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EgyptAir Flight Disappears From Radar

debris

 

MS804 Synopsis
==============

Background

1. 66 people were on board. None of the people on the manifest were on a terrorism watchlist.
2. Leaked passenger list: According to a leaked passenger list, only very few of the passengers have a non-Arabic name. A leaked passenger list can be found on a anti-Muslim website http://www.shoebat.com
2.1 Strangely, the plane mentioned on the leaked crew list is SU-GBZ, but at least two confirmed victims (among them, French photographer Pascal Hess) do appear on the passenger list.
2. Earlier that day, SU-GCC flew to Eritrea and Tunis, returning to CAI each time.
3. According to BBC, no terrorist organization has credibly claimed responsibility.

Flight History
————–
1. Flight entered Athens FIR at 2:24 AM. Last successful communication was at 2:48, the flight was cleared to the exit of Athens FIR. “The pilot was jocund and thanked in Greek.”
1.1 Several ACARS messages beginning at 3:26 AM:
00:26Z 3044 ANTI ICE R WINDOW
00:26Z 561200 R SLIDING WINDOW SENSOR
00:26Z 2600 SMOKE LAVATORY SMOKE
2. At 3:27, Athens ACC tried to communicate with the flight, to hand it over to the Cairo FIR. Repetitive calls, also on the emergency frequency, went without any response. At the same time, 0:27Z, there was the “2600 AVIONICS SMOKE ACARS” message.
2.1 ACARS message:
00:28Z 561100 R FIXED WINDOW SENSOR
3. The flight passed the FIR boundary at 3:29 AM. At the same time, these ACARS messages were sent:
00:29Z 2200 AUTO FLT FCU 2 FAULT
00:29Z 2700 F/CTL SEC 3 FAULT
After those, no more ACARS messages were received.
At 3:29:40 AM, the flight was lost from ATC radar, almost 7 nm southeast of KUMBI (KUMBI lies on the FIR boundary). The Greek Air Force was called, they were unable to track the plane with their radars (as it had already crashed at this time).
4. The aircraft stayed at FL370, at least when the transponder was still working.
5. Supposedly, the Greek Air Force’s primary radars did record the plane’s flight. “It turned 90 degrees left and then a 360-degree turn toward the right, dropping from 38,000 to 15,000 feet and then it was lost at about 10,000 feet.” (Paul Kammenos, Greek minister of defense)

Search
——
1. First debris spotted at around noon of May 20th.
2. Possible oil slick photographed by the European Space Agency’s Sentinel satellite.

————–

Thanks to Flying Turtle for his work on the chronology of events.

I have three remarks to make:

1/- It’s still very early news and, as usual, information arrives in bits and pieces, very often very contradictory. There isn’t a reliable source of news except specialised media and officials… and even then…

2/- Theories and assumptions are fine… provided they have some logical basis :
– ” I think this happened (….x….) because of this info…” The usual wild guesses about fuel starvation and stall / spin, for the time being have absolutely no basis whatsoever.

3/- Accident investigations are a fine balance between causes and effects , appearances and realities, technical and human failures, all those in a very dynamic environment: weather, air traffic…
Here, for instance we have two sets of apparent facts :

A/- A turn, followed by a rapid descent, another turn ion the opposite direction, a steeper descent until a target signal loss around 15 000 feet.

B/- A set of ACARS messages which need to be qualified:

1/- ANTI ICE RIGHT WINDOW / RIGHT SLIDING WINDOW SENSOR / RIGHT FIXED WINDOW SENSOR : Of these, only the first one is displayed to the crew, indicating a fault in the RHS window heating : the panes are no longer heated.

2/- SMOKE LAVATORY SMOKE / AVIONICS SMOKE . Onlyt the Lav smoke would trigger an alarm, the avionionics smoke is just a level 2 caution.  On this aspect one should be really basic about the info / warning / advisory : *smoke* means the detectors and the system are seeing smoke in the affected compartment : It doesn’t mean a fire had started there.  On this fire and smoke protection system, one has to say that there is no sensor (that I know of ) and no indication / warning of a COCKPIT SMOKE, for obvious reasons : there are two – or more – pairs of eyes and nostrils in that flight deck.

3/- AUTO FLIGHT : FCU 2 FAULT / FLIGHT CONTROLS : SEC 3 FAULT . Only the second triggers a caution. FCU 2 Fault means that , had the FO been the PF, A/P #2 would have disconnected, causing even more disorder on the flight deck. Otherwise, it has no real impact on the flight conduct.

Now, with all the above in mind, what can we seriously say ?

– The absence of a MAYDAY call seems to point toward a very sudden event that became rapidly unmanageable : IMHO the only event that could have happened was a fire. A violent fire which started either in the avionics bay or in the cockpit.

The fire quickly destroyed most of the electronics, which is the reason there is no more ACARS messages – that we know of – just three minutes after the events initiation at 00:26 Z.

What caused the fire ? culprits abound : shorts / laptop batteries / cigarette…. or plain sabotage or bomb…

Wherever the fire started, the cockpit was one of the most affected volumes on that aircraft ; it must have been a very uncomfortable place to be in…

Pihero

 

Quoting mandala499:
it looks like a Sub-Bus of the DC-Bus 2 system that’s affected. I think this is more of a fire in avionics bay,

As usual, Buddy, you have a knack for complexities… And here, we have one which could go very far.

1/- Electrical fire in the Avionics Bay:

What is galling is that the right window(s) anti-icing is ruled by the WHC – window heating computer – which is in turn powered by DC BUS 2. That bus seems to be rather involved : SEC 3 and FCU 2 are amongst the systems it furnishes power to.

There now comes the big problem : DC BUS 2 powers a lot more systems and as a matter of fact, one is left with FAC 1 ELAC 1 and SEC 1… The F/O has lost his static sensor —> needs to switch to ADR 3… One’s lost three spoilers per side… and those haven’t been ACARS transmitted.

The only explanation that makes sense is a fire, are we to consider that its progression was very fast and it destroyed basically most of the communications capability of the flight in less than four minutes.

On that subject, we have to consider that the detected smoke should have triggered a QRH procedure, here the AVIONICS SMOKE… and guess what ? the procedure could lead to an ELEC EMER CONFIG situation and com-wise, one is left with only VHF1… no bloody ACARS possible.

2/- Fire in the cockpit:

I’m afraid we have to consider the possibility of an event similar to the B-777 Nefertiti on ground at Cairo.

What is of note is that the wires to the sliding window sensors / heaters run very close to the pilots’ O2 masks stowage, and we have basically a continuous table running parallel to the fuselage skin from the instrument panel to the circuit breakers boards behind the pilots, on which to store a book, a laptop…etc… the O2 mask hose would add a lot to a fire in this area.

Then, the already polluted cockpit air would go to the avionics bay, for cooling, then be evacuated through the extract duct / fan where it would be scanned for particles. Then, and only then we would have a “Smoke” warning.

Pihero

 

Source:  airliners.net

Egypt officials claim to locate EgyptAir black boxes
CBS/AP May 21, 2016, 6:16 AM

Search crews located the data recorders for EgyptAir Flight 804 close to an area where human remains and debris from the crashed flight have been found, Egyptian government sources confirmed to CBS News on Saturday.

Also Saturday, the French air accident investigation agency said smoke was detected in multiple places on the flight moments before it plummeted into the Mediterranean, but the cause of the crash that killed all 66 on board remains unclear.

On Friday, sources told CBS News that information was transmitted from the flight indicating that smoke was detected on the plane before it crashed.

According to the sources, the information indicates smoke was coming from one of the engines. The data was transmitted through the Aircraft Communications Addressing and Reporting System, which sends snapshots of engine performance throughout the flight…

The spokesman’s Facebook page later posted a brief video that showed more debris, including what appeared to be a piece of blue carpet, seat belts, a shoe and what looked like a woman’s white handbag. The short clip opened with aerial footage of an unidentified navy ship followed by a speed boat with five service members aboard heading toward floating debris.

gyptian authorities said they believe terrorism is a more likely explanation than equipment failure, and some aviation experts have said the erratic flight suggests a bomb blast or a struggle in the cockpit. But so far no hard evidence has emerged.

No militant group has claimed to have brought down the aircraft. That is a contrast to the downing of a Russian jet in October over Egypt’s Sinai Peninsula that killed all 224 on board. In that case, the Sinai branch of the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria, or ISIS, issued a claim of responsibility within hours. On Friday, ISIS issued a statement on clashes with the Egyptian military in Sinai, but said nothing about the plane crash.

Three European security officials said on Friday that the passenger manifest for Flight 804 contained no names on terrorism watch lists. The officials spoke to the AP on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to discuss the investigation. The manifest was leaked online and has not been verified by the airline.

Further checks are being conducted on relatives of the passengers.

French aviation investigators have begun to check and question all baggage handlers, maintenance workers, gate agents and other ground crew members at Charles de Gaulle Airport who had a direct or indirect link to the plane before it took off, according to a French judicial official. The official was not authorized to discuss the investigation and spoke to the AP on condition of anonymity.

Whatever caused the aircraft to crash, the tragedy will most likely deepen Egypt’s difficult predicament as it struggles to revive a battered economy and contain an increasingly resilient insurgency by Islamic militants…

Additional Reference Material:

Smartcockpit

Airbus Training

Flightcrew Training Manual

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