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Airbus Catastrophic Failure a Fatal Design Flaw

Posted by feww on June 2, 2009

Breaking News: Cockpit Fire Forces Airbus A330 to Land

Airbus EFIS fails catastrophically when facing unforeseen circumstances

Airbus electronic flight instrument system and onboard computers fail catastrophically in rough conditions

FEWW Moderators believe that Air France flight AF 447 from Rio de Janeiro to Paris most likely crashed as a result of catastrophic flight system failure caused by  a fatal design flaw in the Airbus 3xx series electronic flight instrument system, EFIS, and its onboard computers.

While the system seems to function in normal conditions, the computers seem unable to deal with ‘extreme’ situations that are caused by either the pilot error, as in the case of Air New Zealand Airbus 320 that plunged into the Mediterranean sea, or in above normal weather conditions, similar to the turbulence that Air France plane  most likely experienced en route from Brazil to France.

EFIS manages pilot’s selections and repeats the input to all necessary control units within the flight control system. When the difference between the data obtained from the air data computer and the input selected by the pilot exceeds the “permitted” range, the range within which the system can successfully function, a catastrophic failure caused by a fatal design flaw seems to occur which disables the system and prevents it from generating the appropriate warnings, which would enable the pilot to respond accordingly. The aircraft goes out of control and crashes.

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16 Responses to “Airbus Catastrophic Failure a Fatal Design Flaw”

  1. Mark said

    Kudos for your work!
    Airbus A400M plane crash – The A400M cargo plane crashed near Seville airport on 9 May linked to software fault
    Airbus warns of A400M engine bug, orders checks

  2. PIC said

    Another AirBus takes the death dive!!

    AirAsia jet’s alarms ‘screaming’ before crash: investigator
    By Olivia Rondonuwu: AFP

    Warning alarms in AirAsia flight QZ8501 were “screaming” as the pilots desperately tried to stabilise the plane just before it plunged into the Java Sea last month, a crash investigator said Wednesday.

    The noise of several alarms — including one that indicated the plane was stalling — can be heard going off in recordings from the black box in the Airbus A320-200’s cockpit, the investigator told AFP, requesting anonymity.

    “The warning alarms, we can say, were screaming, while in the background they (the pilot and co-pilot) were busy trying to recover,” the investigator said, adding the warnings were going off “for some time”.

    The investigator, from Indonesia’s National Transportation Safety Committee (NTSC), added that the pilots’ voices were drowned out by the sound of the alarms.

    The revelation came a day after Indonesian Transport Minister Ignasius Jonan said that the plane had climbed abnormally fast before stalling and plunging into the sea, as it flew on December 28 in stormy weather from Indonesia’s Surabaya to Singapore with 162 people on board.

    “In the final minutes, the plane climbed at a speed which was beyond normal,” the minister told reporters.
    View gallery
    AirAsia Flight 8501 crashes in the Java Sea
    Rescue team members walk as they carry the wreckage of a seat of the AirAsia Flight QZ8501 airliner …

    Analysts said the AirAsia jet’s rapid ascent had echoes of the crash of an Air France jet into the Atlantic in 2009, with the loss of 228 lives.

    Air France flight 447 vanished en route from Rio to Paris at night during a storm. The Airbus A330’s speed sensors were found to have malfunctioned, and the plane climbed too steeply, causing it to stall.

    The investigation into AF447 found that both technical and human error were to blame.

    – ‘Striking similarities’ –

    As with the AirAsia disaster, the accident happened in an area around the equator where north and south winds meet, and thunderstorms are common.
    View gallery
    Indonesian officials examine the wreckage from AirAsia …
    Indonesian officials examine the wreckage from AirAsia flight QZ8501 after it was lifted into the Cr …

    “The similarities are pretty striking,” Daniel Tsang, founder of Hong Kong-based consultancy Aspire Aviation, told AFP.

    So far, just 53 bodies have been recovered following the AirAsia crash.

    Divers have been struggling for a week against rough seas and strong currents to reach the plane’s main body, which was spotted on the seabed and is thought to contain the bulk of the remaining passengers and crew.

    The two black boxes — the cockpit voice recorder and the flight data recorder — were recovered last week after a lengthy search, and investigators are examining them.

    Investigators have listened to the data from the cockpit voice recorder, and are also looking at a wealth of information from the flight data recorder, which monitors every major part of the plane.

    They are focusing on the possibility of human or aircraft error, after ruling out terrorism following an analysis of the cockpit voice recorder.

    Committee head Tatang Kurniadi said that the preliminary report into the crash would be completed next week, a month after the accident. He said the full report would not be released publicly but the media would be told some of its contents.

    There was a huge international hunt for the crashed plane, involving ships from several countries including the US and China.

    All but seven of those on board the flight were Indonesian. The foreign nationals were from South Korea, Singapore, Malaysia, Britain and France.

  3. KC said

    [Not on this website. Moderator]

  4. SMG said

    Air France Rio crash: Jet plunged in minutes
    The Air France jet which crashed into the Atlantic en route from Rio in 2009 stalled and fell in three and a half minutes, French investigators report.

    The air accident investigations bureau (BEA) found the crew had struggled with contradictory speed readings just before the plane crashed.

    The BEA statement did not look at the causes of the crash but one theory is that the jet’s speed probes failed.

    All 228 people on board were killed in the disaster.

    The BEA findings were released in an online statement in response to speculation in the media over the findings from the flight recorders, only recovered from the sea this month.

    A full report into the disaster is not expected until next year.

    While cautioning against a rush to conclusions, Air France said on Friday that it appeared “the initial problem was the failure of the speed probes”.

    Since the crash, the air line has replaced the speed, or Pitot, probes on its Airbus fleet with a newer model, AFP news agency reports.
    ‘Inconsistent speeds’

    Ahead of Friday’s statement, the BEA said it wished to correct “partial and more or less contradictory information published in the media”.

    It was giving “factual elements on the operation of the flight that… establish the circumstances of the accident but not the causes”.

    Flight AF 447 went down on 1 June 2009 after running into an intense high-altitude thunderstorm, four hours into a flight from Rio de Janeiro in Brazil to Paris.

    One of the instruments showed “a sharp fall” in air speed as the plane entered a zone of turbulence, the stall warning sounded and the autopilot and auto-thrust disengaged, the BEA said in its statement.

    As the plane slowed, it climbed to 38,000 ft (11,600m).

    At the time, the captain was taking a routine rest, with the two co-pilots in control in the cockpit.

    As the co-pilots struggled to understand what had happened, the captain returned but did not retake control.

    For a period of less than a minute, speeds displayed on the left primary flight display were inconsistent with those on the integrated standby instrument system, the BEA found.

    French investigators have been working on the theory that the speed probes malfunctioned because of ice at high altitude.

    This may have set off an unpredictable chain of events.
    ‘Skilled pilots’

    According to the data released by the BEA, the captain was back in the cockpit two minutes and 48 seconds before the crash.

    Investigators found the composition of the crew had been “in accordance with the operator’s procedures”.

    Air France praised Captain Marc Dubois and his co-pilots, Pierre-Cedric Bonin and David Robert, as “three skilled pilots” who had “demonstrated a totally professional attitude and were committed to carrying out their task to the very end”.

    Those on board the jet came from more than 30 countries, though most were French, Brazilian or German.

    The wreckage of the plane was discovered after a long search of 10,000 sq km (3,860 sq miles) of sea floor.

    The final minutes of Flight AF447

  5. […]Is it not somewhat risky to continue flying an airbus when the display connections are flakey? This same sort of thing happened on a BMI Airbus A321. Apparently catastrophic failure in rough conditions is not unheard of. In fact, rough conditions are not required to cause the need […]

  6. feww said

    Cockpit Fire Forces Airbus A330 to Land

  7. feww said

    Bodies from Air France disaster being found

    By Gerardo Maronna

    RECIFE, Brazil (AFP) — Brazilian and French search teams recovered more bodies from the debris of an Air France jet that plunged into the Atlantic last week, killing all 228 people onboard, Brazilian officials said.

    A total of 41 bodies have now been hauled up from what one Brazilian navy crewmember said was a “sea of debris” 1,000 kilometers (700 miles) off Brazil’s northeast coast.

    The search for the black boxes from the Air France Airbus A330 was to begin on Wednesday, when a French military nuclear submarine was to arrive in the area.

    It is hoped those data and voice recorders — which could lie at a depth of up to 6,000 meters (20,000 feet) — will reveal why the Air France plane came down on June 1 as it was four hours into its flight from Rio de Janeiro to Paris.

    A series of data alerts sent automatically by the plane in its final minutes in the air showed it was getting faulty airspeed readings and autopilot was disengaged. Navigation and power systems also failed.

    Those messages have focused suspicions on the plane’s exterior airspeed sensors, tubes known as “pitot probes,” which plane-maker Airbus and Air France say have been problematic on other Airbus A330s and A340s.

    There is speculation the tubes may have iced up during a storm at high altitude, leaving the Air France pilots to guess how fast they were going as they flew into a fierce and disorienting Atlantic storm.

    If the pilots were flying too slow the plane could have stalled and fallen, or if they pushed the Airbus too fast it could have ripped the airframe apart, aviation experts say.

    Air France has accelerated a program to replace those sensors with a newer type of pitot probe since the disaster. Its pilots are refusing to fly A330s and A340s unless the planes have at least two of the newer probes fitted.

    The European agency for air safety insisted Tuesday Airbus models including the A330 were “safe to operate,” but added a bulletin had be sent to remind airlines of what to do “in the event of loss of, or unreliable, speed indication.”

    The disaster of Air France’s flight AF 447 from Rio was the deadliest in the airline’s 75-year history, and the world’s worst aviation accident since 2001.

    The head of Brazil’s air traffic control, Lieutenant Colonel Ramon Cardoso, told reporters the bodies recovered from the Atlantic were being brought to dry land.

    The first 16 picked up over the weekend arrived early Tuesday at Brazil’s archipelago of Fernando de Noronha. The other 25 were on their way to those islands.

    Once photographed and inspected for distinguishing features such as tattoos, piercings or unique physical characteristics, the remains were to be flown to the mainland coastal city of Recife for formal identification.

    That process was to involve DNA samples from relatives. Interpol was to assist because of the wide mix of nationalities — 32 in all — on the flight.

    Most of those who on the plane were French, Brazilian or German.

    A statement from the Brazilian air force and navy said the first 16 would arrive in Recife later Tuesday on board a Hercules C-130 plane.

    It also said France had asked permission to bring into the search area two tugboats that will be mounted with US military “Pinger Locators,” which trail deep in the water and are armed with sensitive equipment designed to detect the black box beacons.

    A French research vessel carrying deep-sea mini-subs was also expected to arrive in the area on Thursday. They could be used to recover the black boxes from the sea bed.

    Copyright © 2009 AFP. All rights reserved.

  8. terres said

    Brazilian officials said 24 bodies had now been recovered – tail section recovered

  9. feww said

    Crews find more bodies from Air France crash
    Mon Jun 8, 2009 6:56am EDT
    By Fernando Exman and Tim Hepher

    RECIFE, Brazil/PARIS (Reuters) – Searchers found 15 more bodies from a crashed Air France jet on Sunday and retrieved a large amount of debris from the plane that plunged into the Atlantic ocean in the worst air disaster since 2001.

    Nearly a week after the Airbus A330 crashed on its way from Rio de Janeiro to Paris killing all 228 people on board, a total of 17 bodies have been recovered, following the discovery of two unidentified males on Saturday.

    Investigators are considering the possibility the speed sensors on Flight 447 may have iced up and Air France said late on Saturday it was accelerating the replacement of speed sensors on all its Airbus long-haul planes.

    Brazil’s navy and air force said in a statement on Sunday night that they had retrieved seven more bodies and were transporting them along with the two corpses found on Saturday to the islands of Fernando de Noronha, 230 miles off the coast of Brazil.

    Of the nine corpses, four were male and four were female, while the sex of the other body could not be identified.

    A French ship picked up eight bodies on Sunday, the Brazilian military said, without giving further details.

    “Hundreds of items are being found and being stored until we know where they should go,” Brazilian Air Force spokesman Henry Munhoz told reporters in the northeastern city of Recife, where the bodies and debris will eventually be brought.


    Brazil’s military declined to give details about the debris found on Sunday, saying only that it was “structural components.”

    Brazilian network Globo reported on its website that a refrigerated truck used to store corpses was waiting on Fernando de Noronha. Brazilian media also said police were taking DNA samples from passengers’ relatives to help identify the bodies.

    Twelve Brazilian planes, one equipped with radar equipment that can detect material in the water, two French planes, one French ship and five Brazilian navy ships are searching the area about 680 miles northeast of Brazil’s coast.

    France also has sent a nuclear-powered submarine that should arrive on Wednesday to search for the black box flight data recorders that will be crucial to understanding why the plane fell from the sky as it passed storms on Monday.

    The plane’s pilots may have set the aircraft at a dangerous speed because they were relying on faulty speed readings, investigators say.

    Air France said it had begun the switchover of speed sensors five weeks before the crash but only after disagreeing with Airbus over the planemaker’s proposal to carry out tests before replacing them.

    An Airbus spokesman declined to comment and said it could only discuss the investigation with French air authorities.

    The head of France’s air accident agency BEA said on Saturday it was too soon to say if problems with the speed sensors, known as pitot tubes, were in any way responsible.


    The agency said the A330 had sent out 24 error messages in four minutes including one indicating a discrepancy in speed data. It said similar problems had happened before.

    Air France said it had first noticed in May 2008 that ice in the sensors was causing lost data in planes like the A330, but that it failed to agree with Airbus on steps to take.

    According to Air France, Airbus offered to carry out an in-flight test on new sensors this year but the airline decided to go ahead and started changing them anyway from April 27.

    It did not say whether the crashed plane had the new sensors but its last maintenance hangar visit was on April 16.

    Some of the A330s 50 or so other operators defended the plane’s safety record at an airlines meeting in Kuala Lumpur on Sunday, saying the crash was an isolated incident.

    Airbus has faced problems with the speed sensors dating to at least 2001, forcing changes in equipment as well as the pilot’s flight manual, according to online filings.

    In 2001, France reported several cases of sudden fluctuation of A330 or A340 airspeed data during severe icing conditions and Airbus was ordered to change the cockpit manual, according to the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration. © Thomson Reuters 2009 All rights reserved

  10. feww said

    Bodies, debris retrieved from Air France crash
    Sun Jun 7, 2009 1:48am ED
    By Fernando Exman and Tim Hepher

    RECIFE, Brazil/PARIS (Reuters) – Brazilian search crews on Saturday retrieved the first bodies from a crashed Air France flight in the Atlantic, and investigators said faulty speed readings had been found on the same type of jets.

    Navy ships found the bodies of two men and debris including a blue seat with a serial number matching Air France Flight 447, a rucksack containing a vaccination card, and a briefcase with an Air France ticket inside, rescue officials said.

    “This morning at 8:14 a.m., we confirmed the rescue from the water of pieces and bodies that belonged to the Air France flight,” air force spokesman Jorge Amaral told reporters in the northeastern Brazilian city of Recife.

    Brazilian air force planes and navy ships have been scouring a swathe of the Atlantic about 1,100 km (683 miles) northeast of Brazil’s coast since the Airbus A330-200 plane disappeared on Monday, killing all 228 people on board.

    The crash of the flight from Rio de Janeiro to Paris was the world’s deadliest air disaster since 2001 and the worst in Air France’s 75-year history.

    Rescuers, who said that only family members will be informed of the identity of the corpses, believe many bodies could have sunk or been devoured by sharks.

    Searchers previously had retrieved debris from the ocean that turned out to be unrelated to the crash.

    French investigators trying to establish the cause of the crash said on Saturday that Airbus had detected faulty speed readings on its A330 jets before last week and had recommended that clients replace a sensor.


    Air France later issued a statement saying it had begun changing airspeed sensors on Airbus long-haul aircraft due to icing fears five weeks before the crash, but only after failing to agree on a fix with Airbus.

    Investigators are considering the possibility that the speed sensors on Flight 447 may have iced up, resulting in faulty readings that caused the pilots to set the plane at a dangerous speed as it passed thunderstorms.

    But the head of France’s air accident agency (BEA) said in a news conference in France that it was too soon to say if problems with the pressure-based speed sensors were in any way responsible for the disaster.

    “Some of the sensors (on the A330) were earmarked to be changed … but that does not mean that without these replacement parts, the (Air France) plane would have been defective,” BEA chief Paul-Louis Arslanian said.

    Airbus confirmed it issued a bulletin asking the plane’s 50 or so airline operators to consider changing the speed sensors, known as Pitot tubes, but it said it was an optional measure to improve performance and not related to safety.

    In its statement on Saturday, Air France said it began noticing airspeed problems from icing on both A330 and A340 planes in May 2008 and had requested a solution from Airbus.

    According to Air France, Airbus proposed testing different sensors despite earlier doubting that they would resolve the problem, but the airline declined to wait and started changing them from April 27. Airbus was not immediately available to comment.


    The doomed Air France plane sent 24 automated messages in a span of four minutes indicating a series of system failures before it vanished, Arslanian said.

    In the middle of this stream of data was one message showing inconsistent speed readings from the A330’s sensors, investigators said.

    The messages also showed that the autopilot was off, though it was impossible to say whether it had disengaged itself, as it is designed to do when it receives suspect data, or whether the pilot had decided to turn it off, Arslanian said.

    Airbus issued a reminder on Thursday that pilots should follow standard procedures — to maintain flight speed and angle — if they thought their speed indicators were faulty.

    Meteorological experts said the jet crossed a storm zone but that the weather did not seem to pose a particular threat.

    Investigators have said they are not optimistic that they will be able to locate the plane’s flight recorders, which could provide vital information about the cause of the crash.

    The search zone is a relatively uncharted patch of ocean that has deep ravines and a fine, muddy sediment.

    France is sending a nuclear-powered submarine to try to locate the two flight recorders, which could be at a depth of anywhere between 2,835 and 13,120 feet, said Laurent Kerleguer, the French navy’s deputy head of hydrography.

    (Writing by Stuart Grudgings and Crispian Balmer; Editing by Will Dunham)
    © Thomson Reuters 2009 All rights reserved

  11. feww said

    Speed sensor faults may have led to Air France crash,21985,25601796-661,00.html

    Air France replaces speed sensors

    Air France Airbus That Crashed Was Awaiting Sensor Replacement

    Crash investigators reveal fault with Airbus part

    Reuters (PARIS) – Airbus had detected faulty speed readings on its A330 jets ahead of last week’s crash of an Air France airliner, and had advised clients to replace a part, French air investigators said on Saturday.

    But the head of France’s air accident agency (BEA) said it was too soon to say if problems with speed sensors were in any way responsible for the disaster over the Atlantic Ocean, which cost the lives of all 228 passengers and crew.

    ”Some of the sensors (on the A330) were earmarked to be changed … but that does not mean that without these replacement parts, the (Air France) plane would have been defective,” said Paul Louis Arslanian, BEA chief.

    Airbus, maker of the A330 jet that crashed on Monday, also issued a second advisory late on Thursday that pilots should follow standard procedures – to maintain flight speed and angle – if they thought their speed indicators were faulty.

    ”Problems had been detected (on A330s) and we are studying them,” said Mr Arslanian, adding the plane was safe to fly. Airbus said it had no immediate comment.

    The latest developments in Paris came as the Brazilian air force revealed they had discovered two bodies from last week’s crash. The first bodies from the crash were found along with debris that included a seat with a serial number that matched the missing flight, a rucksack, and a case with an Air France ticket inside, rescue officials said.

    The Air France A330-200 was en route from Rio de Janeiro to Paris when it suffered a rapid succession of technical problems after hitting heavy turbulence over the Atlantic.

    Search crews have failed to recover any wreckage so far and French and Brazilian aircrews are scouring a stretch of ocean some 1,100 km (680 miles) northeast of Brazil’s coast where experts believe the plane might have come down.

    Mr Arslanian said the doomed Air France plane sent a series of 24 automated messages between 0210 GMT and 0214 GMT indicating a series of system failures before it vanished.

    In the middle of this stream of data was one message showing inconsistent speed readings from the A330’s sensors.

    ”You have a plane which transmitted a message, and it is not an exceptional or unheard of message, particularly on the A330, which detected incoherent speed readings,” Mr Arslanian said.

    Investigators are anxious to locate the plane’s flight recorders to try and gleen more information on what went wrong, but are not optimistic that the black boxes will be retrieved.

    ”This is what we are looking for in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean,” Mr Arslanian said, holding up a small, cylindrical canister which is attached to the flight recorders and designed to send homing signals for up to 30 days.

    ”We have absolutely no guarantee that it is still attached to the recorders. They can get detached,” he said.

    The search zone is a relatively uncharted patch of ocean which has deep ravines and a fine, muddy sediment.

    France is sending a nuclear-powered submarine to try to locate the two flight recorders, which could be at a depth of anywhere between 864 and 4,000 metres (2,835-13,120 ft).

    Shifting currents meant that in a worst case scenario searchers would have to be right above the beacon to hear it.

    Aviation analysts have speculated that a combination of severe turbulence and mechanical problems caused the crash.

    Meterological experts have said the plane did cross a storm zone, but that it did not pose an apparent threat.

    ”Nothing would indicate (that the plane) hit a storm mass of exceptional intensity,” Alain Ratier, deputy head of Meteo France told a news conference on Saturday.

    © Reuters Limited

  12. msrb said

    Bodies from missing plane found
    Page last updated at 23:52 GMT, Saturday, 6 June 2009 00:52 UK

    Two bodies have been found from the Air France plane which went missing over the Atlantic last Monday, the Brazilian air force has said.

    Items including a case with a ticket for the flight were also picked up some 1,100km (683 miles) off Brazil’s coast.

    Air France said it was stepping up replacement of speed monitors on Airbus planes, amid speculation that a faulty indication may have caused the crash.

    All 228 people on board the Airbus 330 are believed to have been killed.

    The AF Flight 447 from Rio de Janeiro to Paris disappeared in turbulent weather about 800km (500 miles) north-east of Brazil’s Fernando de Noronha islands.

    Blue seat

    “We confirm the recovery from the water of debris and bodies from the Air France plane,” air force spokesman Jorge Amaral told reporters in the northern city of Recife on Saturday.

    He later added that two male bodies had been found, as well as objects linked to passengers known to be on the flight, including a suitcase with an Air France ticket and a backpack with a computer inside.

    “It was confirmed with Air France that the ticket number corresponds to a passenger on the flight,” Col Amaral said.

    A blue seat was also found, and Air France is checking the serial number to see whether it came from the flight.

    The remains were found not far from where the last signal from the plane was received, and taken to the islands of Fernando de Noronha.

    Experts on human remains are on their way to examine the find.

    Speed sensors

    The items were the first to be definitely linked to the plane, nearly six days after the crash.

    But the BBC’s Gary Duffy in Sao Paulo says the authorities are adopting a cautious approach after previous reports of debris being found proved false.

    Correspondents say that much of the search effort so far has been focused on finding flight data recorders, which have sonar beacons – or “pingers” – attached to them.

    But French officials say there was no guarantee the beacons were still attached to the flight recorders, and they may have been separated in the impact of the crash.

    The officials do not know what triggered the plane’s problems, but it was flying through an area of thunder storms and turbulence.

    They said it sent 24 error messages minutes before it crashed.

    Air France said in a statement on Saturday that the plane had been using speed sensors that had been associated with problems in the past.

    The company said that it had begun noticing problems arising from icing on its Airbus long-haul aircraft more than a year ago and that it had begun changing its airspeed sensors on 27 April – five weeks before the accident.

    “Without prejudging a link with the causes of the accident, Air France has accelerated this programme,” Air France said in a statement.

    It added that this did not necessarily mean the aircraft was not safe to fly.

    A French submarine is being sent to join in the search. It has sonar equipment that could help locate the airliner’s flight data recorders.

    The US is also sending specialised listening equipment.
    1 June: Contact lost with plane over mid-Atlantic
    2 June: First debris spotted from the air includes an airline seat. Brazilian defence minister says debris is from missing plane
    3 June: More debris spotted, including a 7m-wide chunk of metal. Fuel slick seen on ocean surface
    4 June: Buoys and pallet recovered from ocean said to be from plane. Officials later retract statement
    6 June: First two bodies, plus suitcase and backpack found, along with seat thought to be from the plane

    BBC © MMIX

  13. terres said

    Australian Government-
    Australian Transport Safety Bureau – MEDIA RELEASE – 02 January 2009

    Qantas Airbus A330 incident, 480km North West of Perth on 27 December 2008

    The Australian Transport Safety Bureau was advised on 27 December 2008 of an occurrence that day involving a Qantas Airbus A330-300 aircraft while in cruise at FL360 (36,000 ft) enroute from Perth to Singapore.

    At about 0829 UTC (1729 Local Time), the autopilot disconnected and the crew received an ECAM message (NAV IR 1 Fault) indicating a problem with ADIRU Number 1. The crew actioned the Airbus Operations Engineering Bulletin (OEB) procedure by selecting the IR 1 push-button to OFF and the ADR 1 push-button to OFF. Both OFF lights illuminated. The crew elected to return to Perth and an uneventful overweight landing was conducted. At the time that the autopilot disconnected, the aircraft was approximately 260 nautical miles (NM) North-West of Perth airport and approximately 350 NM South of Learmonth airport.

    It is very early in the investigation and too soon to draw any conclusions as to specific causal factors involved in this incident. As it appears to be a similar event to a previous event involving an A330 aircraft (AO-2008-070 on 7 Oct 2008) it will be included as part of the earlier investigation. The ATSB investigation will explore all aspects of the operation of the aircraft, including examination of recorded data, and any commonalities with past occurrences.

    While the investigation is likely to take a number of months, the ATSB has been working with a number of national and international parties on this investigation and plans to release an Interim Factual report by about mid-February 2009.

    Should any critical safety issues emerge that require urgent attention, the ATSB will immediately bring such issues to the attention of the relevant authorities who are best placed to take prompt action to address those issues.

    ADIRU = Air Data Inertial Reference Unit
    ECAM = Electronic Centralized Aircraft Monitor
    IR = Inertial Reference
    ADR = Air Data Reference
    NAV = Navigation

  14. terres said

    Another Qantas Airbus has midair emergency: Report
    Sydney | January 03, 2009 9:35:05 AM IST

    The autopilot on a Qantas Airways Airbus A330 suddenly disconnected 500 kilometres after taking off from Perth in Western Australia last week, a news report revealed Saturday.

    The plane was forced to return to Perth, ABC Radio reported.

    The incident on Dec 27 was the second midair emergency affecting a Qantas Airbus. Seventy passengers were injured – some of them seriously – in October when a plane suddenly lost altitude during a flight to Singapore and was forced to make an emergency landing at Exmouth.

    The Australian Transport Safety Bureau (ATSB) said that because of their similarities the two incidents will be the subject of a joint investigation, ABC reported. It plans to release an interim report about mid-February.

  15. terres said

    Culprit in Qantas Upset Identified
    Air Safety Week , Oct 20, 2008

    A faulty air data inertial reference unit (ADIRU) caused a Qantas Airbus A330-300 jetliner to plummet Oct. 7, injuring scores of passengers on a flight from Singapore to Perth, according to the Australian Transportation Safety Bureau (ATSB).

    The technical glitch was dubbed a “unique event,” but serious enough to prompt Airbus to issue emergency guidelines to airlines worldwide operating the Airbus A330-300s and A320s.

    The glitch had never been encountered during any previous A330-300 flight, said ATSB air safety investigations director Julian Walsh. The device, one of three aboard the A330-300, and which supplies information, such as air speed, altitude and position, led the jetliner’s Flight Control Primary Computers to incorrectly determine the aircraft was climbing when actually in level flight, he said. As a result, the aircraft’s nose pitched down.

    The A330 was flying at 37, 000 feet with Autopilot and Auto-thrust system engaged when the IRU fault occurred within the Number-1 Air Data Inertial Reference Unit (ADIRU 1), which resulted in the Autopilot automatically disconnecting. From this moment, the crew flew the aircraft manually to the end of the flight, except for a short duration of a few seconds, when the Autopilot was reengaged.

    The faulty Air Data Inertial Reference Unit continued to feed erroneous and spike values for various aircraft parameters to the aircraft’s Flight Control Primary Computers, which led to several consequences including:

    * false stall and overspeed warnings

    * loss of attitude information on the Captain’s Primary Flight Display

    * several Electronic Centralized Aircraft Monitoring system warnings

    About two minutes after the initial fault, ADIRU 1 generated very high, random and incorrect values for the aircrafts angle of attack.

    These very high, random and incorrect values of the angle attack led to:

    * the flight control computers commanding a nose-down aircraft movement, which resulted in the aircraft pitching down to a maximum of about 8.5 degrees,

    * the triggering of a Flight Control Primary Computer pitch fault

    “At this stage of the investigation, the analysis of available data indicates that the ADIRU 1 abnormal behavior is likely as the origin of the event…As far as we can understand, this appears to be a unique event and Airbus has advised that it is not aware of any similar event over the many years of operation of the Airbus.” The ATSB stated.

    But Airbus issued an Operators Information Telex/Flight Operations Telex reflecting the ATSB findings. Operational Engineering Bulletins will follow, providing safety recommendations to operators of A330 and A340 aircraft fitted with the same type of ADIRU.

    “Those recommended practices are aimed at minimizing risk in the unlikely event of a similar occurrence. That includes guidance and checklists for crew response in the event of an Inertial Reference System failure, the ATSB added.

    Meanwhile, the ATSB’s investigation is ongoing and will include:

    * Download of data from the aircraft’s three ADIRUs and detailed examination and analysis of that data. Arrangements were made for the units to be sent to the component manufacturer’s facilities in the U.S. as soon as possible.

    * In addition, investigators have been conducting a detailed review of the aircraft’s maintenance history, including checking on compliance with relevant Airworthiness Directives, although initial indications are that the aircraft met the relevant airworthiness requirements.

    * Work is also ongoing to progress interviews, which will include with injured passengers to understand what occurred in the aircraft cabin. The ATSB plans to distribute a survey to all passengers.

    The ADIRU in question was supplied by Northrop Grumman’s Navigation Systems unit located in Woodland Hills, CA, according to the Airbus telex issued to affected airlines. Carriers can choose ADIRUs made by Litton or Honeywell for the A330/A340. The fault hasn’t occurred with Honeywell equipment.

    The air data system involved, the LTN-101, was certified for operation in 1993 and the nearly 7,000 units sold since then have logged millions of flight hours.

    Other air carriers who have selected the Northrop Grumman LTN-101 for their Airbus A320/A330 aircraft include US Airways and India’s Jet Airways.

    “The dependability of our LTN-101E ADIRU was an important consideration for US Airways,” said Jim Myers, vice president and general manager of Northrop Grumman’s Navigation Systems Division. “It provides the aircraft with high dispatch reliability and lower cost of ownership demanded by today’s carriers,” he added in announcing the US Airways contract this past July.

    Northrop Grumman’s LTN-101E inertial reference unit replaces ring-laser gyro technology with fiber-optic gyros and micro-electro mechanical systems silicon accelerometers that are more reliable and easier to maintain. Enhancements over its predecessor, the LTN-101, include a more than 50 percent reduction in electronic modules, faster processors, and a new interface bus that speeds data transfer within the aircraft.

    [Copyright 2006 Access Intelligence, LLC. All rights reserved.];col1

  16. feww said

    Air France crash leaves global trail of victims
    By SHAWN POGATCHNIK – 4 hours ago
    DUBLIN (AP) — Three young Irish doctors — one a Riverdance performer — returning from a vacation to Brazil. An American geologist and his wife headed to Europe for work and some R&R. An 11-year-old boy traveling alone on his way back to an English boarding school.

    All were among the victims of Air France Flight 447, leaving broken hearts from Rio to Paris and far beyond.

    “We will miss your dancing feet,” read a tribute from the Northern Ireland family of Eithne Walls, 29, the dancer-turned-doctor. “We will miss your silliness, your wit and your hugs. We will always hold you in our hearts and you are never truly gone.”

    John Butler initially thought his 26-year-old daughter, Aisling Butler, was booked on a different flight and had to retrieve her itinerary from his deleted e-mail folder to check.

    “When I opened it up, a nightmare opened up as well,” he said, speaking from the family’s home in rural County Tipperary.

    Walls, Butler and their best friend from Ireland’s Trinity College, 28-year-old Jane Deasy — the daughter of a Dublin surgeon — graduated together from medical school in 2007 and had spent two weeks in Brazil as part of a larger group of Trinity grads.

    While others traveled on to Australia, the trio headed home to resume their busy medical careers.

    “Her friends will, we hope, remember their special time together with fondness and joy, despite its tragic end,” read the tribute to Walls, who spent nearly a decade dancing in Riverdance troupes from New York to Shanghai and was pursuing a career as a Dublin eye surgeon.

    Some families recalled how their loved ones had survived dangerous jobs or medical crises, only to perish in Monday’s unexplained crash over the Atlantic Ocean, which was presumed to have killed all 228 on board.

    Christine Pieraerts, a 28-year-old Michelin tire engineer from France had recovered from a stroke and was returning home after a 10-day visit to see her boyfriend in Brazil.

    “We were very happy because she was starting to take up her activities and a normal life again. Fate caught up with her and us,” said her older brother Michel.

    Graham Gardner, a 52-year-old seaman from Scotland, had braved gale-force winds and other dangers aboard tankers, ferries and container ships before taking charge of an oil pipe-laying vessel, the Lochnagar.

    He commuted monthly from Brazil back home to his wife, Joyce, who described him as “such a loving, caring and laid-back man. Nothing fazed him.”

    Brazil-born orthodontist Jose Souza, had honed his skills as a surfer since the age of 9, traveling worldwide to take on the most challenging waves.

    Souza “would regularly chase waves all over Europe and the world at a moment’s notice,” recalled Ben Farwagi, president of the London Surf Club Big Wave Team, which counted Souza as a member.

    In a statement still posted on the club’s Web site Tuesday, Souza spoke of his love of the sea. “I have ridden big waves all around the world, but particularly like Sunset Beach (Hawaii), J-Bay (South Africa) and Mundaka (Spain). I now just want to go bigger!!!”

    The two Americans on board the plane, geologist Michael Harris and his wife Anne, had moved to Rio from Houston 10 months ago, and were on their way to Europe for work and vacation, said a spokesman for his employer, Oklahoma City-based Devon Energy Corp.

    Harris, who turned 60 last month, had planned to attend seminars in Barcelona, Spain, then enjoy “five days on R&R in Paris,” said spokesman Chip Minty.

    “They were both gregarious, caring, patient, kind, fun-loving individuals,” Anne Harris’ sister, Mary Miley, told the Lafayette, La., newspaper The Advertiser. “My only comfort is that they died together.”

    Among the 61 victims from France were 10 salesmen and their spouses from a French electronics supply company, CGE Distribution, who won a company prize of a free trip to Brazil.

    They “had a great year that wrapped up with this dream trip,” said a CGE manager, Jean-Pierre Nardou.

    Salesman Stephane Artiguenave, 35, and his wife Sandrine, 34, left behind a 9-year-old daughter and 4-year-old son in their Bordeaux village of Saint-Martin-de-Sescas.

    The man’s brother-in-law, Christophe Champenaud, complained that Air France officials had provided no help. “Not even to figure out how to tell the children about their parents’ deaths,” he said.

    Eleven-year-old Alexander Bjoroy was returning to his English boarding school, Clifton College in Bristol, after spending a school break with his family in Brazil.

    “Our deepest sympathies and condolences are with the family in Brazil at this time,” said the school headmaster, John Milne.

    Among the 58 Brazilian victims was Pedro Luis de Orleans e Braganca, a 26-year-old descendent of Brazil’s last emperor, Dom Pedro II.

    Patricia Coakley’s husband Arthur, a 61-year-old English oil-rig engineer, shouldn’t have been on the ill-fated flight at all. He was supposed to have taken a weekend flight out of Rio, but was bumped because it was overbooked.

    She tried phoning her husband’s cell phone Monday, but gave up on Tuesday.

    “He worked so hard for his family. That’s all he wanted, to retire. It’s not going to happen, is it?” she asked tearfully.

    Associated Press writer Emma Vandore in Paris and AP bureaus worldwide contributed to this report.

    Copyright © 2009 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.

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