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

overthewing 1st Jun 2009 15:22

Do we know if any other traffic was in the area at around that time, to confirm weather conditions?

Is it really possible for weather to bring down a big jet like this? How extreme would the conditions have to be?

Carbon Bootprint 1st Jun 2009 15:24

Here on the telly in BKK, Richard Quest of CNN International is reporting a statement from the Brazilian Air Force indicating a report of "loss of pressure" from the "automated system" aboard the plane (presumably ACARS).

This is said to be in addition to the reports of turbulence and a short circuit in the electrics. The implication of the story is loss of cabin pressure, though I know how the media can get things wrong, especially when translating technical material from other languages is involved.

No fan of RQ here, and I have to consider the source. I mention it only because it's something I haven't heard reported thus far. (I am only reporting, and not speculating.)

englishal 1st Jun 2009 15:25

1) did any of the other aircraft on the route of flight report severe turbulence? (there would have been a string of aircraft from Brazil to Europe that night).

2) WX Radar only shows precipitation and not turbulence.

3) No crew in their right mind would fly into severe turbulence if they knew it was there.

4) I was booked onto that plane a week from now. When I found out I was booked Air France a few days ago, I changed my ticket to another airline due to past experiences with flying Air France from CDG to Rio. Once it took 48 hrs to get to Rio due to technical problems.....(complete blackout as the aeroplane taxied out onto the runway late one foggy night - 5 "tries" later the passengers rebelled and refused to fly on the aeroplane - was a different aeroplane make and model so unconnected with this incident).

italianjon 1st Jun 2009 15:26

There is lots of discussions about weather maps a speculation about the conditions in the vicinity of the last known postion, although does anyone know if there were any other aircraft following the same or parallel routes that experienced turbulence, CBs or other.

If this was the second AF flight from Rio to CDG, what routing did the first flight take and what en-route weather was experienced?

I am not speculating (famous last words before I get flamed ;) ) I just feel that putting a map up and saying "ooo looks bad" and getting a confirmed report from another aircraft in the same bit of sky are two completely different things in understanding what weather the aircraft experienced.

Feathers McGraw 1st Jun 2009 15:26


Air France's statement says it was a lightning strike, you would expect them to know wouldn't you?

TeachMe 1st Jun 2009 15:27

I find the reports of electrical and pressurization problems reported to maintenance (at the same time??) to be interesting. Can anyone see a VERY strong and well aimed bolt holing the skin? Purely a hypothetical question only, but if I wonder it, others must also.

tom775257 1st Jun 2009 15:31

To clarify the post above from Xeque, hand flying an Airbus fly by wire at high altitude is very easy in normal law, the loss of an autopilot is of no concern.

PyroTek 1st Jun 2009 15:33

Air France's statement says it was a lightning strike, you would expect them to know wouldn't you?

A spokesman for Air France has speculated that the aircraft may have been struck by lightning
is what I read, correct me if I'm wrong, but how is a spokesperson supposed to point out facts from where he/she is located at the moment?
"may" does not mean it is fact.

I didn't come onto this thread to argue about technicalities in what I'm saying.

scrunchthecat 1st Jun 2009 15:34

French Sources Say Lightning Was the Probable Cause
From 20Minutes:
Disparition d'un avion Air France: «aucun espoir», le PDG évoque l'hypothèse de la foudre sur 20minutes.fr

Selon Air France, la foudre pourrait être à l'origine de l'accident...

En milieu de journée, le directeur de la communication d’Air France a déclaré que l’hypothèse la plus vraisemblable était que l’avion ait été «foudroyé». L'avion avait subi un contrôle technique sans problème le 7 avril.

According to Air France, lightning could be at the root of the accident.

The communications director of Air France declared that the most likely cause of the crash was that the plane had been "blasted" (by lightning) in the middle of the flight.

grimmrad 1st Jun 2009 15:35

electrical failure
Disclaimer: Not an expert nor pilot

If there were a fatal and total electrical failure - than the system certainly would not have been able to send out a message about it, at least not at that time, would it? As this requires some sort of amps/voltage...?

grizzled 1st Jun 2009 15:36

I will not speculate on this accident. What I will say to those who comment about, or ask about, the "black boxes"is this: The recorders will be found and retrieved, and it will not be by "a miracle". The cause will most likely eventually be established, reported on, and accepted by most experts.

Carbon Bootprint 1st Jun 2009 15:38

Loss of AP is one thing, but what of loss of electrics altogether? I've heard A320 pilots refer to it as "Sparky" because if electrics are lost, it becomes a lawn dart. I'm interested to know, how might the A330 compare in this occurrence?

dead_pan 1st Jun 2009 15:41

The recorders will be found and retrieved
There's some pretty deep water out there so I'm not so confident. Also, the wreckage could be scattered over a huge area if it did break up at altitude. It will also take several days for the search teams to reach the area.

pax britanica 1st Jun 2009 15:45

Very distressing incident and one that I am sure will be hard to pin down the causes of any time soon.
As to the recovery of Data and Voice recorders and parts of airframe and engines then in addition to the oil industry vessels there are ships that maintain/repair undersea communications cables that carry the internet around the world.These vessels have remote controlled submersible vehicles and can lift modest weights from very great depths as the cables lie on the ocean floor. They are also pretty good at locating objects on the sea bed as the cables are only an inch or so thick but of course they would need a reasonable prediction of location so as to limit the searc area to practical dimensions. Unfortuneately even if there is aposition report in the last ACARS message if thatwas sent at cruising level then the radius of probaility as to where the aircraft hit the water is pretty large and compounded by currents and water densities which mean that something entering the seas surface does not sink verticaly downwards very often so it will be a real challnge to locate any wreckage but not impossible.

Location and salvage/recovery will be a very expensive and time consuming exercise but I would hope and indeed expect that it will be seen as a critical activity in order to avoid future incidents, maintain confidence in what seems a very sound design as well as to learn as much as possible from whatever specific causal factors are associated with this accident

Bruce Wayne 1st Jun 2009 15:46

how does a plane get certified if it can't handle control inputs required for recovery
it doesnt.

dns 1st Jun 2009 15:50

It seems odd that no ELT transmission has been received from the missing jet. Unless of course it's at the bottom of the ocean.

Surely some control surfaces are locked out during the cruise to prevent excessive movement at high speed?

Lost in Saigon 1st Jun 2009 15:55

Originally Posted by Feathers McGraw (Post 4966256)

Air France's statement says it was a lightning strike, you would expect them to know wouldn't you?

The Air France statement about a lightning strike was at best speculation only. Poorly formulated and very misleading speculation.

The facts are that the aircraft's automatic ACARS (Aircraft Communication Addressing and Reporting System) simply sent out a random message giving some basic information on the status of some of the systems on board. It does this automatically.

Supposedly the electrical system and pressurization systems were suspect due to the ACARS message received. The fact that some "spokesman" is saying it was lightning based on this tiny shred of information leads me to discount any information given thus far.

Until we get more definitive information, that ACARS message could mean almost anything.

helen-damnation 1st Jun 2009 15:56

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 Americans were lifting Russian submarines from the Atlantic in 1974.
Glomar Explorer

Recovery efforts began on June 20, 1974. The 63,000-ton Glomar Explorer located the wreckage on the seabed at a depth of 17,000 feet (5,200 m).

It may take a lot of time but it will happen.

averow 1st Jun 2009 15:56

Atlantic radar coverage (in reply to post#9, stallpusher)
I have wondered this sort of thing myself. Perhaps I shall do some investigation and start a new thread on the tech forum. One would think with some of the newer technologies (spy sats, weather sats, ocean ship radar data, etc.) and information processing technologies available some data could be extracted, albeit perhaps retrospectively. :hmm:

jeedes 1st Jun 2009 15:59

SA295 went down off Mauritius in 1987 in waters up to 5,000m deep. There was a catastrophic fire on board resulting in severe break-up of the wreckage. Still, they managed to find the cockpit voice recorder. I suspect in this day and age they'll have no problem finding the recorders.

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