Oglobo – AF 447 Short Summary – ACARS

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Insurer says it has initiated compensation for the accident flight 447 (English Translation)(Emphasis mine)

Some families of victims of flight 447 of Air France have already started to receive an advance payment of compensation for the accident, according to the statements of Patrick Morinerie, deputy director-general of French insurer Axa to Newsnight.

Axa manages the process of compensation for the accident. Morinerie revealed no details about the number of families who have received the prior payment of the compensation to which they are entitled.

The first letters were sent over the weekend for the relatives of victims who came into contact with Air France,” said Morinerie. “This advance is about 17.6 thousand euros (about $ 47 thousand).

The Montreal Convention of 1999, ratified by France and Brazil, setting the rules on compensation for passengers who suffered injuries physical or died on board an airplane or during operations of embarking or disembarking.

The text, which came into force in Brazil in 2006, provides that the relatives of the victims are entitled to receive in advance a portion of the amount of the compensation to assist in the early costs. This advance, which will then be deducted from the total amount received, not be less than approximately 17.6 thousand euros, according to international standard.

The Montreal Convention sets no ceiling for compensation in case of injury or death of passenger – or they may be unlimited, calculated according to the social and professional situation of each victim. The only exception that exempts the airline to compensate a victim is when they can prove that the passenger has committed a fault or acted with negligence.

Accident more expensive

According to estimates of the newspaper Le Monde, the claims of the crash of flight 447 may cost between $ 330 million and $ 750 million in the case of actions in court. This can make the flight Paris-Rio the most expensive accident in the history of aviation, ahead of the fall of an airplane America Airlines in 2001, which cost U.S. $ 708 million, according to the newspaper.

About 15 insurance companies are involved in the accident, insured themselves with the reinsurance companies. The French Axa, the insurer and also Air France’s Airbus, manages the entire contract on behalf of other insurers. The 216 passengers are covered by the insurance policy of Air France. In the case of the crew, the contract is for work accidents.

The Air France plane carrying many of the heads of families and executives, which should help increase the value of damages. Insurers for Air France would indemnify the airline in an estimated 67.4 million loss for the Airbus .

Only the results of research to determine the liability of companies involved, which may include up to third party companies that are, for example, maintenance of aircraft. According to Le Monde, insurers are already making estimates for the Air france be considered the sole or primary responsibility for the accident or of their liability be divided in half with Airbus.

See Also

LE MONDE | 13 juin 2009 | Cécile Prudhomme

Insurance companies have started to contact the relatives of victims and compensation process has begun. Compensation for families of victims of air disaster flight AF 447 between Paris and Rio will soon begin.

Bloomberg:  Air France Crash Spurs Debate Over Lawsuit Locations (Update1)

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AF 447 –  A Short Summary

An Air France Airbus A330-200 registered as FGHCP took off from Rio de Janeiro – GIG – for Paris – CDG – at 22.03Z, on May 31st with 216 passengers and 12 crew members.

It was proceeding via airway UN873 at Flight Level 350.

It checked position INTOL at 0133Z , June 1st, and passed an estimate for TASIL at 0223Z.

Brazilian authorities revealed that he flew out of radar coverage at 0148Z, maintaining Flight level 350.

Around 0200Z, on a communication to Air France Operations, the crew indicated that they were experiencing “strong turbulence” as they approached the ITCZ.

Between 0210Z and 0214Z, a quick succession of 24 maintenance messages reported a series of warnings to the crew, along with some advisory on several systems faults and some maintenance messages.

The aircraft never transmitted a position report at TASIL and never checked with Senegalese ATC.

A search and rescue operation was launched which led to the discovery of the airplane debris over a large area of the ocean.

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FLIGHT INITIATION

In spite of lack of precise information, we can however estimate with a high degree of certainty that the flight took off at maximum take-off weight : 216 out of 219 seats were occupied and we know that a few passengers were refused boarding, which is normal SOP for keeping the weight within the structural limits.

With that MTOW of 233 T, we can estimate the weight at the last transmission position at about 206 T.

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BRAZIL-FRANCE-AIR-ACCIDENT-FLIGHT-447

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AIRCRAFT PERFORMANCE AND ALTITUDE CAPABILITY

The airplane was well below its optimum flight level, hence its maximum altitude capability. There was no question on its buffet margins (No “coffin corner” situation for the ISA + 14°C conditions they both planned for and encountered).

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WEATHER

According to independently studied weather situation, there was nothing unusual in both the position in latitude and in convective activity inside the ITCZ. Tim Vasquez, who made the most thorough analysis, identified some potentially very active cells in the vicinity of the planned flight track and the French Weather Office found that in fact the active Cbs in the area had already started their decaying phase around 0200Z.

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Pilots do not have access to a lot of the information that has been published relating to the enroute Wx prior to flight. A number of organizations produce SIGWX (Significant Weather) forecast, none of them are exactly the same. What they do have in common is that the are normally produced 6-12 hours before their validity time, and the validity time can range from 6-24 hours.

On the day of the accident when I looked at the SIGWX chart from the UK MET office applicable to the AF flight, I saw nothing unusual or dangerous about the enroute Wx.

In hindsight some people have been studying various satellite pictures of the en-route weather, in reality the information that pilots make their decisions based on would normally have been issued 6-12 hours earlier by the MET office, and it is a forecast only.

The only real time tool that pilots have to look at weather in airlines is the weather radar, and even that has a number of limitations, the biggest ones being

* the attenuation of the radar signal in heavy precipitation (i.e. you can pick up a line of storm cells but not what it behind it)

* they do not pick up frozen water, the tops of a Cb in the mature phase may have little or no water in the clouds at high levels, if it all frozen, it is invisible

* the shape of the radar beam means when used at optimum tilt during cruise at long range ( > 80nm) you will see an almost solid “ground” return of the the sea.

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ACARS MESSAGES

A summary was made public on June 4th of the received maintenance messages.

It is to be stressed that :

1/- They only concern the messages addressed to AF maintenance through an automated protocol.

2/- They cannot in any case be regarded as equivalent to a DFDR recording.

3/- For lack of an access to the complete digital coding of the reported faults, some interpretation could be erroneous.

4/- The summary refers to 24 individual messages that have not been made public.

Anyway, some attempts at interpretation have – and still can – be made as to the understanding of the technical aspects of the last moments of the flight.

On some QRH, NAV ADR DISAGREE points straight to ADR1+2+3 fault,

from the available public sources, it appears when:

-1/- One ADR has already been voted off by the other two, followed by

-2/- A discrepancy between the two remaining ADRs.

So basically “ADR DISAGREE” points to unreliable data provided by all three ADRs.

On that list, we can eliminate the “REAC W/S DET FAULT” as it refers to the windshear detector, present only at low altitudes (Takeoff or Aproach conditions).

We’re trying to understand what happened in the cockpit…But it’s not easy to sort out what was a fault reporting and what could have been crew actions, as reflected on the ECAM.

…Most of the indicators talk about pitot icing (all three failing at the same time being a statistical impossibility).

What is needed is the severity of that failure… We could understand more clearly the run of events and reduce the scope of assumptions, especially as to in-flight break-up (on this subject, not very optimistic I am)

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/ TYPICAL SIGNATURE OF UNRELIABLE AIRSPEED :

NAV ADR DISAGREE *+

NAV IAS DISCREPANCY

F/CTL ALTN LAW *+

F/CTL RUD TRV LIM 1(2) FAULT *

AUTO FLT AP OFF *+

AUTO FLT A/THR OFF *+

STALL WARNING (audio call-out)

AUTO FLT REAC W/S DET FAULT

– Fault Message “PROBE-PITOT 1+2/2+3/1+3” was possibly also seen.

Reviewing other QRH versions…

* = Present in AF447

+ = Present in other airlines as ECAM messages.

Inconsistency on some QRH –  NAV ADR DISAGREE points straight to ADR1+2+3 fault.

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AIR FRANCE MEMO

FROM : AIRBUS CUSTOMER SERVICES TOULOUSE
TO : ALL A330/A340/A340-500/A340-600 AIRBUS RESIDENT CUSTOMER SUPPORT MANAGERS
OPERATORS INFORMATION TELEX – OPERATORS INFORMATION TELEX
TO: A330/A340/A340-500/A340-600 Operators
SUBJECT: ATA 34 – REQUEST FOR INFORMATION CONCERNING IN-FLIGHT UNRELIABLE AIRSPEED
OUR REF: SE 999.0049/09/VHR dated 09 JUN 2009

CLASSIFICATION: GENERAL INFORMATION

1/ CONTEXT: As reported in AIT reference “AF447 Issue 3 June 8th 2009”, there are 3 standards of pitot probes in service on the A330/A340 family aircraft:

– Thales (ex Sextant) PN C16195AA and PN C16195BA
– Goodrich (Rosemount) PN 0851HL

It is reminded that the ‘BA’ standard probe was made available to address low altitude water ingress events that generated a number of RTO on the A320 family program.

AF447 aircraft was equipped with Pitot PN C16195AA.

The intense speculation regarding these pitot probes has led many Operators to contact Thales or Airbus to:

– request an immediate replacement of the Thales ‘AA’ probes with ‘BA’ (Service Bulletins A330-34-3206, A340-34-4200, A340-34-5068)

– report recent and past (previously unreported) events of Unreliable airspeed.

These events, after analysis and confirmation, will allow to determine if any corrective action is warranted by the findings.

In this context, all Operators, equipped with Goodrich (Rosemount) or Thales (Sextant) pitot probes, are requested to report all confirmed in-flight Unreliable airspeed events.

2/ TYPICAL SIGNATURE OF UNRELIABLE AIRSPEED

To be sure that Unreliable airspeed events are correctly identified, please report events corresponding to the criteria as follows:

– Crew report indicates loss or discrepant IAS (Indicated Airspeed) on CAPT and/or F/O PFD and/or Standby Airspeed indicator (ISIS).

– Typical ECAM Warnings were seen:

NAV ADR DISAGREE
NAV IAS DISCREPANCY
F/CTL ALTN LAW
F/CTL RUD TRV LIM 1(2) FAULT
AUTO FLT AP OFF
AUTO FLT A/THR OFF
STALL WARNING (audio call-out)
AUTO FLT REAC W/S DET FAULT

– Fault Message “PROBE-PITOT 1+2/2+3/1+3″ was possibly also seen.
– Maintenance report indicates that event was NOT due to a system failure.

3/ AIRBUS REQUEST

Please send all reports corresponding to the above typical signature via email to ….. @airbus.com”. Please be sure to include the following points:

– Aircraft MSN affected
– Pitot part number fitted at the time of the event
– Date of event
– Aircraft location at the time of the event.
– Flight phase at the time of the event.
– Altitude at the time of the event
– Weather conditions at the time of the event.
– Indicate what effects on IAS were seen on CAPT and F/O PFD and Standby Airspeed indicator (ISIS).
– Other associated cockpit effects were seen (ECAM warnings etc.)

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REPORTED SYSTEMS FAULTS

They are about Automatic Flight System, Flight controls system, Navigation systems and Air Conditioning & Pressurization.

Prominently figuring in the list are the airplane’s ADRs or air data reference units. Some identified codes reveal that in all probability, the faulty channels are related to aerodynamic speed data, which made official services look into the origin of the data : the total pressure probes, better known as “Pitot tubes”, the more when it was revealed that a few incidents – some serious – with similar subsequent warnings have happened in the past. One of them, an Air Caraibes flight from Fort-de-France to Orly led the crew to a very difficult-to-manage flight situation.

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BRAZIL-FRANCE-AIR-ACCIDENT-FLIGHT-447 EVARISTO SA/AFP/Getty Images)

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SEARCH AND WRECKAGE RECOVERY

Parts of the aircraft and some 50 bodies have so far been recovered, with the Brazilian authorities in charge of forensic medicine and the French dealing with the examination and treatment of the debris.

So far, the priority has been given to the occupants of Flight 447, with some urgency acknowledged for the identification and locating of the flight recorders, the “pingers” of which having a limited life.

Very little is known about a precise location of the found and recovered parts of the aircraft.

Of some notice are : the tail fin, the left inner spoiler, parts of the Crew Rest container, the forward twin jump seats and the doctor’s kit, the location of which are well known inside the plane.

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PRELIMINARY CONCLUSIONS

Very few can be made with a high degree of certainty.

However, if we concentrate on facts, we can derive the most likely picture of what happened in this cockpit up to the moment of the last transmission.

The facts are :

-A night flight in an area of active Cb cells, some likely turbulence, in and out of the main system’s cloud tops of cirrus and some heavy moisture.

-A loss of indicated airspeed data, an auto-pilot disengagement leading to a manual partial panel flying with degraded flight control laws.

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WHAT IS NOT KNOWN

Basically everything that happened after 0214Z, the time of the last transmission.

At this stage, it is impossible to determine an in-flight structural break-up or a high-speed impact with the ocean surface.

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READING BETWEEN THE OFFICIAL LINES

Most documents, published by Airbus Industrie or the BEA or the EASA seem to suggest that at least the loss of aerodynamic data – meaning either the Pitot tubes or the ADRs – might have been a contributory factor to this accident.”

We’ll have to deal with each aspect in order to keep some intellectual honesty in this accident study.

As we are not privy to the complete documents or the findings of the investigation team, I’d like to repeat that our job is more of a sleuthing nature than an analysis of the complete access to the evidence.

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