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AF447 wreckage found

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AF447 wreckage found

Old 23rd May 2011, 19:23
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Forgive my asking but what on earth was the Captain doing in the bunk knowing from the start they were going to cross a nasty area ?

This is not going to fly in court. Multiple examples in the merchant navy starting with the Exon Valdez where the captain was sobering up in his cabin and some other ship in Greece concluded to carelessness.
I'll be damned if I am going to go to sleep knowing what lies ahead.
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Old 23rd May 2011, 19:30
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Forgive my asking but what on earth was the Captain doing in the bunk knowing from the start they were going to cross a nasty area ?
How do you know he was "in the bunk" - he might have nipped back for a personal comfort break?

Were the two First Officers not fully qualified?
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Old 23rd May 2011, 19:50
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Forgive my asking but what on earth was the Captain doing in the bunk knowing from the start they were going to cross a nasty area?
Perhaps following Air France SOP? (caveat: that is a guess) This might come up in any civil trial if the families of the dead have to take their damages case to court.

Some long haul pilots have offered up in the Tech Log discussions that it is common practice, to ensure Catpain is fresh for approach and landing after a long haul flight, that he "rest" during parts of the cruise portion of flight.
How do you know he was "in the bunk" - he might have nipped back for a personal comfort break?

Were the two First Officers not fully qualified?
Good point.

This is not going to fly in court. Multiple examples in the merchant navy starting with the Exon Valdez where the captain was sobering up in his cabin and some other ship in Greece concluded to carelessness.
I don't see the situations as correlated. The minimum manning on merchant ships isn't quite as robust as three qualified pilots on a transatlantic flight.
I'll be damned if I am going to go to sleep knowing what lies ahead.
Therein lies the discretion of the captain on any flight, or ship. I suppose you can argue that time of year, ITCZ, and the weather forecast before the flight took off would necessitate the Captain providing the other two "if such and such conditions looms, call me to the flight deck immediately."
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Old 23rd May 2011, 20:22
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OK, I am now retired, but I have to say that my choice of rest, as Captain, was influenced by the forecast weather.

Not because I doubted my colleagues abilities, but because I didn't sleep well in the bunks at the best of times, and turbulence didn't help me sleep.

I accept that for some, sleep comes easy - turbulent or smooth, but not for me. So for some Captains, they would always choose last break, to be best rested for the landing, whereas I would choose the rest break that gave me the best chance of some shut eye.

With that in mind, if I had been Captain on that AF flight and had had the choice of break to take, I would not have chosen to have the break on that section of the flight.

I have to add that I know nothing of the AF SOP's and infer no criticism of the Captain. The company procedures for transfers to fleets should be robust enough to ensure that people occupying the seats in the cruise (and at other times) should be adequately trained and qualified.
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Old 23rd May 2011, 20:42
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Cuz.......that's where he was ! Fully qualified FO's yes, fully command trained......no ! Sorry mate, the weather was crap, forcasted as such and I sure as egg would have been in my seat. Plain common sense.
As to merchant navy, the man power is exactly the same as on an aircraft : one captain, one first mate and a second mate who gets the worst shift, middle of the nigh most of the time. Same down in the engine room.
It is just a matter of plain responsability and as far as I know, only one person holds it. If I'm going to kick the bucket.....I'd rather be in my seat !

Last edited by Me Myself; 23rd May 2011 at 20:56.
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Old 23rd May 2011, 21:25
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Which is exactly what another AF captain did some time after 447 caught in loss of speed. He saw it as the only escape and it worked. Would work today too !
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Old 23rd May 2011, 21:31
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MM: I won't digress into the differences between merchant marine master and captain of an airliner.

I do find your sentiments sensible, given that the Captain has ultimate authority.

With the forecast and known seasonable patterns, there is ample reason to establish a crew rhythm that accounts for the higher risk portions of the route having Captain on deck as making operational sense. One would hope that the AF SOP would address such planning concerns, given that this is a regular route.

@ studi: would you suggest that your admonition (about "know your 3° idle descent pitch") is a common "rule of thumb" in the Airbus pilot community?

Was it a well known "rule of thumb" before AF 447?
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Old 23rd May 2011, 21:53
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Me Myself:
As to merchant navy, the man power is exactly the same as on an aircraft : one captain, one first mate and a second mate who gets the worst shift, middle of the nigh most of the time. Same down in the engine room.
Apart from none of that being correct for major oceangoing vessels, ships stays at sea up to 30 days or more at the time. Not really a relevant comparison with aviation wich counts their airtime in hours.
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Old 23rd May 2011, 21:57
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Was not ! However, when you think about it, it does make an awfull lot of sense.......as should the fact that the skipper has to be up front when the weather or geographical situation commands. Or else, why would you need a captain ? Landing ? Give me a break ! Specially CDG ! Flat as the back of a hand in the middle of a wheat belt. This job is about judgement.
Managing the storms or anything tricky, that's where I want the captain to be !
Anyway, that's the kind of question families will ask and they will have cause in a civil trial. Explaining it's just the way it's done won't help one bit I'm afraid.

Apart from none of that being correct for major oceangoing vessels, ships stays at sea up to 30 days or more at the time. Not really a relevant comparison with aviation wich counts their airtime in hours.
Totally relevant ! Point is, if the storm hits, the captain is on the bridge. Plain common sense.
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Old 23rd May 2011, 22:18
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studi:

I don't fly Airbus, never did.

I spent two decades as a pilot, in the Navy. That ain't the same as flying people in big jets. That is why I asked what I did. I am trying to understand "conventional wisdom" among AB flyers. You may be in a position to enlighten me.

So, as I understand what you posted, you looked at "what happened to them" and thought through "how not to let this happen to me."

I was trying to put your (very well presented escape maneuver) comment in a frame of reference: before the accident, or after the accident

Down right idle turn may or may not mean something to you.

Cheers.
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Old 23rd May 2011, 22:31
  #411 (permalink)  
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WSJ: Preliminary Findings Suggest Pilot Error

The pilots of an Air France jet that crashed into the Atlantic Ocean two years ago apparently became distracted with faulty airspeed indicators and failed to properly deal with other vital systems, including adjusting engine thrust, according to people familiar with preliminary findings from the plane's recorders.

The final moments inside the cockpit of the twin-engine Airbus A330, these people said, indicates the pilots seemingly were confused by alarms they received from various automated flight-control systems as the plane bucked through some turbulence expected on the route from Rio de Janeiro to Paris but also faced unexpectedly heavy icing at 35,000 feet. Such icing is renowned for making airspeed-indicators and other external sensors unreliable.

Ultimately, the crew failed to follow standard procedures to maintain or increase thrust and keep the aircraft's nose level, while trouble-shooting and waiting for the airspeed sensors and related functions to return to normal, according to these people.
Preliminary Findings Suggest Pilot Error in Air France Crash - WSJ.com
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Old 23rd May 2011, 22:53
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The pilots were never trained to handle precisely such an emergency at high altitude, according to safety experts and a previous report by France's Bureau d'Enquetes et d'Analyses, which is heading up the investigation. All 228 people aboard died in the accident.
---
Though Friday's announcement won't provide final conclusions or specific causes, investigators believe Air France never trained its pilots to cope with such automation problems in conjunction with a high-altitude aerodynamic stall, an emergency when the wings lose lift and the plane quickly becomes uncontrollable.
From the article.
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Old 23rd May 2011, 23:36
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FCOM and QRH UAS procedure

Hello,

Is it really as this?

Before 447's wreckage
UAS memory items
2009,June : Pitch up and thrust

A320 Airbus FOT after 2010, May
New Airbus STALL RECOVERY procedure(PPRuNe link)
“NOSE DOWN PITCH CONTROL . . . . . . . APPLY
This will reduce angle of attac”

Regards
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Old 23rd May 2011, 23:37
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Der Spiegel - Full article

Here is the full article in this week's Der Spiegel:

Air France Flight AF 447 Investigation: Recording Indicates Pilot Wasn't In Cockpit During Critical Phase - SPIEGEL ONLINE - News - International
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Old 23rd May 2011, 23:42
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The Air Caraibes incidents also occurred at 35,000ft and had a better result

AF447 - the Air Caraibes story and more on pitot tubes - Unusual Attitude

Did the AF crew have a chance to run through an unreliable speed indication checklist?
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Old 24th May 2011, 01:03
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Just as Capt. Smith of the Titanic probably wished he was on the bridge instead of the no. 3 guy before they struck the iceberg....
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Old 24th May 2011, 03:07
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I am surprised and disappointed at Andy Pasztor. Who owns the Wall Street Journal? Probably not a pilot......

There is a discrete life and death point in time when fooling with ECAMS, reading the book and trying to figure out what seems to be a high maintenance little filly, and stop the nonsense. My airplane, no it int, My airplane, no........

At this point, don't try to "protect your spars and garters, missy", be "still and be honest". "Sit on your hands". It is quite apparent through two years of discussion here, and I stand ready to be put in my place again, but when one is sliding into the weeds, There can be no GRAY, no "Transition". Does anyone else think "Protections" were meant FOR the airplane, FROM the Pilots??

The WSJ article trumpets, "Pilots at Fault", then reads, Pilots were confused when the autopilot dropped out. Could not deal with alarms, etc. Without the autopilot and airspeed reads, times up for dealing with a pampered tart; The only few things absolutely missing for continued flight were indeed missing.
No horizon, AoA, bank, and the engines were performing Normally. Let's see, who anywhere would want to be handed this "Problem".

The saver here is that it may be very difficult to sell PE, The ACARS alone tell the tale. Early on, Gourgeon spouted off about the pilots mishandling Radar, and that was before Vasquez. How will BEA play this?

Pilots at fault?? bs. A/C. This "setting the tone" is getting on my nerves.

"...Though Friday's announcement won't provide final conclusions or specific causes, investigators believe Air France never trained its pilots to cope with such automation problems in conjunction with a high-altitude aerodynamic stall, an emergency when the wings lose lift and the plane quickly becomes uncontrollable..."

Right, and that is because the AB doesn't need pilots trained in the Stall,
so Stalled Automatics needn't be trained in something that will not happen.

A half truth is a whole LIE.
 
Old 24th May 2011, 04:43
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Isn't it pathetic!

With well placed leaks it is slowly but persistently suggested that there was nothing wrong with the aircraft and now pilot error creeps in.

I don't know what the supposed icing up of pitots and a myriad of ACARS telling everybody that almost all systems showed a failure have to do with a well functioning aircraft system, but my idea of such is definitely different.

Furthermore there is not even one question or mention at this moment about how much authority the system still allowed the pilots, but their error is already more or less established.

Try establishing a guilt in front of any jury with such pathetic mind setting through the press and you'd be shot down in beautiful flames instantly by any first season lawyer.
But the big shots can do what they want in the press.


On a technical note:

A design that protects me as long as everything works fine is luxury. The same system that leaves the building in steps when the s#!t starts hitting the fan is a shame. What are protections for anyway when they are disconnected once there is a problem? I always assumed they were installed to protect me and the passengers in emergency situations.
It turns out that they are here merely to protect the manufacturer and the airline, in the sense that they are designed to go offline when problems arise and leave the hopeless case to the drivers.


At the moment I am disgusted. Hopefully the REAL report will be a little more objective.
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Old 24th May 2011, 07:15
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Captian Not On flight Deck

News from Europe is that the captain was not on the flight deck. Dah! We figured that if he was on the normal break schedule for an international flight he had the middle break.

The new media is making a big deal about nothing!
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Old 24th May 2011, 07:50
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Right, and that is because the AB doesn't need pilots trained in the Stall,
so Stalled Automatics needn't be trained in something that will not happen.
Wrong, training for stall recovery has always been in the Airbus training programme.
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