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A nobody; a nitwit; a pilot; a motorcyclist; a raconteur; a lover...of life - who loves to laugh, who tries to not take myself (or anything) too seriously...just a normal guy who knows his place in the universe by being in touch with my spiritual side. What more is there?

05 June 2009

AF447: Grasping At Straws

And now, five days after Air France 447 disappeared into the Atlantic Ocean, "authorities" are saying that debris recovered from the water is not from that Airbus. None of it. None of it?? Makes me wonder, have they even found the crash site?

They're also crawfishing on the terrorism angle. The French Foreign Minister has now said, "Nothing leads us to believe there was an explosion, but that doesn't mean there wasn't one." Uh-huh. In other words, despite their initial denials, "terrorism" has not been ruled out. Well, fricken duh!

There is no doubt that there was a lot of severe weather around that night in the Intertropical Convergence Zone. I've now seen the weather reports and satellite imagery for the area (thanks, Mike B.!). Lots of big, tall thunderstorms. And it would be challenging for pilots to avoid all of the "weather" along the way. However, I did read one pilot comment that the night did not seem unusual "on paper" - in other words, no storm-of-the-century conditions, just your typical late-Spring night in the ITCZ. On paper.

There was one pilot who reported seeing an explosion and a white streak of light heading straight down to the water. If he is being truthful, and if that white streak was Air France 447, then it exploded and descended in clear air, not in the middle of a thunderstorm.

Now, here on Friday morning the "authorities" are saying is that the probe that senses the plane's airspeed may have been faulty, which caused the crew to fly too fast or too slow in the turbulence. And of course the media is running wide open with this, in their quest to give you The Cause of this crash before their competition. But there's a tiny problem with this Inoperative Airspeed Probe Theory. See, all airliners have at least two airspeed probes. Could both of them have failed?

If the event were not so horribly tragic, I would sit back and laugh as I watched everyone running around like headless chickens, trying to figure out what went wrong in an event for which we have no - or at least very scant - evidence.

Which brings up my biggest question. A huge airliner breaks apart and crashes down into the ocean from high altitude. So where is the wreckage? It did not slip gracefully into the water like Michael Phelps off the high-dive.

Believe me when I tell you this, people. The "authorities" know more than they're telling us.


Anonymous said...

I don't think the 'authorities' have much to go on yet. It's all shaping up to be yet another example

of wisdom in hindsight. Anyone who has experience of advanced flight systems and aircraft knows that

there are compromises and risks built into every implemented design. Here, the chicken that seems to

have come home to roost, is the inherent complexity of the total 'fly by wire' method. Already the

transmitted telemetry from the doomed AF 447 seems to reveal a set of cascading events that might

possibly have been avoided if there had been a more simple redundancy 'backbone' of flight parameter
information immediately available and alerted to the crew. The Airbus' total 'fly by wire' design

philosophy was cause for concern when it was first implemented and there were serious lethal crashes -

oh yeah it's great having the flight computer rebooting itself on final approach - 'specially when you

don't have a control column servo and just a joystick!! Unfortunately economics often rules more than

common sense - more conservative aviators have argued that certifying two engine airliners across

oceans is wrong - not so much for reliability but because the balance of lift and load on the wings

assures more strength and durability - the bean counters weren't interested in that. In the past

catastrophes when a large plane has disintegrated in the air or on water impact, lots of persistent

debris has been created and readily identified (any other exceptions?) so that aspect is very strange (no

conspiracy theories please!). Many crews have experienced very scary turbulence episodes knowing that a

plane can only take so much. Looking at both the flight track of AF 447 and the satellite pictures,

they flew right into the middle of some very nasty dense and dirty weather - why weren't they better

warned? While there are various speculations as to the cause(s) of this tragedy, at this point the

weather seems most likely. All around this tragedy there seems to have been a tad to much reliance on

automation and not enough cross-checking and basic vigilance. - Hitech

Ghost said...
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