What brought Air France flight AF 447 Down?

This forum is for friendly discussion among DesignCommunity members on weather, sports, politics, fishing, and those other parts of life that don't fit into the topic-specific DesCom discussions.

What brought Air France flight AF 447 Down?

Postby justellus » Sat Jun 06, 2009 8:20 am

What brought the A330-200?

Here is a unique new theory, thus far not postulated in any known location yet:

200 MPH Up-drift winds, lighting, "grounding" of electrical currents in lighting caused the crash:

Climatic conditions in the area were treacherous. The plane flew into an intense storm with very rare unusual conditions. The high pressure zone caused by an intense up-drift wind of 200 mph was sucking up water from the ocean, turning it into a mist at high altitudes, where it quickly froze and turned into ice, freezing the airplanes external sensors, which regulated air speed. The plane most likely was not only flying thus at an incorrect speed for the conditions, but entered the high speed up-drift area, where the mist was being sucked up and quickly freezing into ice. Suddenly a very intense lighting bolt struck the plane, and immediately made contact with the mist and water being sucked up at 200 mph, making immediate contact with the ocean. The lighting bolt thus was immediately grounded with the ocean, sending the thousands of volt current directly through the plane and all the way down to the ocean. Thus, the plane was instantly jolted, exploding and ripping apart. The fireball seen by another plane flying in the area was a white light which proceeded down vertically for about 6 seconds. This white light was the wreckage on fire. As the wreckage hit the ocean, it fell over an area where a ship had left an oil slick. The oil slick was immediately ignited, causing the trail of fire some had reported. The trail of fire was subsequently put out in the intense storms, and only the oil slick remained.

This explains the entire sequence of events all the way to the final observations of local planes in the area, and fits in with previous models of high pressure vacuum effects previously postulated.

So the pieces of the puzzle have been put together under this theory, making perfect sense as the events unfold.
justellus
 
Posts: 194
Joined: Thu Jan 22, 2009 11:37 pm
Location: World Wide

Plausible

Postby Ed Ziomek » Sat Jun 06, 2009 3:44 pm

Your explanation is plausible.

Mother nature follows 100% of its rules, 100% of the time.

And we don't know 5% of all that mother nature can do.
Ed Ziomek
 
Posts: 795
Joined: Tue Jun 07, 2005 8:24 am
Location: Stamford, Connecticut

Postby justellus » Sat Jun 06, 2009 6:29 pm

Yes, as you stated, and most likely it was a combination of factors.

My original hypothesis was that the tail broke off, causing the plane to spin out of control, the wings to brake off and the sub-sequent braking up of the craft in the air and it's ignition and fall. This explanation remains plausible as well. This would not have been the first time that something similar to this has happened with this model of plane. Truly the tail section of these planes should be repaired on all models of these planes if they are to fly in such conditions.

After pondering on the effect of the unusual conditions and "grounding" of the lighting, it became clear that such unusual conditions can and do result in these types of effects at times as well, so pilots and aircraft are well advised to watch out for these exceptional conditions. So one hypothesis does not exclude the possibility of the other, or of a combination of both.

One can only wonder as well why the pilot would chose to fly in such conditions. Immediately the question comes to mind if they were trying to save fuel by flying through the storm, rather then around it. Truly, they may have been trying to use their radar and systems to find a more calm pathway through, but at times pilot judgement and the instruments may not be able to keep up with the changing storm conditions, and drifting storm center areas. Pilots thus trying to avoid a storm and fly in between patches of storm may at times end up flying through treacherous conditions, due to this shifting nature of storms. This makes it very difficult to predict a "safe" pathway through a storm.

As stated, in the end, whatever the sequence of events, nature truly will operate according to it's own rules. One can only hope the black box will be found so that many doubts can be clarified.

A couple of bodies have already been found, including a ticket to the flight in one of the pockets. Soon a French nuclear submarine will be in the area by next week, and it should be able to pick up any under-water signals. Perhaps by this time more information will be known, and the sequence of events will be more clear.
justellus
 
Posts: 194
Joined: Thu Jan 22, 2009 11:37 pm
Location: World Wide

Excellent Discussion

Postby Ed Ziomek » Sun Jun 07, 2009 1:49 am

As a former Air Force enlisted person, I was closely associated with aircraft and the rumors of when and how aircraft went down.

The vast majority of air accidents are sadly, pilot error.

And just recently, an F15 disintegrated in mid air, and aircraft model for which I observed its first flight I believe in 1973 at Edwards Air Force Base.

There are natural and man-made factors that were never considered until recently, including high frequency vibration on carbon fiber components, while at high altitudes, under the influence of solar radiation not experienced at sea level.

Or metal fatigue flex stresses of subzero colds followed soon by searing heat, or vice verse.

Or proximity to sea salt corrosions, or volcanic debris polution and its concentration in the surrounding air. Or the presence of methane gas emissions over shallow coral growth areas, reducing the lift capabilities of the wings.

Question I have for the engineers: Can modern equipment "see" jet stream activity? Wind velocities at various altitudes can change radically depending on many factors, including altitude, geographic position, time of year, time of day, etc.

The AirFrance aircraft was flying East of Brazil's Easternmost point, and that area experiences desert winds off the West Coast of Africa, I believe. From my Air Force days, wind velocities can be cyclone force at one level, and calm at lower and higher levels. Can the pilots distinguish these high wind levels, while in flight? Can you imagine hitting that "wall of wind" without realizing it?

Wind shear/microburst was responsible for a near tragedy near my home, ten years ago, wherein some freak windstorm passed by and ripped a one ton awning off a bank and crashed it 100 yards away, injuring a person severely. And nothing else was touched, anywhere in that one storm.

Great topic, keep us posted.
Ed Ziomek
 
Posts: 795
Joined: Tue Jun 07, 2005 8:24 am
Location: Stamford, Connecticut

Postby justellus » Tue Jun 09, 2009 10:19 pm

That is a good question. Are jets able to "see" jet-stream activity? If the Air France Flight hit suddenly such a jet stream, it could have affected the flight stability, if the flight suddenly hit this "wall of wind", as you mentioned. This is a very good point.

Whether lighting was involved or not we still do not know, but the other day the tail section was found, and now 43 bodies located. Thus, there is a strong indication that the tail indeed separated from the craft, as had been suggested in my first theory.

Now, doing a calculation of the speed of the plane, in the 4 minutes of automated messages the plane sent to Air France monitoring stations, the plane would have traveled approximately 45 miles - which is the distance the tail section was found from the last point of automated messages which indicated loss of cabin pressure. Thus, if a portion of the tail fell off first, the plane may have proceeded for a total of 4 and a half minutes (duration of automated messages) struggling to stay in the air, and by the fourth minute perhaps was already in descent and out of control, falling. (Since the plane would only be able to send automated messages while it was still mainly in one piece). Thus, the location where the 43 bodies were found, and the tail were found may not be the location where the main body of the plane went down. The search crews should be looking in a 45 mile radius for the other pieces, plus an additional to factor in the possible movement of the currents. So they should not focus their efforts in looking for the black box in the area where the tail was found, in other words, as the main body of the plane could have gone down in a separate location. One can only wonder however how long the plane would have held in the air, once the tail section had separated, under this theory.

There was another section of the plane recovered today as well, but they still do not know if it was a wing, (as the Brazilian navy seemed to suggest, but would not affirm until the specialists analyze it) or another portion of the plane. When we get more information on this, another piece of the puzzle will be put in place. And it is not clear where this second piece was found, in relation to where the tail was found - the distance between each piece pulled from the water.

All the specialists have stated lately that the freezing of the speed sensors alone would not be sufficient cause to bring the plane down, so we are looking at a more significant event, like the braking off of the tail, due to extreme fatigue caused by the storm, and by hitting the "wall" of jet stream, or..the previously postulated cause of being struck by lighting, which made immediate contact with the ocean in the "grounding effect".

Truly the effect of wind shear/microburst should be a main factor to be researched in this tragedy. If the plane was flying at an incorrect speed due to faulty speed sensor readings, combined with a micro-burst of wind sheer, this would have a cumulative effect as well and could have contributed towards fatigue in the faulty tail section, which as mentioned, fallen off in another incident in Japan. So the tail section of these planes has presented problems in the past.

The bodies have not been analyzed yet, and the news has not informed if any of them were burned, and the location in the plane of each one. Once this is analyzed, researchers will be able to re-construct better a scenario of what happened, as they will be able to determine which sections of the plane were on fire and which section separated first, and if the recent bodies found were sent flying off the opposite direction of the plane flight path. It is very likely that the recent bodies found, which represent about 18.7 % of the total amount of passengers, were most likely from the tail section of the plane which, according to the original hypothesis, broke off first.
justellus
 
Posts: 194
Joined: Thu Jan 22, 2009 11:37 pm
Location: World Wide

A large number of factors to consider in Air France crash

Postby justellus » Wed Jun 10, 2009 11:48 am

These links contains some excellent comments and extra information regarding the crash:

http://www.cbsnews.com/stories/2009/06/ ... 0783.shtml

This initial comment by RichardSaunders seems to hold the key to understanding what happened:

This looks a lot like the crash of American Airlines flight 587 on November 12, 2001. That Airbus A300 had it's tail (vertical stabilizer) break off on mid-flight after encountering turbulence caused by a jumbo jet passing before it. As the tail-less Airbus spun out of control, the engines broke off prior to the plane hitting the ground -- it substantially broke apart in mid-flight just like this A330. Composite materials used in tail construction gave way bringing the plane down. I suspect the same type of structural failure is to blame for Air France #447-- and affects most Airbus aircraft With the French handling the accident investigation of their own aircraft industry, I fear we may never get the truth .....


Structural damage to plane are of the strongest indications

Look there are far better indications of some kind of structural damage than anything else...these newer airplanes are not as strong as the older ones...I dont care what anyone says. You almost never heard of structural breakups of airplanes before the mid eighties and early nineties...these newer planes are lighter and though their engines are not as powerful as the old planes(gas savings) tend to have the tendency to become unstable. This instability can easily lead to catastrophic failure if a plane the size of an a330 becomes unstable in a stall condition through a raging thunderhead....


LIGHTNING STILL A POSSIBILITY

The pitot tube theory is a new focus of the investigation, but expert commentary still suggests inappropriate speed-- if that is what occurred-- would need additional factors to produce a crash.

Other comments from aviation experts leave open the possibility of a massive lightning strike. Such a shock to a FBW system could lead directly to catastrophic failure, loss of flight control and fatal structural damage, in rapid order.

Air France telemetry from AF447's final moments shows--

1. autopilot disengaging
2. loss of main power
3. damage to flight control systems
4. loss of flight data
5. loss of main flight computer control
6. loss of control surface response
7. loss of cabin pressure
8. complete electrical failure.

Poster McHineguy has suggested structural failure is a strong possibility. Given the comments of veteran airline pilots who insist no airliner can fly through a storm assured of safety, it seems possible the pitot tube-related improper air speed theory is gaining ground.

But lighting also can lead to loss of proper flight characteristics after failure of computer-based FBW controls. The loss of flight control, in and of itself, is sufficient to leave the airliner an object tossed about by the storm, eventually sustaining fatal structural damage.

Only recovery of black box information can clarify the probable role and sequence of events leading to critical loss of control.


OF PITOT TUBES AND PILOT ERROR

bothR2blame31 said, "The fragments of information that are available so far indicate that a false airspeed reading caused the flight computer to fly into violent turbulence too fast... Another plane full of human beings killed by an Airbus flight computer. "
---

Faulty pitot data fed to the A330 flight computer can contribute to a crash, but that faulty data is not necessarily a defect in the main flight computer system, itself.

Regarding pitot airspeed sensors, Air France has stated it got an Airbus advisory on pitot tube upgrades last May, and acknowledged the possibility of icing problems with pitot sensors. Air France later upgraded pitot sensors for its A320 series airliner, but did not for the wide-body A330 because icing did not appear to be a problem at the time, the airline said.

The pitot icing problem has been around for years in commercial aviation, and is frequently ascribed to pilot error in failure to switch on heating systems for the sensor. .

However, pitot heaters are automatic in the A330, a feature confirmed by an Airbus pilot who also checked that claim with an Airbus 330 flight instructor. So, now the issue appears to be whether the pitot heaters were fully effective and reliably activated, not whether the pitot heaters had been manually switched on.

In any case, according to a Wall Street Journal blog from June 4, 2009, an Airbus team is now researching the possibility faulty pitot data on AF447 contributed to, if not caused flight data and control systems to respond improperly.

As a different explanation for the AF447 crash, the Airbus-Computer-as-Killer theory may have started with the 2006 Qantas (Australian) flight QF72, which had an emergency landing after two severe "pitch-down" maneuvers, injuring passengers. An inquiry faulted one of the three sensors on the Airbus ADIRS (Air Data Inertial Reference System), which apparently generated data garbage disturbing other flight control components. The ADIRS, however, is not the Airbus flight control computer, itself.

The entire controversy about faulty pitot and ADIRS data points to the computer-centric design of the A330, in which pilot control is limited by the Airbus automated flight control system. In a critical disagreement between Airbus computer and Airbus pilot, the pilot input is presumed less "credible".

By the same presumption, the Airbus pilot cannot make even emergency flight maneuvers outside a certain envelope-- cannot climb at more than 30 degrees, cannot bank beyond 67 degrees, and cannot pitch nose-down below 15 degrees. The flight control computer also limits airspeed, and prevents any move which imposes more than 2.5 Gs on the aircraft.

In contrast, a comparable Boeing airliner lets the pilot have the last word, with only "soft limits" (overridable) imposed by the Boeing flight control system on pilot decisions. Ywr, while the Boeing design is preferred by passengers who trust human beings over computers, the fact remains the majority of crashes, near misses and other accidents involve pilot error.

This surprising history of human failure persuaded Airbus designers to create an airliner relying on computer control for critical decisions on aircraft status and flight behavior. In terms of actual field experience, engineers reasoned, the computer-directed Airbus is likely to be the safer airliner to fly.

But that is not how matters turned out on AF447. Flying about 35,000 feet over the Atlantic, more than 400 miles from the nearest land, the A330 autopilot suddenly disengaged, just as it did with Quantas QF72-- as though to indicate a data fault from the ADIRS.

Spontaneous disengagement of the autopilot recalls not only Quantas QF72 (A330), but Malaysia Airlines flight 124 (Boeing 777), and other, similar incidents with Airbus airliners. And, amazingly enough, still another incident with exactly the same Qantas A330 airliner (this time, designated flight QF68) and the same ADIRS unit, in which the autopilot also disengaged.

The engineering problem of determining when ADIRS data is reliable never has been perfectly resolved. What should a flight control computer do, when one sensor contradicts another? The only solution has been to canvass multiple sensors, to determine what the figurative "consensus" happens to be. The A330 has three ADIRS sending units.

On AF447, perhaps one defective ADIRU of the three quietly malfunctioned and began a complex interplay of compensating computer behaviors which doomed the airliner. This is the open question Airbus engineers attempt to resolve.

With greater confidence about the actual impact zone, the search for the pinger-equipped black boxes can accelerate. Additional undersea search craft, ranging from the US Navy's super-sensitive towed acoustic array to a French passive-acoustic hunter-killer submarine, should locate the black boxes much more quickly.


On the wind-shear factor:

cg37102006 said: "Could the cause be as simple as a lightning strike on the aircraft?"

Doubtful. Aircraft get struck all the time: its part of their design. I think richardsaunders may be right: the craft isn't strong enough against really strong wind shear. Once you lose your tail, you're toast. The airspeed indicators that showed different wind speeds may just have indicated how crazy the wind shear WAS in the storm the jet entered. Possibly the wind tore the vehicle apart: and by design it shouldn't have.

I might add: wind shears like this should increase if Global Warming acts to make storms bigger and more variable. This obviously wasn't due to GW, but I'm just saying.


Could the cause be as simple as a lightning strike on the aircraft?


http://www.cbsnews.com/stories/2009/06/ ... 7517.shtml

Evidence is building that Air France has a faulty design in their air speed sensor. the autopilot is another clue. But nothing has been difinitive yet.
Posted by McHineguy at 11:15 AM : Jun 6, 2009

And what would cause the pitot tubes (all of them) to loose their ice-melting heat? What powers that heat? The fly-by-wire? If it was knocked out by lightning, all pitot's lose heat? No battery/little windmill generators kicking in fast enough?

Other questions - another crash of a 330 was due to speed indicators saying the speed was too fast - so the pilots lowered flaps, which cause the wing to shear off, and thus a dive and deaths of 75 plus people. Forgot the flight - will look up. Also can't remember the altitude. But McH - do you think that could be the cause? If a wing or part of a wing breaks off, then that would cause a dive which causes the depressurization?


It's a very real possibility for turbulence to stall an aircraft; still, that is recoverable from 35,000 feet.

BUT - there is a deafening silence in the lack of pilot reports from the aircraft ahead, or a request for PIREPS from those flights. How bad is the line of thunderstorms likely to have been.

Hand-flying an airliner at 35,000 feet is a major task. There would have been at least two autopilot systems - why would a pilot choose to kick off the autopilot? It's far more likely that some excess parameter tripped off the autopilot, with the parameter so great that the autopilot couldn't be re-engaged. If the autopilot wasn't controlling the aircraft, hand-flying would have been the remaining choice. BUT, what happened to get to that degree, in an obviously rapid and catastrophic set of events.

With the background of the NYC Airbus crash, wherein the vertical fin & rudder came off - add both engines - I'm curious as to the probability of a design problem, leading to structural failure. While the aircraft are different design series, is there an inherent problem with the general Airbus engineering?

It will take a long time to investigate this problem. The odds of an honest investigation are questionable, for sure.


Here's the problem that I have.....The planes radar system, all indications show this was working prior to this, so if that's the case, why didn't the pilot divert and choose another fligt path? The radar shoud have revealed these storms that reached 60,000 feet and also revealed 100mph winds. Why would any pilot try and fly into that?
Posted by steelcity7989 at 8:22 AM : Jun 6, 2009

Storms are not one large mass. Often there are clear paths through the storm by flying between separate portions. Pilots often use their radar to plot these paths when it is impossible to go around the entire mass. BUT, a storm has been known to "close in behind you and in front at nearly the same time and leave you trapped between.

To compound this, radar will usually identify the intensity of different portions so the pilot can plot a course through the least troubling.

So, the pilot is "winding his way" through the storm using radar and his own eyes to show the least intense portions.

But, nothing is perfect. A huge, white cloud ahead may look very peaceful so you fly towards it as the least turbulent area. But, behind it, hidden by it, is a huge ugly thunderhead that is undetectable until you are too close to turn away.


steelcity - it is not that unusual to fly into storms when they are so big as to make going around them impractical (read expensive here.) Some fronts are huge. Many planes do it every day, which is a testament of how safe it usually is to do so. They prefer not to, of course, as folks don't like to be buckled in for long periods of time, but sometimes it is the best way to defeat the temporary problem.

Lighting strikes happen often, too. Planes are designed to distribute the hit so as to not cause catastrophic problems.

This storm was most likely a cause of the lost of the aircraft, but indirectly somehow. The flight speed indicators are being replaced according to the article. I have to wonder if a flat spin was somehow experienced by the liner. Perhaps the airspeed was too slow, as indicated by previous articles, and a strong gust slowed the liner just enough for the lift to be lost, causing the plane to tumble.

Very sad in any case.


Here's the problem that I have.....The planes radar system, all indications show this was working prior to this, so if that's the case, why didn't the pilot divert and choose another fligt path? The radar shoud have revealed these storms that reached 60,000 feet and also revealed 100mph winds. Why would any pilot try and fly into that?



http://www.cbsnews.com/stories/2009/06/ ... tpop_story

I just finished watching a show on National Geographic on the magnetic field in the South Atlantic and how its fading so bad, its allowing solar radiation to enter the atmosphere just far enough to screw up satellites and aircraft. We have one satellite in space now that has to shut down when traveling in that region. I'm willing to bet that the magnetic field had something to do with the disappearance of the plane . At least until they find the black box and find out what really happened!


I read a story on here just yesterday that other, high-flying planes in the area of the 'oil slick' saw a line of fire in the water.


Then how can this story state with any kind of crredibility that there 'was no explosion'??


Could the airlines looking to increase profits and decrease fuel usage be forcing their pilots to fly more direct routes instead of circumnavigating and providing more distance from these storms? No pilot should ever fly into a thunderstorm.

http://www.allstar.fiu.edu/aero/fltenv7.htm


So first reports were of all three fly by wire systems independently failing due to lightning. Then depressurization and structural failure, followed by rapid descent of cabin.

Now it's structural failure first? Why can't we see the "four-minute-long" auto messages? It took Lockerbie three minutes to break up after the 20-inch hole was blown in forward-cabin baggage hold and resultant depressurization and break up.

Why can't Air France and Airbus release the uncensored string of auto messages?


As an ex air traffic controller, I must say that you DON'T FLY THROUGH THUNDERSTORMS... EVER! Pilot error.


MASSIVE LIGHTNING STRIKE ?

CBS/AP reports, "The last message from the pilot was a manual signal at 11 p.m. local time Sunday saying he was flying through an area of black, electrically charged cumulonimbus clouds that come with violent winds and lightning...

At 11:10 p.m., a cascade of problems began: the autopilot had disengaged, a key computer system switched to alternative power, and controls needed to keep the plane stable had been damaged. An alarm sounded indicating the deterioration of flight systems. Then, systems for monitoring air speed, altitude and direction failed. Then controls over the main flight computer and wing spoilers failed as well. At 11:14 p.m., a final automatic message signaled loss of cabin pressure and complete electrical failure as the plane was breaking apart.

Patrick Smith, a U.S. airline pilot and aviation analyst, said the failures could have begun with a loss of electrical power, possibly as the result of an extremely strong lightning bolt.
---

Air France reports a string of events suggesting the crash began with a massive shock to the airliner's main electrical, then data systems, in rapid sequence, followed by failure of both.

This was followed by damaged flight control response. Any aircraft in such circumstances, as one aviation source pointed out, could be essentially unflyable.

The airliner became an object tossed about in the storm, and violent, unsustainable structural damage would be likely, regardless of potential design flaws in the aircraft.

The Spanish airliner report of a "strong and bright flash of white light that took a downward and vertical trajectory and vanished in six seconds" is consistent with fire on board during the final seconds of the breakup. Whether that fire came from a lightning strike or was consequent to the breakup may never be known.


The reception of the data signals attest to the aircraft still being airborne, though in dire peril. The pilots - if able - could have radioed other aircraft on the emergency ferquency, or standard VHF air to air - add the HF frwequency for the area. They obviously had communication as a last priority.

If the pilots were concerned about the thunderstorms, they should have been calling for pilot reports, well ahead ofthe threat. If any turbulence could produce that kind of catastrophic failure. there's a design problem to look at.

Whatever happened looms badly for Airbus. The timeline of the failures sugests a design failure, progressing from bad to worse. It takes a lot to break up an aircraft in fight. If a bomb had been involved, the first indication would have been a loss of pressurization.

Back to the NYC Airbus crash - why so many structural failures? Did the FAA take an honest look at the design? There's the rub.


http://www.cbsnews.com/stories/2009/06/ ... 3424.shtml

Both pilots of the Air Comet flight from Lima to Lisbon sent a written report to aviation authorities, i.e, Air France, Airbus, describing what they saw. They reported that "Suddenly, we saw a bright flash....an intense flash of white light, ....in a descending and vertical trajectory....." in the area of Flight 447.

Recalling the January 7, 1948 incident of Kentucky Air National Guard Captain Thomas Mantell, Jr., who was ordered to intercept a UFO sited over Mansville, Kentucky, one notices a strange similarity in eyewitness testimony. Witness farmer Glen Mays of Franklin, KY. He said he saw Mantell's plane "enveloped by a brilliant white flash of light...so bright....it was like looking at the sun". Captain Mantell's aircraft then "appeared to fall out of this light and pancake into the ground" Mays said.

There's a commonality between the Air France Flight 447 tragedy and Captain Mantell's crash---- reports of a mysterious intense flash of white light preceding the doomed aircraft. Just coincidence?... or something more frightening?


All the data taken as a whole is very revealing. Even without a black box discovery, all the events still seem to point to structural failure and most likely initial damage to the tail section of the plane, causing the loss of the wings, the plane spinning in a spiral out of control, when all the passengers were unconscious, to the series of automated messages, to the final fall.

A section of the tail could have broken off first, leading to a series of electrical problems and air speed readings failures. It is only not clear if the loss of cabin pressure came at the very end of the sequence of events. If it did, the plane may have lost one wing, spun out of control, then at the end the main cabin itself ripped apart.

Further analysis is needed on the sequence of events to be certain the theory will accurately model the events as they transpired.
justellus
 
Posts: 194
Joined: Thu Jan 22, 2009 11:37 pm
Location: World Wide

Postby justellus » Wed Jun 10, 2009 6:31 pm

Pilot Tubes? Maybe not such a modern method to measure plane speed after all?

It seems, after reading all this, and thinking about it, Pilot Tubes seem to not be a very modern method to measure plane speed, in today's world of modern technology. Tubes which take in the air speed and measure the plane's speed? Sounds like something of antiquated technology of the past, and subject to failure. Why not measure the planes speed by GPS or some other more modern satellite measurement system? Why not some more modern sensor that can measure the plane speed, independent of external weather conditions? External weather conditions of jet streams, storms, moving air currents and the like could confuse such sensors, subjecting the planes to a very shaky method of reading the speed.

ADIRS Units could be to blame as well.

And the ADIRS units have not even been mentioned in the news, but could also have been the culprit. So how can they point at the Pilot Tubes but not at the ADIRS system as being responsible in part for the mis-reading on speed, and causing the central computer to mal-function, such as in the case of the QF72 Australian Qantus, where the unit generated noise and garbage which disturbed other flight components and forced the plane into an emergency landing.

It is obvious these planes are subject to technical failures, from the freezing of the Pilot Tubes, to the mal-functioning of the ADIRS systems, to the weakness of the tail and body structure and it's possible failure under conditions of extreme structural stress, as imposed by very strong gushes of jet streams.

The entire sequence most likely was set-off by first:

1. Failure of the Pilot Tubes OR the ADIRS systems.
2. The plane loss of auto-pilot and incorrect speed causing the tail to fall off.
3. A wing to fall off, causing the plane to proceed in a horizontal spin around one wing, with only one motor functioning. By this time, the plane may have not entered decompression.
4. The body began to brake apart after 4 minutes of auto messages elapsed, causing the decompression. By this time, the plane was already in a free fall. The fire most likely began once the first wing fell off, and intensified during the plunge.

This, if one considers lighting was not involved but only the incorrect speed causing the tail section to fall off first, resulting in a cascade of other problems.

If this is the case, this calls for a complete revision of these planes, it's tail section, its Pilot Tubes and it's ADIRS systems.
justellus
 
Posts: 194
Joined: Thu Jan 22, 2009 11:37 pm
Location: World Wide

Postby justellus » Sun Jun 14, 2009 11:06 pm

As it stands now, specialists tend to believe there was no clear mid-air explosion.

If the plane was struck by lighting, the plane may have not exploded, but rather been jolted and the electrical systems damaged.

A more likely scenario seems to be what had been postulated - that the plane suffered structural damage in the air and the tail section was damaged first, causing the series of other structural failures.

The causes of plane crashes can be quite complex, and not until the black box is found can we have clear answers.

About 50 or so bodies have been found, and from locations as distant as 40 miles apart. This could be due to the currents and may or may not be an indication of a mid-air brake-up.

Now, getting back to the GPS issue.

It is absolutely astonishing that today's modern aircraft, with all the latest in technology and completely automated, do not have GPS installed. Vehicles have them and very un-expensive units can be purchased for everyday use, and yet the latest in modern technology - intercontinental jets do not. The industry claims the number of flights is low and the cost would be prohibitive to install such units. It does not take much to realize something is wrong with this thinking. Modern planes still rely on WWII technology and outside a range of perhaps 150 miles, modern planes are all on their own and their position is not known to air traffic controllers once out of radar range. This is completely un-acceptable in our modern age.

And on the link given the other day, it states clearly that pilots should not fly in such conditions as this plane was flying, and the precautions pilots are to take.

http://www.allstar.fiu.edu/aero/fltenv7.htm

The issues of icing and turbulence are also explained in detail, as well as the problem of wind shear, jet streams, and various devices which can aid modern planes to detect rain storms, locations and altitudes of icing, and locations of storm fronts. Should these devices had been installed in this plane, and the pilot been fully proficient in their use, the accident could have been avoided, independent of the causes of this crash.
justellus
 
Posts: 194
Joined: Thu Jan 22, 2009 11:37 pm
Location: World Wide

Postby justellus » Mon Jun 15, 2009 6:32 pm

On the Issue of GPS Units:

According to this site:

http://www.cbsnews.com/stories/2009/06/ ... 8858.shtml

GPS units do exist on these planes, and they are able to calculate ground speed, but not air speed:

This airliner has a GPS navigation system. GPS is able to provide altitude and airspeed information. ... Posted by veils-2009 at 9:09 AM : Jun 15, 2009

No, no. GPS can provide 3-D location and differential ground speed. It cannot provide airspeed. Only a mechanism in the airstream can provide that. BUT, redundancy and variety of types SHOULD be mandated.

The ground speed could be used as a sanity check, as should other sensors. The OFP should never be able to destroy the aircraft based on ONE faulty sensor.


The central computer should have been able to detect the aproximate speed based on ground speed, even if there were a series of air-speed reading failures.

This appears to be diversion tactics away from the main issue - these air-bus planes maintain design fault in the vertical stabilizer, causing a lock-up of the tail mechanisms and this most likely caused the entire rudder section or tail to brake off, as had been postulated. In fact, the rudder did suffer a lock-up due to inconsistent air readings. This would have made the plane face wind resistance at an angle not adequate to the prevailing wind, causing the tail section to brake up and off.

According to the article in the link above:

One of the 24 automatic messages sent from the plane minutes before it disappeared points to a problem in the "rudder limiter," a mechanism that limits how far the plane's rudder can move. The nearly intact vertical stabilizer - which includes the rudder - was fished out of the water by Brazilian searchers.

"There is a lot of information, but not many clues," the official said, speaking on condition of anonymity because he is not authorized to discuss the matter.

The official said jets like the Airbus A330 automatically send such maintenance messages about once a minute during a plane's flight. They are used by the ground crew to make repairs once a plane lands.

If the rudder were to move too far while traveling fast, it could shear off and take the vertical stabilizer with it, which some experts theorize may have happened based on the relatively limited damage to the stabilizer.

The industry official, however, said the error message pertaining to the rudder limiter did not indicate it malfunctioned, but rather that it had locked itself in place because of conflicting speed readings.


Thus, the rudder was locked in place, and this would have made the plane fly in a direction which may have placed it against the wind forces, which would have sheared off the rudder section or the entire tail.

According to the quote above:

The nearly intact vertical stabilizer - which includes the rudder - was fished out of the water by Brazilian searchers.


The entire stabilizer together with the rudder apparently broke off in one large chunk, caused by the locking up of the rudder, which locked itself in place due to conflicting air speed readings.

According to this quote, there was a problem with the vertical stabilizer, and it lays out the Airbus diversion tactics as well:

This airliner has a GPS navigation system. GPS is able to provide altitude and airspeed information. This airliner never lost the ability to tell how fast it was going. Air Bus and France both want to blame a faulty pitot tube for the crash when in fact it was caused by a design flaw in the Airbus's vertical stabilizer in both the A330 and A340 models.

Admitting this would create liability issues for 2 airliner crashes and force every modern Airbus to be grounded until an adequate solution could be developed and approved. This process could take at least a year, which would force the bankruptcy of all the airlines using the affected aircraft; and this would be the death blow to the European Union's Airbus company.


And the OFP unit should not have reacted poorly to a single sensor mis-reading as well:


It is astounding that the OFP reacts poorly to a SINGLE sensor providing poor or bad readings. That it wasn't checked against the attiude and GPS/INS is incredibly negligent.

Okay, so a pitot freezes up and the dynamic pressure drops indicating a loss of airspeed. The ground speed from GPS and the integrated solutions from the INS should have alerted the OFP to a bad sensor and the pilots informed.

Who wrote the OPF? No redundancy checks on the sensors???


to which the other user replied:

The ground speed could be used as a sanity check, as should other sensors. The OFP should never be able to destry the aircarft based on ONE faulty sensor.


And flight AA587 killed 260 people and the problem was the exact same - flight separation of the rudder.

The distraction technique used by Airbus, to divert everyone's attention away from the rudder, and towards the Pilot Tubes is clearly stated here:

Let see air bus admit the same fault about their rudder.How magnanimous of Europe to admit to a fault on their jet..................... not connect to a crash investigation.

AA587 ..Crashed and killed 260 people as a direct result of in flight separation of the rudder.
Had 911 not occurred , the crash of AA587 would be the largest loss of life in an air accident up till this air bus crash

Lets see air bus admit to a rudder fault on their fleet.

Like any good poker player Air Bus Knows ..when the cards in your one hand look bad...distract people with the other hand.
What would Ralf Nadder say ? would he say ...

"AIR BUS ..UNSAFE AT ANY SPEED!"

??


Partial Mid-Air brake-up and separation of the Rudder of Strongest Indication

Thus, the probability and indications show a partial mid-air brake-up caused by a separation of the rudder, and most likely a brake-up of the entire tail section.

Pilots in the area reporting a vertical column of white light - Clues to the location of the main wreckage.

It seems that one piece of evidence is being ignored - if local pilots in the area saw a white light descending vertically, it would be easy to project the flight path of the observer, the approximate time of the sighing, the angle the pilots were looking at, and the estimated distance to the light, ,to get a likely direction or line where the plane went down. Tracing this data backwards would allow the investigators to possible locate the main wreckage of the plane. The only problem is that from their point of view, it may have been difficult to estimate the size of the light and the speed at which it was moving. But the general direction of the crash of the main section, in a direct line, could be estimated, giving the search crews a direct line out in the ocean where to conduct the searches.
justellus
 
Posts: 194
Joined: Thu Jan 22, 2009 11:37 pm
Location: World Wide

Postby justellus » Mon Jun 15, 2009 10:35 pm

As the research into the crash continues, something is starting to become ever more clear as well.

There is a big design flaw in these planes, where in certain conditions the planes do not know what speed they are flying at. This has caused already the crash of an A330, when the pilots lowered the flaps, due to an incorrect speed reading saying the plane was flying too fast. This caused the wing to shear off and thus a dive and death of 75 people.

So the problems are as follows:

1. OFP units which rely too much on Pilot Tubes and due to a foolish design fault, apparently are not able to complete redundancy checks with GPS and INS systems. A simple modification of the engineering would allow the planes to double check their speed based on approximate ground speed, sending a warning to the pilot of incorrect air speed readings.

2. Faulty design of tail section and overall weakness of the structure of the same.

3. Over - reliance on computer control, where a pilot is not able to switch to manual to correct for incorrect speed readings and other errors in the equipment.

4. Pilots flying into weather conditions that are not recommended and should be avoided.

5. Possible lack of complete weather monitoring equipment on the planes, as shown in the previous link, and complete pilot training in their use and operation.

6. Lack of coordination with ground stations on weather conditions, prior to the plane taking off, to verify weather conditions and check to see if it is safe to fly.

These are the main perceived problems that contributed to the crash.

A Suggestion - Create a Voting Pool among crash investigators

Even if the black box is not located, a pool can be taken among investigators, (after a substantial amount of investigation and if the black box is not recovered) and a general vote or consensus taken on the most probably cause, based on all the available data, so that the main problems most likely to have caused the crash to be fixed.

Further conclusions on equipment needing changing

From all the data posted above, not only should the Pilot Tubes be replaced, but the central speed monitoring equipment should be re-designed, to allow for cross checking with GPS/INS systems. Further, the faulty tail sections should be replaced. The cost will truly be staggering to fix all these problems on these planes, and as stated previously, (in the links referred to by one user commentator) could be the demise of the European Airbus and all the companies with large fleets of these planes. The cost of repairing this will be enormous and it would be very sad to see this cause the insolvency of soo many companies and of such large groups, all caused by design faults.

Any useful reader comments or member comments on the above ideas would be nice as well, in the same manner that Ed's participation is appreciated, particularly with his experience in the Air Force. Thank you again, Ed.
justellus
 
Posts: 194
Joined: Thu Jan 22, 2009 11:37 pm
Location: World Wide

Excellent discussion...

Postby Ed Ziomek » Tue Jun 16, 2009 2:27 pm

Excellent collection of information... and your quote...

"A Suggestion - Create a Voting Pool among crash investigators

Even if the black box is not located, a pool can be taken among investigators, (after a substantial amount of investigation and if the black box is not recovered) and a general vote or consensus taken on the most probably cause, based on all the available data, so that the main problems most likely to have caused the crash to be fixed."

Yes, absolutely. And how about a cross-engineering pool of quality control design elements, from competitors research, which might highlight problems in design encountered by one manufacturer which should be shared by all.

I am told there are numerous engineering design OPEN-patents from Mercedes, on engineering advances considered too important to restrict to their own cars, they shared with everyone.

This is the second time I have heard of a tail rudder shearing off in wind turbulence type conditions.

And oh, by the way, with temperatures in the 60s yesterday, 2 inches of hail fell in Washington Township New Jersey, where 40 miles away, where I was, "light rain, and muggy".

Go figure, hail in June! Mother nature can never be fooled, but we can!
Ed Ziomek
 
Posts: 795
Joined: Tue Jun 07, 2005 8:24 am
Location: Stamford, Connecticut

Re: Excellent discussion...

Postby justellus » Thu Jun 18, 2009 11:24 pm

Ed Ziomek wrote:Excellent collection of information... and your quote...

"A Suggestion - Create a Voting Pool among crash investigators

Even if the black box is not located, a pool can be taken among investigators, (after a substantial amount of investigation and if the black box is not recovered) and a general vote or consensus taken on the most probably cause, based on all the available data, so that the main problems most likely to have caused the crash to be fixed."

Yes, absolutely. And how about a cross-engineering pool of quality control design elements, from competitors research, which might highlight problems in design encountered by one manufacturer which should be shared by all.

I am told there are numerous engineering design OPEN-patents from Mercedes, on engineering advances considered too important to restrict to their own cars, they shared with everyone.

This is the second time I have heard of a tail rudder shearing off in wind turbulence type conditions.

And oh, by the way, with temperatures in the 60s yesterday, 2 inches of hail fell in Washington Township New Jersey, where 40 miles away, where I was, "light rain, and muggy".

Go figure, hail in June! Mother nature can never be fooled, but we can!


The idea of cross-engineering a pool of quality control design elements is a great idea. Certainly, in the latest investigation, American researchers and avionics experts most likely would be able to contribute with their own technical information that would not only indicate probable causes of the crash, but also exchange ideas, systems and designs on solutions that would be beneficial towards avoiding future accidents of this type. A multi-national team of experts in this area could gather to exchange ideas on how to improve the safety of modern jets.

About the tail rudder section shearing off, you are right. It was mentioned previously in this discussion as well. It would not be the first time this has happened.

All the latest evidence points to a mid-air brake-up, as had been postulated. So now the evidence is corroborating this thesis.

We only cannot know for sure what initiated the brake-up. But since the plane did brake-up in the air, it indicates clearly structural failure. Few possibilities come in mind as a source of a major structural failure such as this one. One is the plane being struck by lightning. Yet the absense of signs of this on the pieces found thus far do not make it possible yet to support or discard this thesis. Another is the possibility of the tail falling apart first, as has been postulated, causing the entire plane to brake-up. Certainly the craft brake-up caused by structural failure also most likely would have been caused by the plane flying at the incorrect speed - either too fast, or too slow. Both can cause massive structural damage and sub-sequent craft mid air brake-up.

The pieces are being found in many multiple scattered locations, but so far the main larger frontal sections of the plane are apparently missing. However, pieces are being found from all " zones " of the plane, indicating the mid-air brake-up was massive, but also possible large brake-up upon impact, causing the resultant scattered fragments, while larger sections may have sunk. Further, the original hypothesis of the bodies and pieces most likely coming from the back end sections of the plane most likely still stand. The frontal sections may have plunged straight down in the water, after the tail sections mid-air brake-up. The largest portions may thus have submerged upon impact, with scattered debris also left on the surface.

Here is another link, indicating mid-air brake-up and with more interesting user comments:

http://www.cbsnews.com/stories/2009/06/ ... 4148.shtml

and this link indicates how more debris are being found, but still with no clear answers:

http://www.cbsnews.com/stories/2009/06/ ... ated_story

The first link makes a few interesting points, including this one:

If something caused the lower fuselage to burn or explode, "passengers would not be exposed to any blast damage" and the plane would still disintegrate in flight," he said. "These are scenarios that cannot be ruled out."
justellus
 
Posts: 194
Joined: Thu Jan 22, 2009 11:37 pm
Location: World Wide

like a speedboat accident

Postby Ed Ziomek » Thu Jun 18, 2009 11:56 pm

Again, we are amateurs I am sure, guessing at a very serious tragedy.

Air is like water. Ride with the flow, you're ok, but if your craft is flipped sideways because your tail is misguiding you, it is catastrophe at 500 miles per hour, as you know, and as is shown in this very typical high speed boating crash.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ngqoifz7kIE&feature=fvw

You lose your rudder or even if you lose your left/right equilibrium (damaged wing component on one side or the other), there is no forgiveness. There is even the case of an accident here in the states of a plane which followed too close on takeoff, with the previous plane, and the turbulence of the previous planes wake, and the abnormal correction on the tail rudder, was enough to shear it off.

Crosswinds, effect on aircraft landing
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5X_7Xt2g ... re=related
Ed Ziomek
 
Posts: 795
Joined: Tue Jun 07, 2005 8:24 am
Location: Stamford, Connecticut

Postby justellus » Fri Jun 19, 2009 10:20 am

This is correct as we do not have on hand all the evidence, forensics and samples of debris and wreckage that is available to investigators.

In all due respect, considering it is an "amateur" point of view, from this perspective - at this point even the formal research team still has no clue as to what caused the crash, or how it happened, so our conclusions are as good as anyone's at this point, particularly when they add up with the facts. All the facts are indeed thus far indicating these series of events. Further, as some have stated, with the French leading the investigation of their own air manufacturer crash, we may never know the truth or the true cause if we await the results of such an investigation.

About the high speed boat crashes, the comparison is very good, and displays exactly what occurs with craft traveling at high speeds in water and the air. The behavior is the same when the craft looses stability and balance - the result is catastrophic structural failure, in the case of light, large, heavy craft made of composite material.

A few technical problems with the design of these planes has already been pointed out.

And the causes of a mid-air brake-up have already been narrowed down, as there are not many possible causes that could explain such an event. So we are making progress. If we continue with the same progress, the facts will continue to zero in on the causes, and the hypothesis should only be strengthened. Only we have an advantage over more formal processes, as they are not willing to admit to a probable cause until a formal investigation is finished. In this discussion, however, the research has the potential to indicate probable cause, and so far all the data has supported one of the two hypothesis proposed. As long as we maintain an open mind, and are willing to accept an alternate hypothesis, progress will continue. Just like a theory, one can postulate the probable cause and weigh the evidence to see if it adds up. So far all the data has corroborated one of the two main hypothesis.

A few items need to be clarified still:

Was there a fire?

Where did the bodies found come from in the plane - what sections?

Where are the largest sections found from? What part of the plane?

What is the radius of the current search?

Has any of the debris found shown indications of lighting or fire damage?

Until we have more info on these basic questions, the basic hypothesis stands. The public should be demanding answers to these basic questions. This would be a good start.

The search teams still believe they are searching in the correct area, but this may not be the case, if the bodies found thus far came from the tail section of the plane primarily. If the main body of the plane proceeded as mainly a large unit after the initial brake-up of the tail, many passengers may have been strapped to their seats and held in with the main section, which in this scenario, proceeded forward for some time ahead of the brake-off section, before it too plunged into the ocean. Thus, the location of the remaining passengers would be different from the locations of debris and passenger thus found. So as proposed previously, the search area should be expanded along the planes route.

Let us keep up the good comments as indeed we are making progress.
justellus
 
Posts: 194
Joined: Thu Jan 22, 2009 11:37 pm
Location: World Wide

Side notes: Bermuda Triangle

Postby Ed Ziomek » Sat Jun 20, 2009 3:00 am

Justy, I think with your deep research and probing, I think I can add some insight into a nearby phenomena, the Bermuda Triangle aircraft losses.

So many aircraft have been lost in this one area, with no Mayday signal, with no last emergency call, I think I know now how an aircraft can be flight "steady as she goes", and within five seconds partially disintegrate.

It can happen anywhere in the world, but I think the Bermuda Triangle, north of the Air France disaster, has amazing atmospherics, tending towards unseen cyclonic wind forces.

I am not sure if you have a similar area, which as I experienced in the Gulf Coast, deep blue Alabama and Mississippi and Florida panhandle skies, but off in the distance, from left horizon to right, huge thunderheads forming. Harmless, you would think, just by distance alone. Yet 30 minutes later you might have tornado winds, hail, and buckets of rain. And ten minutes later, bluest of blue skies, for which the locals don't even blink.

A pilot might think, well, I will fly safely nearby, and skirt the bad portions. But cyclonic winds may be happening miles and miles from the storm center, and these "200 mph rivers of wind" may be invisible.

So the pilot, co-pilot are sensing increasing turbulence, and take manual control.

And five seconds before breakup, they notice a slight drift to the right or left, and make a slight correction in the other direction to maintain steady flight.

Note: The last thing that speed boat driver did before impact was make a panic rotation of the steering rudder to the right, when he knew he no longer had direction control, and his boat was heading to the left.

But let's just imagine, that the speed boat driver and his boat, or the pilot and plane, pass through the turbulence, due to the sheer inertia of their boat/plane. On the other side of the cyclonic wind "river", as the boat/plane passes to the other side, there may be "calm", but the orientation of the plane and certainly the rudder direction is now up to 90 degrees from the original flight path, and slams into the onrushing air mass at hundreds of miles per hour.

As the boating accident testified, this whole scenario took seconds to develop, and when the crush of the wind wall snaps off the tail and/or wings, and puts the boat/plane into a devastating, High G spin, the pilot/co-pilot are knocked unconcious at least, and killed outright at worst.

So in five seconds time or less, the time it takes for the boat/plane to pass through the "invisible cyclonic river of wind", and in the normal correction to the rudder, followed by frantic over-correction that ensued, the boat/plane is doomed.

Pilots who have survived such impacts and chaotic air spinning of their aircraft say their hands were completely immobilized by the massive G-forces, forcing their arms against their bodies, unable to pull the ejection rope, inches from their grasp. At all times, they were fighting from losing consciousness.

The boat pilots could barely find the oxygen masks, or the capsule door release in order to escape.

Hence, no time for a Mayday signal, no radio signal, no burn marks, partial or total disintegration of the craft, all within five seconds, and all starting with a puzzling, simple, harmless, drift to the left or right.

The 4 minute electronic signal was probably the main fuselage, glide-plunging to the ocean like a missle, with crew and passengers disabled/killed instantaneously.

So I think that this Air France tragedy may explain thirty or 40 planes just disappearing in the Triangle.

Devastating.
Ed Ziomek
 
Posts: 795
Joined: Tue Jun 07, 2005 8:24 am
Location: Stamford, Connecticut

Next

Return to Fireside Forum

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 2 guests

User Control Panel

Login

Who is online

In this forum zone there are 2 users online :: 0 registered, 0 hidden and 2 guests (based on users active over the past 5 minutes)
Most users ever online was 593 on Sat May 26, 2018 5:18 pm

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 2 guests
DesignCommunity   ·   ArchitectureWeek   ·   Great Buildings   ·   Archiplanet   ·   Books   ·   Blogs   ·   Search
Special thanks to our sustaining subscribers Building Design UK, Building Design News UK, and Building Design Tenders UK.