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AF447

Old 19th Aug 2009, 17:28
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Mr. Optimistic, I assume they're in so many words stressing the basic, classic, age-old extreme-turbulence technique: wings level, maintain attitude, disregard altitude, maintain the power you had going in (assuming you were at least intelligent enough to slow to maneuvering speed if you knew you were flying into turbulence).

Don't know what the equivalent of "maneuvering speed" would be for a swept-wing aircraft flying at, essentially, its weight-determined service ceiling...
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Old 19th Aug 2009, 18:42
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Scolding the pilot group about their level of skill is a political parry to shift exposure and responsibilty away from the cause of the issue. An attempt to shift the focus away from equipment to another key area of flight, training, for which EASA and AF are ultimately responsible as well. It is shameful the attempt was made, and may have backfired on the Manufacturer and Airline in any case. The pilot group doesn't train itself, it is the responsibility of the Airline to do it, and the regulator to oversee it. Bad form.
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Old 19th Aug 2009, 19:48
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^ Will, this is par for the course in my experience with accident investigations. The practice has led to more than a few botched/unsatisfactory final reports. It can be summed up in a six word sentence:

When in doubt, blame the crew.
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Old 20th Aug 2009, 02:20
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Aero Instruments probes

Can't lay a finger on it, but I recall seeing something about them being basically a knock-off of the Goodrich design- hence the similar part number. That they got certified a couple weeks ago seems like a lucky break for them, however.

Edit- the Boeing probes I'm familiar with at my outfit are Rosemount for the classic 74, the 744, and the 777-300ER. Rosemount was bought by Goodrich.
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Old 20th Aug 2009, 06:37
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Link to EASA SIB

Mr. Optimistic,

in answer to your query, I imagine the quote is referring to an Airbus Telex, which I do not have, and to EASA SIB 2009-17:
EASA Airworthiness Directives Publishing Tool

PBL
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Old 20th Aug 2009, 08:46
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Stepwilk & PBL

Thanks for the response. I assumed the link meant to address skills either in turbulence or with unreliable air speed data but it didn't say so directly. It reads as if basic skills need re-addressing but I presume that wasn't the intent, just careless wording. Would guess (as I am not a pilot) that there is a problem training for severe off-nominals (unexpected dynamics/attitude) as simulator software probably isn't validated for that sort of scenario. No point learning rubbish.
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Old 20th Aug 2009, 15:18
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The bigger picture is the investigation needs to account for ALL the data available, and to date that is somewhat thin, but surely does need to include the autopsy findings (grim as that indeed is).
I just heard on Fox Raido News the the search for the "black boxes" has been called canceled. So the information we and the investigators currently have is likely all we will ever get.
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Old 20th Aug 2009, 15:49
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ghlcarl

That is presumably the end of what BEA calls the "second phase", which was indeed forecast to end around these days. Previously released info includes the mention of a consecutive "third phase", the one to which Airbus would contribute financially. So, not all hope (and with that expectation) is gone. It is just a matter of time.
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Old 20th Aug 2009, 16:01
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La deuxième phase des opérations de recherches sous-marines des enregistreurs de l’Airbus A330 d'Air France accidenté le 1er juin entre Rio et Paris vient de s’achever, a annoncé aujourd'hui le Bureau d'Enquêtes et d'Analyses (BEA), chargé de l'enquête technique.

"Les recherches n’ayant pas permis de localiser l’épave de l’avion, le BEA réunira au cours des prochaines semaines une équipe internationale d’enquêteurs et de spécialistes pour exploiter les données rassemblées dans la perspective d’une troisième phase de recherches et déterminer les modalités et les moyens de celle-ci", écrivent les enquêteurs.

Une première phase de recherches acoustiques avait cessé le 10 juillet, lorsque les balises des boîtes noires avaient a priori cessé d'émettre.
AFP 20/08/2009 | Mise à jour : 15:07

The second phase was the side-scan sonar sweep, which looks to have yielded nothing. The second phase was to take four to six weeks, and took about four. Not sure what they can do now.
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Old 20th Aug 2009, 16:30
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pax2908, the BEA did earlier lay out the grids for the sonar search, with a search radius based on last position, and which extended beyond the radius to cover areas north and west of the presumed track. Apparently, the sonar found nothing. This may be a consequence of the subsurface terrain which is very mountainous, and I suppose it is possible the wreckage fell into a crevasse, or is undetectable by sonar because rock features are blocking the signal.
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Old 20th Aug 2009, 18:34
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pax2908, BEA has now posted on its website:

Communiqué de presse diffusé le 20 août 2009 :

La deuxième phase des opérations de recherches sous-marines des enregistreurs de l’Airbus A 330 accidenté le 1er juin 2009 vient de s’achever. Le Pourquoi pas ? est attendu aujourd’hui à Dakar.

Les travaux, effectués avec l’assistance de l’IFREMER et du SHOM, ont permis de compléter l’exploration de la zone de recherche qui avait été déterminée après l’accident, un cercle d’un rayon de 75 km centré sur le dernier message de position transmis à 2h10 par l’avion. Une bathymétrie des fonds a aussi été effectuée dans un périmètre élargi.

Les recherches n’ayant pas permis de localiser l’épave de l’avion, le BEA réunira au cours des prochaines semaines une équipe internationale d’enquêteurs et de spécialistes pour exploiter les données rassemblées dans la perspective d’une troisième phase de recherches et déterminer les modalités et les moyens de celle-ci.
The bold is mine.

See pdf p. 47 for search grids as planned in July.
http://www.bea.aero/docspa/2009/f-cp...cp090601e1.pdf

See pdf p. 12 of this document for subsurface terrain. The further west of the track, the more mountainous.
http://www.bea.aero/fr/enquetes/vol....hes.en.mer.pdf

IMO, there is little hope now of recovering either of the boxes. The main wreckage possibly can only be located by having a submersible search the contours of the ocean floor looking for it. I have no idea how long that would take, given the terrain, nor do I know the practicality of doing such a search over a lengthy period.
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Old 20th Aug 2009, 20:00
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Back during the height of the cold war, there were extensive listening networks in the oceans owned by the US and Soviets that were capable of localizing unique sound signatures with a pretty high degree of accuracy. As I recall, the wreckage of the USS Scorpion was found in this manner.
In the post cold war era, I have no guess if any of these networks are still operating and able to yield usable data. I would hope that the French government has at least asked for a tip off where to look. This kind of information would not be disclosed without approvals at very high levels, and it may no longer be available due to cost cutting measures.
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Old 20th Aug 2009, 20:52
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petemcleland, it seems the BEA already paid attention to the pre-preliminary reports they had from their own people who collected bodies. They were in good shape, in the sense of not chopped up or otherwise visibly externally injured beyond being obviously dead. A high altitude breakup would leave at least some of the recovered bodies rather cut and injured by flying debris.

Furthermore the BEA is not obligated to share its data, particularly medical data, with the public nor, according to my understanding, provide daily reports for the edification of impatient members of the public. They have a job to do that is best done without needless distractions.

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Old 20th Aug 2009, 21:04
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From the BEA site (English section) :


Press release 20 August 2009

Flight AF 447 on 1st June 2009

A 330 – 200, registered F-GZCP
The second phase of the undersea search operations for the flight recorders from the Airbus A 330 that disappeared on 1st June 2009 has just been completed. The Pourquoi pas? is expected at Dakar today.

The work, undertaken with the assistance of IFREMER and SHOM, allowed completion of the exploration of the search area that had been defined after the accident, a circle with a radius of 75 km centred on the last position message transmitted by the airplane at 2h10. Bathymetry of the ocean floor was also performed over a wider perimeter.

As the searches did not make it possible to locate the airplane wreckage, the BEA will gather together a team of international investigators in the next few weeks to analyze the data collected with a view to a third search phase and to determine the requirements and means to undertake this.

From the AP site:

News from The Associated Press
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Old 20th Aug 2009, 23:44
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Machinbird: sonar monitoring networks

I understand that fixed sonar networks were concentrated through the Greenland-Iceland-UK gap in the North Atlantic. It's a long way from there to the ITCZ. Moreover, the networks were operated to pick out and track long-duration machinery noise. The detection of the single, uncertain sound of an impact on the surface of the sea, in a noisy stormy region, even before considering the complex propagation of the sound far through the ocean, looks like a tough problem.

I hope that such avenues have been tried, but I am very pessimistic.

I guess the lack of volunteered information also means that no ship-borne sonars or radars detected AF447 either.

Maybe radar or radio signals from the descending AF447 could be lurking in someone's signals intelligence data, or a space-borne radar might have caught its descent, but I'm not sure that any cognizant agencies would be looking at the tropical Atlantic.
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Old 21st Aug 2009, 06:50
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Search called off

CNN reported that the search for the data recorders has been called off. So what will be the next course of action to determine what happened?
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Old 21st Aug 2009, 08:29
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In response to replies 4291 and 4292.

Even in the aircraft (or at least it's mayor components) was intact at impact as the preliminary analysis of the BEA let to believe, it will most likely have broken into pieces at impact. Even if such a piece could be some 20 m long, it is still very difficult to find.

Immagine a surface of the size and shape of the 'Haute Savoie' (that's where the Mont Blanc is) with every mountain being quite similarly high like the Mont Blanc, some 2 km of water on top of that and the necessity to sweep through every single valley to find something, provided the something is not hidden by an obstruction like an overhang or similar.

In an unpopulated region such a search over normal land can already yield into the complete loss of an aircraft only to be found by very lucky circumstances. Water just maked the whole thing 100 times more difficult.
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Old 21st Aug 2009, 13:11
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"CNN reported that the search for the data recorders has been called off. So what will be the next course of action to determine what happened?"

It's my impression that that's a MSM oversimplification. An article I read a couple of days ago in either the NYTimes or the WSJ said that the investigation board is pulling together a variety of information to determine where to now begin looking further, though yes, they have decided that the area already searched is finished, and that Airbus Industrie have pledged further cooperation with such a search.
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Old 21st Aug 2009, 13:56
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stepwilk, the search had three phases. The first was the attempt to locate the black boxes using the pingers to find them. That phase ended after the expected 30 day battery life of the pingers expired (actually I think they searched a short period beyond the 30 day life).

The second phase, now completed, was to survey the sea floor using side- scan sonar in the hope of detecting larger sections of the wreckage. If the sonar had detected such, then a submersible would photograph the area. This survey failed to detect any wreckage.

The third phase was originally to conduct submersible operations to photograph and potentially retrieve parts of the wreckage, most specifically, the black boxes if these were located.

With phases one and two yielding nothing, the original purpose for phase three is annulled. The BEA will now assess what steps might be feasibly taken to locate the wreckage on the sea floor. Any further survey effort will likely cover much of the area previously surveyed in phase two. In effect, phase three now becomes yet another search.
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Old 21st Aug 2009, 23:59
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From
The Associated Press: French end search for Flight 447 black boxes

The French accident investigation agency, known as the BEA, said in a statement that the research ship leading the hunt for the plane's flight recorders had left the site, more than 900 miles (1,450 kilometers) off Brazil's northeastern coast. The ship, the Pourquoi Pas, was to arrive Thursday in Dakar, Senegal.
The statement said the second phase of search efforts, focusing on the underwater hunt for debris and the black boxes, "has finished." Investigators and experts will gather in the coming weeks to determine whether to launch a third phase.
"We have not found the wreckage, we have not found the recorders," said BEA spokeswoman Martine del Bono.
She said the BEA will gather a team of about 10 specialists from several countries including Brazil, France, the United States and Germany, to study the data gathered from the second phase and decide what a third search phase would cost and require.
She gave no estimate on when an eventual third mission might begin.
The investigation "is far from finished," she said. "We must find" the black boxes, she added.
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