark: not sure if via SATCOM, ACARS message or both) electrical problems and pressurisation problems as well.

BF

jammydonut 1st Jun 2009 14:22

There are various military, civilian, remote or manned underwater vehicles that can undertake recovery from depth.

betpump5 1st Jun 2009 14:27


There are various military, civilian, remote or manned underwater vehicles that can undertake recovery from depth.
Of course. We have all seen Titanic. there are small capsules that can be sent down to depths in the Mariana's Trench. But I'm talking about a salvage operation- not just a documentary for Wildlife on One.

As far as I know, there is no apparatus that would be able to salvage an engine for example sitting at the bottom of the Atlantic. The TWA wreckage was salvaged quite well due to its relative proximity to land. But this is different.

My educated guess would be to purely focus on the FDR and salvage that.

EvilDoctorK 1st Jun 2009 14:28

The above mentioned "TASIL" waypoint is at 4 0' 18N 29 59' 24W

Which is pretty much in the middle of nowhere, slightly less than halfway from NW Brazil to Cape Verde - 4 0' 18N 29 59' 24W - Google Maps

Pretty deep ocean around there I'd imagine

AccidentalTourist 1st Jun 2009 14:32

If severe turbulence . . .
 
Seems like a lot of knowledgeable folks on this thread have been looking at met and satellite reports and concluding the weather was really ugly in the vicinity of the incident. Was this known to the airline/pilots ahead of time?

Sorry, I'm just a dumb non-pilot/non-technician here, but given the known risks of flying thru thunderstorms/lightning/severe turbulence, shouldn't airlines be required to make more effort to fly around/above such areas? Sure, it may lead to higher fuel costs and departure/arrival delays, but why take the risk? As a frequent traveller with a few scary flight experiences already, I prefer to avoid even moderate turbulence yet as a pax there is simply no way for me to get any info on this prior to boarding. Most flights are fine but some clearly are not.

I may be wrong, but I am left with the feeling that airlines are under such economic pressure that they are on the margin sometimes pushing flights thru questionable weather just to manage costs . . . is this an area where FAA/international bodies could lay out better guidelines and requirements?

Ron Waksman 1st Jun 2009 14:34

What about lightning and composites?
 
I am wondering about the possibility of a lightning strike and the high composite content on the A330... is it more vulnerable or is that a red herring?

RatherBeFlying 1st Jun 2009 14:35

The initial search will focus on floating debris. Of course a visual search depends on visibility and sea state.

The USCG has some sophisticated drift analysis software to help them determine where to look given the incident coordinates and time.

betpump5 1st Jun 2009 14:35


but I am left with the feeling that airlines are under such economic pressure that they are on the margin sometimes pushing flights thru questionable weather just to manage costs . . . is this an area where FAA/international bodies could lay out better guidelines and requirements?
You are completely wrong. No one :mad:s about with weather just to get home and/or for costs. Whether you are in a C-152 or an airliner.

This is why I am not speculating yet on any cause.

CDG1 1st Jun 2009 14:36

From the time I have heard about the AF 330 being lost this is the only thing that really bummed me. How come no one has picked up any distress signal of any sort coming from the lost airliner.

I see Atlantic capable private yachts all the time, even sailboats. All have very sophisticated onboard equipment, GPS and other communication devices capable of picking up signals. Not talking about container ships, tankers, cruise ships big and small.

Not talking about other airplanes, airliners big and small, military or civilian, even private jets.

The lost AF aircraft could not possibly be all alone and only by itself in that one particular area where it was lost?

DarkStar 1st Jun 2009 14:36

Jotape - You seem very hazy about AF's safety record. The AF Concorde was doomed before it even got near that metal strip on the runway. Wheel spacer left behind in the hangar after maintenance, wrong runway / wind direction, the list goes on I'm afraid. Still, I'm sure AF will be keen to make all their findings public this time around for the sake of those who lost their lives on CZP.

No point in any speculation here at all. An awful incident.

admiral ackbar 1st Jun 2009 14:37

IANAPP (I am not a professional pilot) but you can be sure that that no legitimate airline instructs its pilots NOT to avoid CB's due to economic considerations. When it all starts going pear shaped, the guys in the pointy end of the plane have all the decisional power in the world (or so I would like to think!)

We may never get the full story on this one...

SLFinAZ 1st Jun 2009 14:40

I'm curious about the reference earlier (in this thread) to potential tail area weakness in the airbus. Is is possible that severe turbulence could create enough problems to induce enough control input to "pop" the vertical stabilizer (similar to the crash of Long Island)? If so how does a plane get certified if it can't handle control inputs required for recovery from weather induced unusual attitude recovery? {recognizing this is speculation here}

luck7711 1st Jun 2009 14:43

Aviation experts said the risk the plane was brought down by lightning was slim.

"Lightning issues have been considered since the beginning of aviation. They were far more prevalent when aircraft operated at low altitudes. They are less common now since it's easier to avoid thunderstorms," said Bill Voss, president and CEO of Flight Safety Foundation, Alexandria, Va.

He said planes have specific measures built in to help dissipate electricity along the aircraft's skin.

"I cannot recall in recent history any examples of aircraft being brought down by lightning," he told The Associated Press.

agusaleale 1st Jun 2009 14:44


Quote:

but I am left with the feeling that airlines are under such economic pressure that they are on the margin sometimes pushing flights thru questionable weather just to manage costs . . . is this an area where FAA/international bodies could lay out better guidelines and requirements?
You are completely wrong. No one http://static.pprune.org/images/smilies/censored.gifs about with weather just to get home and/or for costs. Whether you are in a C-152 or an airliner.

This is why I am not speculating yet on any cause
Did you notice CB at 450 on route?
Do you think this accident happened due to good weather?

hetfield 1st Jun 2009 14:45


I'm curious about..potential tail area weakness in the airbus...
I'm curious about people asking such questions without any clue.

fastrobert 1st Jun 2009 14:46


Sorry, I'm just a dumb non-pilot/non-technician here, but given the known risks of flying thru thunderstorms/lightning/severe turbulence, shouldn't airlines be required to make more effort to fly around/above such areas? Sure, it may lead to higher fuel costs and departure/arrival delays, but why take the risk? As a frequent traveller with a few scary flight experiences already, I prefer to avoid even moderate turbulence yet as a pax there is simply no way for me to get any info on this prior to boarding. Most flights are fine but some clearly are not
Turbulence and lightning should not be an issue. The aircraft are tested to the extreme long before they go into service. I've been bounced around in tropical storms many a time and while it can make you spill your wine, it wont knock a large jet out of the sky. The much repeated message would seem to be not to speculate until there is more information but as a frequent cross-atlantic flyer myself, even my thick skin gets goose bumps when accidents like this happen for no apparent reason...

Blacksheep 1st Jun 2009 14:47


but you can be sure that that no legitimate airline instructs its pilots NOT to avoid CB's due to economic considerations.
... and you can be even more certain of how much notice any pilot who was sitting in the pointy end would take of any such instruction. :=

ST27 1st Jun 2009 14:47

A good example of wreckage recovery from the bottom of the ocean was the Air India 747 that was lost off the coast of Ireland. A British vessel located the wreck site by following acoustic pings from the recorders, and a French cable-laying vessel used its remote submarine to recover both the FDR and CVR from a depth of about 7,000 feet. This all happened over a span of about two weeks.

The pingers can be heard for something like 2 miles, and will last for 30 days.

Later, the Canadian investigators (the flight originated in Montreal) recovered much of the wreckage as part of their accident investigation.

The average depth of the Atlantic ocean is something like 12,000 feet.

mrmike 1st Jun 2009 14:48

Black Boxes
 
I thought the Cockpit Voice recorder and the Flight Data recorder were supposed to float! Am I wrong?


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