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French: Air France plane hit the sea belly first
Associated Press ^ | Thursday July 2, 2009, 4:18 pm EDT | Greg Keller and Emma Vandore,

Posted on 07/02/2009 5:38:12 PM PDT by BenLurkin

Air France Flight 447 slammed into the Atlantic Ocean, intact and belly first, at such a high speed that the 228 people aboard probably had no time to even inflate their life jackets, French investigators said Thursday in their first report into the June 1 accident.

...

Problematic speed sensors on the Airbus A330-200 jet that have been the focus of intense speculation since the crash may have misled the plane's pilots but were not a direct cause, Bouillard said...

;...

The plane was flying from Rio de Janeiro to Paris when it went down in a remote area of the Atlantic, 930 miles (1,500 kilometers) off Brazil's mainland and far from radar coverage.

...

The speed sensors, called Pitot tubes, are "a factor but not the only one," Bouillard said. "It is an element but not the cause," Bouillard told a news conference in Le Bourget outside Paris.

Other elements that came under scrutiny in the immediate aftermath of the crash, such as the possibility that heavy storms or lightning may have brought down the jet, were also downplayed in the BEA's presentation.

Meteorological data show the presence of storm clouds in the area the jet would have flown through, but nothing out of the ordinary for the equatorial region in June, Bouillard said, eliminating the theory that the plane could have encountered a storm of unprecedented power. Other flights through the area shortly after Flight 447 disappeared didn't report unusual weather, Bouillard said.

"Between the surface of the water and 35,000 feet, we don't know what happened," Bouillard acknowledged. "In the absence of the flight recorders, it is extremely difficult to draw conclusions."

(Excerpt) Read more at finance.yahoo.com ...


TOPICS: Extended News
KEYWORDS: airfrance; ditch; flight447
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1 posted on 07/02/2009 5:38:12 PM PDT by BenLurkin
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To: BenLurkin

Aggravated stall, AKA flat spin is the only thing that could explain this. Stall’s are caused by insufficient air speed. At least they’ve narrowed the scope of what they’re looking for.


2 posted on 07/02/2009 5:41:54 PM PDT by OldDeckHand (Palin/Petraeus in '12)
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To: BenLurkin

Pilot suicide?


3 posted on 07/02/2009 5:57:48 PM PDT by Raycpa
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To: OldDeckHand

BUT ... IIRC the VS was found FAR from the presumed impact area (debris field), leading one to infer that perhaps the VS ‘fell off’ before the ‘flat spin’. who knows


4 posted on 07/02/2009 5:58:10 PM PDT by Blueflag (Res ipsa loquitur)
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To: Blueflag

Two cases of empennage “falling off” Airbuses. Not good.

Shades of the Lockheed L-188 Electra problems.


5 posted on 07/02/2009 6:08:19 PM PDT by ProtectOurFreedom
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To: BenLurkin

Those poor folks. It seems to me that a dive from 35,000’ has got to be a very long flight of terror.


6 posted on 07/02/2009 6:08:44 PM PDT by Gator113 (I live in "one of the largest Muslim countries in the world." Imam Obama told me so.)
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To: ProtectOurFreedom

So, were there victims found with clothes ripped off or was that a false cover story? How could victims be found naked if the plane went down basically in tact?


7 posted on 07/02/2009 6:09:58 PM PDT by MHGinTN (Believing they cannot be deceived, they cannot be convinced when they are deceived.)
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To: OldDeckHand

While certainly not the ‘only thing’, the flat spin is a big possibility.

Especially with reports of 100mph updrafts.

Another thing that could cause a flat spin is if the vertical stabilizer breaks off.


8 posted on 07/02/2009 6:14:15 PM PDT by UCANSEE2 (The Last Boy Scout)
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To: MHGinTN
"So, were there victims found with clothes ripped off or was that a false cover story? How could victims be found naked if the plane went down basically in tact?"

It's not uncommon for passenger's clothes to be ripped off and for them to be found at least partially naked in more conventional crashes. The famous crash off the coast of Africa that was caught on tape back in the 90's, also had bodies wash ashore that were naked, or partially naked.

It's the inertia of the impact that sometimes strips bodies of clothing, shoes and jewelry.

9 posted on 07/02/2009 6:14:24 PM PDT by OldDeckHand (Palin/Petraeus in '12)
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To: Blueflag

I thought the same. However, (a poster whose moniker I forget mentioned this) the tail floats.

It could have drifted on the currents, which would explain it being found far away.

My reason for thinking the tail broke off first, is that it was found so intact.

If the rest of the plane’s parts are twisted and distorted, why is the tail in one piece?


10 posted on 07/02/2009 6:17:16 PM PDT by UCANSEE2 (The Last Boy Scout)
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To: UCANSEE2
"Another thing that could cause a flat spin is if the vertical stabilizer breaks off."

Yes, in addition to a lack of sufficient airspeed, loss of a major control surface, like a vertical stabilizer or even a partial loss of a wing, could also cause an aggravated stall.

11 posted on 07/02/2009 6:18:04 PM PDT by OldDeckHand (Palin/Petraeus in '12)
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To: OldDeckHand

What happens to a plane if you go through a 100mph updraft, and then when you suddenly exit, your indicators go bonkers?

And you are totally on IFR.


12 posted on 07/02/2009 6:23:06 PM PDT by UCANSEE2 (The Last Boy Scout)
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To: BenLurkin

Terrorists took over the cockpit and augered it in through incompitence! Or the Airbuust lost its tail like AA582 and was not controllale, but then the Pilots shoulda had time to call a Mayday!


13 posted on 07/02/2009 6:23:19 PM PDT by True Republican Patriot (GOD BLESS AMERICA and Our Last Great President George W. Bush)
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To: BenLurkin
The speed sensors, called PitotThistle tubes,
14 posted on 07/02/2009 6:24:43 PM PDT by mylife (The Roar Of The Masses Could Be Farts)
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To: BenLurkin

What happened to all the early on “proof” that it broke up at high altitude - e.g. bodies were stripped of clothing from having fallen from high altitude, etc...?


15 posted on 07/02/2009 6:24:58 PM PDT by VRWCTexan (History has a long memory - but still repeats itself)
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To: True Republican Patriot

That is my question, why then no MAYDAY?


16 posted on 07/02/2009 6:27:18 PM PDT by maggief
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To: UCANSEE2
"What happens to a plane if you go through a 100mph updraft, and then when you suddenly exit, your indicators go bonkers?"

This is why this new information is so puzzling. We have an aircraft, like all passenger aircraft, that is designed to return to straight and level flight. And, assuming this happened at altitude, 35K feet is more than enough real estate to regain control of the aircraft and resume level flight - assuming that the airplane was controllable and under power.

Also, a commercial airliner is not built to withstand the stress of a 30K foot (or more) flat spin. I can't imagine it not breaking apart, at least big parts of it, before it hit the water.

While the bottom to top crushing of the fuselage is an interesting and enlightening clue, it leaves many, many questions unanswered.

17 posted on 07/02/2009 6:30:00 PM PDT by OldDeckHand (Palin/Petraeus in '12)
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To: OldDeckHand

Icing shouldn’t have been a problem because the pitot tubes all have heaters on them. Unless they find the FDR we may never know.


18 posted on 07/02/2009 6:31:26 PM PDT by Blood of Tyrants (Socialism is the belief that most people are better off if everyone was equally poor and miserable.)
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To: BenLurkin

http://www.discovervancouver.com/forum/pictures-commercial-aircraft-breaking-apart-t354388.html


19 posted on 07/02/2009 6:32:00 PM PDT by narses (http://www.theobamadisaster.com/)
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To: BenLurkin; informavoracious; larose; RJR_fan; Prospero; Conservative Vermont Vet; ...

20 posted on 07/02/2009 6:33:22 PM PDT by narses (http://www.theobamadisaster.com/)
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To: narses

Pictures taken from a passenger before the air craft crashed. The plane crashed and all its passengers were killed. However the rare photographs were recovered.

In September 2006, a collision occurred between a Gol Airlines 737 and an Embraer Legacy business jet over the Amazon in South America. The 737 crashed into the jungle with the loss of all passengers and crew. Although damaged, the smaller jet was able to continue to a nearby airport and land safely without injuries to those on board.

The images you see here are taken by one of the passengers of the ill-fated Gol Airlines 737, minutes before he and his fellow passengers died.

Last Weekthe world saw the disappearance of an A330 Air France during a trans Atlantic flight between Rio to Paris. Very ironic that a day before we got a mail of the photos taken by a passenger on a flight mins after a mid air collision, and mins before the crash of the said aircraft

Two shots taken inside the plane before it crashed. Unbelievable! Photos taken inside the GOL B 737 aircraft that was involved in a mid air collision and crashed.....

A B737 had a mid air collision with the Embraer Legacy while cruising at 35,000 feet over South America. The Embraer Legacy, though seriously damaged with the winglet ripped off, managed to make a landing at a nearby airstrip in the midst of the Amazon jungle. The crew and passengers of the Embraer Legacy had no idea what they had hit. The B737 however crashed, killing all crew and passengers on board.

The two photos attached were apparently taken by one of the passengers in the B737, just after the collision and before the aircraft crashed. The photos were retrieved from the camera’s memory stick. You will never get to see photos like this. In the first photo, there is a gaping hole in the fuselage through which you can see the tail plane and vertical fin of the aircraft. In the second photo, one of the passengers is being sucked out of the gaping hole.

These photos were found in a digital Casio Z750, amidst the remains in Serra do Cachimbo. Although the camera was destroyed, the Memory Stick was recovered. Investigating the serial number of the camera, the owner was identified as Paulo G. Muller, an actor of a theatre for children known in the outskirts of Porto Alegre. It can be imagined that he was standing during the impact with the Embraer Legacy and during the turbulence, he managed to take these photos, just seconds after the tail loss the aircraft plunged. So the camera was found near the cockpit. The structural stress probably ripped the engines away, diminishing the falling speed, protecting the electronic equipment but not unfortunately the victims. Paulo Muller leaves behind two daughters, Bruna and Beatriz.


21 posted on 07/02/2009 6:34:21 PM PDT by narses (http://www.theobamadisaster.com/)
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Comment #22 Removed by Moderator

To: narses

Thanks for posting that. Absolutely unbelievable.


23 posted on 07/02/2009 6:37:18 PM PDT by Richard Kimball (We're all criminals. They just haven't figured out what some of us have done yet.)
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To: BenLurkin

More here:

http://blog.seattlepi.com/aerospace/archives/172815.asp


24 posted on 07/02/2009 6:38:14 PM PDT by opticks
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To: MHGinTN

That was the first thing I wondered when I heard it landed intact. Very strange indeed. Can you imagine flat spin from 35,000 feet? My God.


25 posted on 07/02/2009 6:38:34 PM PDT by ProtectOurFreedom
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To: BenLurkin
Problematic speed sensors on the Airbus A330-200 jet that have been the focus of intense speculation since the crash may have misled the plane's pilots but were not a direct cause, Bouillard said..

Hell, I'm not even a pilot and that doesn't make sense.

First they tell us the thing dropped like a rock on it's belly at a gazillion miles per hour (which to me would indicate a stall of some type).

Then they tell us that the pilots inability to know their air speed was not a direct cause. Huh?

26 posted on 07/02/2009 6:40:51 PM PDT by 2111USMC
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To: opticks

Interesting.


27 posted on 07/02/2009 6:44:57 PM PDT by BenLurkin ("......a herd of timid and industrious animals, of which the government is the shepherd.")
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To: MHGinTN

The incredible acceleration caused at impact killed them and ripped clothes off. It isn’t the speed so much as the sudden stop.


28 posted on 07/02/2009 6:51:01 PM PDT by GAB-1955 (I write books, love my wife, serve my nation, and believe in the Resurrection.)
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To: 2111USMC
Then they tell us that the pilots inability to know their air speed was not a direct cause. Huh?

It's not a direct cause because it does not guarantee the loss of the plane. Rather, it's an indirect cause because it puts the plane at risk unless the crew does exactly the right things.

Here's a recent example, described here on rec.aviation.piloting, dated 25 June, in which the crew responded correctly:

Well, I'm sure you have all heard of the Air France accident. I fly the
same plane, the A330.

      Yesterday while coming up from Hong Kong to Tokyo, a 1700nm 4hr.
flight, we experienced the same problems Air France had while flying
thru bad weather.
I have a link to the failures that occurred on AF 447. My list is almost
the same.
http://www.eurocockpit.com/images/acars447.php
            
      The problem I suspect is the pitot tubes ice over and you loose
your airspeed indication along with the auto pilot, auto throttles and
rudder limit protection. The rudder limit protection keeps you from over
stressing the rudder at high speed. 
      
      Synopsis;
Tuesday 23, 2009 10am enroute HKG to NRT. Entering Nara Japan airspace.

      FL390 mostly clear with occasional isolated areas of rain, clouds
tops about FL410.
Outside air temperature was -50C TAT -21C (your not supposed to get
liquid water at these temps). We did.

      As we were following other aircraft along our route. We approached
a large area of rain below us. Tilting the weather radar down we could
see the heavy rain below, displayed in red. At our altitude the radar
indicated green or light precipitation, most likely ice crystals we
thought.

      Entering the cloud tops we experienced just light to moderate
turbulence. (The winds were around 30kts at altitude.) After about 15
sec. we encountered moderate rain. We thought it odd to have rain
streaming up the windshield at this altitude and the sound of the plane
getting pelted like an aluminum garage door. It got very warm and humid
in the cockpit all of a sudden.
Five seconds later the Captains, First Officers, and standby airspeed
indicators rolled back to 60kts. The auto pilot and auto throttles
disengaged. The Master Warning and Master Caution flashed, and the
sounds of chirps and clicks letting us know these things were happening.
      Jerry Staab, the Capt. hand flew the plane on the shortest vector
out of the rain. The airspeed indicators briefly came back but failed
again. The failure lasted for THREE minutes. We flew the recommended
83%N1 power setting. When the airspeed indicators came back. we were
within 5 knots of our desired speed. Everything returned to normal
except for the computer logic controlling the plane. (We were in
alternate law for the rest of the flight.)  

      We had good conditions for the failure; daylight, we were rested,
relatively small area, and light turbulence. I think it could have been
much worse. Jerry did a great job fly and staying cool. We did our
procedures called dispatch and maintenance on the SAT COM and landed in
Narita. That's it. 

29 posted on 07/02/2009 6:52:21 PM PDT by cynwoody
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To: UCANSEE2

Are you supposing that the auto pilot countered the updraft, but when the updraft ended, the controls were lost so what appeared to be holding a steady course was really plunging to the ocean?


30 posted on 07/02/2009 7:05:59 PM PDT by dangus
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To: OldDeckHand

Maybe it was flying end over end, and when it hit it just happened to be horizontal?

Pardon the crudity of this illustration:
\
|
/
-
\
|
/
_
SMACK!!!


31 posted on 07/02/2009 7:09:10 PM PDT by dangus
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To: narses

That’s footage from a TV show.


32 posted on 07/02/2009 7:15:11 PM PDT by dangus
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To: BenLurkin

I read through the whole report. Interesting indeed. The sudden loss of comms, computer failures, autopilot disengaging, and now the pancake crash. Add this up with the storms reported by both preceding and trailing aircraft, and this sounds like a weather crash.


33 posted on 07/02/2009 7:18:26 PM PDT by opticks
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To: narses

Please do not perpetuate these hoaxes by posting photos from known urban legends. It hurts the credibility of this site as well as the contributors.

http://urbanlegends.about.com/library/bl_photos_gol_737_crash.htm


34 posted on 07/02/2009 7:23:01 PM PDT by Kozel89
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To: narses

That’s a fake story in your story in #21 & the photos are from the TV series “Lost”

http://www.snopes.com/photos/accident/brazil737.asp#photo
http://www.hoax-slayer.com/air-collision-photos-hoax.shtml
http://urbanlegends.about.com/library/bl_photos_gol_737_crash.htm


35 posted on 07/02/2009 7:27:56 PM PDT by Admin Moderator
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To: dangus

I think the photos are from the ABC series “Lost.”


36 posted on 07/02/2009 7:31:42 PM PDT by Hillarys Gate Cult (The man who said "there's no such thing as a stupid question" has never talked to Helen Thomas.)
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To: narses
Very few people stop to think about things.

As you have demonstrated so well.

37 posted on 07/02/2009 7:32:55 PM PDT by TankerKC (USAF...retired. Well, on Terminal Leave.)
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To: BenLurkin
The speed sensors, called Pitot tubes, are "a factor but not the only one," Bouillard said. "It is an element but not the cause," Bouillard told a news conference in Le Bourget outside Paris.

Other elements that came under scrutiny in the immediate aftermath of the crash, such as the possibility that heavy storms or lightning may have brought down the jet, were also downplayed in the BEA's presentation.

"Between the surface of the water and 35,000 feet, we don't know what happened," Bouillard acknowledged. "In the absence of the flight recorders, it is extremely difficult to draw conclusions."

they don't know what DID bring it down, but they sure as hell say what DIDN'T bring it down... is that it???

there are three kinds of Critical Failure, Crit-1, Crit-2 and Crit-3

pitot tube failure sounds like a high Crit-2 to me, add another one, and, well...

38 posted on 07/02/2009 7:39:24 PM PDT by Chode (American Hedonist - Obama is basically Jim Jones with a teleprompter)
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To: cynwoody
>> We flew the recommended 83%N1 power setting. When the airspeed indicators came back. we were within 5 knots of our desired speed. Everything returned to normal except for the computer logic controlling the plane. (We were in alternate law for the rest of the flight.) <<

IIRC, "alternate law" is Airbus-speak for a condition where the fly-by-wire software is in alarm mode so it turns off the envelope protection it normally enforces on the flight crew.

In instrument flying there is a technique called attitude flying where a known power setting and a known pitch angle with a known aircraft configuration will always yield a certain airspeed and rate of climb/decent. This is one way to deal with the loss of the airspeed indicator. Sounds like that occurred here.

In the several accounts I have read since this horrible disaster, I have not seen a single mention if the navigation system has a groundspeed reading available to the pilot. That is commonly displayed on GPS systems. That would be another way of keeping your airpseed constant, and at least within the ballpark of where it was before your airdata system failed.

Maybe these aircraft have become so automated that they cannot be operated reliably in the event too much of the system becomes degraded.

In any case, there is a lesson here:

Airbus takes the approach that the engineers know what is best for aircraft operation. The pilot controls are filtered through rules and limits so that it is forbidden for him to command the aircraft to do something that would cause it to exceed the approved and tested envelope.

Boeing takes the approach that the pilot should have full authority, even when it might result in the aircraft being overly stressed. The reason I read was that they would rather have the pilot end up with a bent, but flyable aircraft than have a perfectly good one that crashed.

I think this is a great metaphor for the difference between the command-and-control attitude compared to the liberty-oriented approach to design

When an Airbus went down on Long Island shortly after 9/11, it was determined that the VS was lost due to excessive rudder authority being exercised during recovery from a wake turbulence encounter. The upshot? Train the crew not to use so much rudder!

39 posted on 07/02/2009 7:56:10 PM PDT by theBuckwheat
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To: OldDeckHand

.. Considering the “Rudder Limit Reached” was the first fault reported by the ACARS, I would guess that the vertical stabilizer separated right after that, with the aircraft entering a flat spin. A flat spin could explain the resulting speed errors. Remember the Rock-Away crash, the first thing they found/recovered was the intact vertical stab with the rudder attached, the same as in this instance. They blamed that on the copilot inducing rudder movement in response to wake turbulence. I submit that the Airbus FBW system is capable of “uncommanded” full rudder movement resulting in structural failure of the vertical stabilizer attach points


40 posted on 07/02/2009 7:58:47 PM PDT by Robe (Rome did not create a great empire by talking, they did it by killing all those who opposed them)
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To: Gator113

Stall, then a largely uncontrollable dive, levelling off to a high speed belly flop ?

Kinda like that Aeroflot plane in Siberia whose pilot let his kid fly it . .


41 posted on 07/02/2009 8:14:47 PM PDT by 1066AD
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To: BenLurkin
Air France Flight 447 slammed into the Atlantic Ocean, intact and belly first, at such a high speed that the 228 people aboard probably had no time to even inflate their life jackets,

The media's typically stupid remarks!!!

Aren't we always told NOT to inflate life jackets until we are out of the plane, huh???

42 posted on 07/02/2009 9:11:11 PM PDT by danamco
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To: Robe

In the report, the Rudder Limit error comes after a bunch of auto-pilot and navigation stuff. It sounds like the display and instrumentation took a dump before the rudder stuff. And two very odd warnings about two hours before the crash. Keep in mind, they rolled over into the next day on the flight.

“Twenty-six maintenance messages relative to flight AF447 were received. Twenty-four of
them were received on 1st June between 2 h 10 and 2 h 15.”

“The first two messages were received the day before at 22 h 45. These were a class 2 fault message and a related MAINTENANCE STATUS TOILET cockpit effect message. The fault message, “LAV CONFIGURATION” (ATA 383100, source VSC*, HARD) represented a toilet configuration difference between the airplane and that included in one of the associated systems. “

What the heck is all this about? Probably nothing, but still...

Any ideas?


43 posted on 07/02/2009 9:13:11 PM PDT by opticks
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To: narses

Those pictures have already been sent to me via email purporting to be from this crash - I called BS on them as I am sure they are from a movie!

Mel


44 posted on 07/02/2009 9:25:25 PM PDT by melsec (A Proud Aussie)
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To: opticks
Something go boom in the lav?
45 posted on 07/03/2009 3:45:20 AM PDT by texas booster (Join FreeRepublic's Folding@Home team (Team # 36120) Cure Alzheimer's!)
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To: texas booster; opticks
Something go boom in the lav?

Three and a half hours between detonation and the next sign of a problem? No way.

46 posted on 07/03/2009 7:46:46 AM PDT by Mr. Silverback (We're definitely in the Rise of the Empire era, but is Obama Valorum or Palpatine?)
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To: Mr. Silverback; opticks
Good eyes. There was a long time difference between the warnings and the accident.

If the rudder has already been identified as a weakness, then a device with a timer, placed by ground crew or assembled in the lav, might be enough to create a weakness that would be troublesome.

The first warnings came, maybe 2 hours into the fight?

47 posted on 07/03/2009 1:21:17 PM PDT by texas booster (Join FreeRepublic's Folding@Home team (Team # 36120) Cure Alzheimer's!)
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To: Admin Moderator

See post 22, I found that out almost as soon as I posted it. Mea culpa! Please delete same.


48 posted on 07/03/2009 2:49:37 PM PDT by narses (http://www.theobamadisaster.com/)
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To: dangus
Are you supposing that the auto pilot countered the updraft, but when the updraft ended, the controls were lost so what appeared to be holding a steady course was really plunging to the ocean?

I think it is very possible.

I think there are several scenarios which would 'fit' the 'knowns' of this case.

49 posted on 07/03/2009 6:30:13 PM PDT by UCANSEE2 (The Last Boy Scout)
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To: texas booster; opticks

Takeoff was at 2203 hours GMT, so the lav warning (2245 hours) was only 42 minutes in. The messages that preceded the crash were transmitted about four hours after takeoff, with the last one going out at 0210.

I don’t know what that lav message is, but it could mean any minor thing, from a stopped toilet or malfunctioning fixture to some need for a routine service.


50 posted on 07/03/2009 8:12:25 PM PDT by Mr. Silverback (We're definitely in the Rise of the Empire era, but is Obama Valorum or Palpatine?)
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