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What Really Happened Aboard Air France 447
Popular Mechanics ^ | Jeff Wise

Posted on 12/07/2011 9:55:38 AM PST by ventanax5

For more than two years, the disappearance of Air France Flight 447 over the mid-Atlantic in the early hours of June 1, 2009, remained one of aviation's great mysteries. How could a technologically state-of-the art airliner simply vanish?

With the wreckage and flight-data recorders lost beneath 2 miles of ocean, experts were forced to speculate using the only data available: a cryptic set of communications beamed automatically from the aircraft to the airline's maintenance center in France. As PM found in our cover story about the crash, published two years ago this month, the data implied that the plane had fallen afoul of a technical problem—the icing up of air-speed sensors—which in conjunction with severe weather led to a complex "error chain" that ended in a crash and the loss of 228 lives.

(Excerpt) Read more at popularmechanics.com ...


TOPICS: Crime/Corruption; Culture/Society; Foreign Affairs; News/Current Events
KEYWORDS: airfrance; airlines; aviation; crash; error; pilots
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1 posted on 12/07/2011 9:55:40 AM PST by ventanax5
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To: ventanax5

POS “AirBus” Broke.


2 posted on 12/07/2011 10:03:00 AM PST by US Navy Vet (Go Packers! Go Rockies! Go Boston Bruins! See, I'm "Diverse"!)
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To: ventanax5

what a horrifying transcript
Must be very hard on the families .. very very hard


3 posted on 12/07/2011 10:08:27 AM PST by silverleaf (common sense is not so common- voltaire)
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To: zot

Ping.


4 posted on 12/07/2011 10:09:59 AM PST by Interesting Times (WinterSoldier.com. SwiftVets.com. ToSetTheRecordStraight.com.)
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To: ventanax5

Seems like a terrible idea to have the pilot sticks disconnected from each other, one pilot can be pulling full up and the other not know it.


5 posted on 12/07/2011 10:11:58 AM PST by al44
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To: ventanax5

Negligent homicide by the pilots.

It’s chilling to think the people into whose hands passengers place their lives could screw up so needlessly and badly.


6 posted on 12/07/2011 10:12:48 AM PST by DarrellZero
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To: ventanax5

Interesting coincidence, I was just thinking about that crash and the reason for it after my Chevy truck had a wiring harness go bad in the front axle.

55 mph and accelerating on a busy road when my speedometer just dropped to zero. The d*mn thing went into 1st gear, my anti-lock brakes started screwing up and I almost caused an accident. Having all those systems tied into each other like that made it far worse than it should have been and I had no way to correct any of it.

Made me think of the reason for that crash as I limped home in 1st gear.


7 posted on 12/07/2011 10:16:17 AM PST by Abathar (Proudly posting without reading the article carefully since 2004)
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To: ventanax5

That pilot picked one hell of a time to take a nap. Sad.


8 posted on 12/07/2011 10:16:17 AM PST by colorado tanker
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To: ventanax5

Read an in-depth report on the crash a few weeks back in one of my flying mags.

the net of it all is that despite ALL conventional wisdom, the PIC maintained a deliberate and excessive nose-up attitude on the aircraft and kept it in a stall, in the so-called ‘coffin corner’ of the flight envelope.

NET: The Pilot in Charge, in error, flew the aircraft into terrain (the ocean).


9 posted on 12/07/2011 10:20:25 AM PST by Blueflag (Res ipsa loquitur: non vehere est inermus)
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To: ventanax5

Pretty pathetic that the Captain has to take a nap less than 2 hours after take off all the while knowing his flight path intersects serious storm cells.


10 posted on 12/07/2011 10:20:39 AM PST by Kahuna
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To: ventanax5

Sounds like an elevator trim tab problem.


11 posted on 12/07/2011 10:25:23 AM PST by ILS21R (Never give up)
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To: ventanax5

I think the first post on this thread says it all.

http://www.freerepublic.com/focus/f-news/2798577/posts


12 posted on 12/07/2011 10:26:19 AM PST by READINABLUESTATE (Millions of government bureaucrats are gang raping and choking the life out of America.)
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To: Abathar

It seems both you and AF449 were victims of cascading errors/failures that are rarely considered even remotely possible by design engineers. Probably because it never happened to them...


13 posted on 12/07/2011 10:26:28 AM PST by T-Bird45 (It feels like the seventies, and it shouldn't.)
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To: T-Bird45

Having all the systems tied in to each other so that a failure of one brings them all down is just stupid imho, but having dealt with GM design engineers my entire adult life I can easily understand how it ended up that way.

It made it easier or cheaper, period.


14 posted on 12/07/2011 10:32:59 AM PST by Abathar (Proudly posting without reading the article carefully since 2004)
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To: Abathar

Re your post #7:

Chevy, the heartbeat of America. Will you stick with the brand for your next vehicle?


15 posted on 12/07/2011 10:33:34 AM PST by Pearls Before Swine
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To: T-Bird45

Incredible incompetence. The flight should have avoided the massive turbulence that triggered the event. The flight crew was too lazy to study the weather conditions despite the reputation of the area for severe weather. No design engineer could have foreseen the bungling after the problem began. Three stooges in the cockpit brought the plane down.


16 posted on 12/07/2011 10:36:37 AM PST by businessprofessor
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To: Pearls Before Swine

I will never buy another new GM product, period. My next new truck will probably be a Ford F350 heavy duty, and hopefully by then they will be using the Cummins diesel that Dodge is feuding with now and might be picked up by Ford.

Or so the rumor has it, either way I only bought GM because they were one of our biggest customers and I believe in supporting who pays your checks, but not any more after what happened with the unions and bond holders.


17 posted on 12/07/2011 10:47:39 AM PST by Abathar (Proudly posting without reading the article carefully since 2004)
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To: ventanax5
Thanks for posting.

Chilling.

18 posted on 12/07/2011 10:48:07 AM PST by Pharmboy (Democrats lie because they must...)
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To: ILS21R

The story makes it pretty clear that the junior First Officer screwed up by stalling the plane and keeping the nose up all of the way down. Elevator trim tab had nothing to do with it.


19 posted on 12/07/2011 11:03:51 AM PST by Scotsman will be Free (11C - Indirect fire, infantry - High angle hell - We will bring you, FIRE)
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To: Kahuna

I think I’d have a hard time sleeping, personally.


20 posted on 12/07/2011 11:08:48 AM PST by Secret Agent Man (I'd like to tell you, but then I'd have to kill you.)
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To: Abathar

For me it’s gently-used Ford trucks/SUVs.


21 posted on 12/07/2011 11:09:58 AM PST by Secret Agent Man (I'd like to tell you, but then I'd have to kill you.)
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To: ventanax5

Stories like these don’t help this lifelong fraidy cat flyer. I have no experience flying a plane and even I know that if a plane stalls, you NEVER pull up. It seems to me we had an inexperienced guy who freaked out, a flawed design in the aircraft, and a total meltdown of discipline and experience in the end.


22 posted on 12/07/2011 11:14:20 AM PST by lazypadawan
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To: Scotsman will be Free

You are correct, poor piloting killed everyone.

Expect to see more of this as years past. We now have “digital aircraft operators” not pilots. They have little ability to operate the aircraft manually. Take all the instrument panel toys and eye candy away from them and they might as well kiss their ass good bye if in true IMC conditions.

Some of the problem is in the new mindset of the aircraft engineers, but most of the problem is the pilots refusing to remain proficient in rudimentary flight skills.

That aircraft can safely fly with no airspeed indicators with nothing more than the attitude indicator and the engine power controls. It is right there in the aircraft ops manual, and has been used several times in the past in similar situations by experienced and well trained pilots.


23 posted on 12/07/2011 11:18:49 AM PST by wrench
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To: ventanax5

My son and I were discussing this crash last weekend.

He’s more knowledgeable on this stuff than me.

If electronics, gauges, displays fail, 75% power, 5 deg. nose up. hold the wings level.
At high altitudes the safe envelope is very narrow. High angle of attack...stall. Even at relatively high speed.
Too low angle of attack..over-speed.


24 posted on 12/07/2011 11:20:20 AM PST by Vinnie
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To: wrench

My wife is a retired airline captain, former small plane pilot and aerobatic pilot. That girl could fly. The amazing thing I found was that the vast majority of airline pilots had never flown small planes, just the big iron.


25 posted on 12/07/2011 11:23:04 AM PST by Scotsman will be Free (11C - Indirect fire, infantry - High angle hell - We will bring you, FIRE)
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To: ventanax5
How could a technologically state-of-the art airliner simply vanish?

It didn't "simply vanish." It fell into the sea. There, "mystery" solved.

26 posted on 12/07/2011 11:29:37 AM PST by Moltke (Always retaliate first.)
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To: wrench

Just what you said.

IMO too much reliance of electronic instrumentation.

Just like kids today trying to make change w/o an electronic register or calculator.
Totally lost.


27 posted on 12/07/2011 11:32:16 AM PST by Vinnie
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To: Scotsman will be Free
...The story makes it pretty clear that the junior First Officer screwed up by stalling the plane and keeping the nose up all of the way down...

The fact that the pilots are told (ingrained) that they CANNOT stall the aircraft is the root problem, IMO.

They simply did not believe that it was possible and assumed an instrument failure. Nobody ever mentioned it when the alarm was blaring and the stick shaker was going off. Whatever you are taught, the stick shaker always tells the truth and one does not disregard it, EVER!

28 posted on 12/07/2011 11:32:45 AM PST by Mr. Quarterpanel (I am not an actor, but I play one on TV)
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To: US Navy Vet

I’m sorry, but that remark makes you sound like a jerk.


29 posted on 12/07/2011 11:40:41 AM PST by Lonesome in Massachussets (Ceterum autem censeo, Obama delenda est.)
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To: Lonesome in Massachussets

I’ve been called worse, by better.


30 posted on 12/07/2011 11:43:16 AM PST by US Navy Vet (Go Packers! Go Rockies! Go Boston Bruins! See, I'm "Diverse"!)
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To: ventanax5

I watched an episode of “Mayday” on this. It was particularly unsettling because of all the mistakes the pilots made.


31 posted on 12/07/2011 11:44:51 AM PST by proud American in Canada
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To: Scotsman will be Free

It’s from wiki so you probably won’t believe it, but here goes.

“The trimmable horizontal stabilizer (THS) moved from 3 to 13 degrees nose-up in about 1 minute, and remained in that latter position until the end of the flight.”


32 posted on 12/07/2011 11:47:56 AM PST by ILS21R (Never give up)
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To: US Navy Vet

There was absolutely no evidence of a mechanical failure or a clear design inadequacy. The human errors were tragic but not any worse than errors common to any human endeavor.


33 posted on 12/07/2011 11:49:15 AM PST by Lonesome in Massachussets (Ceterum autem censeo, Obama delenda est.)
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To: US Navy Vet

With good cause, no doubt.


34 posted on 12/07/2011 11:50:39 AM PST by Lonesome in Massachussets (Ceterum autem censeo, Obama delenda est.)
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To: businessprofessor

My comment was more about the commonality between the other poster’s truck woes and the AF447 equipment-oriented failures. As a system component, the flight deck crew definitely figures into the cascading errors experienced. I most certainly agree with you on that.


35 posted on 12/07/2011 12:19:56 PM PST by T-Bird45 (It feels like the seventies, and it shouldn't.)
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To: Abathar
...but not any more after what happened with the unions and bond holders.

I'm with you 100% there.

36 posted on 12/07/2011 12:24:22 PM PST by Pearls Before Swine
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To: Abathar

Glad you got home OK. What make of vehicle out of curiosity?


37 posted on 12/07/2011 12:38:38 PM PST by Moleman
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To: Moleman

97 Suburban 4x4, haven’t had many problems with it either. I use it for my running around truck, 200k miles now.


38 posted on 12/07/2011 12:42:33 PM PST by Abathar (Proudly posting without reading the article carefully since 2004)
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To: ILS21R

Black box and cockpit recorder, according to the Popular Mechanics story mind you, tell a different tale. That’s all I can tell you.


39 posted on 12/07/2011 12:51:49 PM PST by Scotsman will be Free (11C - Indirect fire, infantry - High angle hell - We will bring you, FIRE)
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To: ventanax5

The transcript is chilling. Having the greenest pilot in control of the aircraft was not a wise decision.

On the bright side, at least the passengers never knew what hit them. Aside from what was likely unnerving turbulence, they probably had little idea that their flight was in peril.


40 posted on 12/07/2011 1:08:38 PM PST by Retired Greyhound (.)
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To: ventanax5

Sounds like a classic case of vertigo.

Poorly trained pilots stop trusting their instruments in stressful situations. Because they are unable to visually orient themselves, they get the sensation that they are falling, and instinctively pull back on the stick.

This is essentially what happened to JKF, Jr. back in ‘99.

Had this been a Boeing, the more experienced pilot would have sensed that the younger pilot was doing so.


41 posted on 12/07/2011 1:14:05 PM PST by Retired Greyhound (.)
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To: businessprofessor
Incredible incompetence.

Barky has a lot in common with Bonin, pulling back on the control in a death grip to raise taxes, increase drag, decrease lift, as our national 747 descends in a stall. Does it ever cross Barky's mind to push forward on the control once as an experiment and see if he gets a different result? Or is he so far in over his head he has only one trick. We've got a chance to pull out of this dive next November. Hopefully that's before impact.

42 posted on 12/07/2011 1:25:54 PM PST by Reeses (Have you mocked a Democrat today?)
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To: Interesting Times

Thanks for the ping. This is the best explanation I have seen, and by far the most complete.


43 posted on 12/07/2011 1:31:44 PM PST by zot
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To: Blueflag

BINGO! One of the first things military pilots learn in basic training is how to recover from stalls/spins - center the ball, nose down & reduce power until the wings start flying again (stall recovery) then add power and level off to stop altitude loss and maintain airspeed. Today’s Jr airline pilots spend 95% or more of the flight on autopilot and have basically forgotten how to hand fly their airplanes! Older, ex-military pilots still remember those basic skills/procedures even after decades have passed.

JC


44 posted on 12/08/2011 12:58:45 AM PST by cracker45
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To: wrench

AMEN!

JC


45 posted on 12/08/2011 1:02:55 AM PST by cracker45
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To: Vinnie

Sounds fishy to me. If electronics fail, you can’t see 5 degrees nose up, and why do that anyway? Just maintain level flight using the baro altimeter and set the recommended max range cruise power setting for a/c weight per the manual. Declare an emergency and request vectors to the nearest suitable landing field.

JC


46 posted on 12/08/2011 1:13:21 AM PST by cracker45
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To: Lonesome in Massachussets

I’m sorry too, but if Airbus/Air France continued to fly passenger aircraft with known or suspected defective air speed sensors, then they are P.O.S.s!!
I have quit flying commercially because I don’t trust air carriers to do adequate aircraft maintenance and pilot training, and refuse to be harrassed by those TSA thugs!
What’s the matter with you?

JC


47 posted on 12/08/2011 1:24:33 AM PST by cracker45
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To: ILS21R

In about 1 minute, eh? Sounds like the pilot in control trimmed it that way to “help” him hold it in a full stall all the way to ocean surface impact!!

JC


48 posted on 12/08/2011 1:27:59 AM PST by cracker45
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To: Lonesome in Massachussets

That is a stupid statement; very few of us humans manage to kill a large airplane’s entire passenger load due to ordinary, everyday “human error”!! SHEEEESH

JC


49 posted on 12/08/2011 1:31:48 AM PST by cracker45
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To: Retired Greyhound

You just made up that crapola, didn’t you??

JC


50 posted on 12/08/2011 1:38:29 AM PST by cracker45
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