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Old 8th Jun 2009, 10:55
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I just happened to run into this article. Not sure if it was posted yet.

Could this be pure coincidence considering the threats at EZEIZA?

Key Figures In Global Battle Against Illegal Arms Trade Lost In Air France Crash (from Sunday Herald)

Key figures in global battle against illegal arms trade lost in Air France crash
ARGENTINA: Argentine campaigner Pablo Dreyfus and Swiss colleague Ronald Dreyer battled South American arms and drug traffickingFrom Andrew McLeod

AMID THE media frenzy and speculation over the disappearance of Air France's ill-fated Flight 447, the loss of two of the world's most prominent figures in the war on the illegal arms trade and international drug trafficking has been virtually overlooked.

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Old 8th Jun 2009, 10:57
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I'm curious, do the most modern jets issue eye-catching alerts to the crew when the temperature changes significantly?

Thanks for the information. So you don't think I haven't flown much around the world, I can state I have flown across every line of longitude, as far north as Fairbanks and as far south as Perth. I just have never met the conditions you described after over 30 years of flying (US Navy, TWA, ATA, etc). I will say I have never operated in the South Atlantic area.
In all those years, did you typically operate at upper-altitude limits for weight and available power where this kind of thing would have automatically been a problem? If the oat did make a jump, would've you necessarily noticed?
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Old 8th Jun 2009, 10:59
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why no deviation

We might never know the answer for that.
All we know for fact:

-the plane left with max. certified TO weight
-the CAPT did not ask for additional fuel for deviations enroute. (that is from reports from a pilot who talked to the pilots before TO in Rio, posted somewhere here.) Maybe someone could do the math again, from the published flightplan and see, if the 68 t of fuel included something "for mum" or not.
-they flew close to their planned route right through the soup, while others in the vicinity did bigger deviations around it.

Last edited by Interflug; 8th Jun 2009 at 11:10.
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Old 8th Jun 2009, 11:00
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Guys, AirFrance is a very professional Airline, equipped with the latest aircraft and flight support. OK they insist on speaking French on the RT, but apart from that I have the highest confidence in the Operation, Training and Engineering.

They have literally 10s of thousands of Atlantic crossings. What we are looking at is a one off catastrophic event. In my mind there are two possibilities:-

1) Bomb

Would be interesting to see what France's Afghanistan deployment is. Air India is almost carbon copy of this accident.

2) Dangerous goods

Like the explosion on the SAA 747 last year, could cargo have caused damage to the airframe? or TWA800 fuel pumps? (4 hours into flight)
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Old 8th Jun 2009, 11:06
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Fortes = strong or severe

Anybody Speak French? Wanna confirm that the google translation is right?
I'm afraid "fortes turbulences" is just blurry terminology like "strong turbulences".
Found this on a French aviation website:
- CAT légère : 75% des cas
- CAT modérée : 15 à 20% des cas
- CAT sévère : 5 à 10% des cas
- CAT violente ou extrême : 1% des cas
I'm French and I concur : "fortes" might be translated by "strong" or relating to these CAT categories, by "severe".

Another question here : there is a whole thread on the french Website Eurocockpit about the first ACARS released by BEA apparently lacking any mention of PITOT probe failures. Now the "new" complete ACARS seems to mention these too.
An AF pilot received the transcript of the ACARS from AF maintenance :

"capricorn a écrit:Bonjour à tous
De retour de vol ce matin la maintenance m'a fourni la copie EXACTE (donc complète) des 24 messages ACARS de AF 447;
Sur la premiere ligne , a coté de on avait: ...
CQFD, les 3 pitots étaient HS"

Translation :
"Hi, everybody,
Back from last flight this morning, maintenance gave me the EXACT copy (hence complete) of the 24 ACARS messages from AF447 :
First line, beside F/CTL RUD TRVL LIMIT FAULT, it reads EFCS PROBE 1+2/2+3/1+3.
Meaning all 3 PITOT probe were OOO (out of order)."
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Old 8th Jun 2009, 11:18
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additional fuel for deviations enroute?

I suggest this topic is a red herring. He was probably carrying 3% of trip fuel as contingency, enough for 150nm.
If that wouldn't have been sufficient, he'd still deviate and worry about the fuel status later.

Last edited by Dysag; 8th Jun 2009 at 13:44.
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Old 8th Jun 2009, 11:24
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Would the fitting of a rad alt to all commercial aircraft provide a last fall back device should pitot/static input be lost or corrupted
For that you can use GPS altitude. It's also mentioned in the "unreliable airspeed / ADR check" procedure in the QRH:

– GPS ALTITUDE.................................................... .....Display on MCDU
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Old 8th Jun 2009, 11:27
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AF refered to the a/c hitting 'a zone of stormy weather with strong turbulence' but does not say where this info came from...

Press Releases

Paris, 01 June 2009 - 13:10 local time
Press release N° 2

Versão brasileira abaixo
Air France regrets to confirm the disappearance of flight AF 447 flying from Rio de Janeiro to Paris-Charles de Gaulle, scheduled to arrive at 11:10am local time today, as announced to the press by Air France CEO, Pierre-Henri Gourgeon.

The Airbus A330-200, registration F-GZCP, left Rio on 31 May at 7:03pm local time (12:03am in Paris).

The aircraft hit a zone of stormy weather with strong turbulence at 2am this morning (universal time), i.e. 4am in Paris. An automatic message was received from the aircraft at 2:14am (4 :14am in Paris) indicating a failure in the electric circuit a long way from the coast.

The Brazilian, African, Spanish and French air traffic control centres all tried to make contact with flight AF 447 but to no avail. The French military air traffic control centre tried to detect the aircraft but did not succeed.

216 passengers were on board: 126 men, 82 women, 7 children and one infant.

There were 12 flight crew members: 3 pilots and 9 flight attendants.

The flight captain had a record of 11,000 flight hours and had already flown 1,700 hours on Airbus A330/A340s.

Of the two first officers, one had flown 3,000 flight hours (800 of which on the Airbus A330/A340) and the other 6,600 (2,600 on the Airbus A330/A340).

The aircraft was powered by General Electric CF6-80E engines.

The aircraft had totalled 18,870 flight hours and went into service on 18 April 2005.
Its last maintenance check in the hangar took place on 16 April 2009.
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Old 8th Jun 2009, 11:29
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I'm afraid "fortes turbulences" is just blurry terminology like "strong turbulences".
Thanks Interflug and pals. So just more imprecise babble for the mindless drones who read newspapers. O.K, that didn't give us much. How about this: There has to be a PIREP in the system somewhere, right? I mean, AF doesn't keep reports like this to themselves do they? Can you guys who are reading this and desperately want to contribute, search the DUATs or AOPA or FAA or AV wx links and see if you can find a AF447 PIREP for the Atlantic on the day it happened?

Then we might have the actual turbulence intensity first reported. Maybe.

Good Night All.


To properly attribute, I found this on the first page of the thread from steamchicken:
For the record, the "speed" story in Le Monde says ONLY that Airbus and BEA are going to issue a bulletin today (4th June) that Airbus crew should maintain thrust - conserver la poussée des réacteurs - during difficult weather conditions - en cas de conditions météorologiques difficiles.

That's the first paragraph. Everything else in the story is Brazilian newspapers quoting each other reporting the same bloody ACARS sequence everyone reported days ago. They also say that Alternate Law is an emergency power supply. Further, they say that the various Brazilian papers involved have really good sources in AF.

Well, I'd be stunned if anyone had better sources in AF or indeed in any other big French seminationalised industry than Le Monde, which is after all a Gaullist postwar national project itself, and like most of them does a damn good job.

Last edited by Captain-Crunch; 8th Jun 2009 at 11:43.
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Old 8th Jun 2009, 11:44
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The pilot sends a message signalling that he is crossing....

Sorry if I did miss it, everybody is talking about the pilot's message at 2:00 but what substance is behind this?
What kind of message? spoken? written text?
What was the content? How was it transmitted? Who received it?

All I can find is Air France communique Nr. 2
Communiqués de presse
L’appareil a traversé une zone orageuse avec fortes turbulences à 2 heures du matin (heure universelle),

and the rest is "creative journalism" by Le Monde or what?

Last edited by Interflug; 8th Jun 2009 at 11:58.
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Old 8th Jun 2009, 12:08
  #591 (permalink)  
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Things With Wings

Because its in English and so succinct: 2002 CASA AD

The DGAC AD 2001-354(B) would have been production incorporated on the aircraft concerned, but there remains an inevitable question over the performance of A330 pitot probes in particular, and all other pitot probes used on aircraft in general. Are those "more stringent" requirements of 2002 stringent enough?

Last edited by Blacksheep; 8th Jun 2009 at 12:32.
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Old 8th Jun 2009, 12:13
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For all of those either attempting to show off their french skills or using online translators, you should know that there is a perfectly good english version of the "commniqués de presse" pages on AF.

This would answer many of the pointless postings about what AF meant when they used the word "fortes".

See here :
Press Releases

Whilst I am in rant mode, can I humbly suggest people please stop padding up this thread quoting unnecessary extracts from the media here .... most extracts are either repetitive or not telling us anything new. Afterall, most of what gets into the media comes from PPRune anyway.
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Old 8th Jun 2009, 12:22
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FE Hoppy,

Local MACH 1 = 38.94 x sqrt of SAT in deg absolute.
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Old 8th Jun 2009, 12:24
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In discussions about large temperature rises near thunderstorms, the process has been researched and documented at the very least in the report from 1992 on VH-JJP in Western Australia:

The aircraft was on a scheduled domestic passenger service flight from Karratha to Perth at Flight Level 310 (31,000 ft). As the aircraft entered cloud while diverting around a large thunderstorm, there was a sudden and significant rise in the outside air temperature. A short time later, all four engines progressively lost power and the aircraft was unable to maintain altitude. During the next 17 minutes, numerous attempts to restore engine power were made without success until, approaching 10,000 ft altitude, normal engine operation was regained.
Appendix 1 of the report contains the Meteorological research of the warm air outflow from the top of the thunderstorm which caused the event.
The report is here:
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Old 8th Jun 2009, 13:01
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"In all those years, did you typically operate at upper-altitude limits for weight and available power where this kind of thing would have automatically been a problem? If the oat did make a jump, would've you necessarily noticed?"

With the Atlantic crossings, we would go to where assigned and then ask for the highest (ride permitting) altitude we could handle based on the "Box" and a bit of common sense. As I said I have seen 3 and 4 degree changes but never 20 to 30. I do tend to glance down at SAT and TAT and, now in Saudi, ISA plus, especially at the first indication of a ripple.
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Old 8th Jun 2009, 13:04
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Have a look there guys:


Check the ATA 34-11/06
- In the sequence, you read 0210 which means 02:10Z
- Then you read 34111506 EFCS2 1, EFCS1, AFS ,,,,P
EFCS is the Electronic Flight Control System. 1 +2 in the present case which causes the Alternate Law 2 to come up
- The most interesting thing is the ",,,,,P" which means "Pitot". They lost all pitots at 02:10Z

Air France and Airbus knew from the beginning that the pitots were the source of the accident. This is the very first message in the time sequence. Air France and Airbus imagined the story of the thunderstorms for the media just to have some extra time to find a plausible cause of crash.

Considering Airbus recent message to operators asking flight crew not to forget Thrust-Attitude concept, it is absolutely scandalous! How do you want to maintain a safe attitude in IMC without PFD/ND and...without ISIS!
Once again, money is everyting and pilots are just considered as monkeys.

For a better understanding, you can also check the incident which occured at ACA (Air Caraibes Atlantique) on the F-OFDF (A330-200) in Sept 08.
The full report is unfornutaley in french but shows the same scenario: Atlantic crossing, severe icing, etc. The flight crew had to cope with a very difficult situation including a massive unreliable airspeed caused by pitot malfunction. After a meeting with Airbus engineers, Air Caraibes Atlantique took the safe decision to modify Thales pitots ref PN C16195AA by ref PN C16195BA (read pages 12 and 13).
Air France could have taken the same appropriate actions after many critical incidents which occured in less than 3 years (6 ASRs confirmed by Air France on the 6/11/08)

PS: Is there any Airbus driver who could translate the full report (from french to english) which is synonymous of dynamite for Airbus and Air France?

PPS: Check also
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Old 8th Jun 2009, 13:06
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We always check the radar on the taxiways before departure, especially in Sao Paulo and also to overcome the problem you wrote with the intensity knob.
For the advisory about cab press., I assume that's because in case of triple ADR fault, you lost CPC1+2, so you have to manually control the pressurisation, then it could a advisory about cab pressure rate because it's very difficult to adjust it when you decide to descent for example.
So for me there is no sign of rapid decompression.
In my last recurrent training, we had a double ADR fault and the flight instructor gave a third ADR fault just for fun, eventually we manage to land but it,s very tricky. The instructor told us after that we were in the group of survivors ( around 30 %), and we were not at FL350 and not in the middle of the ocean and CBs.
What i don't understand is why the PRIM1 and SEC1 disconnected, probably because of strong turbulence.
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Old 8th Jun 2009, 13:22
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I doubt the ISIS (3-in-1 Standby Instrument) was fully lost: only the Airspeed part as the Attitude is a separate electric gyro powered by the DC Essential or Hot Battery Bus. ISIS Altitude is raw data from the standby static vents (does not go through Air Data Modules) - While pitot icing is likely I feel it is unlikely that the static vents iced up too. So ISIS attitude and ALT should have been reasonable. At the very least ISIS Attitude should have been good
29 pages before some decent information on Airbus' standby instrument.Putting bomb/fire theories aside,they either:
a)encountered weather phenomenon that was beyond recovery
b)encountered recoverable weather phenomenon but didnt have the tools(attitude reference) to get out of it
c)encountered recoverable weather phenomenon,had attitude/N1 and GPS alt/GS to fly the unreliable airspeed procedure in theory,but failed to achieve it.Is the procedure feasible at max cruise alt?Its drawn up for climb phase(below/above FL 100) with 5 deg as initial target.Unreliable airspeed at max cruise alt,and you descend to improve margins!

Not enough discussion/focus(IMHO) on:
-ISIS;what did they have in the way of basic instrumentation.Can the ACARS messages give a defintive answer on this?
-both PFD's disabled?ACARS messages prove this?In the Adamair crash,the Captain killed everyone simply because he didnt hand over control to his First Officer who had reliable flight instrumentation.
-mechanical gyro versus laser gyro-
-standby instrumentation philosophy;independent,self-contained,standby inverter powered,integral lighting,"old-school" technology(simple mechanical gyro,no interface with ADM)..not one mechanical gyro installed on these high-tech aircraft including B777..does it break the KISS principle?Why not have a third mechanical gyro on center panel for triple redundancy?
-wx radar is woefully inadequate
-this obsession with modern pilots for climbing as high as they can, above opt alt,like its a game or badge of honor..I see it all the time.They set max alt-300/400' into the step clb box and say "We can get above this and save some fuel as well".In turbulence,you generally descend,unless you're already below opt alt(light) and/or PIREPS indicate climb is favorable.
-Interflug's discussion on weight has all but been ignored/dismissed..take off was at max weight..payload calculated on standard weights,not actual..assume overweight condition and treat FMC-generated opt alt with a degree of suspicion..mentally adjust by -1000 and take another 2000'(or more) off when turbulence is en-route.
-Diversion divert early on,dont climb above,once you take a decision dont back down,theres no shame in a fuel stop after diversion.

Last edited by Rananim; 9th Jun 2009 at 11:22.
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Old 8th Jun 2009, 13:23
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Dysag -
I suggest this topic is a red herring. He was probably carrying 3% of trip fuel as contingency, enough for 150nm.
We don't know that yet.

If that wouldn't have been enough, he'd still deviate and worry about the fuel status later.
I'm sorry, but there are "management-type" pilots, along with others, who would NOT. Not all pilots are as conservative as you (?) and I are/were.
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Old 8th Jun 2009, 13:25
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Reading the Australian BAE 146incident analysis of met conditions contributing to the cause of the engine rollbacks we have the Fohne effect at altitude. The same effect that caused a 15 deg temp rise in my garden in Bergamo, south of the Alps one December afternoon, within less than 30 mins.
The dynamic effect of the tropopause causing air to rapidly descend, with a modified moisture content, and now drier that the surrounding air mass and rapidly heating as it goes until it runs out of energy.
And I always thought hot air rises! God knows how I got my Siver C!
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