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Air France Disaster Focus On Airbus Air Data Inertial Reference Unit (ADIRU) System
The Australian ^ | June 3, 2009 | LuckyBogey

Posted on 06/03/2009 9:12:38 AM PDT by luckybogey

The Air France disaster should be watched very closely as there are numerous political implications in the aircraft industry. The Australian is reporting investigators may be looking at the Airbus Air Data Inertial Reference Unit (ADIRU) System that sent a Qantas A330 on a wild ride over Western Australia last year.

The Qantas incident last October, and another in December last year also involving an Airbus 330 near Western Australia, involved a problem with a unit called an air data inertial reference unit, which prompted flight control computers to twice pitch down the nose of one of the jets.

Fast action by the crew limited the extent of the plane's fall but 14 people were seriously injured.

The incidents raised questions about a potential wider problem with ADIRUs, which collect raw data on parameters such as air speed, altitude and angle of attack, and process the information before sending it to flight computers. They led to European authorities issuing a global alert to A330 operators.

After the Air France disaster, The Seattle Times reported yesterday that experts were already examining these malfunctions...


(Excerpt) Read more at theaustralian.news.com.au ...


TOPICS: Business/Economy; Foreign Affairs; Government
KEYWORDS: adiru; airbus; airfrance
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1 posted on 06/03/2009 9:12:38 AM PDT by luckybogey
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To: luckybogey

I wonder how much computer data the A330 can burst to Air France as the disaster was happening. I think it can send data via satellite.


2 posted on 06/03/2009 9:18:29 AM PDT by Frantzie
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To: luckybogey

Some A330 pilots hashing this around would be very interesting.


3 posted on 06/03/2009 9:25:35 AM PDT by onedoug
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To: Frantzie

Nobody was killed during the first two incidents...now some were. Maybe they’ll do something about it now...


4 posted on 06/03/2009 9:26:46 AM PDT by stefanbatory (Do you want a President or a King?)
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To: luckybogey

At 35,000 feet the pilots would have time to recover from a nose pitch down, wouldn’t they? They can override?


5 posted on 06/03/2009 9:28:16 AM PDT by heartwood
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To: luckybogey; Tijeras_Slim; FireTrack; Pukin Dog; citabria; B Knotts; kilowhskey; cyphergirl; ...

Aviation Ping List

Air France Flight 447:
A detailed meteorological analysis

http://www.weathergraphics.com/tim/af447/


6 posted on 06/03/2009 9:32:32 AM PDT by KeyLargo
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To: All

Gee, I think I’ll stick with Boeing.


7 posted on 06/03/2009 9:37:08 AM PDT by CaliGangsta
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To: onedoug

Try http://www.airlinepilotforums.com

specifically,

http://www.airlinepilotforums.com/major/40630-air-france-jet-missing-18.html


8 posted on 06/03/2009 9:37:49 AM PDT by 1066AD
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To: stefanbatory
Nobody was killed during the first two incidents...now some were. Maybe they’ll do something about it now...

You're assuming that the problem really is with the ADIRU. However, there's an easier explanation based on the storms in the area at the time:

A former A330 pilot said yesterday that strong turbulence mentioned by the Air France captain in his last message could have been responsible for the aircraft breaking up if load limits on the plane had been exceeded.

"When you're going through the edge of the (storm) cell, you can sometimes go from a sudden downdraft to a sudden updraft," he said.

It seems more likely than a one-off failure that's never been seen before. (Note that the Qantas failure was on a different unit made by a different manufacturer.)

9 posted on 06/03/2009 9:41:14 AM PDT by r9etb
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To: luckybogey

Air France Bomb Threat Before Flight 447 Crash

http://www.foxnews.com/story/0,2933,524835,00.html


10 posted on 06/03/2009 9:42:13 AM PDT by preacher (A government which robs from Peter to pay Paul will always have the support of Paul.)
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To: Frantzie

My understanding is the plane’s data was being provided back to Air France data center including the malfunctioning systems up to the time of the event.


11 posted on 06/03/2009 9:46:51 AM PDT by luckybogey
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To: 1066AD

Interesting. Thanks.


12 posted on 06/03/2009 9:48:47 AM PDT by onedoug
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To: r9etb; Aeronaut; Squantos; wardaddy

I’ve been sailing on the ocean (done a few major trans ocean passages) and I have vast respect for “mere” thunderstorms. I’ve been hit by line squalls with 60+mph wind at the deck that went from zero to sixty plus in bare seconds, driving white water in front. I assume this is the result of a microburst hitting the ocean surface, or something similar. Hail, twisting shifting wind blasts, etc.

The winds at 35,000’ must be even worse. What can a pilot do if confronted with a line of storms hundreds of miles across, and over 50K’ high? Look for a “sucker hole?” Go hundreds of miles around?

If flying straight into one of those walls of storms, I would not rule out ANYTHING, including flying directly into up and down drafts of over 100 knots, accompanied by golfball sized hail and lightning.

I think that sometimes, modern transoceanic jets are just going to fly into something that can destroy anything with wings.

Just an ocean sailors opinion. At those times that I’ve experienced this type of “out of nowhere” storm fury from “mere” thunderstorms, I’ve been mighty glad I was in a 48’ steel-hulled vessel, and not up in the sky in an aluminum or carbon fiber tube.

God bless the pilots who must wrestle with such monsters. They can kill you, don’t doubt it.


13 posted on 06/03/2009 9:58:39 AM PDT by Travis McGee (---www.EnemiesForeignAndDomestic.com---)
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To: heartwood

An Airbus mechanic/engineer called into Dennis Prager yesterday, and this “override” question came up. It seems that fly-by-wire Airbuses only have a limited ability to override. The computers really do fly the plane. THey depend on great robustness and redundancy, but in the end, the computer will do what it thinks it must, regardless of pilot input.

At least, that’s what I heard the guy tell Dennis Prager.


14 posted on 06/03/2009 10:02:20 AM PDT by Travis McGee (---www.EnemiesForeignAndDomestic.com---)
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To: Travis McGee

On the aircraft I’m most familiar with (primarily business-jets), it’s a regulatory requirement that the pilot be able to physically overpower the autopilot and its associated actuators in the case it runs away and tries to go hard-to-the-stops in any particular direction.

The flight test to demonstrate this capability involves:
1. Warn the pilots (who are expecting it; it’s a planned test flight) ... Three ... Two ... One ... Now!
2. Pilots wait two seconds to simulate how long it would take to recognize the hardover were it was unanticipated.
3. Pilots override controls to recover.

The problem the AF447 guys may have run into is that they had a hardover, but due to the turbulence didn’t recognize it until they were significantly diverted from straight-and-level. If at the same time they lost instruments, they wouldn’t have known what to do to recover even if they did recognize it.


15 posted on 06/03/2009 10:17:52 AM PDT by DuncanWaring (The Lord uses the good ones; the bad ones use the Lord.)
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To: luckybogey

For the best analysis of the possible cause of the incident, please go to http://www.weathergraphics.com/tim/af447/.

Superb analysis with detailed information.

I highly recommend.


16 posted on 06/03/2009 10:20:23 AM PDT by Hulka
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To: Travis McGee
An Airbus mechanic/engineer called into Dennis Prager yesterday, and this “override” question came up. It seems that fly-by-wire Airbuses only have a limited ability to override. The computers really do fly the plane. THey depend on great robustness and redundancy, but in the end, the computer will do what it thinks it must, regardless of pilot input.

At least, that’s what I heard the guy tell Dennis Prager.

The override needs teleprompters.

17 posted on 06/03/2009 10:23:28 AM PDT by BerryDingle (I know how to deal with communists, I still wear their scars on my back from Hollywood-Ronald Reagan)
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To: luckybogey

Give me Boeing or I ain’t going.


18 posted on 06/03/2009 10:37:09 AM PDT by Jim Noble (Pas d'ennmis a droit)
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To: stefanbatory
Different planes, different ADIRUs:

"the planes involved in the Australian incidents were the bigger A330-300s, rather than the 200 series involved in the Air France disaster, and it is understood their ADIRUs are made by a different manufacturer"

19 posted on 06/03/2009 10:45:35 AM PDT by sionnsar (IranAzadi|5yst3m 0wn3d-it's N0t Y0ur5:SONY|"AlsoSprachTelethustra"-NonValueAdded|Lk21:36|FireTheLiar)
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To: luckybogey

I heard the same thing but I wondered how much data the system can send. I guess a human looking at the gauges and the weather would tell them even more. Sad.


20 posted on 06/03/2009 10:51:57 AM PDT by Frantzie
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To: Jim Noble

I don’t know anymore. The 330 seems to have as impressive a safety record as possible. If you don’t count the test flight accident, you have 3.3 million flights w/out a fatality. We also don’t know the cause of this one yet and whether it will be attributed to the plane. Prior to this you had the 7 test flight fatalities and that’s it over 15 years. I don’t choose to fly Airbus planes for different reasons than safety but will fly them as needed.


21 posted on 06/03/2009 11:23:35 AM PDT by Bogeygolfer
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To: heartwood
At 35,000 feet the pilots would have time to recover from a nose pitch down, wouldn’t they? They can override?

Depends. The weather was bad. And even in good weather there are no guarantees, but read this about some of the luckiest people ever to get off a plane in one piece...

TWA 841, April 12, 1979

22 posted on 06/03/2009 11:59:37 AM PDT by buccaneer81 (Bob Taft has soiled the family name for the next century.)
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To: Jim Noble
Give me Boeing or I ain’t going.

Easier said than done. I live in Columbus, a city of 800,000 and when I go to Boston or NYC it's almost always on an Embraer or a CRJ.

23 posted on 06/03/2009 12:02:06 PM PDT by buccaneer81 (Bob Taft has soiled the family name for the next century.)
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To: Travis McGee

Indeed. As a real fair weather sailor with limited eperience I have only been caught in one bad open water storm and that was in a RHIB in the persian gulf long ago.

Weatheris a killer at all levels. Wonder why the pilots weather radar didn’t warn him ?

Just a look at such would be enough to divert the flight plan to smoother skies or return to Brazil


24 posted on 06/03/2009 12:07:50 PM PDT by Squantos (Be polite. Be professional. But have a plan to kill everyone you meet)
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To: KeyLargo
Thank you for posting and pinging me with this. It is an excellent paper.

Rule #4: Thou shall not fly into thunderstorms. I will not fly within 20 miles of an active building cell. There are old piliots, and there are bold pilots. There are no old, bold pilots.

I am an old chicken pilot.

The suspected flight plan is probably correct because, flying those distances, they probably use canned flight plans. Also SIDs (standard instrument departures) and STARs (Standard Terminal Approach Routes) can get you most of the way on some flghts with just one entry in a proposed flight plan.

At one time there was (might still be) a canned approach (STAR) for LaGuardia that started at a VOR in Illinois. Made it easy for the AA and UAL guys who flew it 10 times a month!

25 posted on 06/03/2009 12:09:59 PM PDT by MindBender26 (The Hellfire Missile is one of the wonderful ways God shows us he loves American Soldiers & Marines)
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To: sionnsar

Different planes, different ADIRUs:

I agree with the point however my understanding is that it is the same software!


26 posted on 06/03/2009 1:23:53 PM PDT by luckybogey
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To: luckybogey

What keeps a fly-by-wire vehicle controlled if there is a sudden disaster in the electrical systems?


27 posted on 06/03/2009 1:26:01 PM PDT by Glenn (Free Venezuela!)
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To: Glenn

gravity, inertia, lift, drag


28 posted on 06/03/2009 1:40:15 PM PDT by stefanbatory (Do you want a President or a King?)
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To: stefanbatory
gravity, inertia, lift, drag

Amazing.

29 posted on 06/03/2009 1:41:47 PM PDT by Glenn (Free Venezuela!)
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To: Jim Noble; Glenn; DuncanWaring
Give me Boeing or I ain’t going.

You mean one of these plastic aircraft with Japanese wings and Italian fuselage ;) ?

What keeps a fly-by-wire vehicle controlled if there is a sudden disaster in the electrical systems?

Aircraft like cars are Faraday cages, so lightning should not cause a disaster (wind shear associated with thunderstorms is much more dangerous). Plus there's redunancy built in. Of course, there's that one in a trillion chance that something unforeseen will happen, but that goes for hydraulic / mechanical controls as well.

On the aircraft I’m most familiar with (primarily business-jets), it’s a regulatory requirement that the pilot be able to physically overpower the autopilot and its associated actuators in the case it runs away and tries to go hard-to-the-stops in any particular direction.

AFAIK overriding the autopilot in an Airbus is as easy as with any other aircraft out there. Overriding the flight envelope protection (like e.g. intentionally stalling the aircraft 50 feet above ground) is a bit trickier.
30 posted on 06/03/2009 1:42:28 PM PDT by wolf78 (Inflation is a form of taxation, too. Cranky Libertarian - equal opportunity offender.)
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To: KeyLargo
That meteorological analysis is one of the most impressive, professional things I've ever read in any field.
31 posted on 06/03/2009 2:08:26 PM PDT by Plutarch
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To: buccaneer81
Here's another very lucky group:

China Air 006

32 posted on 06/03/2009 2:08:42 PM PDT by DuncanWaring (The Lord uses the good ones; the bad ones use the Lord.)
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To: buccaneer81

Doesn’t Southwest fly from Columbus to NYC, Providence RI and Manchester NH?


33 posted on 06/03/2009 2:10:46 PM PDT by DuncanWaring (The Lord uses the good ones; the bad ones use the Lord.)
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To: DuncanWaring

That would suck. Big time.


34 posted on 06/03/2009 2:12:16 PM PDT by Travis McGee (---www.EnemiesForeignAndDomestic.com---)
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To: luckybogey
I agree with the point however my understanding is that it is the same software!

If one ADIRU comes from Honeywell and the other comes from Litton (or whoever bought them out) you can pretty much bet the eternal salvation of your soul they don't use the same software.

Much patent-infringement and unfair-restraint-of-trade litigation has transpired over the years between those two companies and their respective RLG products.

35 posted on 06/03/2009 2:14:00 PM PDT by DuncanWaring (The Lord uses the good ones; the bad ones use the Lord.)
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To: DuncanWaring

Wow. That’s the first time I’ve heard of that one.


36 posted on 06/03/2009 2:14:36 PM PDT by buccaneer81 (Bob Taft has soiled the family name for the next century.)
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To: buccaneer81

WOW! Pucker Factor Infinity on that one!


37 posted on 06/03/2009 2:14:48 PM PDT by Travis McGee (---www.EnemiesForeignAndDomestic.com---)
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To: Squantos
Just a look at such would be enough to divert the flight plan to smoother skies or return to Brazil

I wonder what happens to pilotos who "chicken out" and return to base? Can't be good. (Not as bad as what happened, though.)

38 posted on 06/03/2009 2:16:05 PM PDT by Travis McGee (---www.EnemiesForeignAndDomestic.com---)
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To: DuncanWaring
Doesn’t Southwest fly from Columbus to NYC, Providence RI and Manchester NH?

LaGuardia service starts June 28. To Providence and Manchester, it's four or five hours through Baltimore (then the possible 1-2 hour drive.)

It's business travel. The office prefers US Airways. I don't.

39 posted on 06/03/2009 2:20:06 PM PDT by buccaneer81 (Bob Taft has soiled the family name for the next century.)
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To: Travis McGee

The incident in Post 32 is right up there, too.


40 posted on 06/03/2009 2:20:11 PM PDT by DuncanWaring (The Lord uses the good ones; the bad ones use the Lord.)
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To: Travis McGee
WOW! Pucker Factor Infinity on that one!

The only passengers on a scheduled airline to fly supersonic without being on a Concorde. That's a story of a lifetime.

41 posted on 06/03/2009 2:24:39 PM PDT by buccaneer81 (Bob Taft has soiled the family name for the next century.)
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To: buccaneer81; DuncanWaring

I think to survive flights like those two linked would be life-changing events.

People have had black hair turn white overnight. (Not all the grown hair, but from the roots.)


42 posted on 06/03/2009 2:28:17 PM PDT by Travis McGee (---www.EnemiesForeignAndDomestic.com---)
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To: Travis McGee
I think to survive flights like those two linked would be life-changing events.

For sure. I guarantee there were some cases of post traumatic stress.

43 posted on 06/03/2009 2:35:07 PM PDT by buccaneer81 (Bob Taft has soiled the family name for the next century.)
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To: Travis McGee

Yep asshats flying desks overrule safety 90 % of the time sadly .....


44 posted on 06/03/2009 2:47:27 PM PDT by Squantos (Be polite. Be professional. But have a plan to kill everyone you meet)
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To: Travis McGee

“I wonder what happens to pilotos who “chicken out” and return to base? Can’t be good.”

In 25 years, I did it twice. Nary a word from the head shed. Non-issue. Really! Pilots are seldom, if ever, questioned re. their judgement, unless it’s a stupid, dangerous judgement.

I was only “pressured” once on a safety item. Quit the next day. Plenty of other opportunities, and I continued to improve my career. The guy that did it, never “progressed” above where he was.


45 posted on 06/03/2009 3:17:57 PM PDT by Habibi ("We gladly feast on those who would subdue us". Not just pretty words........)
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To: Habibi

I’ll bet a lot of folks wish that the AF pilots had done a 180*, if indeed they did decide to fly into a wall or through a fast-closing sucker hole.

Very, very sad.


46 posted on 06/03/2009 4:17:44 PM PDT by Travis McGee (---www.EnemiesForeignAndDomestic.com---)
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To: KeyLargo
Microburst or rotor cloud
47 posted on 06/03/2009 5:37:48 PM PDT by Conspiracy Guy (I voted Republican because no Conservatives were running.)
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To: luckybogey
Air France jet likely broke apart above ocean

June 3, 2009 7:40 p.m. EST

48 posted on 06/03/2009 5:38:35 PM PDT by smokingfrog ( Don't mess with the mockingbird! /\/\ http://tiny.cc/freepthis)
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To: r9etb
You're assuming that the problem really is with the ADIRU.

There's also the possibility that a bug in the ADIRU software caused to to wildly overcompensate for the turbulence.

49 posted on 06/03/2009 5:43:36 PM PDT by PapaBear3625 (The problem with socialism is that you eventually run out of other people's money -- Thatcher)
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To: Frantzie

• 11 p.m. local time — The pilot sends a manual signal saying the jet was flying through CBs — towering cumulo-nimulus thunderheads.

• 11:10 p.m. — A cascade of automatic messages indicate trouble: The autopilot had disengaged, stabilizing controls were damaged, flight systems deteriorated.

• 11:13 p.m. — Messages report more problems: The system that monitors speed, altitude and direction failed. The main flight computer and wing spoilers failed.

• 11:14 p.m. — The final message indicates a loss of cabin pressure and complete system failure — catastrophic events in a plane that was likely already plunging toward the ocean.

http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/brazil_plane_messages


50 posted on 06/03/2009 5:48:23 PM PDT by zipper
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