Aero-Instruments Pitots — FAA Ice Standards — Eurocockpit


SOURCE:Air Transport Intelligence news

Aero-Instruments to offer pitot tubes for Airbus aircraft

DATE:05/08/09, By John Croft

Ohio-based Aero-Instruments has received US FAA parts manufacturer approval (PMA) to market retrofit pitot probes for a large variety of Airbus aircraft, giving operators another provider to choose from along with Thales and Goodrich for the devices.

Interest in pitot tubes is reaching a zenith as European safety regulators have decided to require Airbus A330 and A340 operators to replace their Thales pitot probes in the wake of the Air France A330-200 accident over the South Atlantic on 1 June. Based on automated maintenance data transmissions sent before the crash, investigators have determined that the aircraft’s velocity measurements were in error, perhaps due to icing.

The Aero-Instruments probes are approved as direct replacements on more than 4,500 Airbus aircraft, including the A320 family as well as the A330 and A340 series aircraft. Airbus uses Goodrich probes on factory built aircraft, and says that 80% of the 1,000 A330 and A340 aircraft delivered aircraft continue to use Goodrich probes. Thales pitot tubes are sold as an option.

An EASA directive expected to be issued in the coming weeks will require operators to change out at least two of the three Thales probes on each aircraft, though officials at Airbus say the devices meet certification standards as written. Pitot tubes measure the pressure of the incoming ram airstream and compare the reading to static (non-moving) air pressure measured elsewhere to derive airspeed. Airbus uses readings from three pitot tubes on the aircraft’s nose to derive airspeed. The devices include a heating element that prevents the tube from freezing closed when moisture is present.

Aero-Instruments, which has been developing the PMA pitot probe for the past 18 months, is best known for its Embraer and Bombardier regional aircraft pitot tubes as well as its general aviation line. The company produces about 15,000 pitot tubes per year, says Ryan Mifsud, Aero-Instruments vice president and general manager.

Mifsud says it does not yet have an Airbus customer for the PMA pitot tubes, but the PMA will “open the door” for discussions.

FAA toughens icing protection standards

SOURCE:Air Transport Intelligence news

DATE:03/08/09, By John Croft

The US FAA today finalised amended certification standards that will require makers of transport category aircraft to either have icing protection systems that automatically activate or provide a method to alert pilots that the system should be turned on.

The final rule follows more than a decade of research by the FAA, NASA and others initiated by the fatal crash of an American Eagle ATR 72 near Roselawn, Indiana, in 1994 due to ice build-up on the wings.

Under the new rule new aircraft and those undergoing “significant changes” that impact icing safety must either have an ice detection system that automatically activates or alerts pilots to turn on the system; a definition of visual signs that indicate ice build-up along with an advisory system; or a method of identifying temperature and moisture conditions conducive to airframe icing, alerting pilots of the need to turn on the protection system.

Regardless of the activation method, ice protection systems must then operate continuously, automatically turn on or turn off, or alert the pilots that the system must be cycled again after the initial activation.

In its price estimate for the rule, the FAA says the most costly devices – dual redundant, primary ice detection systems that automatically activate the ice protection system – will cost manufacturers roughly $500,000 to certify and under $15,000 to purchase and install for each aircraft. All costs will be included in the overall aircraft price.

The agency is also considering a rule that would require the existing fleet to retrofit with the upgraded ice protection systems.



AF447: the BEA hit bottom in one piece

published on 2 August 2009 at 19:04 by EuroCockpit. (English Translation)(Emphasis mine)

While BEA is bogged down in a pathetic communication, to try to pretend that all costs Pitot probes are not – according to them – the cause of the accident flight AF447 should explain a little better what happens certification optional equipment installed in the proceedings BFE (Buyer Furnished Equipment). This is the case of probes Thales (French) voluntarily ordered by Air France instead probes Goodrich (American) delivered “standard” on A340 and A330.

We had explained about the crash of Mont Ste Odile, it is possible to find on aircraft equipment which has not been certified for the aircraft on which it is installed. This was the case of 700 Collins DME A320 Air Inter, well known for causing problems “slide card”. The strategy of the manufacturer to say “no need to certify these materials on A320 as it is [for example] already certified B747. But nothing could afford to say that its integration into the navigation channel of the A320, very different from that of the B747, would do so. And a crash later, we realized that this was not so simple as that. The flight certification of all equipment installed outside BFE certification (numbering 14 in addition to DME, just that) had lasted less than 50 minutes, ie if you had watched it closely … Of course, in a crash Airbus, the official version of the BEA is the fault of the crew … It was the habit of turlurette!

Regarding the probes Thales, the problem is strictly identical. The A340 and the A330 have been certified with probes Goodrich. But the prevailing industrial arrogance is to say that there is no point wasting time and especially money to carry out any investigations necessary for the specific certification of Thales probes on these Airbus models, since these probes were certified also, on another plane, in another context, and so on.

We see is that the manufacturer requires the Trust point of view “strictly engineer” who has never shown truth when seen from a “strictly pilot. But before the economic juggernaut, everyone is silent, and we accept these diktats without a word.

To return to our main topic, here’s something important: it is “in the circles close to the record” that a decision to install probes Goodrich was not taken so easily as that. Two factors were considered: first occurrences of incidents probes Thales came to record the frequency of 10 power -5, while the standard “acceptable” in this area is 10 power -9. In crossing the threshold of 10 power -6 we must respond. But this information could have remained at the bottom of a drawer, and without effect, until the real reason for this shift to 180 ° can be revealed: According to our records, the NTSB (a real BEA, but lives in USA) was preparing to ask the FAA (American civil aviation) impose Goodrich probes on the entire fleet A330 / A340 operated in the USA and the apparatus of foreign companies that serve the USA.

This blow would constitute such a measure imposed by the FAA would have been unacceptable to the EASA and Airbus, which is why he was chosen to anticipate the measure. The EASA has therefore decided to act – finally! – And especially to communicate before the NTSB / FAA, in order not to lose face in front of the great Satan. And Airbus has asked to be able to communicate before the EASA, in order to “display” pure media, in order not to lose face him rather than being imposed what he has decided in extremis. It’s the domino effect in reverse … It would be surprising that anyone is fooled …

Obviously, this leaves the BEA on the board. Taken by surprise, as everyone has already returned his jacket, he continues to apply the initial orders: gesticulate like a scarecrow blissfully ridiculous shouting – now in a desert – the Pitot probes can not and will not, faith “black boxes” not explain the accident

Besides, this cry monomaniac doubles as a communication appalling. Thus, the BEA told AFP on 1 August that “to make recommendations under the technical investigation, there must be established facts and has determined that the circumstances of the accident “.

This statement calls for several comments clumsy.

At the stage of the preliminary report, the BEA has the obligation – Annex 13 of ICAO, cf. Page 4 ICAO document 9156 – present corrective actions or recommendations taken or under consideration … Whatever the BEA, just the replacement sensor is simply the study stage to the BEA can be reported. For it must be reported … This obviously does not prejudge the conclusions of the study as they are … just to study!

The BEA has not written in his preliminary report that it was studying the possible replacement of pitot tubes – then he should write it if the action had been at the mere study – is … it not studying! This means that the BEA had early in his “investigation”, as he has shown since, banished to call into question – even indirectly – Pitot probes. Pitot = taboo!

The BEA also said “that there must be established facts” to make recommendations as part of a technical investigation. ” However, the evidence, there are a number including the BEA has called “Findings” on page 71 of its report. The 13th “fact” of the list – it seems that a figure that is good luck – is the following:

“twenty-four automatic maintenance messages were received between 2 and 10 h 2 h 15 via ACARS. It appears from these messages inconsistency of measured speeds and the associated consequences,”

“It appears from these messages inconsistency speeds measured” …

“inconsistent speeds …

“measured” …

Student Paul-Louis, what allows to “measure” the speed?

Answer: Pitot.

How these speeds have been measured, student Paul-Louis?

Answer: so inconsistent.

The Pitot are always designed to measure speeds inconsistently, student Paul-Louis?


In terms of “fact,” the BEA writing itself, there is inconsistent speeds incriminates Pitot. This confirms that the first reading of ACARS messages of the sequence of Fault Report preceding the crash, the failure of the Pitot and its tragic “consequences.”

Finally, the BEA has told reporters (Reuters – July 10, 2009) that this failure was a Pitot contributory factor to the accident. Although according to the BEA it was not the cause of the accident (sic), how can we accept without batting an eyelid that still identified as a factor contributing to an accident? How to assert, as has just done what the BEA 1st August despite ads Airbus and EASA, it is not possible to make a recommendation on pitot probes?

The BEA has gone into a defense until hardliners Pitot probes – that can guarantee economic interests of justice – and became so mired in the muddy path that now seems not to know how to extract it.

Updated? published on 2009-08-03 10:22 by EuroCockpit.

Related Links

AF 447: The Pitot, a change in a panic?

(Google English Translation) (French)

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