View Full Version : Why We Need Greater Safety - FBW A330 Down

Gregory Tenenbaum
June 1st, 2009, 04:34 PM
This makes me very sad.

Air France Flight 447, an Airbus A330, left Rio on Sunday at 7 p.m. local time (2200 GMT, 6 p.m. EDT) with 216 passengers and 12 crew members on board, company spokeswoman Brigitte Barrand.

About four hours later, the plane sent an automatic signal indicating electrical problems while going through strong turbulence, Air France said.

The plane "crossed through a thunderous zone with strong turbulence" at 0200 GMT Monday (10 p.m. EDT Sunday). An automatic message was received fourteen minutes later "signaling electrical circuit malfunction."

Full story here (http://www.airdisaster.com/news/article.php?id=56)

All are presumed dead.

Gregory Tenenbaum
June 1st, 2009, 04:55 PM
:eek: What do you think?

How about more safety.

Years ago I met a man (http://www.jsc.nasa.gov/Bios/htmlbios/irwin-jb.html) who drove a space buggy on the moon 38 years ago (and some 7 years before Bond did it in Moonraker) and came back in one piece - why cant we get across the ocean in one piece?

Compulsory wearing of seatbelts was an unthinkable inconvenience only 40 or so years ago. Look at car safety now.

Or should we just throw our arms up in the air, settle back in front of the telly to eat a poie and drink beer and watch the Man United match?

Take a look in a morgue at accident victims before you start posting your nonsense here.

June 1st, 2009, 05:02 PM
...Take a look in a morgue at accident victims before you start posting your nonsense here.

Stick with attacking ideas - not forum members. The points you made were undermined by this sidebar.

June 1st, 2009, 05:09 PM
French plane lost in ocean storm
From BBC


The two airports involved have been caring for relatives and friends of those aboard the missing plane

An Air France plane carrying 228 people from Brazil to France has vanished over the Atlantic after flying into turbulence, airline officials say.

The Airbus sent an automatic message at 0214 GMT, four hours after leaving Rio de Janeiro, reporting a short circuit. It may have been damaged by lightning.

It was well over the ocean when it was lost, making Brazilian and French search planes' task more difficult.

France's president said the chances of finding survivors were "very small".

Aeroplanes get hit by lightning on quite a routine basis without generally any problems occurring at all

David Gleave

Aviation Safety Investigations

Passenger nationalities revealed

Five Britons on lost French plane

"It is a catastrophe the likes of which Air France has never seen," Nicolas Sarkozy said after meeting relatives and friends of passengers at a crisis centre at Charles de Gaulle airport.

Earlier, Air France chief executive Pierre-Henri Gourgeon told reporters: "We are without a doubt faced with an air disaster."

He added: "The entire company is thinking of the families and shares their pain."
Flight AF 447 left Rio at 1900 local time (2200 GMT) on Sunday. It had 216 passengers and 12 crew on board, including three pilots. The passengers included one infant, seven
children, 82 women and 126 men.

Air France confirmed that there had been 61 French and 58 Brazilians on board.

Among the other passengers were 26 Germans, nine Chinese, nine Italians, six Swiss, five Britons, five Lebanese, four Hungarians, three Irish, three Norwegians and three Slovaks.

Lightning theory doubts

The Airbus 330-200 had been expected to arrive in Paris at 1110 local time (0910 GMT).

Tom Symonds, BBC News transport correspondent

The Airbus A330 airliner is likely to have begun its journey tracking the coast of Brazil northwards before striking out across the Atlantic. A few hundred miles from the shore, radar coverage peters out - from there on, crews use high frequency radio to report their position.

The Brazilian Air Force says the plane left radar screens near the islands of Fernando de Noronha, 230 miles from the coast. The firmest clue to its fate comes from the data message sent via a satellite network at 0214 GMT reporting electrical and pressurisation problems. This suggests whatever happened, happened before the crew could put out a mayday radio call. It was likely a sudden and catastrophic emergency. Even a double engine failure at cruising altitude would normally give the crew around half an hour's gliding time.
Air France says the plane may have been struck by lightning - the cause of around a dozen major air crashes in the last 50 years - but it rarely results in tragedy. More likely lightning damaged electrical systems, possibly leading indirectly to the plane's ditching.

Although passengers survived a landing on the Hudson River in New York in January - it is rarely successful, especially in the middle of an ocean the size of the Atlantic.

It made its last radio contact with Brazilian air traffic controllers at 0133 GMT (2233
Brazilian time) when it was 565km (360m) off Brazil's north-eastern coast, Brazil's air force said.

The crew said they were planning to enter Senegalese airspace at 0220 GMT and that the plane was flying normally at an altitude of 10,670m (35,000ft).

At about 0200 GMT, the captain reported entering heavy turbulence caused by Atlantic storms, French media report.

At 0220, when Brazilian air traffic controllers saw the plane had not made its required radio call from Senegalese airspace, air traffic control in the Senegalese capital was contacted.

At 0530 GMT, Brazil's air force launched a search-and-rescue mission, sending out a coast guard patrol plane and a specialised air force rescue aircraft.

France is despatching three search planes based in Dakar, Senegal, and has asked the US to help with satellite technology.

"The plane might have been struck by lightning - it's a possibility," Francois Brousse, head of communications at Air France, told reporters in Paris.

David Gleave, from Aviation Safety Investigations, told the BBC that planes were routinely struck by lightning, and the cause of the crash remained a mystery.

Missing man Arthur Coakley’s wife, Patricia, and his business partner Ken Pearce

"Aeroplanes get hit by lightning on quite a routine basis without generally any problems occurring at all," he told BBC Radio Five Live.

"Whether it's related to this electrical storm and the electrical failure on the aeroplane, or whether it's another reason, we have to find the aeroplane first."

France's minister responsible for transportation, Jean-Louis Borloo, ruled out hijacking as a cause of the plane's loss.

'No information'

Mr Sarkozy said he had met "a mother who lost her son, a fiance who lost her future husband".


Flight AF 447 left Rio at 1900 local time (2200 GMT) on Sunday
Airbus A330-200 carrying 216 passengers and at least 12 crew
Contact lost 0130 GMT
Missed scheduled landing at 1110 local time (0910 GMT) in Paris

"I told them the truth," he said afterwards. "The prospects of finding survivors are very small."

Finding the plane would be "very difficult" because the search zone was "immense", he added.

About 20 relatives of passengers on board the flight arrived at Rio's Jobim international airport on Monday morning seeking information.

Bernardo Souza, who said his brother and sister-in-law were on the flight, complained he had received no details from Air France.

"I had to come to the airport but when I arrived I just found an empty counter," he was quoted as saying by Reuters news agency.

Air France has opened a telephone hotline for friends and relatives of people on the plane - 00 33 157021055 for callers outside France and 0800 800812 for inside France.

This is the first major incident in Brazilian air space since a Tam flight crashed in Sao Paulo in July 2007 killing 199 people.


Gregory Tenenbaum
June 1st, 2009, 05:13 PM
Stick with attacking ideas - not forum members. The points you made were undermined by this sidebar.

It was offensive nonsense, and insensitive to what has happened.

I believe in the dignity of all people, as do the NTSB, and just because air safety is excellent doesnt mean that it should be pushed aside because somehow "near enough is good enough", it isnt.

Its a massive human tragedy, something I would have thought any adult who has flown could understand.

Gregory Tenenbaum
June 1st, 2009, 05:27 PM
Air travel is already the safest form of travel, what do you want exactly?

You've said enough.

June 1st, 2009, 05:32 PM
My off topic posts have been deleted.

June 1st, 2009, 09:09 PM
:eek: What do you think?

How about more safety.

Years ago I met a man (http://www.jsc.nasa.gov/Bios/htmlbios/irwin-jb.html) who drove a space buggy on the moon 38 years ago (and some 7 years before Bond did it in Moonraker) and came back in one piece - why cant we get across the ocean in one piece?

Compulsory wearing of seatbelts was an unthinkable inconvenience only 40 or so years ago. Look at car safety now.

Or should we just throw our arms up in the air, settle back in front of the telly to eat a poie and drink beer and watch the Man United match?

Take a look in a morgue at accident victims before you start posting your nonsense here.

Nothing is perfect. We need to know why the plane went down before marching on Airbus headquarters with torches and pitchforks.

June 1st, 2009, 09:17 PM
Space travel is sooo safe!
No one EVER gets killed.


June 2nd, 2009, 08:53 AM
I read from the news a rich American has paid more than £12m to join Russian astronauts on a trip into space. If I have that kind of money I probably would do the same. And I believe space travel will soon became
routine and inexpensive.

June 2nd, 2009, 09:11 AM
Eventually, but not soon.

June 3rd, 2009, 09:38 AM
Yes,not soon. And I also think only if I have £120m then I'll consider to spend £12m on space travel OR I have 3 months left to live:rolleyes:

Gregory Tenenbaum
June 3rd, 2009, 09:53 AM
It is early days yet, and they have to dive for the wreckage, but from what I have read to date it sounds like it was a structural failure, or electrical failure and decompression. That could be due to a third party event eg terror or something else. Or it could have been pilot error.

The Boeing v Airbus internet wars are in full swing again, and it is interesting. FBW (in the title to the thread means FLY BY WIRE) as opposed to fly by cable, and most of the Boeings are the latter and almost all of the new Airbuses are FBW. With FBC, the pilots can countermand the plane's flight control computers and fly the plane outside of the envelope if they have to. With FBW, that is not possible.

I read this comment on a forum today

The advantage of the Airbus fly by wire is that you´ll hit the mountain exactly on the numbers spot on whereas in a Boeing you´ll actually fly the aircraft outside it´s intended flight envelope but miss the mountain..

I am not sure if that had anything to do with the accident (no one is yet), but I personally feel better in an aircraft where the pilot can actually fly the plane.

Gregory Tenenbaum
June 3rd, 2009, 10:28 AM
02:10Z A/P disengaged and a fault with one of the FBY computers.
02:11Z - 02:13 Faults in the NAV system was reported in a flurry of messages. Then a fault reported in a system that provides instrument readings (IRU?)
02:14Z Fault reported in vertical cabin speed giving rise to decompression of cabin.

Most recent release of the ACARS transmissions.

Will AF do anything to keep people flying? Like saying that it was lightning/wasnt terrorism. Where did they get that from?

June 3rd, 2009, 02:07 PM

One POSSIBILITY that comes to mind, is a complete failure of the forward cargo door latching system.
Similar to THIS: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Turkish_Airlines_Flight_981

June 3rd, 2009, 02:15 PM
At this point, anything is possible. Pilot error. Hardware failure. Weather. It could have been hit be falling space debris for all we know...

Hopefully the black box and significant portions of the wreckage are found so if there is a problem with that series of planes, it can be corrected...

One addition - for a very good analysis of the weather (and some informed commentary), check out:

Gregory Tenenbaum
June 3rd, 2009, 04:05 PM
I posted the latest theory about the cause which comes in detail from a Brazilian newspaper. It's here at the Sleep New York "Airport Watch" Forum. (http://sleepny.lefora.com/2009/06/03/af-disaster-megathread/)

On some forums people are even concluding this could have been a trial run for Bojinka Part II. I sure hope not.

June 5th, 2009, 07:54 AM
Source: CNN

RIO DE JANEIRO, Brazil (CNN) -- The Brazilian air force said Thursday night that debris picked up near where officials believe Air France Flight 447 crashed Monday into the Atlantic Ocean was not from the plane.

The news came after the Brazilian navy began retrieving debris Thursday that it believed was wreckage from the flight, which disappeared over the Atlantic Ocean.

On Wednesday, searchers recovered two debris fields and had identified the wreckage, including an airplane seat and an orange float as coming from Flight 447. Officials now say that none of the debris recovered is from the missing plane.

Read more: http://www.cnn.com/2009/WORLD/americas/06/04/plane.cras... (http://www.cnn.com/2009/WORLD/americas/06/04/plane.crash/index.html)

Gregory Tenenbaum
June 5th, 2009, 09:34 AM
My theory is the Airbus AP went crazy after the TAT probes iced up. The 320s have all glass cockpits, ie computer screen like crystal displays, and not a lot of backup instruments, which may have also been a problem, Im not sure. But if you cant see any indicators you cant fly the airplane.

I'll fly a 4 engine 747 Boeing with fly by cable and a steel tail anyday, thank you Airbus.

BTW, anything less than a full investigation by Airbus and AF is going to be met with skepticism, because everyone knows just how much the A380 contracts mean for Airbus.

I read this on the PPRune Forums today

Investigators are pursuing a theory that excessive air speed -- potentially spurred by ice building up on electronic airspeed sensors -- contributed to the ocean crash of an Air France Airbus A330 amid heavy storms Monday, according to two industry officials familiar with the details.

The developments helped lead Airbus late Thursday to remind all airlines to follow certain backup procedures any time that pilots suspect their airspeed indicators are malfunctioning, according to the officials.

The Airbus announcement doesn't provide new details of the crash of Air France Flight 447. But it reflects the investigators' suspicion that the sensors -- also implicated in at least two other fatal airline crashes and numerous other incidents -- were involved, possibly as the first stage of a series of electrical and mechanical malfunctions aboard the jetliner. The reminder advises pilots to use backup devices including GPS systems to check their airspeed if readings from the primary indicators seem awry.

Investigators believe that the so-called pitot tubes may have iced up as the Air France plane with 228 people on board flew through a ferocious thunderstorm that could have included hail and violent updrafts, the two industry officials said.

Industry officials stressed it is too early to draw definitive conclusions from the scant data available, and theories of the crash could change in coming days. Investigators, for example, haven't ruled out the possibility of a fire or other electrical problems that could have led to the emergency. They also don't know what other actions the crew may have taken during roughly four minutes during which the plane apparently was going through a major storm.

The pitot devices have backup systems and are supposed to be heated to avoid icing. But tropical thunderstorms that develop in the area the plane was flying are full of ice at high altitudes, and air temperature at the plane's altitude is well below zero. A theory is that ice from the storm built up quickly on the tubes and could have led to the malfunction whether or not the heat was working properly.

If the tubes iced up, the pilots could have quickly seen sharp and rapid drops in their airspeed indicators, according to industry officials.

At this point, according to people familiar with the details, an international team of crash investigators as well as safety experts at Airbus are focused on a theory that malfunctioning airspeed indicators touched off a series of events that apparently made some flight controls, onboard computers and electrical systems go haywire.

According to people familiar with the thinking of the investigators, the potentially faulty readings could have prompted the crew of the Air France flight to mistakenly boost thrust from the plane's engines and increase speed as they went through what may have been extreme turbulence. As a result, the pilots may inadvertently have subjected the plane to increased structural stress.

It isn't known why other planes flying through such storms haven't suffered from such severe problems, but airline crashes often result from a chain of unusual events, not just a single trigger. Brazilian Air Force officials say three other jetliners flew in the general region around the same time; other airlines have reported no abnormalities in their planes' flights.

Investigators also are struggling to understand another big mystery: how the aircraft, equipped with its own weather-scanning radar, ended up engulfed in what is believed to be such extreme weather. The storm's exact force remains unclear, because the mid-Atlantic region isn't covered by precise ground-based weather radar.

Problems with pitot tubes have been implicated in many air accidents, and ice blockage wouldn't be unprecedented in commercial aviation.

Pitot-tube icing was suspected in the October 1997 crash of an Austral Lineas Aereas DC-9 in Uruguay that killed all 74 people onboard. Flight-data recorder readings showed anomalous airspeed readings and that the crew had adjusted settings in ways suggesting they thought they were flying much slower than the plane, built by McDonnell Douglas, was actually moving. Investigators concluded those settings caused the pilots to lose control of the plane, which plunged into swamps, according to the Aviation Safety Network, a crash database.

A Continental Airlines MD-82, also built by McDonnell-Douglas, skidded off the runway at New York's La Guardia Airport in March 1994 after the crew aborted their takeoff due to strange airspeed readings. Investigators from the National Transportation Safety Board later found the crew had failed to comply with checklist procedures to activate the pitot tub- heating system, allowing them to get clogged with ice or snow. Nobody was killed in the incident.

The NTSB cited similar issues with incidents during two flights of Boeing 717 jetliners in 2002 and 2005. Nobody was killed in those events, in which the planes encountered problems when the pitot tube heating system were temporarily inactive for reasons that were never determined.

In February 1996, a Boeing 757 crashed shortly after takeoff from the Dominican Republic, killing all 189 people onboard. Flight-data and cockpit recordings showed the crew got confused by conflicting speed readings and stalled the plane, which plunged into the ocean, according to Aviation Safety Network.

Investigators later concluded that wasps may have nested in the pitot tubes as the plane, operated by Turkish carrier Birgenair, sat grounded for several days. The tubes are supposed to be kept covered when a plane is parked, but a witness recalled seeing them exposed.

Wasp-nesting in pitot tubes was again cited in a March 2006 incident, where the crew of a Qantas Airways Ltd. Airbus A330 slammed on the brakes during takeoff from Brisbane, Australia. Nobody was injured, according to the Australian Transport Safety Board. Airbus is a unit of European Aeronautic Defence & Space Co.

The Air France jetliner was equipped with its own radar system, which normally suffices for letting pilots navigate through bad weather. But it doesn't always detect trouble, specialists say, or accurately depict the worst areas of turbulence. The signals can get absorbed by heavy rain or end up showing ground clutter, for example, preventing pilots from getting a clear picture of conditions in front of them.

June 5th, 2009, 09:48 AM
Whats more - the oil slick they found? Not from the plane. So all they have are the automated maintenance messages.

Gregory Tenenbaum
June 5th, 2009, 09:52 AM
Air France Crash thread here (http://wirednewyork.com/forum/showpost.php?p=286536&postcount=18)

June 5th, 2009, 10:00 AM
Threads merged

Gregory Tenenbaum
June 6th, 2009, 10:37 AM
My theory is the Airbus AP went crazy after the TAT probes iced up.

Ah, looks like it

I posted a lengthy discussion why on the Sleep New York "Airport Watch" Transit Forums. (http://sleepny.lefora.com/2009/06/03/af-disaster-megathread/page1/#post13624906)

Including this extract from a commenter on the PPRUNE forums

While theoretically you have two choices with this incident, Pilot Error or Aircraft/Systems failure, there really is only one choice; that of computer failure for whatever reason. That is to say, being as how it was an Airbus with computerized everything, some part of the electronic system failed for some reason, and the pilots, no matter how well trained, could not cope with the situation. This seems to be apparent (computer problem/s) with all of the ACARS messages that were sent. Had the aircraft simply broken up, no messages (or at least not the amount) could have been sent.
On the other hand, pilot error by flying into an area of severe weather could have put the aircraft in a position the computers simply could not handle. One way or the other, I think all will have to agree, like it or not; the computers played a significant role in this incident.
The question/problem now remains to figure out how to rectify the computer problems that have affected not only this make aircraft, but others as well in the past. It would seem that computers are "here to stay" in aviation, but as the pilot gets pushed further and further "out of the loop", it would appear that we have more and more problems.
The pilot needs to have TOTAL control of his aircraft if need be at ANY time, even if it means exceeding the design limits. Basic piloting skills have been lost due to computerized flight. This fact has shown itself on too many occasions in past accidents. If this means re-installing cables, so be it. The pilot also needs at ALL times, analog flight instruments (standby 'steam gauges' if you will) to find his way to a safe landing when all of his computers fail. What good will it do to have inflight data being transmitted to the ground continuously no matter where on Earth the aircraft is, if it will not reduce the chance of similar accidents? What will it tell us? Part of the automatic system failed.....duh.
The whole idea of all this "progress" was supposed to make aviation safer. I fail to see where that has been accomplished yet. All that has been accomplished is that manufactures have been able to produce aircraft cheaper and the ticket price has gone down.....along with pilot saleries. There has been needless loss of life in recent accidents due to either loss of basic flying skills driven by computers doing the job or by those same computers failing when most needed.

I mean just look at this


Imagine being in the cockpit trying to control the aircraft (if its computers let you) when the plane is shaking and you are bouncing around - with this stick. There's a reason for that big yoke in the 747s, it allows you to control the plane, and have a decent reference to your torso if you are bouncing around in an emergency.

June 6th, 2009, 02:38 PM
Bodies 'found' from missing plane
From BBC

Aircraft and ships are searching a remote part of the Atlantic

Two bodies and debris have been found from the Air France plane which went missing over the Atlantic last Monday, the Brazilian air force has said.

The remains were taken from the water early on Saturday morning, said spokesman Jorge Amaral.

Experts on human remains are on their way to examine the find.

All 228 passengers and crew on board AF 447 are believed to have been killed when the
plane disappeared during its flight from Rio de Janeiro to Paris.

"We confirm the recovery from the water of debris and bodies from the Air France plane," Col Amaral said at a news conference in the northern city of Recife.

He later added that two male bodies had been found, as well as objects linked to passengers known to be on the flight, including a suitcase with a plane ticket and a backpack with a computer inside.

"It was confirmed with Air France that the ticket number corresponds to a passenger on the flight," Col Amaral said.

A blue seat was also found, and Air France is checking the serial number to see whether it came from the flight.

The remains were picked up some 800km (500 miles) north-east of the islands of Fernando de Noronha, off Brazil's northern coast.

They were not far from where the last signal from the plane was received.

Flight recorders

The items were the first to be definitely linked to the plane, nearly six days after the crash.

1 June: Contact lost with plane over mid-Atlantic
2 June: First debris spotted from the air includes an airline seat. Brazilian defence minister says debris is from missing plane
3 June: More debris spotted, including a 7m-wide chunk of metal. Fuel slick seen on ocean surface
4 June: Buoys and pallet recovered from ocean said to be from plane. Officials later retract statement
6 June: First two bodies, plus suitcase and backpack found, along with seat thought to be from the plane

Mystery of Air France flight

Challenge of deep-sea debris

But the BBC's Gary Duffy in Sao Paulo says the authorities are adopting a cautious approach after previous reports of debris being found proved false.

Correspondents say that much of the search effort so far has been focused on finding flight data recorders, which have sonar beacons - or "pingers" - attached to them.

But French officials say there was no guarantee the beacons were still attached to the flight recorders, and they may have been separated in the impact of the crash.

The officials do not know what triggered the plane's problems, but it was flying through an area of thunder storms and turbulence.

They said it sent 24 error messages minutes before it crashed.

A French submarine is being sent to join in the search since it had sonar equipment that could help locate the airliner's flight data recorders.

The US is also sending specialised listening equipment.

Gregory Tenenbaum
June 23rd, 2009, 03:11 AM
It looks like they found the pinger, I posted this on the SleepNY transit forums, its from a French Newspaper (http://sleepny.lefora.com/2009/06/03/af-disaster-megathread/13859265/)

June 23rd, 2009, 09:22 AM


PARIS (AP) — French military ships searching for the black boxes of Flight 447 have detected sounds in the Atlantic depths but they are not from the Air France plane's flight recorders, a French official said Tuesday.

The official and French investigators denied a report on the website of the French newspaper Le Monde that French ships had picked up a signal from the black boxes.

June 23rd, 2009, 09:33 AM
A news report from a few days ago stated that the large pieces of aircraft and the condition of the bodies that have been recovered are consistent with a plane breaking up at altitude, and not hitting the water intact.

Don't know if that's been discounted.


Gregory Tenenbaum
June 23rd, 2009, 09:42 AM
Its horrific. And it was preventable.

Would you fly a Scarebus after this?

I posted this article about HOW SAFE IS THE AIRBUS on the SleepNY Transit forum.
So Air France have now offered 100,000 (Euros?) compensation for each person who was on board. Many will reject that offer, I think.

Will Air France now suffer from the oncoming class action the way Swissair did back in the late 90s.

Its 40 years after we went to the moon, and they cant get a routine cross Atlantic flight right?


June 23rd, 2009, 09:59 AM
On one end of the spectrum is Capt Sullenberger; at the other end is Capt Dave Ryter of Buffalo Flight 3407.

The industry is somewhere in the middle, but economics seems to be moving it toward the lower end.

I worry more about personnel. Not just pilots, but maintenance crews.

June 23rd, 2009, 10:52 AM
"But even at the major airline level, with the bankruptcies and how they've decimated our contracts, it's just not an attractive job any more," Skiles said. "People aren't leaving the military to become pilots - there are plenty of other options. For instance, corporate flying has exploded quite a bit. What you're finding is the qualifications of the entry level pilots in the traditional airline business have gone from adequate to very inadequate."

The "free market" speaks.

Gregory Tenenbaum
June 25th, 2009, 05:08 AM
Air France is going to face some big, big damages claims.

They cant even ensure safety on a routine trans atlantic flight? If they are aware of a risk in their own operations, they shouldnt be a common carrier.

Interesting days for the airline industry in France, and Airbus. It's all so intertwined, I wonder how much whitewash there will be.

I suspect after this that the CVR and FDRs will be located in the vertical stabilizer (which always seems to survive) and transmit their data in bursts to satellites when theres a crisis sequence.

June 25th, 2009, 09:06 AM
Vertical stabilizers brings to mind a horrific accident in 1985, the crash of JAL Flight 123 (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Japan_Air_123) into a mountainside, the worst single aircraft disaster in history.

A failure of the rear pressure bulkhead, which separates the tail section from the pressurized cabin, caused the vertical stabilizer to shear off. This ruptured all 4 hydraulic lines which operated control surfaces, leaving the aircraft with only engine thrust to maneuver.

In 1978, the aircraft had a tailstrike accident, where the rear of the plane hits the runway. The bulkhead was damaged and repaired, but not to Boeing specifications.

In the accident investigation, Boeing determined that the faulty repair would fail "sometime after 10,000 pressurization." The accident occurred 12,319 takeoffs after the bulkhead repair.

Just a little stress fracture.

Some time later, not directly related to this accident, there was a documentary about major scheduled maintenance of aircraft. They are taken out of service, the interiors stripped down to bare metal, and inspections are conducted. As these planes sit in hangers, they are often temporarily cannibalized for parts.

The entire procedure seemed intensive and expensive. And this was at a time when the airline industry was in better financial condition.

Gregory Tenenbaum
June 25th, 2009, 10:47 AM
From the PPRUNE forums

Though they don't have FDR or CVR, the Lockheed P3C Orion military airplane carries a self-deployable locator beacon that will separate from the airplane when either one of several mercury bulb crash detectors breaks, or the pilot selects it's release.

It's located in the vertical stabilizer, right side, and is spring loaded into place, and the deployment simply releases the catch and the beacon releases with force (away from the airplane), and is aerofoil shaped to allow it to 'flutter' down to the surface whilst transmitting on both 121.5 and 243.0, which it will continue for several days.

Sounds like a great idea...these were fitted to P3Cs from about the early 1980s.

Was thinking that in a lot of these accidents the VS seems to have survived like AA 587 Jamaica Bay, otherwise they could be designed to be ejected like the P3. A lot of accidents the VS is the last thing to separate (head first crash), or the first (rips off intact or not - but better than being vaporized in the frame/nose as the VS comes off), BTW I wasnt aware of that JAL crash, thanks.

Gregory Tenenbaum
June 27th, 2009, 02:24 PM


Read this at SleepNY Transit Forums (http://sleepny.lefora.com/2009/06/03/af-disaster-megathread/13905031/)

The National Transportation Safety Board is investigating
two recent incidents in which airspeed and altitude
indications in the cockpits of Airbus A-330 aircraft may
have malfunctioned.

The first incident occurred May 21, 2009, when TAM Airlines
flight 8091 (Brazilian registration PT-MVB) flying from
Miami, Florida to Sao Paulo, Brazil, experienced a loss of
primary speed and altitude information while in cruise
flight. Initial reports indicate that the flight crew noted
an abrupt drop in indicated outside air temperature,
followed by the loss of the Air Data Reference System and
disconnections of the autopilot and autothrust, along with
the loss of speed and altitude information. The flight crew
used backup instruments and primary data was restored in
about 5 minutes. The flight landed at Sao Paulo with no
further incident and there were no injuries and damage.

The Safety Board has become aware of another possibly
similar incident that occurred on June 23 on a Northwest
Airlines A-330 (registration unknown) flying between Hong
Kong and Tokyo. The aircraft landed safely in Tokyo; no
injuries or damage was reported. Data recorder information,
Aircraft Condition Monitoring System messages, crew
statements and weather information are being collected by
NTSB investigators.

Further information on both incidents will be released when
it becomes available.

And this article here about the Scarebus linked at Sleep New York Transit Forums entitled (http://sleepny.lefora.com/2009/06/03/af-disaster-megathread/13905024/) "Ground the Airbus?"

June 27th, 2009, 04:22 PM
Awesome, I'm flying to and from NYC on an A320 next week.

Gregory Tenenbaum
July 14th, 2009, 03:34 PM
Did you survive the Scarebus?

July 14th, 2009, 04:07 PM
Did you survive the Scarebus?

Of course. ;) And the trip was so great that I can't wait to go back and possibly move there. NYC is fantastic.

July 14th, 2009, 10:44 PM
Generally speaking...

If it ain't Boeing, I'm not going!

Gregory Tenenbaum
July 18th, 2009, 08:37 AM
Routine cross Atlantic travel should be watertight safe in 2009. Period.

And I dont mean crossing Atlantic Avenue.

July 20th, 2009, 10:22 AM
It _is_ that safe. 1 crash in how many years?

Nothing is absolutely safe - but planes operating from 1st world countries is as safe as modern man can make it.

Gregory Tenenbaum
July 20th, 2009, 11:28 AM
Sure, nothing new can be assured of being safe, but this is a routine flight.

Going to the Moon and getting back in one piece - that's risky.

This was a routine cross Atlantic flight, and they cant even work out where the black box is, let alone get the passenger and their luggage home/to Paris safely?

That aint right.

July 20th, 2009, 05:01 PM
Sometimes, routine makes things unsafe.

Gregory Tenenbaum
July 21st, 2009, 01:33 AM
Hopefully not when Im flying...

I've done many, many 14 hour flights (in Boeings mind you), and I always expected to land safely. So a flight like this should be a cinch.

BTW, Nick Taylor, no, they were no imaginary. But how are them imaginary friends of yours coming along?

July 21st, 2009, 09:43 AM
Flights are routine. and Accidents happen. Sometimes in places hard to reach. There is no contradiction between any of these facts.

The NTSB does its best to reduce accident rates - probably better than similar agencies in other countries (another reason I always try to fly American flagged whenever possible). But there is always room for improvement...

Fun facts for your unnatural causes of death:

Odds summarized in the journal NATURE give the following lifetime odds of dying of the following causes: 1:90 for motor vehicle accident, 1:9,000 for drowning, 1:30,000 for airplane crash (not just scheduled airlines), 1:130,000 for earthquake, 1:600,000 for fireworks accident, 1:720,000 for asteroid impact, 1:300,000,000 for food poisoning by botulism and 1:8,000,000 for shark attack [NATURE; Harris,A; Volume 453; page 1178; 26 June 2008].

July 21st, 2009, 10:34 AM
Mid 90s. I'm on a 737 out of NWK, business flight to Atlanta, early morning, plane nearly empty.

As we backed away from the terminal, there was a problem with the overhead "fasten seat belts" lamps. We pulled back up to the terminal; the captain said, "Blah-blah," and we waited.

A maintenance crew arrived with a scaffold, and opened a panel near the starboard engine. I was sitting rearward of the wing, and watched the whole thing. They tinkered for a few minutes, then wheeled away the scaffold and signalled the flight crew.

More blah-blah from the captain, and we began to back out again when the same thing happened. This time no return to the terminal; we stopped and waited for maintenance. They tinkered for a longer period, and eventually closed the panel, but this time the lamps remained out.

The captain came back on, and made a somewhat detailed explanation about the lamp circuits being turned off by maintenance, that they did not interfere with the operation of the plane, blah-blah. He also reminded the passengers that the "fasten seat belt" rule was still in effect.

It seemed to me by their body language, that the maintenance crew had no idea what the problem was, and the captain's "fasten seat belt" announcement was made to deflect attention from the fact that despite two attempts, the problem wasn't fixed.

I also realized at the time I had these thoughts that it was all conjecture on my part; it was just as likely that it was all standard procedure.

July 21st, 2009, 11:10 AM
Flying in a commercial plane is like eating in a restaurant. Better not to know whats going on behind the closed door, and assume everything is on the up and up.

Gregory Tenenbaum
July 21st, 2009, 11:47 AM
Thats why I only eat at restaurants where I can take a look at the kitchen.

Ever been to the Bull and Bear? I read this today. (http://sleepny.lefora.com/2009/07/21/tourist-served-tampon-at-waldorf-astoria/page1/)

Thankfully my flying experiences thus far have been incident free.

July 24th, 2009, 07:14 PM
Here's another story in the continuing saga of Air France;

An Air France A-340 was forced to make an emergency landing here after an engine light came on on the cockpit's instrument panel. It was headed for
Paris, France.

The captain had announced on the PA system to the passengers and crew that the plane was coming back to Boston. It was only in the air for 30 minutes. The plane landed safely with no problems.

All of the 145 pax & crew were unharmed, got off, were put up in a hotel for the night and were put on another plane the next evening. :(

July 25th, 2009, 12:41 AM

July 25th, 2009, 07:24 AM
This wouldn't have made the news before the crash.