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MAJOR UPDATE – 7 MAY 2010

Air France Flight 447: Unsuccessful Searches And Pitot Maintenance (UPDATED) Black Boxes Located?

END UPDATE

Most websites are focused on the tail section and the vertical stabilizer / rudder because those are the first pictures.  It is too easy to jump to conclusions and speculate.

The Seattle Post Intelligencer has spoken to Darryl.  I have been waiting and watching for comments out of Seattle.  The silence has been very telling!

After reading this, I now understand why they are going out of business.  The SeattlePI should be ashamed to call themselves a newspaper “communications company” to print publish something like this.

Engineer decodes Air France Flight 447 emergency messages

I just finished listening to a podcast where an avionics engineer goes over the final messages sent by the Air France Flight 447 plane before it crashed.

Darryl is introduced as an engineer familiar with the the Honeywell ACARS system. His full name is not given because of the sensitivity over the crash, Schonland said. He does not work for Air France or Airbus.

“There’s so much going on, the pilots don’t know what to do other than take a hold of the stick and fly the aircraft, because the airplane is not flying itself,” Darryl said. “If this was happening in a clear day in the middle of the day, you’d still be in serious trouble, but at least you’d know if you were climbing or descending.”

Update:  Listen to “Darryl” for free here…Thanks  Andrea James: SeattlePI News gatherer.  Darryl might have some explaining with his employer?

Update II:  A few readers have informed me that SeattlePI is only on-line and is not a newspaper.  I agree with the latter.  Note:  Per their website: For hundreds of thousands of people in Seattle and the Pacific Northwest, it’s not morning without their P-I.“seattlepi.com is part of The Hearst Corp., one of the world’s larger diversified communications companies, with interests in newspaper, magazine, book and business publishing; television and radio broadcasting; cable network programming; newspaper features distribution; television production and distribution; and interactive media activities.

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AP is now bringing in the experts:

William Waldock, who teaches air crash investigation at Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University in Prescott, Arizona, said “That would reinforce the idea that the plane broke up in flight,” he said. ” If it hits intact, everything shatters in tiny pieces.”

No signs of burn marks on the stabilizer offered scant clues: Any explosion or fire in the fuselage would likely not make its way back to the tail section, according to Waldock. Examining the fracture surfaces will also be key, Waldock said, since it will indicate from what direction the force came that snapped the piece.

…Peter Goelz, a former managing director of the National Transportation Safety Board, said

“If you had a wrong speed being fed to the computer by the Pitot tube, it might allow the rudder to over travel,” Goelz said. “The limiter limits the travel of the rudder at high speeds and prevents it from being torn off.”

Asked if the rudder or stabilizer being sheared off could have brought the jet down, Goelz said: “Absolutely. You need a rudder. And you need the (rudder) limiter on there to make sure the rudder doesn’t get torn off or cause havoc with the plane’s aerodynamics.”

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08/06/2009 – 19h27 Nota 21 – 08.06.09

INFORMATION ON SEARCHES OF THE AIR FRANCE FLIGHT 447

Command and the Navy Command of the Air report that since the beginning of searches at the moment, the number of bodies from the sea is 24, all on board ships Brazilians.

he last eight bodies recovered in joint work of the Brazilian Navy and French Navy, will be sent to Fernando de Noronha, which will be submitted to expert initial preparation and subsequently transported by air to the city of Recife (PE).

The Frigate Constitution is about 400 km from the Fernando de Noronha Archipelago, with the 16 bodies recovered earlier. The weather did not interfere in the operations of search and rescue today, but there are formations that indicate weather bad weather near the archipelago.

Currently, the operation has 255 soldiers of the Brazilian Air Force, moved to Natal (RN), Recife and Fernando de Noronha (PE), and 14 aircraft, with 12 of the Brazilian Air Force and two from France. The helicopter H-34 (Super Puma of the FAB) moved from Natal to Fernando de Noronha to directly support the rescue operations.

The Brazilian Navy operates with 570 troops embarked. The ship-Guaiba replaced Patrol Ship-Grajaú Patrol, who is returning to Natal (RN) for resupply. Thus, they remain in the area of operations five ships of the Navy of Brazil and the French Navy Frigate.

The actions of search and rescue continues, without interruption, and are concentrated at points where the bodies were located. The survey of other sources of debris continues to be the R-99 aircraft, and during the night, aircraft visual search of work in the transport of supplies to Fernando de Noronha.

CENTRO DE COMUNICAÇÃO SOCIAL DA MARINHA

CENTRO DE COMUNICAÇÃO SOCIAL DA AERONÁUTICA

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AF447_TCAS

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A translated letter from a TransAtlantic pilot:

My friends….I have a theory re possible causes of the Airbus Air France Crash, and it is based on my own experiences.

The Met phenomenon which happened to me was in the general area of the Air France crash, in May 2001, when I was returning to Spain from Buenos Aires in a B743. From overhead Rio, we followed the exact same route as the Air France Airbus, and passing the area of the accident crossing the Intertropical Front at F370, we found moderate to severe turbulence. For around 1 to 2 minutes of the flight we then experienced a sudden increase of outside air temperature, it went from -48C to -19C.

As a result of this temperature discrepancy, we went from flying with a margin of 10,000Kgs to 15,000kgs outside the flight envelope for that flight level, and the aeroplane started an immediate pitch down, with very strong oscillations. I disconnected the Autopilot and we descended, losing 4,000Ft…we were well in the “Coffin Corner”, and I am certain had we not disconnected the Autopilot and regained control of the descent, we might be at the bottom of the Atlantic ourselves, as the Autopilot would have tried to maintain altitude and would not have been possible. I have since been flying an A340 in those routes and have not found the same conditions since, which in my 40 years flying I had never ever considered possible. I would describe it as a massive funnel of 40NM in diameter of incredibly warm air with an embedded CB rising at extremely fast rate…after 5 minutes of flying by the seat of our pants, everything started to get back to normal, temp went back to 048C and I was able to regain climb back to F370.

Airbus advises not to disconnect the Autopilot when entering Turbulence, but a situation like the one I described has not been documented before that I am aware of.”

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AirFrance

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Note:  I have done my best to translate into English:

It is no secret to anyone, EuroCockpit has always been very vocal on the suspicion we had in respect of certain communications with BEA. All from BEA, we check. Everything BEA writes, we check twice.

To understand why and how we got there, we repeat the tragedy at the beginning.

When messages arrive ACARS Air France, the night of June 1st, they arrive in a sequence that is unique to the system, but without sorting chronologically within each minute. In reality, we must analyze these messages in order to understand them.

At the top of the document is the page number. Page 28 of 256, the message ACARS oldest dated 31/05 to 22h45Z. It concerns a WRN (Warning) and a FLR (Fault Report). The oldest is at the bottom. The following messages date from June 1 to 02h10Z.

Looking at these messages 02h10 (again they do not sort in the list) shows that this is the beginning of the list (ie from bottom to top) Message type alarm ( WRN = warning). These alarm messages are all the result of a lack of a system.

Or, if you made a list of fault messages (FLR = FAULT REPORT), the first message is actually page 29, near the end of the list. Should classify messages 02h10 starting with “FAULT REPORT.

In 0210, the first failures concern ATA 34 and 27.

Specifically ATA 34, ATA-under 11. The figure 06 indicates the phase of flight, ie 06 for CRUISE cruise.

A 0210, le premier des deux “FAULT REPORTS” concerne donc l’ATA 34  (message “FLR […] 34111506EFCS2 […]”) et signifie :

  • ATA 34 (navigation)
  • 11 (Sensors, power supply and switching)
  • 15 (Pitot probes)
  • 06 (cruise)

The sub-ATA 11/15 therefore .. Pitot tubes.

With the consequent failure FLR 27933406 (Flight control primary computer en route), then the long list of messages WRN (warning) resulting from the loss of anemometric references, since that is what we are talking about.

Clearly, a few hours after the accident, the BEA, Airbus and Air France had heard the contents of messages and their meaning. They knew it was – again – a problem on the Pitot tube.

ATA ATA-34 in 11/15, and Air France and BEA come talk to us about electrical problems, lightning, turbulence, thunderstorms, of FIT, the ITCZ, before all the cameras around the world?

ATA 34, ATA-under 11/15, and the BEA says that the investigation will be long and difficult, and there is little chance of recovering the recorders?

ATA 34, ATA-under 11/15, and it would still fly aircraft equipped with several sensors fail?

We are shocked to say the least, this way of dealing with the feedback. Because, looking around, we see that the problem is not new, and it is far from having been discovered in this tragic month of June. What is the feedback, gentlemen of the BEA ?

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If we had to write yesterday about our predictions regarding the press conference that BEA held this morning, [BEA] would have said:

  • There were lots of big storms – nothing to suggest that the probes are at issue as claimed by a website professional civil aviation, as probes ACARS send a message – we never found the recorders and so much more damage.
  • We know how predictable [BEA] becomes. Speaking to the general press, which may tend to eat any raw dish that he puts on the plate, it is certain that the recipe may seem irrelevant.
  • But if we believe that things would be as simple as this “official view”, do not count on us to spread that view.
  • Even an official of Météo France bravely denied the conspiracy storm by saying that the situation that prevailed that night was “normal.”

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AF447: Thalès Pitot tubes (A320/330/340) under surveillance

The analysis of ACARS messages sent by the A330 in distress should enable BEA to “go back” to the crash. It would therefore be from the end to go up, why not, to the storm or convective system have undermined the aircraft.

This technology has been improved by a form of redundancy (3 Pitot independent A330), but no miracle technology has been put in place to replace these small holes capricious, whose hole measuring several square millimeters, and sometimes clog, are filled with water, givrent, etc..

When we read carefully the Airbus communication below, we can ask what is the breakdown which could lead to the need for pages of 2.21 to 2.23B QRH (AFM

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AF447 : une communication Airbus

As announced yesterday, the manufacturer has to provide a reminder about some basic pilot: firstly there is a QRH (Quick Reference Handbook), which meets all the abnormal situation, and secondly crews find them QRH the method to treat cases so-called “speed unsafe” (unreliable airspeed) in the QRH.

Note that in order not to designate the A330, the manufacturer has expanded this recall to all models.

FROM : AIRBUS FLIGHT SAFETY DEPARTMENT TOULOUSE

ACCIDENT INFORMATION TELEX – ACCIDENT INFORMATION TELEX

SUBJECT: AF447 ACCIDENT INTO THE ATLANTIC OCEAN

OUR REF: AF447 AIT 2 June 4th 2009

PREVIOUS REF: – Ref 1: AF447 AIT 1 dated June 1st 2009

This AIT is an update of the previous AIT n°1 concerning the AF447 accident into the Atlantic ocean on June 1st, 2009.

In line with the ICAO Annex 13 recommendations, the French investigation Board – BEA (Bureau d’Enquêtes et d’Analyses) is leading the technical investigation, with accredited representatives from the Brazilian Investigation Board and US NTSB, with Airbus providing technical support.

The following data have been approved for release by the French BEA.

The route of the aircraft was crossing a tropical multicell convective area at the time of the accident.

Failure/ maintenance messages have been transmitted automatically from the aircraft to the airline maintenance center.

The above mentionned messages indicate that there was inconsistency between the different measured airspeeds. Therefore and without prejudging the final outcome of the investigation, the data available leads Airbus to remind operators what are the applicable operational recommendations in case of unreliable airspeed indication.

The following operational procedures are available for the Airbus Aircraft Type :

-A300: QRH 13.01 thru 13.03, FCOM 8.05.10;
-A310: QRH 13.01 thru 13.03, FCOM 2.05.80;
-A300-600: QRH 13.01 thru 13.03, FCOM 2.05.80;
-A318/A318/A320/A321 family: QRH 2.15 thru 2.18A, FCOM 3.02.34;
-A330/A340 Family: QRH 2.21 thru 2.23B , FCOM 3.02.34;
-A380: ECAM not-sensed procedures, FCOM – Procedures / ECAM
Abnormal and Emergency Procedures / 34 Navigation.

An update on the accident data will be provided as soon as further valuable information is approved for release by the Investigation Board.

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Eurocockpit has also posted on their website questions as it relates to a pair of serious incidents with loss of pitot probes on A330s, company Air Caraïbes Atlantique (ACA).  The ACA incident produces a series of failures that are strikingly similar to what is deduced from the ACARS messages.

Full document at http://www.eurocockpit.com/docs/ACA.pdf.

Update:  Disclaimer.  The above translation is based on my understanding.  Please verify yourself by going directly to their website and decide on the interpretation/meaning yourself.

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COMMONWEALTH OF AUSTRALIA (Civil Aviation Regulations 1998), PART 39 – 105
CIVIL AVIATION SAFETY AUTHORITY
SCHEDULE OF AIRWORTHINESS DIRECTIVES

AIRWORTHINESS DIRECTIVE
For the reasons set out in the background section, the CASA delegate whose signature appears below issues the following Airworthiness Directive (AD) under subregulation 39.1 (1) of CAR 1998. The AD requires that the action set out in the requirement section (being action that the delegate considers necessary to correct the unsafe condition) be taken in relation to the aircraft or aeronautical product mentioned in the applicability section: (a) in the circumstances mentioned in the requirement section; and (b) in accordance with the instructions set out in the requirement section; and (c) at the time mentioned in the compliance section.

Airbus Industrie A330 Series Aeroplanes
AD/A330/1 Pitot Probes 12/2002
Applicability: A330-301, -321, -322, -341 and -342 series aeroplanes, all serial numbers without either Airbus Industrie modification 44836 or 45638 embodied during production or Airbus Industrie Service Bulletins (SB) A330-34-3038 or A330-34-3071 embodied whilst in service.

Requirement: Remove Rosemount pitot probes part number (P/N) 0851GR and replace them with either BFGoodrich Aerospace P/N 0851HL probes in accordance with SB A330-34-3038, or by Sextant P/N C16195AA probes in accordance with SB A330-34-3071.

Note: DGAC AD 2001-354(B) refers.

Compliance: Before 31 December 2003.

This Airworthiness Directive becomes effective on 28 November 2002.

Background: The French Direction Générale de l’Aviation Civile has advised that operators have reported loss or fluctuation of airspeed when flying through extreme meteorological conditions. Further to an investigation, the presence of ice crystals and/or water exceeding the current limits of the initial specification of Rosemount pitot probes P/N 0851GR is considered the most probable cause of these airspeed discrepancies.
This Directive requires the installation of pitot probes meeting more stringent qualification requirements.
Barry James Reid McKay
Delegate of the Civil Aviation Safety Authority
17 October 2002

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AF 447 Extended Flight Status

AF 447 Flight Information

Route: From (GIG) Rio De Janeiro, RJ, BR to (CDG) Paris, FR
Duration: 11h 15m
Equipment: Airbus Industrie A330-200 (Scheduled)
Equipment: Airbus Industrie A330-200 (Actual)
On-time Rating: 2 of 5

Departure Status Details
Airport: (GIG) Galeao Antonio Carlos Jobim International Airport
Rio De Janeiro, RJ, BR
Scheduled: 7:00 PM – Sun May 31, 2009
Actual: 7:03 PM – Sun May 31, 2009
Departed gate 3 min later than scheduled
Terminal: 1
Departure Time Detail

Scheduled Actual
Published 7:00 PM
Gate 7:00 PM 7:03 PM
Runway 7:29 PM

Arrival Status Details
Airport: (CDG) Charles De Gaulle Airport
Paris, FR
Scheduled: 11:15 AM – Mon Jun 01, 2009
Estimated: 11:10 AM – Mon Jun 01, 2009
Terminal: 2E
Arrival Time Detail

Scheduled Actual
Published 11:15 AM
Gate 11:15 AM 11:10 AM *
Runway

Flight Events

This section shows the various changes that were made to the information about the flight including the time the source was changed as well as the data source that caused the change. The date and time of the event are displayed in UTC time.

Date Time Source Event Data Updated
May 28 8:26 AM Schedules RecordCreated
May 31 5:45 PM Airline Gate Adjustment
  • AEQP Changed To 332
May 31 10:05 PM Airline STATUS-Active
  • Actual Gate Departure Changed To 05/31/09 07:03 PM
  • Estimated Gate Arrival Changed To 06/01/09 11:02 AM
  • Status Changed From Scheduled To Active
May 31 10:38 PM Airline Time Adjustment
  • Actual Runway Departure Changed To 05/31/09 07:29 PM
  • Estimated Gate Arrival Changed From 06/01/09 11:02 AM To 06/01/09 11:14 AM
Jun 01 8:56 AM Airline Time Adjustment
  • Estimated Gate Arrival Changed From 06/01/09 11:14 AM To 06/01/09 11:10 AM
Jun 01 4:24 PM FlightHistory STATUS-Scheduled
  • Status Changed From Active To Scheduled

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