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AF447

Old 5th Oct 2009, 06:20
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Air France crash 'could have been avoided'
The recent Air France crash over the Atlantic could have been avoided if the crew had access to more recent weather maps, an investigation by two of the airline's senior pilots has concluded.

Air France crash 'could have been avoided' - Telegraph

By Henry Samuel in Paris
Published: 6:03PM BST 04 Oct 2009

The pilots of Flight 447, which crashed off the coast of Brazil on June 1, killing 288 people, would almost certainly have steered round storm clouds clearly visible on satellite maps available shortly before take-off, according to the Air France pilot's union, Spaf – whose president co-wrote the report.
Instead, they plotted their route using a map based on data compiled 24 hours before take off. At that stage, the coast looked relatively clear. It was only later that dangerous clouds gathered in the zone the Airbus A330 went down. A calmer route was possible further west.
"All means should have been given to the crew to avoid entering such a zone," the report suggests. Air France has insisted they had respected all weather procedures and other companies took the same flight path.
Although weather was a factor, the report squarely blames defective air speed sensors for the crash. This contradicts the findings of the French agency leading the investigation, the BEA, which has said that such "pitot probes" were a factor, but not the leading cause of the disaster.
The report criticises Airbus, Air France, civil aviation authorities and the European Aviation Safety Agency among others for underestimating the problems with the sensors.
It argues that all of them knew of problems with the pitot tubes over the past 14 years and that, had they moved to correct them, the crash "would have probably been avoided", in extracts published by the newspaper Le Journal du Dimanche.
"Such an event cannot be reduced to a single cause," said Gerard Arnoux, president of the Spaf union.
"But there is an unchallengeable truth that we must insist on: without the breakdown of the pitot tubes, the accident wouldn't have happened," Mr Arnoux told the newspaper.
The report, which will be sent to BEA investigators this week, also concludes that Airbus' recommended emergency manoeuvres were "at best confusing, at worst dangerous". At the time of the crash, Airbus recommended increasing thrust if air sensors failed. The report said at high altitude, this can send the plane into free fall.
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Old 5th Oct 2009, 08:39
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Snippet from Novosti Item on Pitot Failures

Only 51 bodies were recovered from the crash site off Brazil's northeast coast in Atlantic. Autopsies carried out by Brazilian experts said the injuries suggest that the plane broke up in the air. Meanwhile, Brazil has failed to provide France with the autopsy reports due to lengthy legal procedures.

Pasted from <Air France pilots claim speed sensors caused A330 crash in June | Top Russian news and analysis online | 'RIA Novosti' newswire>
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Old 5th Oct 2009, 13:40
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Duck pitot's can kill you ...and then it will be up to the manufacturers of the pitots, the a/c and the airline to prove the pilots were at fault...and they generally do, especially when there is no longer a right of reply

Last edited by VR-HFX; 6th Oct 2009 at 00:57.
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Old 5th Oct 2009, 13:46
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What is the Telegraph article suggesting? I'm quite sure the crew was aware they would pass through the ITCZ which inevitably brings CB and TCU into the game, no matter what the chart says. WXR overlay on and dodge the yellows, reds and magentas - isn't that the regular game when crossing the equator (or more accurately he ITCZ)? What is the deal with the extended search, are they still looking for whatever evidence they can find?
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Old 5th Oct 2009, 22:53
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BEA replies to SPAF on AF447 flight accident

Avionews

Quote: BEA is planning to publish a further interim report before the end of the year.
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Old 6th Oct 2009, 00:35
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PJ2
 
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VR-HFX;
pitot's will kill you all
At the risk of resurrecting old themes in this thread, pitots (loss of), in and of themselves will NOT kill you.

It is the response to loss of pitot or static information which can either keep you alive or kill.

Since the Birgenair and Aeroperu B757 accidents, it is standard for QRHs to have Unreliable Airspeed memory items and drills to cope with this loss. Aircraft with GPS have an added advantage but GPS is not necessary to survive such a loss of data.

As long as the QRH memory items and follow-up drills are followed and cockpit discipline is maintained and leadership executed, (someone flying, someone reading/doing/supporting), there is a very good chance that neither the failure nor the outcome will be a serious one and will instead provide time to sort out the failure. I have had such a failure, (B767, captain's pitot, dark winter night over the mountains, turbulent, low departure vis precluding a return) and at the time we had no drill but sorted out who was correct and flew pitch and power and the reliable data until descending into warmer air at destination.

I fully acknowledge the challenging environment in which the AF447 crew may have found themselves. Cascading failures in any aircraft, due to loss of flight information, is extremely challenging, made much worse by moderate or heavier turbulence, a dark, moonless night, surprise, system warnings and perhaps calls from the back.

Loss of control does not follow from loss of pitot information, however.

To me, the SPAF "report" may be more of a legal and strategic "placeholder", perhaps wisely placed, perhaps not - we will see. Regardless, it is impossible to state what the crew did or did not do at this point of the investigation and so nothing may be said about their performance or response until more is known. While it is trite to say it, the desperate need for answers does not provide answers.
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Old 6th Oct 2009, 12:23
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Originally Posted by VR-HFX - post #4498
I thought I posted a note saying that I saw a French newspaper this morning blaming the pilots.
Which is it?

What is a
Duck pitot
anyway?
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Old 6th Oct 2009, 17:25
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BOAC

I think poster meant 'duff' (fubar to yanks).

Duck works though.
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Old 6th Oct 2009, 18:20
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FWIW, I think he was addressing the mod', "Duck", and didn't put in the comma...no big thing.
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Old 6th Oct 2009, 18:38
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Originally Posted by PJ2
Loss of control does not follow from loss of pitot information, however
I don't know how you can affirm that ...
Just curious, how many times did you train for that specific malfunction ... at cruise FL ?
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Old 6th Oct 2009, 18:57
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Thumbs up

PJ2 is right - one thing doesn't necessarily follow from another, even if you get erratic speed and altitude information that doesn't mean the aircraft will spiral out of control instantly if you are able to fly pitch and power?! Naturally the media will try to find the easiest solution to the mystery, but as we all know there is never a single cause for a disaster, but the famous chain of errors leading to one...
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Old 15th Oct 2009, 14:58
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Originally Posted by STBYRUD
PJ2 is right - one thing doesn't necessarily follow from another, even if you get erratic speed and altitude information that doesn't mean the aircraft will spiral out of control instantly if you are able to fly pitch and power?!
You are correct, but one loss of pitot information, or even worse, one false pitot information, may well lead to a loss of control, especially when the malfunctions are not trained at high altitude in the flight simulators.
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Old 16th Oct 2009, 01:04
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Hazardous .....

Hi,

In 2007, EASA has described the risk of blocking probes pitot "at least hazardous" I remember the definition, according to EASA, from "hazardous"



CS-25 BOOK 2 page 2-F-7

(4) Hazardous: Failure Conditions, Which would Reduce the capability of the airplane or the ability of the crew to cope with adverse operating, conditions to the extent that there would be:

(i) A large reduction in safety margins or functional capabilities

(ii) Physical distress or excessive workload such that the flight crew can not be relied upon to perform their tasks accurately or completely

(iii) Serious or fatal injury to a relatively small number of the occupants other than the flight crew
Les dossiers noirs du transport aérien
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Old 16th Oct 2009, 18:59
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Brazil gives France data from doomed Air France flight

At last...

Brazil gives France data from doomed Air France flight
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Old 17th Oct 2009, 03:27
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I think it is worth translating your link jcjeant.
Les dossiers noirs du transport aérien

Complexity

The blockage of the Pitot probes is a defect (not a failure) linked to the architecture of these probes and their obsolete certification standards. After the drama of flight AF 447, Airbus, EASA and all others have reminded pilots that in the case of inconsistency in the airspeed indications, they must follow procedures QRH 2.21 thru 2.23b, FCOM 3.02.34. This gives a false idea of the complexity of the problem. In fact, induced failures which succeed in cascade lead to the execution of 9 ECAM procedures (screen), 1 QRH procedure (check list) and 2 paper procedures (Annex 5 of the BEA report). This is not a simulator session and this kind of event does not always happen during a smooth flight in a blue sky. As Murphy would say, it can also happen during the crossing of an active ITCZ (inter tropical convergence zone), in turbulence, during CB avoidance manoeuvres. From memory, the PF will apply CLB thrust and 5 degrees up of attitude, approximate values that will be corrected on page 4 of the procedure in question if we are lucky to get that far, while the Christmas tree lights (alarms in all types) accompanied by the sweet music of different horns. To make it, there may be also a false STALL alarm, which must be obeyed by following the instructions in force, a not so comfortable situation but dealt at Air France by a complementary abnormal procedure that will require additional feverish research. Previously, the average pilot, who is neither a test driver or Buck Danny, will have, in an extremely busy working "atmosphere", applied max thrust and an forward pressure on the side stick. How, in this "atmosphere" to distinguish between buffeting and turbulence? To the complexity of the systems, you add the complexity of the procedures!
It is very easy to leave the flight envelop in these conditions ...

(This is not the scenario in the final minutes of flight AF447. No one knows what happened)
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Old 17th Oct 2009, 23:29
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Thanks for the translation.

Any idea what organization or who wrote it?

To me it's an adquate justification for the proposed airworthiness directive to bring the aircraft back into compliance under the Contuned Airworthiness norms.

My interpretation of this is that the initial design certication usinig historical norms would have treated the Pitots malfunction as a defect presumably accomodated by procedures and the use of other systems to control the aircraft.

The "What-if" scenario based on other similar pitot malfunctions now raises the issue that it should no longer be treated as a "defect", easily accomodated, in all likely scenarios thus requiring a more robust/reliable accomodation (unique pilot training?) or a decrease in the liklihood of the combinations.
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Old 18th Oct 2009, 02:30
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He must be Henri Marnet-Cornus, former fighter and airline pilot.
His latest assignment was on the A340.
He is involved in aviation safety, has written two books on the subject and is the editor of that blog.
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Old 18th Oct 2009, 03:09
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Hi,

AFAIK Mr Henri Marnet-Cornus (former pilot of Air Liberté) is part of the team (with Mr Arnoux ... chairman of the S.P.A.F "Syndicat Des Pilotes D'Air France"
SPAF :: Syndicat des pilotes d'Air France :: SPAF - actualite) of pilots involved there:

Air France pilots claim speed sensors caused A330 crash in June | Top Russian news and analysis online | 'RIA Novosti' newswire
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Old 19th Oct 2009, 21:43
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It seems that a riot is starting with AF (true) professional pilots:

PETITION POUR UN VERITABLE AUDIT EXTERNE (auditexterneaf)

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Old 25th Oct 2009, 15:29
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This from AirWise today.

A US lawyer filed suit against Airbus and many aerospace suppliers on Monday seeking unspecified compensation on behalf of relatives of eight of the 228 passengers who died when an Air France flight crashed off the coast of Brazil in June.
Details: Airbus, Others Sued In US Over Crash Off Brazil
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