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Crucial 'memory unit' from 2009 Air France crash recovered

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posted on May, 1 2011 @ 08:14 PM
Hmm, call me jaded, but in before false flag operation - We will find out this black box has 'proof' that Air France was downed by (insert next country for U.S. to invade).

But anyway, Pitot tube is just used for airspeed and has it's own heating element, besides, a failure of the pitot tube would just send their eyes to GPS to check ground speed and go from there. Pitot heat on by default in such weather right? Even without that, an attitude indicator alone is enough to ensure the aircraft is above it's minimums. That would be an epic, epic pilot fail if just a pitot tube lead to a crash.

Waiting to hear more.

posted on May, 1 2011 @ 08:26 PM

The last confirmed civilian plane crash that was directly attributed to lightning in the U.S. was in 1967, when lightning caused a catastrophic fuel tank explosion. Since then, much has been learned about how lightning can affect airplanes, and protection techniques have improved. Airplanes receive a rigorous set of lightning certification tests to verify the safety of their designs.


Now that's the U.S. but I would hope they share that knowledge throughout the aviation industry.

posted on May, 1 2011 @ 08:38 PM
reply to post by redNyx

Thank you for that NOVA video. I hadn't seen it, but it did an excellent job of pulling together the "story" that I had read about, so far, as to the best hypothesis.

I might quibble a bit with the specifics, of "ten knots" either side of cruise speed, as being that critical....BUT, if for their actual weight, at that time, and actual altitude and outside ambient temperature, such a narrow margin (not quite a "coffin corner", but along those lines) is possible.

However, if they were originally cruising at M.80 or .82, and slowed to M.76 (I presume that is the Turbulence Penetration Speed recommended by Airbus, for that airplane)....then, this means that the actual speed margin was certainly greater than the "ten knots" mentioned in the NOVA program.

I can illustrate my point, in this TAS/Mach Airspeed conversion calculator

Enter the altitude, 35000 (units in feet, be sure).

In the "Mach" box, enter .80

Click the box beneath, labelled "Compute CAS/TAS" Result on the left, is CAS (Calibrated Air Speed) which is essentially the same as "Indicated" airspeed, shown on the flight instruments. Here, we get 272 knots. This means, that (for a given temperature) at 35,000 feet, and when they indicated a Mach .80, the airspeed indicator would read 272 knots.

Now, simply change the "Mach" value to .76

Re-compute, and you see the new CAS is 257 knots. SO, obviously that change of 15 knots was well within the safe envelope of performance. In fact, a crew is not wise to "push" up higher than reasonable, and to lessen that margin, in normal course of operations. Conversely, on the "faster" side....the Maximum Mach speed (Mmo) for the A-330 is M.86 (same, BTW, as the Boeing 767).

Entering the calculator: =295 knots. The Mmo speed is not a "real", physical "maximum"...just a recommended safe max. So...the actual "safe" speed range, in that scenario (and likely similar to the real event of Air France 447) is at least 38 knots.

At M.76, you still have some margin before actual stall onset....and, on the other "side", you really won't get into trouble going too fast until you near the speed of sound, Mach 1.0

Anyway....the most info gleaned from the NOVA program is something not occurring to me, because I have no flight time in that type of Airbus....and it is the thrust levers, and (to me) the anomaly of their "Fly By Wire" devices (unlike a typical Boeing design). The fact that the actual levers do NOT move, in response to Auto-Throttle commands is weird, to me.....would take a LOT of getting used to.

I suspect it a very plausible scenario that the crew forgot the first rule of flying:

SOMEBODY always, always, always Fly The Airplane! This is the crux of the "crew concept" and delegation of authority and duties, in proper cockpit management that has been drummed in to training curriculums worldwide for decades, now....and this has resulted in far fewer Human-error accidents ever since.

But, we are still, only human....

posted on May, 1 2011 @ 09:06 PM

Originally posted by ArMaP
reply to post by here4awhile

They found it today, after being almost two years at the bottom of the ocean, give them some time.

It's not a flash drive that you take out of your pocket and just need to connect to your computer.

Very humorous. But you have to wonder--just how hard is it? Why *is* it that much harder than plugging in a flash drive? Did they never anticipate that they'd ever need to read one, so simply didn't build an interface for it? Seriously, how hard can it possibly be?

posted on May, 1 2011 @ 09:07 PM
reply to post by LosLobos

Allow me to clear up a few:

I didn't see any messages on this Air France plane that indicated the heaters were not working. Just that the probes were sensing wrong inputs.

The NOVA video went fast....the thing is, with Pitot Heat....yes, IF there is a fault detected in the heating elements, no power, shorts etc....there will be a message. BUT, the situation here is.....the specific pitots were poorly the company that Airbus contracted with, to supply them. (I forget who built them. They are going to be liable, though in this). So, the system thought they were operating normally, heater-wise.

Also, Airbus HAD put out Bulletins telling its customers to change the units, fleet-wide. Air France and Airbus will now be liable, because Air France (cheaply) dragged their feet on the changes, and Airbus did NOT issue the Bulletin with an urgent deadline time, nor indicate it as critical to safety.

Second of all, a pitot problem should never cause the primary and secondary computers to fail. The flight control computers are the brains of the aircraft. They should be the last things to fail during normal flight.

The FCCs didn't "fail"....but, without valid inputs, they could not be counted on to provide accurate information anymore. THAT is why the AutoPilot and AutoThrottles disengaged, automatically. And, unique to Airbus, the flight control logic changed.

Third of all, those messages in 14 minutes suggest to me a catastrophic power failure. The message system most likely still transmits on battery power.

NO, again sorry.

A total loss of normal AC power would mean that the airplane would revert to whatever Airbus designed, for the Twin-engine over-water Ops. If it's like Boeing, it is an hydraulically-driven generator. Might be a ram air turbine....I'll look:

Yes.....found a source, so I can teach myself a little about the A-330.

• One emergency generator (Constant Speed Motor
/Generator or CSM/G), nominal power 8.6 kVA,
hydraulically driven by the Green system.

Airbus is weird (again) with their designation terminology. Boeing usually uses "Left" "Right" or "Center" (if appropriate), or a numbering system... Airbus, in referring to the hydraulic systems, assigns them "colors" for identification. "Green" system, here for the hydraulic generator. As you see, it only puts out 8.6 opposed to the main generators, and the APU generator, which put out 115 kVA.

This means, although better than just on Standby power (Boeing terminology) which is basically, just the ship's batteries, there is a bit more "juice". Still, there will be a lot of electrical load-shedding, due to decreased output. The ACARS and maintenance fault transmissions would use either VHF Comm #3, or the SatComm.....neither of which would be considered essential....

Sad thing (speculating) about this accident? Odds of the unlucky draw.....A different flight crew, with different (better?) experience?? No crash.

A different airplane....same model, but one that Air France had already modified, with the newer pitot tubes?? No crash.

A different weather storms, no severe icing, no crash.........

posted on May, 1 2011 @ 09:24 PM
The Airbus A380 has the largest RAT in use today as a matter of fact.
edit on 5/1/2011 by fixer1967 because: spelling

posted on May, 1 2011 @ 09:34 PM
reply to post by fixer1967

Well....Ok, take your word on "size" comparisons.....but, as in Boeings, the RAT is for hydraulic pump purposes....deploys in the event of a dual engine flame-out (or any power degradation below a certain power output, usually measured by N1).

The electrical generators of course trip off, but also....the hydraulic pressure is supplied by both electrical and engine-driven pumps. Losing electrics, obviously the electric pumps fail. But, without engines, now there is no hydraulic pressure from those pumps...and flight controls rely on hydraulics. SO, the RAT (pumps the Green system only...naturally, since that's where the Emerg. Gen. is tied to).

We do not know about engine operation, in the Air France accident....until the unit can be read out.

This is why there needs to be more info, to try to piece together why the pilots could not recover. Assuming no engine problems, then it is possibly the deep stall, the upset (unusual attitudes) and night time (little to no horizon reference, over water in the dark). And, maybe just not enough time and altitude, in a very rapid descent (due to the stall condition, initially).

posted on May, 2 2011 @ 04:23 AM
reply to post by weedwhacker

Ineed as you say there is more needed here to come to some sort of resolution on what really happened. I myself am reticent to say that this is solely due to blocked / iced pitots. Although it could be a contributing factor. my own experience shows that a blocked pitot should not cause the loss of an airframe. I have had a plane fly across the Pacific before with a bee stuck in the tube! they had some weird readings but were able to keep it moving. and when we got it on the ground, and ran it up. the stow away was found.

OK you have unreliable airspeed indication, and can freak you out if you get stick shaker and overspeed warnings at the same time. Especially in the airbus, where you would quickly degrade from Normal to Direct Law. In English this means that the aircraft goes from being an Airbus to being a big Cessna very quickly.

The part that gets me, is that If GEN1 and GEN2 had failed. i.e. the engines had stopped running, the IDG would not be supplying the system with power. Without APU running, this would mean the RAT, as above would deploy to power the critical systems. AC ESS Bus 1 (in the Airbus, the RAT is not just to power the hydraulic motors, it's also a back up for the electrical systems)

The tell tale sign of this, is that the ACARS and the FDCU (DFDAU) still seems to have been working, meaning that the AC ESS Bus 2 was online and running, and powering the systems. This being the case the RAT will not have been deployed.

I just hope this finally lets us know what happened here. It's been terrifying me for 2 years!

posted on May, 2 2011 @ 04:28 AM
reply to post by weedwhacker

Airbus' aren't weird they just employ a different philosophy.

Where as the Hyds on an 737 maybe be the A and B system

On the Airbus the Green Blue and Yellow system add a thrid dimension to things. i.e. that if you have green all is good, if you loose green, and only have blue and yellow, things aren't so good. if you lose Blue and only have yellow. Things are manageable (i.e. not RED) but you only have primary flight controls and are back to direct law.

This has brought with it though problems of a new kind. In that junior airbus pilots are being taught in such a way as to not interfere with the system, as a boeing pilot may do, but to operate and monitor the system, and action certain items on certain visual and aural stimuli.

This being the case, when the aircraft finally reverts to Direct Law, you had better have a real pilot in the front. This is not always the case.

posted on May, 2 2011 @ 10:53 AM
reply to post by JakiusFogg

Well....I highly doubt there was a dual engine least, not up until the last ACARS message was transmitted.

However.....quite possible that during their distractions, working the Unreliable Airspeed, in turbulence, at night...and if one or both were inattentive to the power (thrust) settings that it is as simple as a stall event....and the resulting possible extreme attitudes (I have never gotten into a deep stall in a Transport Category jet!)....there may have been added distractions/problems if any engines failed also.

None of us ever do actual stalls......"approaches" to stall, that is the training regimen. We have had what's called "Jet Upset" training....but, that is hard to properly simulate, and is trained to reference airspeed. Still, the Attitude Indicator and power settings -- N1 -- are key, too).

I can only compare the possible situation here to the example down in Peru....when the Static Ports were taped over, from an aircraft wash, and went unnoticed. (You know, there...the type of airspeed indications they get, then).

It was at night horizon (although better weather)..., and rather than ignoring the A/S, and flying "power and pitch", they lost a similar way, I presume, to the Air France case.

Aeroperú Flight 603

posted on May, 2 2011 @ 11:20 AM
I am trying to see if I can dig back up the ACARS messages received. I remember seeing them first time, but can't remember is there was an A/P disconnect message.

The point being that even if they were troubleshooting unreliable airspeed. if they were on A/T with the flight director stating 120KTS, the auto throttle would push up.

Maybe it could have been similar to the THY crash at AMS, where a Rad Alt was reading -8 resulting in auto retarding of the throttles. result, stall and what is ironically called an CFIT (controlled flight into terrain)(I am sure you know this, but that's is for the benefit of non aviation types reading this)

The odd thing is, is that with all the systems working, the Airbus will outperform a Boeing, and with its built in protections means you just have to point it in the right direction and press go. The plane will do the rest.

As one pilot put it to me, the difference between Airbus and Boeing, is that Airbus are a little harder to crash.

From an engineering point of view, the thing that got my attention were the ACARS reports of excessive cabin altitude. It was at that point I though about mid air break up.

I just hope we're not seeing a repeat of the accrued load on the Vertical Stab induced by successive extreme rudder inputs, that tore off the stab on a 320 some years back, when flying in wake turbulence from a 767. when really the ailerons should have been used the rid the waves, instead of lateral correction by the rudder, left right left right left right BANG!!

If this was the case, it could easily rupture the cabin / rear bulkhead resulting in explosive decompression.

Or even a catastrophic wing failure. I refer to the number of AD's issues against A330 wings for cracking in the spar and ribs.

Anyway, all this is speculation. I just wnat to know what happened so we can stop it from happening again.

posted on May, 2 2011 @ 11:42 AM
reply to post by JakiusFogg

Yeah....well, all those many years ago (flew the A-300-B4 from 1986 to 1988) after being familiar with Boeings and Douglas....

Airbus' aren't weird they just employ a different philosophy.

Yes, even Boeing altered their philosophy, in nomenclature over the years...the 737, as you mentioned, was an outgrowth of the 707 and 727 .... but, then later designs, and different designations.

On the Airbus the Green Blue and Yellow system add a thrid dimension to things. i.e. that if you have green all is good, if you loose green, and only have blue and yellow, things aren't so good.

As I mentioned, I found a resource to teach me a bit of the systems for the I could "catch-up" on the more modern Airbuses, as I have no hands-on experience with them.

After some good-old PC computer learning curves, found a way to (finally) alter a PDF image to my ATS Media.

Behold!! The A-330 Hydraulic System (block diagram) components list (architecture):

posted on May, 2 2011 @ 12:36 PM
Good find, and that indicated exactly what I was saying in regards to the phylosphy of Airbus.

The yellow "redundant system" being the last line if you lose the other two. (which should not happen)

I just saw the NOVA program, and the Airbus test pilot raises an interesting issue.

One of situational awareness.

In the case of unreliable airspeed, which is not as rare as we might hope, the application of SOP is vital to maintain good attitude / airspeed. But this is where the program departs and meets the rest of us, in that they have no idea.

The pitot is probable cause at this point. hence the reason an AOT was sent out immediately after and in the case of the A320 in Perpignan (which was very close to home for me) after that.

But as was demonstrated this should NOT have been the reason for the loss.

What their conclusion was, fall back to the whole A v B argument, in that the (airbus) pilots were not sufficiently trained / experienced to deal with a rapid wing stall because of high reliance on the automated process. As you mentioned, you sound to me to be primarily a Boeing pilot. So the question is would most Boeing type pilots be more so equipped to deal with a wing stall?

I doubt this, as you mentioned in you previous, this is hard to replicate in training.

There has been some cases where pilots with loss of situational awareness will not believe their own instruments. and that the HSI showing upside down bars and brown MUST be out of limits! when in fact it is not.

So what does a pilot do, knowing he is in Direct Law, with no horizon, unreliable airspeed and not trusting his HSI when trying to effect a stall recovery.especially if they may have forgotten about thrust settings.

Maybe if proven true this is another thing that airbus can think about in their automation process. moving levers, aural warnings, or indeed a logic system that will not allow a flight configuration with low thrust setting with excessive rate of descent, ie. out of normal operational limits.

if they solve this, I am sure they will have plenty of recommendations. indeed the pitot issue itself was mandated shortly after,.

Difficult question!

posted on May, 2 2011 @ 10:36 PM
reply to post by weedwhacker

You do not have to take my word for it. READ the link I posted

". The Airbus A380 has the largest RAT propeller in the world at 1.63 m in diameter, but around 80 cm is more common"

"redundant system" The picture posted shows 4 engine driven pumps and 3 electric pumps and the RAT. The is way too much redundancy for this to be a simple hydro failure. I just hope that box will give up its secrets.
edit on 5/2/2011 by fixer1967 because: spelling

posted on May, 2 2011 @ 10:59 PM
reply to post by fixer1967

I was teasing case you didn't notice.

Since, you mentioned the RAT on the A-380.

A-380.....the latest jumbo-JUMBO jet offering from Airbus.

Yes...probably, due to the sheer size and quantity of hydraulic fluid capacity, in its system (I presume, the Green system, keeping in line with commonality in design, which is a very real philosophy, of late).....yes, the A-380 just might have the biggest-diameter propeller for its RAT. In order to provide the power to pump the fluid to operate the systems that Jacques built (

The size of the RAT pump propeller is a factor in drag, it is a parasitic "thing" hanging out into the airflow...a "necessary evil", if you will.....

BTW....minor technical fact....on Boeings (I assume, it's the same on Airbus) a RAT deployment is one-way....cannot be retracted, by the flight crew, in flight.

We had a crew (many years a go) when we first got the B-757s....had an airspeed irregularity. Foolishly, they searched the circuit breaker panels, and found a C/B labelled "Speed Card". Well....they assumed it had something to do with the airspeed, they pulled it, to see if it "fixed" the airspeed indicator.

Uh oh.....THAT C/B was referenced to the engines' N1, the system "thought" there was a dual engine failure, and the RAT deployed, automatically. In the middle of the Atlantic, on their way across.....

Luckily, the extra drag (and increased fuel burn) didn't affect their range much, and they could continue to original destination. Embarrassing, though.....and just a bit of extra noise, and vibration, for those passengers in First Class, and the front part of Coach......on the right side of the airplane, anyway......

edit on 2 May 2011 by weedwhacker because: (no reason given)

posted on May, 3 2011 @ 05:07 AM

I remember one morning on an overnight 2A on a A320 a junior FO walks into my dock, and approaches one of the Base Engineers, (who was not known for his love of anyone) and asks.

"Hey, can you do me a favour, I have never seen the RAT deployed, is there any chance you can drop it for me, so i can take a look?!!!"

This was already after it was dropped and restowed after the scheduled ground test.

Needless to say he quickly left the room red faced and whimpering!

No such requests where made after that!

posted on May, 27 2011 @ 06:58 AM
Folks the BEA have released the latest factual report, based on findings from the DFDR and CVR.

Sobering reading for all in the aviation industry

BEA Report 27 May 2011

Beware, this is a graphic report of the last moments of a crashed aircraft in which hundreds of people died. THis should not be seen as ghoulish entertainment.

The reason I want to know about it, so that I, as an a/c engineer can do anything different in my work as a result of this. and there are many here similar to me, so that is the reason I posted it.

posted on May, 27 2011 @ 12:58 PM
Evidence now coming out of the usual blind nonsense being spewed by the media.

Even one stating that the engines failed!!!!!!


it's either sensationalism, ignorance, deliberate misinterpretation, or good old lies.

Never let the truth get in the way of a good story!!

posted on May, 27 2011 @ 01:11 PM
reply to post by JakiusFogg

What I see, first quick, as the pitot tubes iced over, and airspeed info was lost...they were distracted by the many EICAS (Boeing term, not sure what Airbus calls them) warnings.

When i saw the pitch attitude went up to ten degrees, and they are at FL 350....AND, not sure if anyone was paying attention to thrust (since auto-throttles kicked off, along with autopilot).....well.....there was a lot of confusion, obviously.

And, as in many cases that have gone badly (since, an accident occurred), attention to the most basic flying of the airplane, was lost.

Should realize....that, day in, day out.....things happen, of many varieties. Not all result in a crash, of course. Mistakes, when managed, can be brought to a successful outcome. It is when the mistakes pile up, and are overlooked, that a crash (tragedy) can occur, and THOSE are the ones we examine, afterwords.

(There are many reports of "near" tragedies, if you know how to interpret them....).

posted on May, 27 2011 @ 01:29 PM
It just seemed very strange to me instead of setting back to cruise settings 3dnu at 78% n1 and deal wiht he flashing lights later. it took around 40 seconds from the AP AT disengage to the first stall warning, at which point they hot TOGA, and because the trim had moved to 13 degrees the initially climbed to FL380. all the time with an increased pitch.

The part that got me is that the IAS came back into agree at 185 kts, he almost had it, but kept pulling back on the stick!

One theory going around is that because they "could not believe" the accuracy of their instruments, at a time when they were at 40 deg nose up. They WENT TO IDLE!! at 55% n1 and input further nose up. Presuming their lost situational awareness, and though they were in a nose dive and where worried about overspeed.

Still very puzzling.

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