How Panic Doomed Air France Flight 447

Discussion in 'Other Aspects of Aviation Security' started by Lisa Simeone, Dec 14, 2011.

  1. Lisa Simeone

    Lisa Simeone Original Member

    How Panic Doomed Air France Flight 447
    Not, in other words, due to terrorists.
  2. Lisa Simeone

    Lisa Simeone Original Member

    Another excerpt:
    And fyi, vigorous discussion in the comments with people disagreeing with the reporter and with each other.
  3. DeafBlonde

    DeafBlonde Original Member

  4. Mike

    Mike Founding Member Coach

    It didn't take two years to figure it out -- it took two years to confirm what was figured out with in a few days of the incident, and to establish how really stupid the Air France pilots where. When the equipment is screaming "stall" at you, you don't pull back on the stick/wheel.

    Northwest A330 pilots (by then flying as Delta/NW colors) had a similar incident over the Pacific that could have had the same results. Training and worked well for Nothwest on that day.

    The root problem was the same in both incidents: Speed pitot failure (likely due to icing conditions), causing loss speed inputs, causing the autopilot system to disengage fully automatic control.

    The Northwest incident (22 days after the AF loss) is recounted here:
  5. Lisa Simeone

    Lisa Simeone Original Member

    I know nothing about flying planes. There's a vehement discussion going on in the Comments section over there disputing the article and disputing each other.
  6. Mike

    Mike Founding Member Coach

    And here's a really major "doh":

    Ever since the crash of a Lockheed TurboProp (one of the most powerful propeller driven aircraft ever made, absolutely had enough power in reserve to fly itself out of its predicament & land) at Vegas ~ 30 years ago, well trained crews are taught the process of crisis management: One of them works on the issue while the other one flies the plane. This really has me wondering about the quality of Air France training. In the NW incident, the pilots immediately applied a specific % of max throttle & kept on flying (manually, of course). Why didn't the AF pilots do that? I would think that if both were well trained, they would both be reaching for the throttle controls at that point, then start the crisis management process?

    In the case of the Lockheed incident an access door had been left unsecured, cause a lot of noise & vibration. While both pilots were trying to figure out the problem, the plane flew itself into the ground. In reality, they could have just flown around & landed but neither pilot bothered to try that in time.

    Bonin had no experience flying a plane "at that altitude"? I'm not sure what the altitude has to do with it. You keep a plane flying straight & level with the instruments -- that and a proper reserve of throttle should keep it out of drink for a long time.
  7. Mike

    Mike Founding Member Coach

    Sounds like moi on motorcycles a couple times. I'm alive, never injured, never crashed, no sure why not other than luck & lack of objects ahead of me.
  8. nachtnebel

    nachtnebel Original Member

    No one for him to surrender to....
  9. RB

    RB Founding Member

    In the aircraft I crewed as flight engineer we always turned on pitot heat before take off. Hot, cold, rain or shine we always flew with the pitot heaters on. If one of the heating element failed then icing of the pitot tube(s) was possible and loss of airspeed probable although I do not recall ever hearing of such happening on that particular aircraft. The aircraft still had multiple attitude references and with known power settings and flying attitude would keep the plane out of the weeds. I wonder if the Airbus flight procedures for that aircraft call for having pitot heat on at all times or just when icing is probable.

    As far as crew screw ups go the closest I ever came to being first at a crash scene was during perfect weather and with a perfect aircraft. I and the pilots all became distracted at about the same time doing different things and came within a heart beat of flying into the water. It is difficult to describe just how close we were to impact but I think the tail of the aircraft hit the water as the pilot pulled up. Needless to say it was a crew failure and had we not recovered people would have wondered what had happened.
  10. Mike

    Mike Founding Member Coach

    The tubes made by Thales would freeze in spite of being heated. Recall orders were finally issued by the FAA & EASA after the AF 447 & other incidents. They were replaced by pitot tubes made by Goodrich.

    By the time of the AF 447 incident, the issue with the Thales tube was well known, e.g.:

    You'd think the AF pilots would have been trained specifically to deal with it. Guess not.

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