France seeks help with Airbus A330 search — Air France pilots accuse investigators of cover-up over AF447 crash Air France pilots investigators accused of cover-up over AF447 crash — Federal Register: September 3, 2009: AD requires replacing certain Thales Avionics pitot probes with certain other pitot probes


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“There are failures that we cannot explain!”

“Like walking with a flashlight an area the size of Switzerland!”

“Airspeed information not displayed on pilot screens from disruption of Pitots!”

The BEA is currently investigating seven incidents related to loss of information or questionable speed. For its part, Airbus was working on twenty cases, but since the crash of the AF 447, other malfunctions have been reported. Each time, the duration is short failures. It varies from five seconds to three minutes, without loss of altitude of 300 meters, whereas the AF 447 has fallen by more than ten thousand meters. Malfunctions extremely fugitive. “In most cases, the crew does nothing, but there are circumstances in which drivers react to a stall warning,” said Paul-Louis Arslanian.  Le Point.fr



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France seeks help with Airbus A330 search

IrishTimes, Monday, August 31, 2009

France wants to launch an expanded international effort to find the missing wreckage and flight recorders of the Air France jet which crashed in the Atlantic in June, the country’s top crash investigator said today.

About a thousand fragments of the Airbus A330 which crashed on June 1st, killing 228 people, have been examined but most of the aircraft is still missing and it is still too early to say definitely what caused the crash, he said.

“We are going to see how we can optimise our search. We are going to expand it to other countries to bring in the maximum international dimension and seize every chance we can to avoid missing new clues,” Paul-Louis Arslanian, director of France’s BEA air crash investigation board, told journalists.

Three young Irish doctors, Dr Aisling Butler, Dr Eithne Walls and Dr Jane Deasy, were killed on the FR447 flight.

European planemaker Airbus is expected to help fund the move, which could cost several tens of millions of euros, he said, adding an announcement could be made in the autumn.

The United States, Brazil, Britain and Germany are among the nations likely to take part, he said at a specialist briefing.

Authorities have been combing an expanse of ocean the size of Switzerland in a fruitless bid to find the voice and data recorders and the bulk of the plane, which plummeted some 30,000 feet (9,000 metres) in four minutes before crashing in an equatorial storm.

After failing to pick up radio tracking signals that the recorders were designed to emit for around 30 days, investigators took up the search using a French survey vessel, sonars and submarine but the “black boxes” are still missing.

The third phase would involve sending sonars or robots to the relatively unexplored seabed, up to 4,000 metres below the surface.

Flight AF447 crashed near the equator while en route to Paris from Rio de Janeiro.

Authorities have found wreckage including the vertical tail and 51 bodies, but are unsure exactly where the crash happened because winds and currents quickly dispersed the debris.

“The work is a bit like crossing Switzerland by foot, trying firstly to listen out for the noise of a cricket and now looking for debris with a pocket torch in the dark,” Mr Arslanian said.

Speculation on the cause of the crash has focused on the aircraft’s speed sensors after error messages suggested inconsistent data readings. But Arslanian said it was still too early to tell if the so-called “Pitot probes” were to blame.

The full investigation could last over a year, he said.


EASA: tests find no safety issue with Thales A330 pitot

SOURCE: Flight International By David Kaminski-Morrow, 02/09/09

European safety authorities have formally issued an airworthiness directive covering replacement of Thales pitot probes on Airbus A330/A340s.

The directive – as previously indicated – requires operators to ensure that at least two Goodrich probes are fitted on the type within four months from 7 September.

It bans outright the installation of Thales “AA” model probes from 7 January next year, and restricts the fitting of the “BA” model to just one of the three pitot positions – that of the first officer.

But the directive clarifies that windtunnel tests of the BA probe, performed in August, have “not identified any safety issue” concerning its behaviour within the certification specification icing envelope.

Pitot probes on the A330 and A340 have come under scrutiny since the Air France A330 accident on 1 June, following evidence of airspeed discrepancies on the aircraft.

While the European Aviation Safety Agency says the directive is “precautionary”, it adds that it amounts to an “interim measure” and further action “cannot be excluded”.


Air France pilots accuse investigators of cover-up over AF447 crash Air France pilots investigators accused of cover-up over AF447 crash

From The Times, September 2, 2009

Air France pilots accident investigators yesterday accused of trying to cover up the cause of the Airbus crash off the coast of Brazil in June that killed 228 people after officials Appeared to blame the crew for the disaster.

The airline also provoked anger after it emerged yesterday it has ordered special training for all flight crew that operate Airbus aircraft, to teach them to manage a high-altitude system failure of the kind experienced by the crew of flight AF447. The airline also Provoked anger after it emerged yesterday it has ordered special training for all flight crew that operate Airbus aircraft, to teach them to manage a high-altitude system failure of the kind experienced by the crew of flight AF447.

Families of the victims as well as pilots’ unions are upset at what they see as obfuscation by the state Bureau of Investigation and Analysis (BEA) and Air France over what caused the crash. Families of the victims as well as pilots’ unions are upset at what they see as obfuscation by the State Bureau of Investigation and Analysis (BEA) and Air France over what caused the crash.

On June 1 the Airbus 330 plunged from altitude as it passed an area of storms on a flight from Rio de Janeiro to Paris. On June 1 the Airbus 330 plunged from altitude as it passed an area of storms on a flight from Rio de Janeiro to Paris. The flight recorders have not been found. The flight recorders have not been found. Fifty bodies and about a thousand pieces of wreckage have been retrieved. Fifty bodies and about a thousand pieces of wreckage have been retrieved.

“They are trying to blame the pilots. They do not want the truth,” Gerard Arnoux, a spokesman for the Union of Air France Pilots, told The Times. They do not want the truth, “Gerard Arnoux, a spokesman for the Union of Air France Pilots, told The Times.

Mr Arnoux, an Airbus captain, said that the BEA was trying to overcome its previous failure to act on known faults with speed sensors, known as pitot tubes, on Airbus aircraft. Mr Arnoux, an Airbus captain, said that the BEA was trying to overcome its previous failure to act on known faults with speed sensors, known as pitot tubes, one Airbus aircraft. “The architecture of the Airbus systems is in question,” he said. “The architecture of the Airbus systems is in question,” he said.

The families have accused Air France and the BEA of dishonesty. The families have accused Air France and the BEA of dishonesty. Christophe Guillot-Noël, who heads an association of victims’ families, said that Pierre-Henri Gourgeon, the airline boss, was privately blaming the pilots. The BEA report was shaped by politics, he said. Christophe Guillot-Noel, who heads an association of victims’ families, said that Pierre-Henri Gourgeon, the airline boss, was privately Blaming the pilots. The BEA report was shaped by politics, he said.

A new deep-sea search is to start this month for the flight recorders, but data sent in the moments before the aircraft disappeared has offered an outline of the chain of events. A new deep-sea search is to start this month for the flight recorders, but data sent in the moments before the aircraft disappeared has offered an outline of the chain of events. Faulty speed readings, apparently caused by ice, prompted erratic behaviour by the automated flight system. Faulty speed readings, apparently caused by ice, erratic behavior prompted by the automated flight system. Flying by hand, and without key data, the two pilots were unable to keep control. Flying by hand, and without key data, the two pilots were unable to keep control.

In a preliminary report in July, the BEA said that the speed sensors were “a factor, but not the cause” of the crash. In a preliminary report in July, the BEA said that the speed sensors were “a factor, but not the cause” of the crash.

In late July, the European Aviation Safety Agency ordered replacement of the French-made pitots with American ones on all long-range Airbuses. In late July, the European Aviation Safety Agency ordered replacement of the French-made with pitot American ones are all long-range Airbus.

On Monday, Paul-Louis Arslanian, the head of the BEA, blamed the crew. On Monday, Paul-Louis Arslanian, the head of the BEA, Blamed the crew. He said that flight crew had for decades been taught to manage faulty airspeed readings. He said that flight crew Had been taught for decades to manage faulty airspeed readings. In the case of the Air France aircraft, “certain of these fluctuations in speed [data] were perhaps not sufficiently taken into account in the training of the pilots”, he said. In the case of the Air France aircraft, “some of these fluctuations in speed [data] were perhaps not Sufficiently taken into account in the training of the pilots,” he said. The BEA does not expect to reach a conclusion for 18 months. The BEA does not expect to reach a conclusion for 18 months.

Argument over the crash has focused on whether the crew — probably the two juniors of the three pilots on board — made errors or, as the pilots’ unions maintains, were dealing with an unflyable aircraft. Argument over the crash has focused on Whether the crew – probably the two junior of the three pilots on board – made errors or, as the pilots’ union maintains, were dealing with an aircraft unflyable. “There is no doubt there was a loss of control, but the Airbus system is not supposed to let this happen,” said Mr Arnoux. “There is no doubt there was a loss of control, but the Airbus system is not supposed to let this happen,” said Mr Arnoux. “There would have been no accident without the failure of the pitot probes.” Air France’s pilots had not previously been given simulator training in speed problems at cruising altitude, where the aircraft is more prone to stall. “There would have been no accident without the failure of the pitot probes.” Air France’s pilots Had not previously been given training in simulator speed problems at cruising altitude, where the aircraft is more prone to stall. This is now being done, at the request of all airlines’ unions. This is now being done, at the request of all airlines’ unions. Suspicion has fallen on the highly automated design of the Airbus flight systems. Suspicion has fallen on the highly automated design of the Airbus flight systems.

Stewarts Law, a London firm representing more than 30 of the victims’ families, said that Air France is likely to face a compensation claim of about $450 million (£278 million). Stewarts Law, a London firm representing more than 30 of the victims’ families, said that Air France is Likely to face a compensation claim of about $ 450 million (£ 278 million). “It was a prevent- able accident,” said James Healy-Pratt, a lawyer with Stewarts who is also a pilot. “It was a prevent-able accident,” said James Healy-Pratt, a lawyer with Stewarts who is also a pilot. “It was a mix of Airbus and Air France.” “It was a mix of Airbus and Air France.”


A330-A340: sensors to replace the U.S.

AFP  03/09/2009

The authority of the U.S. Civil Aviation has ordered U.S. airlines to replace their Airbus A330 and A340 certain speed sensors of the French group Thales identical to those suspected of having contributed to the crash of Air France flight Paris-Rio . This order was published yesterday in the official U.S. The Federal Register and took effect September 8.

The FAA (Federal Aviation Administration) gave up early in January 2010 for U.S. carriers to replace those called as pitot probes and also manufactures the U.S. firm Goodrich. EASA, the European aviation security and Airbus had made a similar decision July 31. The aircraft manufacturer Airbus had also previously recommended the replacement of these probes.

“We reviewed the many anomalies of speed reading that are the subject of recent reports and we have determined that (the probes) were not safe,” wrote the FAA in that order. In the United States, and only USAirways Delta hold Airbus. Between them, they operate a little over forty devices and only A330, told AFP Laura Brown, a spokesman for the FAA. Delta has inherited of 32 Airbus A330s in buying Northwest, she said.

The cause of the accident of Air France flight 447 on June 1 between Rio and Paris in the middle of the Atlantic with 228 people on board has not been established, the black box of the A330-200 has never been recovered. But the pitot probes are suspected to have contributed to the disaster because messages sent automatically by the device indicated a malfunction of the instruments.


[Federal Register: September 3, 2009 (Volume 74, Number 170)] [Rules and Regulations]

The European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA), which is the Technical Agent for the Member States of the European Community, has issued a Notification of a Proposal to Issue an Airworthiness Directive (PAD), PAD 09-099, dated August 10, 2009 (referred to after this as “the EASA PAD”), to correct an unsafe condition for certain Airbus Model A330- 200 and -300 series airplanes, Model A340-200 and -300 series airplanes, and Model A340-541 and -642 airplanes.

The EASA PAD states that airspeed indication discrepancies have been reported on Model A330 and A340 airplanes while flying at high altitudes in inclement weather conditions. Investigation results indicate that these airplanes equipped with certain Thales Avionics pitot probes appear to have a greater susceptibility to adverse environmental conditions than certain other pitot probes.

The EASA PAD also states that a new Thales Avionics pitot probe having part number (P/N) C16195BA has been designed, which improves the airspeed indication behavior in heavy rain conditions on Model A320 airplanes.

This same pitot probe standard has been made available as an optional installation on Model A330 and A340 airplanes, and although this has shown to be an improvement over the previous Thales Avionics pitot probe, P/N C16195AA standard, it has not yet demonstrated the same level of robustness to withstand high-altitude ice crystals as Goodrich pitot probes having P/N 0851HL.

We are issuing this AD to prevent airspeed discrepancies, which could lead to disconnection of the autopilot and/or auto-thrust functions, and reversion to flight control alternate law and consequent increased pilot workload. Depending on the prevailing airplane altitude and weather, this condition, if not corrected, could result in reduced control of the airplane.

Other Relevant Rulemaking

On February 4, 2004, we issued AD 2004-03-33, Amendment 39-13477 (69 FR 9936, March 3, 2004), for certain Airbus Model A300 B2 and B4 series airplanes; Model A300 B4-600, A300 B4-600R, and A300 F4-600R series airplanes (collectively called A300-600); Model A310 series airplanes; Model A319, A320, and A321 series airplanes; Model A330-301, -321, -322, -341, and -342 airplanes; and Model A340 series airplanes.

Paragraphs (g)(1) and (h)(1) of that AD require, for some Model A330 and A340 airplanes, replacement of certain pitot probes with Goodrich pitot probes having P/N 0851HL. For other Model A330 and A340 airplanes, paragraphs (g)(2) and (h)(2) of that AD require replacement of certain pitot probes with Thales Avionics pitot probe having P/N C16195AA.

See Complete FAA Request For Comment (PDF)


Related Previous Posts:

Air France Flt 447 Black Boxes Are Not Found: Êtes-vous surpris? Are You Surprised?

Bureau d’Enquêtes et d’Disinformation (BEA): Liar, Liar, Pants On Fire!

Air France Flight 447: French Investigators Piece Together Wreckage

Air France Flight 447: The Answer My Friend, Is Blowin In The Wind! (La réponse mon ami, est Blowin dans le vent !)

Pitots: Are European Business Interest More Important Than Safe Air Travel?


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