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[Air France] Crash Report Shows Confused Cockpit
Wall Street Journal ^ | May 28, 2011 | ANDY PASZTOR And DANIEL MICHAELS

Posted on 05/28/2011 6:34:47 PM PDT by lbryce

Cruising at 35,000 feet and nearly four hours into what seemed a routine overnight flight to Paris from Rio de Janeiro, an Air France cockpit crew got a stall warning and responded by doing what even weekend pilots know to avoid: They yanked the nose of the plane up instead of pointing it down to gain essential speed.

Apparently confused by repeated stall warnings and reacting to wildly fluctuating airspeed indications, pilots of Flight 447 continued to pull back sharply on the controls—contrary to standard procedure—even as the Airbus A330 plummeted toward the Atlantic Ocean, according to information released Friday by French accident investigators. The June 2009 crash ton board,

The pilots' actions are likely to lead to a global shake-up in pilot training that reappraises the role of computer aids, as aviation-safety experts increasingly worry that many airlines scrimp on drilling manual flying techniques.

Still to be answered is how seasoned pilots for a top airline, flying one of the industry's most advanced jets, violated such a fundamental rule of airmanship.

(Excerpt) Read more at online.wsj.com ...


TOPICS: Business/Economy; Extended News; News/Current Events
KEYWORDS: af447; airbus; airfrance; airfrance447; flightsafety; freelazamataz; technology
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The introduction of automation has made flying dramatically safer over the years. In the U.S., for instance, fatal accident rates are at record lows. But if pilots are taught to abdicate too much responsibility to automated systems, essential piloting skills can dull and aviators become too reliant on computers in emergencies.

That's particularly troublesome if onboard flight-control computers malfunction, disconnect or, as in the case of Flight 447, give conflicting information and warnings to pilots. "Pilots are starting to serve the automation, not the automation serving the pilots," said Bill Voss, president of the Flight Safety Foundation of Alexandria, Va., an independent advocacy group championing enhanced training. "It's almost like we have to train the pilots to know how to triage these situations."

While Boeing design philosophy is, was one in which the pilot bears final say, command of the aircraft, Airbus ushered in a new era of increasingly sophisticated software, automatic systems, the consequences of which may have led to inexplicable disasters such as flight 447.

1 posted on 05/28/2011 6:34:56 PM PDT by lbryce
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To: lbryce

I don’t think a Boeing has ever suffered a BSOD.


2 posted on 05/28/2011 6:37:44 PM PDT by HiTech RedNeck (Hawk)
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To: lbryce

The autopilot shut off early into the incident.


3 posted on 05/28/2011 6:38:09 PM PDT by 1rudeboy
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To: HiTech RedNeck

Neither did the Airbus in this case. And if you think Boeings dont use LCD screens . . . .


4 posted on 05/28/2011 6:40:28 PM PDT by 1rudeboy
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To: lbryce
...They yanked the nose of the plane up instead of pointing it down to gain essential speed.

I once read that an early pilot discovered this when he thought he was dead and wanted to get it over with quickly. Have no idea if that's true.

5 posted on 05/28/2011 6:44:55 PM PDT by decimon
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To: lbryce

Wow, all those passengers dead because the pilot didn’t do what even a student pilot knows to do, let the nose down to recover from a stall. Very weird.


6 posted on 05/28/2011 6:47:18 PM PDT by HerrBlucher ("It is terrible to contemplate how few politicians are hanged." G.K. Chesterton)
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To: HiTech RedNeck

Lots more interesting discussion at: http://www.airliners.net.


7 posted on 05/28/2011 6:48:17 PM PDT by jennings2004 (Sarah Palin: "The bright light at the end of a very dark tunnel!")
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To: lbryce
an Air France cockpit crew got a stall warning and responded by doing what even weekend pilots know to avoid: They yanked the nose of the plane up instead of pointing it down to gain essential speed.

Spoken like a certified lunatic. Those pilots had no working instruments and zero external cues of the orientation of the aircraft. If it "felt" like they were in a dive, of course they would repond that way.

Air Force pilots with thousands of hours under their belts are trained to rely exclusively on their instruments for their craft's orientation (attitude in 3-dimensional space,) under zero visibility conditions.
Unfortunately, in an airliner, the recommended solution in zero visibility with no instruments working, ejecting, is not an option.

8 posted on 05/28/2011 6:50:45 PM PDT by Publius6961 (you don't need a president-for-life if you've got a bureaucracy-for-life.)
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To: HerrBlucher
Wow, all those passengers dead because the pilot didn’t do what even a student pilot knows to do, let the nose down to recover from a stall. Very

What would you do if the airspeed was increasing at the same time the stall warning was sounding, and the PFD had rapid fluctuations? Nothing is as easy as it seems, afterward. On the ground.
9 posted on 05/28/2011 6:52:43 PM PDT by Tzfat
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To: lbryce

Ultimately, when equipment fails, it comes down to the skills of the pilots.


10 posted on 05/28/2011 6:52:47 PM PDT by magellan
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To: lbryce

Ultimately, when equipment fails, it comes down to the skills of the pilots.


11 posted on 05/28/2011 6:52:47 PM PDT by magellan
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To: lbryce

Ultimately, when equipment fails, it comes down to the skills of the pilots.


12 posted on 05/28/2011 6:52:47 PM PDT by magellan
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To: lbryce

Ultimately, when equipment fails, it comes down to the skills of the pilots.


13 posted on 05/28/2011 6:52:54 PM PDT by magellan
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To: 1rudeboy

The autopilot is designed to shut off it the pilot gives the controls a fairly hard command. I can imagine they were pulling back on the yoke because the aircraft was going down even though the computer was telling them they were stalling.


14 posted on 05/28/2011 6:54:23 PM PDT by Blood of Tyrants (Islam is the religion of Satan and Mohammed was his minion.)
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To: HerrBlucher
Wow, all those passengers dead because the pilot didn’t do what even a student pilot knows to do, let the nose down to recover from a stall. Very weird.

It appears it's not so easy when your airspeed indicator goes away and you have to guess at the proper throttle setting and angle of attack.

Here's a little story about a Northwest Airlines crew who dealt with a similar situation and lived to tell about it posted by Orval Fairbairn not long after the crash:

I just got this email from a retired airline pilot:

From a retired NWA buddy of mine

This from Brent Stratton, a friend and NWA pilot I flew the B-757 with
out of our Tokyo base.........Now obviously on the A-330  

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.



15 posted on 05/28/2011 6:55:20 PM PDT by cynwoody
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To: Publius6961
Those pilots had no working instruments and zero external cues of the orientation of the aircraft.

Investigators already concluded that except for malfunctioning airspeed probes, there were no other mechanical, electrical or system errors.

16 posted on 05/28/2011 6:58:56 PM PDT by 1rudeboy
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To: lbryce

I don’t understand the problem of pitot tube icing because they have heaters in them and they will get hot enough to burn the crap out of you on the ground.


17 posted on 05/28/2011 7:00:06 PM PDT by Blood of Tyrants (Islam is the religion of Satan and Mohammed was his minion.)
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To: Tzfat
What would you do if the airspeed was increasing at the same time the stall warning was sounding, and the PFD had rapid fluctuations?

Absolutely, positively put the nose down & chopped the power. - The aircraft is falling out of the sky - thats why the airspeed is increasing.

I damn near pinked my first exam for not doing that quickly enough, & although I agree with you that nothing is as it seems on the ground, they did have 4 minutes to correct and you know thats a very long time.

18 posted on 05/28/2011 7:04:05 PM PDT by bill1952 (Choice is an illusion created between those with power - and those without)
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To: HerrBlucher
It's the same thing that happened in the Dash-400 crash in Buffalo...air speed bleed-out and a pull back on the stick to guarantee a stall. Lots of pilot facepalms in the next world.
19 posted on 05/28/2011 7:06:52 PM PDT by JPG (Bibi 1, O'Hamas 0.)
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To: Blood of Tyrants

“I don’t understand the problem of pitot tube icing because they have heaters in them and they will get hot enough to burn the crap out of you on the ground.”
______________________________________

There was a thread on this accident, all day yesterday.
I questioned the idea of the pitot freezing and some CLAIM that there was no pitot heaters on those Airbus planes.
That is almost impossible to believe.
My simple planes all had heated pitot tubes.

I also pointed out that the first thing any student pilot knows is to push the stick forward in a stall, but I got a lot of mumbo jumbo about that, too. Oh well.


20 posted on 05/28/2011 7:10:29 PM PDT by AlexW (Proud eligibility skeptic)
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To: Publius6961
Wrong on all counts:

Those pilots had no working instruments and zero external cues of the orientation of the aircraft.

They had many instruments. You can fly quite well without airspeed indications. Good training includes flying by attitude indicator and engine power settings when you lose airspeed and/or altimeter.

Unfortunately, in an airliner, the recommended solution in zero visibility with no instruments working, ejecting, is not an option.

It's not an option with Air Force pilots either. You have many different instruments to help maintain altitude, attitude, and heading when visibility is zero and you start losing instruments. Air France did not lose all its instruments. So far as is known, they lost airspeed. They still had engine instruments, throttle positions, normal and backup attitude, altitude, and heading instruments.

The sad reality is that too many of today's pilots, especially with many (not all) foreign and commuter domestic airlines is that the training of many of them does not cover what used to be basic maneuvers - unusal attitudes, spin recoveries, departure training, limited panel instruments, icing conditions, high angle of attack flight. Some airline pilots have actually never flown beyond 60 degrees of bank or 45 degrees of pitch. When their first encounter with these conditions is in an airliner with 200 people in the back, the outcome is not pretty.

21 posted on 05/28/2011 7:10:44 PM PDT by oldbill
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To: HerrBlucher

AirFrance/Bus are all bureaucrate blue collard systems in which the pilot’s hands are tied by the engineers and lawyers design behind it. It’s a Titanic system, very arrogant French. Not the first Airbus do that. The first A320 crash was similar but the pilot got blamed because all the upper ups were butt hurt by his allegations about an aircraft you cannot pilot but program around/hackthrough like a video game.


22 posted on 05/28/2011 7:13:51 PM PDT by JudgemAll (Democrats Fed. job-security Whorocracy & hate:hypocrites must be gay like us or be tested/crucified)
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To: Publius6961

Are you saying the pilot did not have a functioning altimeter, a VSI or an artificial horizon?


23 posted on 05/28/2011 7:17:03 PM PDT by B4Ranch (Allowing Islam into America is akin to injecting yourself with AIDS to prove how tolerant you are...)
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To: lbryce
I'm not sure I believe all this. The honeur of Airbus is much more important to La Belle France than the reputation of a couple of pilots.

The pilots may have pulled up the nose because the airspeed sensor data output from the computers was showing too much speed, rather than too little. No pilot with more than 20 hours flying time would bring up the nose if he knew the airspeed was too low.

24 posted on 05/28/2011 7:17:06 PM PDT by expatpat
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To: lbryce

If the pilots had only a working attitude indicator (and even the most advanced glass cockpit airliner still has the old “steam” analog attitude indicator as backup), the pilot can maintain pitch and power setting and they’ll be within a few knots of expected A/S. This was confirmed in a pilot’s remarks earlier.


25 posted on 05/28/2011 7:20:14 PM PDT by Da Coyote
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To: HerrBlucher
Wow, all those passengers dead because the pilot didn’t do what even a student pilot knows to do, let the nose down to recover from a stall. Very weird.

... and to make matters worse there three pilots - a captain and two co-pilots. Between the three of them you owuld think they could figure it out. I just don't think we have all the information.

26 posted on 05/28/2011 7:21:21 PM PDT by plain talk
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To: AlexW

About 20 years ago in my previous life, I was a commercial aircraft electrical and electronics technician. EVERY aircraft has pitot heaters. When the aircraft is on the ground and have power on for any length of time, they pull the pitot heater breakers. It is inconceivable that they would not have pitot heaters.

The problem I see is that after the pilots got the false stall warning they disregarded the air speed and as they fell, they pulled back on the yoke to try to gain altitude instead of pushing on it to gain airspeed.


27 posted on 05/28/2011 7:25:22 PM PDT by Blood of Tyrants (Islam is the religion of Satan and Mohammed was his minion.)
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To: Tzfat

Agreed, its a lot easier to figure things out safe and on the ground. I had to make an emergency landing due to carbuertor icing, because after the engine quit and I went through the emergency procedure, when I got to pull on carb heat for some reason my mind said “naw, that couldn’t be it” and didn’t pull the heat on. Fortunately I had lots of altitude and was able to find an abandoned ranch air strip to land on, and the ranchers 4 dobermans were locked up in their kennel.


28 posted on 05/28/2011 7:34:17 PM PDT by HerrBlucher ("It is terrible to contemplate how few politicians are hanged." G.K. Chesterton)
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To: Blood of Tyrants

“they pulled back on the yoke to try to gain altitude instead of pushing on it to gain airspeed.”

“EVERY aircraft has pitot heaters.”
________________________________________________

I fully agree with you on both points.


29 posted on 05/28/2011 7:34:49 PM PDT by AlexW (Proud eligibility skeptic)
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To: lbryce

I wonder if everybody is barking up the wrong tree, so to speak. I’ve ben in a bad tstorm and had sudden icing before. Airspeed drops suddenly and falsly, pilots nose DOWN. I feel this is more likely a computer fault. For example, in the F-16, when it get into a deep stall the computer overrides the pilot input and commands max nose down elevator. There is a pitch overide switch to turn the flight control computer off and allow the pilot to pull the nose up and then push down to “rock” the plane out of the deep stall. Since the 330 is also fly by wire I wonder if the computer wa overiding the pilot inputs. Nothing more frusterating than when you are telling an airplane to do something and it’s doing something else. Trust me. But now a days the engineers know best. And most of them are not even pilots....


30 posted on 05/28/2011 7:48:25 PM PDT by PilotDave (No, really, you just can't make this stuff up!!!)
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To: Publius6961
Air Force pilots with thousands of hours under their belts are trained to rely exclusively on their instruments for their craft's orientation (attitude in 3-dimensional space,) under zero visibility conditions.

Well, yeah, that is correct as far as it goes. I am not sure it was zero visibility at their flight level, however. There were some storms around but at that flight level the clouds were below them and the stars above. Would not that give them a horizon? And if you have a horizon, they you can take off, fly, and land almost any plane, would you give me that?

I believe that if the pilot had kept it level, he could have had another jet meet him at an emergency field and give him his airspeed for a safe landing. So I would suggest that the pilot, as the writer said, made a mistake that any solo pilot would have avoided without having to think about it. Another thing I would mention is that AirBus makes planes that fly into trees... Boeing give pilots the overide capability. The difference between the American way of thinking and Europeans was never more stark.

31 posted on 05/28/2011 8:06:05 PM PDT by SandwicheGuy (*The butter acts as a lubricant and speeds up the CPU*)
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To: HerrBlucher

My wife stated that an overspeed and a stall have very similar sounding warnings and a very similar feeling shudder in the yoke. She believes the pilots thought that they were in an overspeed situation instead of a stall which would explain why the nose was up and the engines at idle prior to impact.


32 posted on 05/28/2011 8:08:46 PM PDT by Scotsman will be Free (11C - Indirect fire, infantry - High angle hell - We will bring you, FIRE)
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To: B4Ranch
Are you saying the pilot did not have a functioning altimeter, a VSI or an artificial horizon?

Yep.
That's the only explanation for the random turns and climb before the stall and final plunge. Either inoperative of displaying bad information.

As I understand, all these comments are based on a preliminary report of raw data. What the flight recorder received is not necessarily what the glass cockpit displayed.

33 posted on 05/28/2011 8:16:18 PM PDT by Publius6961 (you don't need a president-for-life if you've got a bureaucracy-for-life.)
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To: bill1952
Absolutely, positively put the nose down & chopped the power. - The aircraft is falling out of the sky - thats why the airspeed is increasing.

Wrong. The airspeed was increasing because the pitot system failed. The instruments were giving conflicting information.

"Put the nose down" is never the issue - the issue is angle of attack, and as every jet pilot knows, angle of attack is not the same thing as pitch in relation to the horizon. Unloading the wing of an airliner is not the same as a Cessna.
34 posted on 05/28/2011 8:19:59 PM PDT by Tzfat
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To: Blood of Tyrants
"I don’t understand the problem of pitot tube icing because they have heaters in them and they will get hot enough to burn the crap out of you on the ground."

As with any other instance dealing with heaters/coolers, they are only designed to inject or remove so many BTU. Temperature is only half of the equation, time is the second factor. If ambient air removes the heat faster than the element can replace it, it loses the war and can't keep up... just like the A/C in your car. It can put out enough cold air to freeze you into hypothermia under the right conditions, but try staying cool with 90 degree outside temps and the windows rolled down. Same thing...

35 posted on 05/28/2011 8:24:26 PM PDT by FunkyZero ("It's not about duck hunting !")
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To: 1rudeboy; lbryce
Photobucket
36 posted on 05/28/2011 8:43:56 PM PDT by SkyDancer (It's not the police that protect our rights, it's our military)
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To: Publius6961
Spoken like a certified lunatic. Those pilots had no working instruments and zero external cues of the orientation of the aircraft.

The ISIS was working. It's a backup display with its own internal sensors. From that they could have maintained altitude, airspeed, and heading (the aircraft was actually heading west when it crashed). It's easy to sit here and criticize, but the transcript gives the impression that everybody in the cockpit forgot how to fly the plane without a computer.

37 posted on 05/28/2011 8:46:01 PM PDT by Moonman62 (The US has become a government with a country, rather than a country with a government.)
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To: lbryce
Apparently confused by repeated stall warnings and reacting to wildly fluctuating airspeed indications, pilots of Flight 447 continued to pull back sharply on the controls—contrary to standard procedure

The transcript gave me the impression that the warnings stopped when the airspeed dropped below a very low value (even though they were valid, the computer considered them invalid). That would have given a weird type of feedback, which may explain the pilots letting a perfectly good aircraft drop in the water.

38 posted on 05/28/2011 8:50:01 PM PDT by Moonman62 (The US has become a government with a country, rather than a country with a government.)
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To: bill1952

If you see your climb indicator showing that you are sinking at -10,000 feet/min would you pull the nose up thinking you might be in a dive?


39 posted on 05/28/2011 8:50:40 PM PDT by Jack Hydrazine (It's the end of the world as we know it and I feel fine!)
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To: SkyDancer

40 posted on 05/28/2011 8:51:27 PM PDT by 1rudeboy
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To: 1rudeboy

Hey, better than mine. Do you have a larger copy? Pleeze???


41 posted on 05/28/2011 8:55:40 PM PDT by SkyDancer (It's not the police that protect our rights, it's our military)
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To: PilotDave

Do you know about the AF296 crash? Watch the video and find out what happens when an Airbus flight computer and a pilot fight with each other.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fX4_Ho992TQ


42 posted on 05/28/2011 8:55:54 PM PDT by Jack Hydrazine (It's the end of the world as we know it and I feel fine!)
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To: Scotsman will be Free

If you lose your pitot tube and are not getting any speed info but you see your VSI telling you that your airplane is dropping at a rate of -10,000+ feet/min you might think that you might be in a dive/overspeed situation and want to pull up.


43 posted on 05/28/2011 8:58:32 PM PDT by Jack Hydrazine (It's the end of the world as we know it and I feel fine!)
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To: cynwoody

Hope someone at least said, “Great save!” to Jerry!


44 posted on 05/28/2011 9:01:16 PM PDT by BradyLS (DO NOT FEED THE BEARS!)
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To: 1rudeboy

This is just one of many available designed panels that are available when you place your order with the manufacturer.


45 posted on 05/28/2011 9:04:27 PM PDT by B4Ranch (Allowing Islam into America is akin to injecting yourself with AIDS to prove how tolerant you are...)
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To: SkyDancer

No, I don’t . . . sorry. And I’m evacuating this thread because the yahoos have arrived.


46 posted on 05/28/2011 9:20:56 PM PDT by 1rudeboy
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To: 1rudeboy

Okay, thanks anyway. BTW, I receive the NTSB Reporter that lists all significant aircraft accidents. I’m waiting for this Air France crash to be reported.


47 posted on 05/28/2011 9:37:56 PM PDT by SkyDancer (It's not the police that protect our rights, it's our military)
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To: lbryce

NOVA documentary about AF447 before the data recorders were recovered.

Part 1
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ecX1wxWjpgs
Part 2
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xDsy-TCLfwg&feature=related
Part 3
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=otkPewDA-6E&feature=related
Part 4
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kQ0ScIg04pw&feature=related

It’s amazing how much the ACARs data fits with the flight data recorder.


48 posted on 05/28/2011 9:50:20 PM PDT by Jack Hydrazine (It's the end of the world as we know it and I feel fine!)
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To: Blood of Tyrants

I think there is a TD out on this aircraft regarding the probe heat.


49 posted on 05/28/2011 10:19:48 PM PDT by USNBandit (sarcasm engaged at all times)
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To: Publius6961

Early in jet powered commercial aviation, they had looked at a system for ejecting the passengers. The sides of the plane would blow off panels, a rail would extend, and the seats would shoot out sideways and away from the tail ( up or down depending on the aircraft).each row would have it’s own chute. The idea was killed due to the passenger revenue that would have been lost because the weight of the safety system would have reduced available passenger load by about 30%. Fly the friendly skies.....


50 posted on 05/28/2011 10:28:07 PM PDT by Waverunner (I'd like to welcome our new overlords, say hello to my little friend)
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