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AF447

Old 15th Jun 2009, 13:50
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Dave Gittins, I replied to you recommending that you read this story, which will do a lot to bring you up to date:-

Air France crash: What is known so far | csmonitor.com

For some reason my post was deleted. Maybe because I went on to make some further points. So I'll leave it at that.

Just 'click,' mate........
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Old 15th Jun 2009, 14:13
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The Human element

As nothing more than a curious member of the SLF, I've obviously not posted my groundless theories on what could have happened, preferring to read the myriad of alternatives offered on here, and keeping an open mind given that it's obvious that there is still insufficient evidence to identify the cause of this crash.

But one thing I would like to say, having been in the IT field in a variety of positions over the years, is that you cannot underestimate the risk of human error, or at least limitations in putting together the millions of line of code required to automate something as complex as flight.

I remain of the opinion that, irrespective of the causes of this accident, I would still rather an experienced pilot have a piece of wire or hydraulics controlling the various surfaces under unusual conditions than having one or more computers trying to work it out.

Artificial intelligence still does not - and probably will not for decades to come, unless there is a magnificent leap in technology - mirror the ability of the human brain to eschew logic and do what thousands of hours of flying, and experience of abnormal circumstances allow, which is, for want of a better word, THINK.


Best wishes to all, and the efforts of you chaps up the front are always greatly appreciated.
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Old 15th Jun 2009, 14:23
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Paris based AXA led the coverage brokered by London based JLT Aerospace inc. Other insurers American International Group (12.5% of the coverage but loss capped at 21 million). AIG Munich..

The hull was valued at $100 million. It is too early to speculate on the likely size of the liability loss because those payments vary widely depending of the personal details of the victims such as earning potential and dependants, and which country takes the case. That could be complicated the plane was owned cby Air France, built by European consortium Airbus with parts supplied from around the world, and crashed in international waters with passengers from residents of 32 countries.

If the Air France loss proves to be very significant then it could put upward pressure on premiums.

Airlines must pay $25000 to family victims to cover immediate economic needs within 15 days of identifying appropriate recipients.

The average liability for for aviation deaths in the US is 1.5 to 2 million and about $150k outside the US.

Liability figures are based in part on passenger numbers carried. (projected passenger demand falling 8% this year)

Before AF there had been $706 million in airline losses this year.

Source: Business Insurance Z Philips
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Old 15th Jun 2009, 14:35
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with a world annual airline premium of about $1.6bn, less reinsurance costs etc, meaning potentially with this loss the insurance market has just about hit "claims = premium" with another 6 months of the year to go...not good news in general for airlines. The market has been trying to increase premiums for a couple of years and this loss is quite possibly the one to turn the rates upwards just when airlines have no money.
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Old 15th Jun 2009, 14:36
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"I remain of the opinion that, irrespective of the causes of this accident, I would still rather an experienced pilot have a piece of wire or hydraulics controlling the various surfaces under unusual conditions than having one or more computers trying to work it out.

"Artificial intelligence still does not - and probably will not for decades to come, unless there is a magnificent leap in technology - mirror the ability of the human brain to eschew logic and do what thousands of hours of flying, and experience of abnormal circumstances allow, which is, for want of a better word, THINK."
Truly great comment, IMO, Desertia.

Can't help it, but whenever the subject of computerised flying controls comes up it puts me in mind of a programmer who has never learned to ride a bike trying to program one that would work automatically.

One can imagine the programmer saying to his cyclist adviser, "About turns, I'm not clear about them yet. If someone wants to turn, do they turn the handlebars first, or lean over first........?"

Flying has always been a mixture of art and science. Ever since 1903......

No way you can boil the whole thing down to a mere computer program. Not in ALL possible situations, anyway.
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Old 15th Jun 2009, 14:54
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I would say at least two of your assumptions are incorrect.


Originally Posted by Dave Gittins
Without good news reports in this part of the world and having tried to wade through 80 pages of the thread with intermittent success, is it fair to say the position is :

The AF447, an A 330, departed from the cruise at FL350 without any radio calls.
There is no way to confirm this without the CVR. They may have made calls that no one heard.


It appears to have suffered an inflight break up or at least a partial break up which made it uncontrollable.
Up to this point in time, there is no real evidence of an inflight breakup. They could have impacted the water intact. The aircraft could have broken up during a planned ditching. There have been lots of possible explanations for the spread of debris and bodies

Last edited by Lost in Saigon; 15th Jun 2009 at 15:05.
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Old 15th Jun 2009, 15:19
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Can't help it, but whenever the subject of computerised flying controls comes up it puts me in mind of a programmer who has never learned to ride a bike trying to program one that would work automatically.

One can imagine the programmer saying to his cyclist adviser, "About turns, I'm not clear about them yet. If someone wants to turn, do they turn the handlebars first, or lean over first........?"

Flying has always been a mixture of art and science. Ever since 1903......
Truly brilliant!
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Old 15th Jun 2009, 15:19
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Originally Posted by RWA
Dave Gittins, I replied to you recommending that you read this story, which will do a lot to bring you up to date:-

Air France crash: What is known so far | csmonitor.com

For some reason my post was deleted. Maybe because I went on to make some further points. So I'll leave it at that.

Just 'click,' mate........
Your post was probably deleted because the article you link to is almost pure speculation. Not "Known Facts".


Example:

The plane itself also offers potentially telltale clues: The last of the airplane computer's messages reported that cabin pressure, usually maintained at an equivalent to an elevation of 10,000 feet, was dropping at a rate of 1,800 feet per minute.

Cabin pressure had been lost and one obvious cause could be that the plane was falling apart.
There is no proof cabin pressure had been lost.

An aircraft doing an unplanned emergency descent, or even a planned ditching, could quite conceivably experience a cabin rate of descent of 1800 feet per minute at some point in the flight.

I would expect that an aircraft cabin in a free-fall descent (after "falling apart") would descend at something closer to 18,000 feet per minute. Not 1,800 feet per minute as stated.
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Old 15th Jun 2009, 15:22
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Lost in Saigon

Up to this point in time, there is no real evidence of an inflight breakup. They could have impacted the water intact. The aircraft could have broken up during a planned ditching. There have been lots of possible explanations for the spread of debris and bodies
.
There is... see below.. Rosy coloured teeth
.
What the bodies say
Some of this info is new.. Passengers unconscious due to decompression.
Aircraft hit the sea probably in a near horizontal attitude.
I am taking this information from a local magzine called Veja dated 17 June (but available for sale today), page 69.. It is a top quality magazine and has the best analyses etc I have seen on this accident.
Summarizing because I ( and others) have already posted some details here
1 There are no burns etc (no bomb/explosion/fire) and the bone structures are basicaly preserved.. means the plane did not fully disintegrate in the air and/or at least the part where they were sititng arrived at the ocean relatively intact
2 What the doctors here call "4 fractures" upper parts of arms and legs ( 4 parts) broken.. This happens with accidents in which aircraft hit the sea with passengers sitting in their seats
3 Rosy (coloured) teeth. this symptom means the passengers were subjected to decompression , sudden exposure to rarified air and -56 degrees, they lost consciousness quickly before dying (all bodies rescued to date)
4 Clothes and documents, many of the bodies (but not all) had their clothes relatively intact, with documents and boarding passes. This means a good part of the part of the cabin where they were seated hit the sea relatively intact
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Old 15th Jun 2009, 15:26
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Sudden decompression does not have to mean inflight breakup.

Still, it is possible that there was an inflight breakup. But it can not be called a "Known Fact"
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Old 15th Jun 2009, 15:27
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Desertia -
.....one thing I would like to say, having been in the IT field in a variety of positions over the years, is that you cannot underestimate the risk of human error, or at least limitations in putting together the millions of line of code required to automate something as complex as flight.
I remain of the opinion that, irrespective of the causes of this accident, I would still rather an experienced pilot have a piece of wire or hydraulics controlling the various surfaces under unusual conditions than having one or more computers trying to work it out.
Artificial intelligence still does not - and probably will not for decades to come, unless there is a magnificent leap in technology - mirror the ability of the human brain to eschew logic and do what thousands of hours of flying, and experience of abnormal circumstances allow, which is, for want of a better word, THINK.
Very well put and, I'm sure there are countless pilots that feel the same way. I for one. Once again, I fear computers have played a part in a tragedy.
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Old 15th Jun 2009, 15:32
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I am grateful for being put straight about my assumptions.

My question was whether those assumptions about known facts (or at least things with a high probability as alternatives) were correct.

I suppose it is fair to say that only time will tell what assumptions are actually correct or not. Perhaps all we do know with certainty is that the holes in the swiss cheese lined up, but we do not as yet know which holes maybe not even which sort of cheese.

No investigation takes place without starting with facts and then making informed assuptions (either positive or negative) and then setting out to try and deduce whether any of the assumptions are valid.

I might for example make the assumption that a ditching was attempted (suggested by BOAC).

What I then need to establish is whether any facts fit or disprove that.

For example; was the wreckage in a localised area or spread over 10s of miles ? If it was in one place, was the recovered debris so disrupted as to indicate a very high speed impact ? or a slow speed ditching ? Were there indications of the angle at which the aeroplane hit the water ?

My original intention was not to presume, but having been out of the loop to determine what theories were current and seemed to have legs and which had already been discounted.

It seems that at present practically no assumption is safe simply because I have no idea which of the statements I have read is supported by verifiable facts yet.

Dave Gittins
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Old 15th Jun 2009, 15:54
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On the contrary - computers are much better at mathematics, trigonometry and other complex calculations at high speed, and they relieve the pilot of a lot of workload. Airbus Systems have all been well tested with multiple redundancies built in. Something else happened that made both automatic and manual control impossible.

Much speculation concerns the ACARS messages - but if there was a catastrophic failure some of the more informative fault reports may not have gotten through to the COM link or they may have been queued for transmission but never made it. We shouldn't assume that the faults transmitted were the principal faults that occurred. For instance if another unreported fault disrupted power to the pitot heating, then the latter problem would be a symptom and not a cause.
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Old 15th Jun 2009, 16:16
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"
For example; was the wreckage in a localised area or spread over 10s of miles ? If it was in one place, was the recovered debris so disrupted as to indicate a very high speed impact ? or a slow speed ditching ? Were there indications of the angle at which the aeroplane hit the water."

Dave, the evidence so far is that all bodies recovered so far have been in two distinct 'zones', at least 50nms. apart.

Of course, currents and winds can do extraordinary things - especially in mid-Atlantic. But the evidence so far indicates that the aeroplane broke in half at high altitude. Say a 75% probability.

Additionally, according to the pathologists, none of the dead recovered so far drowned. Nor had any of them inhaled smoke. Which tends largely to rule out the aeroplane crashing into the sea intact, and also any sort of bomb........

I tend to think that the pathologists are being a bit reticent. Not because of a cover-up, but out of consideration for the relatives. Ever since the Comet crashes in the 1950s, it's been known that there are two signs that 'shout' explosive decompression - skull fractures and 'all four' fractures - meaning both legs and both arms. No news on skulls yet, but the path. guys say plenty of 'all fours.'

To make my own position clear - I've always done 'bits' of all kinds of things. Like flying. But one thing I had to do for years (to my cost, in emotional terms) was to investigate fatal accidents in industry. Take my word for it, it's utterly harrowing.........

So all I hope and pray for (literally) is that 'they' find out what happened to AF447 in quick time.

Because I guess that all but the least imaginative among us realise that, as we stand, the exact same thing could happen again tomorrow.......
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Old 15th Jun 2009, 16:30
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I have been reading mostly all posts on Airliners and pprune about AF447 crash since the breaking news on 1st of June.
From day one, some media made their headlines with the title AF447 Mystery
Big Mystery; as pilot did not even give any sign of what went wrong or send a May Day (we all know that under some situation, crew has other priority before they send any sign of distress)
Two weeks after the crash it remains a mystery...
We get more clue, more information with the debris, bodies, ACARS messages, testimony of professionals including pilots who were following similar flight path on that night and of course TONS of assumptions.
We have been hearing weird and erroneous details from media (the best was the SMS and phone calls made by the passengers to their loved ones minutes before the crash...)
Investigation teams will obviously have more clue with the review of the debris and the bodies examination.
But as long as we do not find the FDR and VCR, we won't be able to know what actually happened over the Atlantic ocean that night
.
I am hoping that rescue team find it VERY SOON.
Every morning,the first thing I do is to turn on CNN to watch the headlines, go on airliners to know the latest, log on the Brazilian army web site to read the reports.
And we are a lot in this situation I guess...
Stop guessing, giving assumptions, criticize each others and medias and so on.
For sure, we will know the truth, it is just a matter of time. (Hopefully short...)
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Old 15th Jun 2009, 16:44
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Originally Posted by Dave Gittins
I might for example make the assumption that a ditching was attempted (suggested by BOAC).
Dave, so as NOT to get RWA too excited about his cs article, which has serious flaws as I posted (deleted) and PM'd (not deleted) and confirmed by Lost in Saigon, I should point out that I merely said, in #1599,
It is even possible (as far as I can ascertain) that it might even have attempted to ditch.
Not saying they did - or didn't, just pointing out that we do not know. Beware the somewhat goulish train of 'injury analysis' too - the jury is out on that one too.

Your last paragraph is a good comment.

MY personal opinion (which I detect is shared by many here) is that I have never known an aeroplane break up and then carry on for '50 or so' miles. Space Shuttle - yes. A330 I do not believe it is remotely possible.
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Old 15th Jun 2009, 16:45
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Originally Posted by Gringobr
There is... see below.. Rosy coloured teeth
Pink coloured teeth is a common feature found in corpses, and is particularly associated with corpses that have been exposed to water. It is often found in the bodies of people who have been strangled too.
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Old 15th Jun 2009, 17:16
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Hello,

I fear computers have played a part in a tragedy.
Sure they played their part ...
They just performed nicely the job for what they are designed.
When the job required (or informations given) go over their design or limits .. (due to fail safe limitations coded) they go out the game and give hand to the pilot(s)

Regards.
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Old 15th Jun 2009, 17:16
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@ RWA

A few pages back - it was invented to determine speed in water.
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Old 15th Jun 2009, 17:32
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About tubes

RWA :
it's actually called a 'pitot tube.' Invented by a French engineer called Henri Pitot about 1718. It's basically a 'Venturi tube' -
HMMmmm !That's a gem, if knew one !
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