Go Back  PPRuNe Forums > Flight Deck Forums > Tech Log
Reload this Page >

AF447 wreckage found

Tech Log The very best in practical technical discussion on the web

AF447 wreckage found

Old 18th Aug 2011, 16:56
  #3041 (permalink)  
Join Date: May 2011
Location: Arizona
Posts: 7

Is it possible that AF447 was just the result of a clueless crew (I'm sure that were good guys, but their training was clearly inadequate; hence, a training issue) and 13 degrees nose-up THS (a design issue)?
canyonlight is offline  
Old 18th Aug 2011, 17:11
  #3042 (permalink)  
Join Date: Jun 2009
Location: VA, USA
Age: 54
Posts: 561
[Chart] shows that, at the time the THS started moving and the sudden climb commenced, the PF was applying relatively small movements, up or down - largely consistent, in my less-than-expert view, with an attempt to 'fly pitch and power.' However, the THS was already well on its way to 'full up.'
Where are you getting this fantasy from?

More importantly why?

According to the report and the controls 'chart' the THS does not move appreciably until some 45 seconds into the event, at which point the aircraft was at the apogee of the climb. The first 10 seconds of the event consist entirely of varying degrees of NU command. There's you climb... nothing to do with the THS.
GarageYears is offline  
Old 18th Aug 2011, 17:35
  #3043 (permalink)  
Join Date: Oct 2006
Location: Gone Flying...
Age: 59
Posts: 274
Safety C:
Therefore my point was merely that if as a group of professionals you are hell bent on the return of stick feedback, you need to find a different argument because going on about perceived automatics issues with AF447 or Habsheim or anywhere else won't help your cause.
(Pay attention to aircraft behavior at time 00:22)
I do know these guys personally and I have talked with both of them about the reason why they were bouncing wings...
This is (another case of ) two pilots "flying the bird at the same time"! No feed-back (and no Dual Input Warning, at that time). This wasn't an accident cause the Captain decided to Go-Around in due time.
But the situation persists. And if this wasn't an issue, Airbus would have never accepted to include the Dual Input Warning only some years ago, which is a huge step for such a proud organization...
What I can't understand is your incapacity to accept that there is margin for improvement...
If there wasn't margin for improvement, we would still be in the Stone Age...
aguadalte is offline  
Old 18th Aug 2011, 17:46
  #3044 (permalink)  
Join Date: Jul 2009
Location: France - mostly
Age: 80
Posts: 1,689
RE:: Lyman #3036

It all depends. Yes, as you say, pitch attitude in level flight and still air would have been about 2.5 degrees nose-up. At AP disconnect, pitch was zero and slowly increasing at about 0.6 deg/s. Also the power had been pulled back from 100%N1 in still air cruise to about 85%N1. A little while ago I explained that these conditions are consistent with the airplane maintaining speed and altitude in an updraft of about 1000 fpm. 'Doing nothing' would have maintained these conditions until a change in the environment. Let's suppose the airplane left the updraft and entered an area of still air. Leaving pitch and power unchanged, it would then descend at 1000 fpm at constant speed. To restore level flight, the pilot would have to pitch up to 2.5 degrees nose-up, and increase power to 100%N1. If entering a down-draft, a little more of both. I think that the transition from updraft to still air or downdraft would explain the 'delay' in the airplane starting to climb.

Last edited by HazelNuts39; 18th Aug 2011 at 19:25. Reason: clarify
HazelNuts39 is offline  
Old 18th Aug 2011, 22:45
  #3045 (permalink)  
Join Date: Jan 2008
Location: uk
Posts: 802
Originally Posted by ChristiaanJ View Post
Thanks, PJ2!
Sadly, it's just a pdf of a PowerPoint slideshow.... one can still hope for the full text of the presentation at the conference.
There's a bit more here: 20101536_SafetyFirst-11-Toconsult
and here: Stop Stalling | Flight Safety Foundation
still looks a bit like a report about a report though

The first few slides in that are in some ways the most worrying - explaining AOA and stall about how I would explain it to my kids (based on my knowledge from long ago when part of my career was in building stuff that flys), and a whole slide on how nose-down reduces AOA. I'd expect to be yawned or jeered off stage presenting that to actual pilots. I really really hope the transcript that went with those first slides was along the lines of "you all know that, and that, and that" but I fear it may not be.

I've looked at stall accident reports before, fascinated (I thought) at how panic and confusion could override the best of training... but I am starting to believe that this industry really has managed to train a generation of pilots who don't acutally know the basics of what keeps a plane in the air, and think(from their training) that they can accelerate and climb out of a stall.

If so, it's probably taken decades to come to light, and will probably take as long to fix. I find it more than slightly scary. Am I the only one ?
infrequentflyer789 is offline  
Old 18th Aug 2011, 23:16
  #3046 (permalink)  
Join Date: Aug 2011
Location: Grassy Valley
Posts: 2,123
I am still trying to acclimate to Airbus' use of cartoons in the FCOM.
You know, the silly drawings about overspeed that show sweat coming off the a/c's eyebrows, the wing tips glowing red, and shedding parts?

maybe it's just me. In spin training, I got out of the a/c grinning, and the CFI scolded me for not taking things seriously. They stopped spin Training what, thirty years ago?
Lyman is offline  
Old 19th Aug 2011, 00:05
  #3047 (permalink)  
Join Date: Feb 2005
Location: Correr es mi destino por no llevar papel
Posts: 1,412
There's a question I really love to ask my F/Os that prefer to climb in V/S instead of pitch hold mode (I'm not on Airbus anymore, if you wonder): when will the aeroplane stop climbing with pitch 5, climb power set and what will happen then.

Anyone willing to take a guess?
Clandestino is offline  
Old 19th Aug 2011, 00:17
  #3048 (permalink)  
Join Date: May 2011
Location: BOQ
Age: 75
Posts: 489
Low Earth orbit?
OK465 is offline  
Old 19th Aug 2011, 00:25
  #3049 (permalink)  
Join Date: Jan 2008
Location: uk
Posts: 802
Originally Posted by Lyman View Post
I am still trying to acclimate to Airbus' use of cartoons in the FCOM.
You know, the silly drawings about overspeed that show sweat coming off the a/c's eyebrows, the wing tips glowing red, and shedding parts?
Yeah, you aren't the only one.

Seems to be a trend - have you seen kids' school textbooks lately ?

Each page seems to have any text broken far beyond submission by irrelevant pictures, breakout boxes, sidebars, bubbles, and all in a cacaphony of fonts and sizes that would make any sane graphics designer weep. And that's the maths books. It's no wonder the kids are all hyperactive - a few pages attempted readng of it and my old brain was getting fried.

maybe it's just me. In spin training, I got out of the a/c grinning, and the CFI scolded me for not taking things seriously. They stopped spin Training what, thirty years ago?
Thought you were a committee these days [ http://www.pprune.org/tech-log/456874-af-447-thread-no-5-a-92.html#post6632144 ] ? You all went spin training at once ?
infrequentflyer789 is offline  
Old 19th Aug 2011, 00:28
  #3050 (permalink)  
Join Date: Mar 2003
Location: BC
Age: 72
Posts: 2,429
I find it more than slightly scary. Am I the only one ?
No, you are not.

It has been almost three decades now, under a neoliberal political economy that the profession of "airline pilot" has been under serious attack by a de-regulated industry characterized by cash-strapped or bankrupt airlines which think that pilots are paid too much and should be paid what "the market" thinks they should be paid. Like the Colgan First Officer who was living at home with Mom and Dad in Seattle on US$16,000/year and commuting to Newark.

A veteran pilot acting as F/O on a commuter aircraft with a major Canadian carrier makes under CAD$40,000/year. A first year nurse makes more. An entire generation of potential pilots has taken a look at how expensive it is to get into the business, how shaky and hostile the business is, how pilots are viewed by just about everyone but especially airline managements (can anyone say "Crandall"?) who, because these airplanes now fly themselves through the automation that managements spent a lot of money on, don't need to pay well and don't need to hire keen young people and don't need talent. Along with the rest of us, their retirements have been destroyed, (long before October, 2008).

So in exchange for the hundreds of thousands of dollars in personal investment to get the university degree, the licenses, the instrument and multi-engine endorsements and the time-building as well as risking one's life in the bush while hauling or lifting just about everything, budding pilots looking for a career, essentially buy a lottery ticket which offers a slim chance to get hired by a connector and later maybe get on with a major carrier. The odds and the rewards these days are both tiny, in comparison to other professions and careers, and wildly changed since I began in the early '70's.

Of course life is constantly filled with disappointments and mature adults deal with them quietly on a daily basis, aviation has turned itself into such an enormous disappointment for those who used to have stars in their eyes and a fire in their belly about flying for an airline, that those with the intelligence, the ability, the self-discipline, the resources, the patience and the luck have gone elsewhere for their life's work because aviation is as never before, a harsh mistress.

There are many reasons why more than a dozen airline crews have stalled their aircraft but the "headwaters" of all these streams which collect in one thematic "river" lie, to some degree, in the way this industry has gone. It was always a tough industry, but the rewards for those who stuck it out were always there. No longer. A lot of guys my age have said the industry has changed and they're glad to be out of it. They say they miss the people, miss the layovers, miss the airplanes, miss the beautiful nights over the Pacific or the Atlantic but don't miss the business. Young people are very savvy and expect to be treated better than corporations have treated their parents.

Paying more doesn't make a better pilot. But those who would have made fine aviators have gone into medicine, law, education, engineering, (but not politics, economics, sales or the corporate ladder.)

Some here will ask what the hell has all that got to do with AF447? But there are a lot of others here who know, only too well.

Aviation's lessons are not altered by technology; they are merely displaced, delayed or hidden until a combination of factors come together and this time there is no intervening error-trap which prevents an accident. Automation has made aviation far safer, and that includes the automation we rarely think about such as ATC, weather forecasting, communications, navigation and tracking which all support a heavily-automated aircraft.

In my view, the industry long ago passed that point where being a pilot meant something... a pilot was someone who had "address", who was always just slightly cranky if things weren't just so, who bristled when his skill and his thinking were called into question and who knew his airplane, the air that kept his aircraft aloft and the weather, all expressed in a kind of sixth sense that can only be pointed to when it happens. it can't be written about so that someone in an MCPL classroom "gets it"; its catalyst is adrenaline which teaches an abiding respect borne of a nurtured but mature fear of what an airplane is capable of.

This isn't romanticizing aviation or a pilot's life. This is describing attitudes and beliefs that are proven to keep aviation safe while the beancounting MBAs and senior managements, who know the cost of everything but not the value of their employees, have long forgotten about the business they are in, viewing aviation from afar at a desk in front of a monitor. They expect pilots to "manage" their airplane as they "manage" budgets. I laughed the first time I ever read that description of what I did for a living. But I remained just cranky enough all the same.

Stalling one's airplane? Unconscionable for a pilot. It is the worst failure one can visit upon oneself and one's passengers. What we are wrestling with is, Where did the stall begin?

This is a human factors and organization question; it is not a technical question. What and where are the antecedents? Training? Hiring? Standards? Expectations? Licensing? Ego? One thing is certain in human factors. The stall did not begin with the pitch-up. Perhaps a few are going to understand the thread running through all these notions which I have described. There are those here, including myself, who have been around aviation long enough to not to have to prove these statements to anyone because we know, to a greater or lesser extent, they're true. We knew in the mid-80's that automation was going to be a problem not because humans don't play well with autoflight systems, but because of the way managements saw how automation could reduce training costs, hiring costs, and salaries because "anyone could fly these aircraft". That is the way it was marketed and many here knew then what was coming.

So, no, you are not the only one, infrequentflyer789. It is not accidents per se that is disconcerting. It is the nature and the "quality" of accidents that is disturbing, and one does not fix such things by legislation, more automation or more training alone.
PJ2 is offline  
Old 19th Aug 2011, 02:38
  #3051 (permalink)  
Join Date: Jun 2005
Location: USA
Posts: 945
In a nutshell


Thank you for summarizing so well.

My own rant on the general subject of the incredible aircraft mishandling blunders seen over the last few years has become somewhat less eloquently stated as time goes on. It's all too easy to adopt the attitude that making well reasoned arguments supporting carefully thought out and logical conclusions is like shoveling sand against the tides. But I appreciate insightful commentary and recognize that a few others do too. Perhaps the effort might not be futile after all.
westhawk is offline  
Old 19th Aug 2011, 03:43
  #3052 (permalink)  
Join Date: May 2005
Location: middle of nowhere
Posts: 348
Great post PJ2.
Gretchenfrage is offline  
Old 19th Aug 2011, 04:34
  #3053 (permalink)  
Join Date: Jul 2009
Location: Atlanta, GA USA
Age: 56
Posts: 183
Jet-setter days

I long for the jet-setter days! Flying used to be like going to a high class party. Now it's like going to the bus station.
Not as good to be a pilot or a passenger anymore .
I'm with you PJ2. Great post.
Coagie is offline  
Old 19th Aug 2011, 05:40
  #3054 (permalink)  
Join Date: Mar 2003
Location: BC
Age: 72
Posts: 2,429
Agree, but, it only works in still air. In 447's case, they were in light turb, A/P and A/T had thrust down a bit, and pitch attitude was down a bit when they disconnected, so they were not in a "stable" condition either dynamically or from a trim and power point of view. Hence, they did not have the preconditions required for the use of the UAS procedure anyway.
This isn't a significant departure from stabilized flight. It is a straightforward matter to stabilize the aircraft which means dealing with the slight variations in altitude, setting the power and get the aircraft in more-or-less level condition in which things are known so you know where you're at and can get on with the next steps. This is what being an aviator is all about.


Last edited by PJ2; 21st Aug 2011 at 23:07. Reason: Edited for bluntness
PJ2 is offline  
Old 19th Aug 2011, 06:03
  #3055 (permalink)  
Join Date: Jun 2010
Location: USA
Posts: 245
For heaven's sake man, are they not pilots?! Do we actually have to tell them how to keep an aircraft level? Are they truly automatons? Those variations are non-events - child's play. Does the point your making not illustrate the very problem at hand? Fly, do your job, for goodness sake! Stabilize the aircraft in level flight, take command, which means dealing with the variations in altitude, set the damn power and get the aircraft in more-or-less level condition in which things are known so you know where you're at and can get on with the next steps. Are we that far from being aviators?!
I understand where you are coming from and in a general sense I think your comment has validity. But I think when you apply that perspective to AF447 it is leading you astray.

There are many elements to AF447 that appear obvious in hindsight but it's wise to remember that the crew was faced with a host of unknowns that we, today, are not faced with. Anyone who says that this accident should just have been a logbook entry is either tremendously arrogant and feeding their pride off the bodies of the dead or living in a fantasy world so divorced from reality that they are flying high, and not in a good way. Yes, the pilots should have handled this better. But lets not get carried away and pretend that iced up tubes happen every day. The crew of AF447 is not the first group of pilots to crash because of UAS issues. Responding to what happened to AF447 with an Internet tough guy attitude doesn't serve anyone well.
MountainBear is offline  
Old 19th Aug 2011, 07:22
  #3056 (permalink)  
Join Date: Jun 2009
Location: In one of the two main circles
Age: 60
Posts: 93
MBAs and bean counters


Great post to give us the pilot's point of view on the sorry state of our industry today.

... while the beancounting MBAs and senior managements, who know the cost of everything but not the value of their employees, have long forgotten about the business they are in, viewing aviation from afar at a desk in front of a monitor.
Your perception is also totally relevant today in the design and manufacturing side of the aviation business.
llagonne66 is offline  
Old 19th Aug 2011, 07:40
  #3057 (permalink)  
Join Date: Sep 2008
Location: LPPR
Age: 62
Posts: 28

@ PJ2
Great post!
costamaia is offline  
Old 19th Aug 2011, 08:02
  #3058 (permalink)  
Join Date: Jun 2009
Location: Germany
Age: 67
Posts: 782
The best summary ever!

@ PJ2
Thank you for this excellent analysis and summary.

It makes one thing clear:
Those things have to be adressed by all means. It makes no sense to say, it wont change anything.

At least it puts responsibility to those, who are not willing to change anything.
RetiredF4 is offline  
Old 19th Aug 2011, 10:31
  #3059 (permalink)  
Join Date: Aug 2009
Location: London, UK
Age: 63
Posts: 6
The value of a pilot

As a humble member of the SLF community, PJ2 has reiterated an absolutely important point in my view.
I have 4 children, at least one of which had harboured ambitions of becoming a pilot, until he realised the rewards available.
He is now training as a doctor, and of his friends, medicine and law are the career leaders.
I had truly not realised how a pilot's rewards had dropped, let alone the rest of the cabin crew. Not to say there are not still excellent pilots coming through, but the pool of talent they are being drawn from I would suggest must be shrinking.
I have no answers of course, and continue to read these highly educational forums with admiration for the jobs you perform. And indeed for the insights into the computer / human being interface that also apply away from the flight deck for sure.
Mikey56 is offline  
Old 19th Aug 2011, 13:24
  #3060 (permalink)  
Join Date: Jul 2002
Location: UK
Posts: 3,182

PJ2, just wanted to add to the chorus of "cracking post" that seems to be the order of the day.

One thing I wanted to add though was that it's not just happening in aviation, it's happening in almost every industry you care to name. The financial industry has basically reigned supreme in the West since the '80s, and as such it becomes the ambition of all MBAs to work there. As a result, business courses tend to focus on finance and profit above all else, and so what we're finding is that senior management and executives have no connection to the industry they end up working in, other than a superficial knowledge of how to cut costs - I believe (and I hope you agree) that this is one of the root causes of the "cost of everything and the value of nothing" syndrome that you so rightly point out.

In aviation, it has led to a top-down edict that automation is to be used wherever possible, pilots and cabin crew's interests become a distant second to that of the shareholders, and a seeming failure to understand that while airline safety has consistently improved over the years due in part to technical advances, a disturbing rise in the number of accidents caused in whole or in part by loss of situational awareness (whether that be due to poor training, overreliance on automation or fatigue) is insidiously eroding those advances.

But it is definitely happening in other industries too. For example, healthcare in the US is among the best in the world if you happen to be rich and a complete joke if you are not, because of the incestuous relationship it has with the insurance industry. Even the banking industry has not been unscathed at the high street level, because no-one in the high street divisions wanted to believe that the investment divisions were building a house of cards with their money. The big one in my industry was the tech crash of 2001, where the MBAs and executives figured that the Y2K problem was over, and at the same time decided that seeing as programmers only work to a design spec anyway, why pay 5 people here when they could get 15 people for the same money in India or the Far East? They found out about that one the hard way (though I hasten to add that this is not a slur on the abilities of the people in those countries, the main problems were poor communication and a lack of accountability in some of the offshore firms), although tellingly a lot of my peers who graduated CompSci and Software Engineering believing it would make them rich moved into management, and it was largely those of us who had it in our blood who remained.

In our case it was much the same as yours - what management didn't realise was that while we did code to specifications and design, the unwritten part of what we did was work amongst ourselves to correct shortcomings in the design, or realise when part of the spec was unclear and confusing and work with the designers to clarify and resolve the issue. Of course, we have the advantage over the outsourced folks that it's a matter of crossing an office floor or maybe going up a flight of stairs to raise an issue, whereas they would have to plan a conference call with all parties present, which could take days.

In short, we were the last line of defence when things didn't go to plan and relied on our experience and problem-solving abilities to make it work and get things back on track - much the same as you are.

Anyways, that's my ramble - again, brilliant post!


Last edited by DozyWannabe; 19th Aug 2011 at 13:48.
DozyWannabe is offline  

Thread Tools
Search this Thread

Contact Us - Archive - Advertising - Cookie Policy - Privacy Statement - Terms of Service - Do Not Sell My Personal Information

Copyright 2018 MH Sub I, LLC dba Internet Brands. All rights reserved. Use of this site indicates your consent to the Terms of Use.