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The Malaysian Airliner

03/08/2014 7:36 PM

Investigators always have to wait for the recovery of the black box to help determine

the cause of a crash.I can see where this was necessary in the past,but now with

high speed satellite communications, and Terabyte storage,why is the same data not

also transmitted to a central point and available for analysis in real time?

The data could be released once the plane safely landed to save data storage space.

The black box and cockpit voice recorder could store the same data for a backup

source?

Seems to be a simple solution to a current problem.

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#1

Re:The Malaysian Airliner

03/08/2014 7:55 PM

At any given time there are 5-10,000 planes in the air. It wouldn't be a reach to think that there 40,000 airplanes in the air during any 24 hour period.

Only the NSA has the capacity to track that many targets at one time, and they are more concerned about what Aunt Millie is gossiping to her friends about than any safety concerns.

It does seem strange that it just fell out of the sky, with no warning or Mayday call from the cockpit.

Total power failure? Not likely. This type of aircraft has an almost flawless safety record. Pilot error has caused almost all of the problems this plane has had.

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#2
In reply to #1

Re:The Malaysian Airliner

03/08/2014 10:26 PM

Let's see:40,000 per 24 hours works out to a little less than 30 per second.

With data compression, and burst mode transmission,it seems to be an easy goal to

reach.The data could be passed as in cell phone towers to the nearest storage facility,

so the load would be distributed.

The data does not have to be analysed unless there is a problem with a flight.

A power-supervised circuit could send data instantly in case of an explosion or loss of

primary power regardless of the compression state of the data.(This should be a rare

occurrence).

I am sure there are many reasons why this is not done,and I am sure money has

nothing to do with it.

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#3
In reply to #2

Re:The Malaysian Airliner

03/08/2014 10:45 PM

I'd say the biggest reason this isn't done is that virtually no flights go down without a trace. None.

The odds are astronomical that any given plane will crash. The odds that a plane will vanish without a trace are universal.

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#4
In reply to #3

Re:The Malaysian Airliner

03/08/2014 11:42 PM

Why then,even have a black box if we are using the odds to justify a technology?

I am simply saying that the black box has outlived it usefulness when it is needed

most.

It has taken years to find some of the boxes, and some were never found,especially

when lost in deep water.Knowing what happened would give closure for some

families.

What if it was someone close to you that went down on a plane that mysteriously

disappeared?

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#6
In reply to #4

Re:The Malaysian Airliner

03/09/2014 11:02 AM

Data recorders are required on all commercial, and corporate, aircraft.

They are not required on private, non-commercial aircraft.

They record data on a continuous loop so that the 99.9999999% of unnecessary data acquired during any one flight (or the 100,000 cycles of the aircrafts life) is not saved. Only events leading up to the interruption of power (as in a crash) are saved.

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#9
In reply to #6

Re:The Malaysian Airliner

03/09/2014 11:31 AM

Got called in to work. False motion detector.

Now, The NSA just spent $2,000,000,000.00 USD to build such a data gathering center, deep in the heart of Mormon country in Utah. The electricity bill is $1,000,000.00 USD per month.

As I stated earlier only commercial aviation has data recorders. Would you include ALL aircraft in your data gathering exercise?

As far as black boxes being needed, they are only needed if the plane goes down under unusual circumstances. The FAA, aircraft manufacturers and insurance carriers certainly think they are needed.

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#10
In reply to #6

Re:The Malaysian Airliner

03/09/2014 11:33 AM

I realize that the data recorders are required,I was being sarcastic.

However,the method I mentioned also deletes data after a safe landing, or optionally

saved for review if certain parameters are exceeded during flight.

This information could be valuable in predictive maintenance,not just crash analysis.

It could be a simple as a cell phone tower connection.

The specifications for the black box are ancient, in today's world.

The original data was stored on a wire-type recorder,with limited capacity.

The specs cannot be altered without great deliberation and debate,which costs time

and money.And we know how airlines like to spend money. (Sarcasm again.)

Does a 1 gig memory chip weigh more than a 5 gig chip?

How much does a BIT weigh?If you if you erase all the bits, will the chip weigh less? (Sarcasm again).

Or like Lindberg reportedly wondered,"If that fly in the cockpit lands, will it require

more fuel to cross the ocean?"

I think the small private planes have a much worse record than the commercial ones,

hence they should also have a data transmitter,sending data to their own email

address or personal account.Of course, this will add to the cost of a plane,by adding

sensors at critical points,such as force or pressure required to actuate flaps or

ailerons.This could reveal an un-lubricated pivot point and prevent a future

catastrophic failure,for instance.

I don't know of any pilot that would not like to know in advance of an impending

failure that could be prevented.

Eventually,most of the ideas I have presented here will be implemented, but big

gears grind slow,but they grind exceedingly fine.

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#12
In reply to #10

Re:The Malaysian Airliner

03/09/2014 11:58 AM

Yes, Black boxes are archaic. A few ASIC's and a memory chip would do a better job, we all agree.

Pilots are now allowed to use I-pods in the cockpit, and we do fly by GPS now, so things do change.

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#15
In reply to #10

Re:The Malaysian Airliner

03/11/2014 9:51 AM

"This information could be valuable in predictive maintenance, not just crash analysis."

G'day HiTekRedNek & others,

In a word ACARS.

Ok, what's ACARS I hear you say, as you all open up another tab on your web browser and head for the nearest acronym dictionary?

It stands for Aircraft Communications Addressing and Reporting System and in conjunction with the Secondary surveillance radar (SSR) transponder does pretty much what you are talking about. In fact the ACARS telemetry was pivotal in locating and then figuring out what happened to Air France Flight 447 that vanished in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean on 1st June 2009.

Unfortunately the systems do have their limitations and keeping a constant communications channel open when your are screaming through the air at 250 ms-1 or so thousands of kilometres from the nearest land isn't that simple especially if you're near or in the middle of a thumping great electrical storm that plays havoc with radio communications.

I know that some Qantas aircraft are equipped with satellite tracking dishes that enables them to keep two way communications going regardless of where they are. Also some of their aircraft that fly on routes through potentially hostile airspace are suspected of being equipped with anti‑missile technology. However, if you ask anybody at Qantas about such technology they will categorically deny that they have aircraft equipped with said technology. But the tell-tale bumps on the otherwise normally smooth sections of the fuselage and ability to pick up satellite TV programs live while in flight are a dead giveaway. Or so I've heard.

Anyway, getting back to our wayward Malaysian Airlines Boeing 777-2H6ER, now this one's a real mystery. For all communications to cease abruptly would suggest a catastrophic failure that destroyed the aircraft in flight. However, if this were the case there would normally be debris spread over hundreds of km2 and by now at least something would have been spotted. The reason it took so long the find the Air France crash site back in 2009 was because the aircraft hit the water intact with practically no forward speed in a big belly flop sort of way squashing the aircraft. But even then things like the tail fin broke off and stayed afloat along with other debris which was ultimately spotted and eventually led searchers to the aircraft.

Even when a Boeing 777 has crashed as with the British Airways flight 38 that came down short of the runway at Heathrow destroying the aircraft there was no fire and everybody survived. Then there was the Asiana Airlines Flight 214 where the aircraft again came down short of the runway (completely different reason to BA-38) while landing at San Francisco hitting a sea wall and causing the aircraft to break up catastrophically and catch fire. Of the 307 on board 304 survived, even then one of the fatalities was not directly caused by the crash but was the result of being run over by one of the fire tenders racing to the accident site.

So even when a Boeing 777 does crash to date you have had a pretty good chance of surviving, you just have to watch out for the people coming to rescue you.

This one on the other hand it a real quandary, initially one would suspect a catastrophic mid‑air breakup of the aircraft, but the lack of debris suggests otherwise. But if there wasn't something catastrophic the pilots would have had time to squawk 7700 which is the digital equivalent of a mayday voice call and both the SSR and ACARS would have sent some sort of telemetry that would have at least given searches some sort of clue as to what happened as was the case with the Air France flight 417 incident over the middle of the Atlantic Ocean.

I think this one has a lot of very aviation experts totally baffled and until some sign of the aircraft is found and probably long after that it's going to stay that way.

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#16
In reply to #15

Re:The Malaysian Airliner

03/11/2014 11:16 AM

G'A or is that G'day. Nice post.

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#38
In reply to #3

Re:The Malaysian Airliner

03/18/2014 7:35 PM

There that squadron that went down,(Bermuda Triangle) unless there were found.....I believe in the 40's after taking off from Fort Lauderdale........ One of history's mysteries.

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#34
In reply to #1

Re:The Malaysian Airliner

03/15/2014 4:32 PM

"This type of aircraft has an almost flawless safety record. Pilot error has caused almost all of the problems this plane has had."

There was one very glaring exception to this and that was British Airways Flight 38 call sign Speedbird 38.

On final approach into Heathrow Airport London the co-pilot who was flying the aircraft at the time, pushed the throttle levers forward to increase engine power and reduce the rate of descent. To his and shortly after the captain's horror there was nothing and even worse the engines started to roll back to nearly idle speed. They were clearly going to come down short of the runway and if it wasn't for the quick thinking of the pilot who raised the flaps they would not have made the airport perimeter and crashed into houses. By raising the flaps he reduced the drag and extended the distance they could glide just enough to make it to the airport but they landed very heavily short of the runway and the aircraft broke up.

However, even with such an horrendous accident there was no fire and everybody escaped the destroyed aircraft with relatively minor injuries which in itself makes it a phenomenally safe aircraft because such an accident in nearly any other airliner would have likely killed half the people on board. The Boeing designers did an absolutely brilliant job of designing in energy absorbing structures that kept the high g forces the aircraft encountered away from the passengers and the main undercarriage broke away rather than puncturing the fuel tanks and thus prevented a fire which is usually the thing that get you not the actual crash as most people think.

After some and extremely in depth and at times, perplexing and particularly frustrating investigation they eventually traced the problem to ice building up in the fuel oil heat exchanger. You can read more about it in the link at the start of this post.

The fact that everybody survived what in the past would have been an almost certainly lethal accident is a testimony to how well built, strong and safe the Boeing 777 series of aircraft are.

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#5

Re: The Malaysian Airliner

03/08/2014 11:57 PM

On second thought, just give all aircraft an I/P address and transmit data that way.

Nothing to hide from the public on the cockpit voice recorder, is there?().

The rest of the data could be encrypted for security sake.(OK,if you insist, encrypt the voice also).

The infrastructure already exists,except on the planes.

The internet of everything should include aircraft.

Of course, the airlines are very aware of every ounce of weight that adds to the fuel

costs over the lifetime of the airframe,so they are penny wise, pound foolish, IMHO.

Perhaps in the far,far future they could save weight by eliminating the black box

altogether,since they are rarely needed.

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#7

Re: The Malaysian Airliner

03/09/2014 11:06 AM

To add further mystery to the disappearance of the plane, two of the passports used to board the plane were stolen. One from an Austrian and the other from an Italian, both tourists in Thailand when their passports were reported missing. Both tourists were safe at home after the crash. ..er disappearance.I hope there was nothing to connect the stolen passports and the disappearance of the Malaysian airline.

I would be interested to know if the internet is available everywhere and at all times when in flight. Are there dark spots in the oceans where the communication between satellites is unavailable? Or is the Earth covered everywhere at all times? Just wondering if that is the reason for still using the black box...a form of redundancy. Otherwise I agree with OP, why not use central points of collection?

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#8

Re: The Malaysian Airliner

03/09/2014 11:13 AM

they still cant enter stolen passports into a tracking system, you're asking a LOT

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#13
In reply to #8

Re: The Malaysian Airliner

03/09/2014 1:23 PM

I am not sure you understood what I was trying to state. The airline did use the passport information for those who boarded the plane. The two people with the stolen passports purchased tickets to go to Amsterdam and they were consecutively numbered. Tracking of the stolen passports was not flagged by the airline because they likely thought they were legit. However, the tracking in this case would be similar to following the users of stolen credit cards. You can tell where they went and where they used the cards. I am sure the families of the two stolen passports were relieved it was not their kin.

The latest on the news of disappearance.

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#14
In reply to #13

Re: The Malaysian Airliner

03/09/2014 8:46 PM

The USDA can track a steak or pound of hamburger to the steer,the steer's sire and mother,the grandparents,great grandparents,etc.

They can even track individual salmon released from a commercial fish farm when they return to spawn after years in the ocean.

Let's put them in charge of airport security and border security.

I am sure an implanted ear chip will only hurt for a little while. (Sarcasm again).

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#11

Re: The Malaysian Airliner

03/09/2014 11:53 AM

Pilot unions are fighting this idea, to have ground based (satellite) telemetry data storage. My view is this would actually be a lower cost avionics box to produce, as long as you did not need to have any on-aircraft storage, as the design requirement for crash survivability and high temperature exposure period are very difficult to implement. Wikipedia has a quick tutorial on this.

I never worked on FDR (flight data recorders) systems, as the company I worked for did not have this in their product line. I did work on serial data boxes that provide one of the many data feeds to FDRs. I tried to look at the requirements, but you have to purchase the MOPS (EUROCAE ED-112) which is pointed at by FAA TSO C124b. So I can't tell you anything about the data rates and the amount of total data required to be recorded. But I know relative to a PFD (primary flight display) the total data required to 'paint' the display is less then 250kbits/s for a triplex attitude, dual air data system. Displays typically run at a 20Hz refresh rate of moving data, and most attitude computers put out data at 52Hz (for the high speed parameters). Air data is 19Hz for high speed parameters.

I also don't know how much data a CVR (cockpit voice recorder) system requires, but this is the one the pilot unions don't want access too. To much chit-chat is my guess.

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#17

Re: The Malaysian Airliner

03/12/2014 5:01 PM

This may not have anything to do with what happen to MH flt. 370, but the FAA, (U.S.) issued an Airworthiness Directive on March 5, 2014 for cracking around the SATCOM antenna mount, located on top of the fuselage, just aft of the main wings. I remember the Aloha Airlines flt. 243 and the catastrophic failure of the skin.

But, you should still see a debris field unless it was over a heavily forested area.

My gut feeling is that MH flt. 370 was commandeered, flown below radar and possibly hit a mountain while crossing over the jungles of Malaysian peninsula.

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#18
In reply to #17

Re: The Malaysian Airliner

03/12/2014 5:05 PM

comparing this craft to a 737 is rediclous

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#19
In reply to #18

Re: The Malaysian Airliner

03/12/2014 5:27 PM

Maybe in actual size, but they all suffer stress due to the pressurization cycling. Stress and metal fatigue is common with all aircraft and when you start inflating and deflating a metal fuselage, they develop cracks. I've seen this first hand. I've had Directors of Maintenance go ballistic on me for grounding aircraft for cracks on exterior skins. When Aloha's 737 opened up, that caused a complete change in structural inspections of all commercial aircraft skins.

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#20
In reply to #19

Re: The Malaysian Airliner

03/12/2014 5:54 PM

True. Airframe lifetime is measured in cycles of take-off/pressurization/landing, not time in service.

This is established by the manufacturer.

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#21

Re: The Malaysian Airliner

03/13/2014 6:05 PM

I tried to contribute to the other blog on the subject, but my comment disappeared like the airplane.. to grim?

It's a real bottom burp when write ups are shot down..

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#22
In reply to #21

Re: The Malaysian Airliner

03/13/2014 6:26 PM

Did it say could not process or something like that?

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#26
In reply to #21

Re: The Malaysian Airliner

03/14/2014 2:36 AM

"I tried to contribute to the other blog on the subject, but my comment disappeared like the airplane.. to grim?"

You might want to try doing what I do and have done from day 1 with all my posts on CR4 and that is compose them using a word processor of your choice (I use Microsoft Word because that's what I'm most familiar with) and then when you are satisfied with your work just cut and paste the entire post into the CR4 editor.

You may need to use the [ctrl][v] keys simultaneously to do the pasting depending on which browser you are using and you will need to insert pictures and do bullet points after you have pasted, but if it goes legs up on you at least you don't need to start from scratch.

I've also found that if you reload the thread immediately prior to starting a post you are far less likely to have your work disappear down the digital toilet bowl.

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#23

Re: The Malaysian Airliner

03/13/2014 9:00 PM

Whenever I know my reply is going to take a long time,or think I may be interrupted during the reply, I type it up in a word processor then drag it into the reply box and review and submit it.It avoids the time out issue.

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#24

Re: The Malaysian Airliner

03/13/2014 10:51 PM

Lyn, Red - did not see that my reply timed out or couldn't process, but I should have typed it up elsewhere for sure. It's not the first time I've spent a moment to write up a rather blunt comment only to have it disappear after I get up and walkaway. I'll give it another go.
I was thinking about poor Steve Fossett the Billionaire who's small plane unfortunately vanished into the ether while he was piloting. Being billionaire there ensued one of the largest search efforts of it's kind.. How long did it last? too long? Not long enough? I'm not sure, but it was hikers that stumbled onto the remains of this crash a little over a year later and a scant 100 miles from his point of take off.
I was also reminded of flight 93 that went nose first into a field in PA and how little was left to see of this wreckage. My thoughts then turned to flight 592 who had a similar fate in the Florida Everglades. This time because of some shallow water there was even less to see. Situations like these are the result of enormous amounts of potential energy being concentrated in a very small area.
That said. It's not hard to imagine that this plane could have went down in lush and hilly topography that is so common in this part of the world without any notice. If it were to go down in a valley much of the noise of the crash would be projected up and away making it difficult to hear even a few miles away, and depending on the angle of incidence it may go unnoticed from the air. We can't assume that it didn't drill itself into the earth just because we looked at the earth and didn't see the wreckage.
In addition to that bit of speculation. I also wondered if an incident of 'explosive' decompression could have crippled the data/transponder/communication system in such way that would leave the flight control surfaces operable. Unlikely? Yes, but so is a missing 777. When this is the case, conditions on board go from normal to far from it in a flash. Given the sub zero temperatures I would imagine seeking a lower altitude would be very high on the priority list as would returning to the point of origin given that it had taken of not long ago. This effort would be hampered by the fact that all of the windows would be covered with a thick crust of ice from the sudden loss of pressure at altitude.
Because of these events VFR (visual flight rules) would become necessary and turning back would mean looking for landmarks. Not any easy thing to do in the middle of the night with windows you can't see through. Finding and identifying the few coastal towns might not be possible which could lead to a seriously flawed heading over open ocean.
If that were the case a water landing or crash would eventually come, and theoretically it may be a thousand plus miles in any direction.
Once on water if the plane has a hole in the fuselage it could sink rather whole without leaving anything to float away and perhaps eventually reveal it whereabouts. I'll leave it at that.
peace

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#25
In reply to #24

Re: The Malaysian Airliner

03/13/2014 10:59 PM

Next time that happens, go back one step in your browser, cut and paste your response into a new reply window.

All your work doesn't go away, it' still there, just back up and get it.

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#27
In reply to #24

Re: The Malaysian Airliner

03/14/2014 4:10 AM

"I also wondered if an incident of 'explosive' decompression could have crippled the data/transponder/communication system in such way that would leave the flight control surfaces operable. Unlikely? Yes, but so is a missing 777."

It would also need to stop the ACARS from reporting on the state of the aircraft. Malaysian Airways didn't subscribe to Boeings ACARS fault reporting system, but it's still there in the aircraft and there are rumours flying about that MA370 kept pinging the satellite system and reporting that it was all ok for some time after the SSR transponder ceased transmitting. However, at this point of time until it has been positively confirmed by Boeing I wouldn't rely on that too much.

"This effort would be hampered by the fact that all of the windows would be covered with a thick crust of ice from the sudden loss of pressure at altitude."

While it's true that the moisture in the air suddenly condenses into droplets forming a fog if the cabin suddenly decompresses the pilots windows will not freeze up because they are heated. There are several reasons for this one of them being that with such a thick piece of multi laminated armoured glass the temperature differentials that it is subjected to every time it ascends and descends would result in it cracking. In fact a tripped circuit breaker caused by a faulty heater in the pilots window caused it to crack while I was watching it with the aircraft parked at the gate. The end result was a 3 hour delay while they replaced the pilots windshield.

"Because of these events VFR (visual flight rules) would become necessary and turning back would mean looking for landmarks. Not any easy thing to do in the middle of the night with windows you can't see through."

For all the backup systems which include a stock standard magnetic compass to fail as well as the primary navigation systems would mean some sort of catastrophic damage to the aircraft that would almost certainly involve an inflight breakup or at least some parts coming off the aircraft. An inflight breakup would have spread debris over hundreds of km2 which would have by now would have almost certainly been spotted.

The Boeing 777 is a phenomenally safe aircraft recording only 3 fatalities in the 19 years since it entered service up to this incident and one of those fatalities was due to the passenger being run over by a fire tender racing to the crash site. This certainly is a mysterious incident and I'm certain that people much more experienced and knowledgeable about the Boeing 777 than us are just as baffled as we are.

This is totally and completely off the planet when it comes to theories but we are talking about a piece of equipment worth over a quarter of a billion dollars that only 2 people have total control over, so could they have nicked it? Aircraft have been stolen by the pilots before although not with such a complex and expensive aircraft or full load of fair paying passengers. But that's too much like the plot of a B grade Hollywood movie to even consider as anything more than a joke.

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#28
In reply to #27

Re: The Malaysian Airliner

03/14/2014 10:52 AM

I watched a program on Nova, a PBS TV show, on the disappearance of Air France's Flight over the Atlantic in 2009. I tried to paste a copy of the show in this post but for some reason it will not let me. However, I did find a Youtube version in six parts and part 1 is here. The other parts can be found in the column on the right. Part 3 seems to be relevant to my post.

One postulation of the Air France A330 crash was that the airplane flew through super cooled water. That is water that was still water at minus 19 F. As the metal aircraft hit the super cooled water it instantly froze. The reason being that the aircraft acted as an impurity on which ice crystals could form. The ice in turn jammed the Pitot tubes used to determine speed and pressure. The A330 is fully automated but was not getting the right signals and started descending. It actually bellyflopped on the Ocean and went down fairly intact.

I am not sure if the same issue could happen on a Boeing 777. But it is an interesting show about the search and cause of France's crash. It makes one wonder if a better system could be used to prevent such a disaster...likely. It also makes me wonder if there are similarities to the Malaysian crash. Watch the show in about 10 minute parts. Super cooled water is discussed in part three at about the 3 minute mark. Some very smart folks look at these problems.

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#29
In reply to #28

Re: The Malaysian Airliner

03/14/2014 10:56 AM

you're assuming it crashed already, I'm not sure it ever did

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#30
In reply to #29

Re: The Malaysian Airliner

03/14/2014 11:34 AM

Alas, all speculation until something concrete is established. No debris is a problem but if the plane went down intact the debris "may" be limited. Or as someone else suggested it went down in a jungle instead of water.

Otherwise we think hijacked or Aliens. Hijacked by whom and where? Aliens as in Bermuda triangle? I leave it to the smart experts to figure it out.

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#31
In reply to #28

Re: The Malaysian Airliner

03/14/2014 2:04 PM

"I am not sure if the same issue could happen on a Boeing 777."

In a two words, exceedingly unlikely.

The initial problem was with a design flaw in the pitot tubes where the heater that prevents it from clogging with ice in just such conditions wasn't up to the job and a maintenance order had been issued to replace the faulty pitot tubes. They just hadn't got round to replacing the ones on this aircraft, but there was a warning and procedure to remedy the situation should it arise.

However, that was only the initiating part of the problem that caused the crash and poor pilot training and lack of understanding about how the automation on their aircraft worked was the major contributing factor.

When the flight computers get conflicting information from different sensors, in this case the pitot tubes/static vents and I believe GPS navigation and or angle of attack sensor systems saying the aircraft was flying at two vastly different speeds it automatically disconnects the autopilot and tells the pilots to start flying the aircraft manually. When this happened the aircraft started to descend so the pilots instinctively pulled back on the side sticks to raise the nose and regain the height.

That sounds fair enough and the aircraft was equipped with an anti-stall system that prevented the pilots from pulling back too hard on the side sticks and raising the nose to the point that the wings stall and the aircraft drops from the sky. However, what the pilots who at that stage of the flight were the less experienced relief crew, didn't realize was that that with frozen pitot tubes the anti-stall system was inoperative and you really did have to fly the aircraft manually using the angle of attack which is displayed on the primary flight display screen as well as a backup gyroscopic artificial horizon to judge your airspeed. As a result they just kept pulling the stick back and the aircraft stalled and kept descending. The first officer realized what had happened and pushed forward on his side stick (on the right) but this input that should have lowered the nose was cancelled by the input from the pilots side stick (on the left) and kept the aircraft in a nose up attitude and the wings stalled. This also reduces engine thrust as the air was no longer flowing into the air intakes cleanly as it would be in level flight due to the nose up attitude.

The captain did get back to the flight deck and by the time he had assessed the situation and realized that the aircraft was in a stall and had been so from FL350 it was too late and there was insufficient engine thrust, remaining forward velocity and altitude to recover before hitting the ocean.

In engineering terms it all comes down to energy. By the time they realized what was going on nearly all the aircrafts kinetic energy due to forward motion had been washed off, they had little potential energy available due to their low altitude to convert into kinetic energy to increase the forward velocity and finally the reduced engine thrust meant they just couldn't get enough kinetic energy back into the aircraft to get it out of the stall in time.

It does, however, say a lot about how well and symmetrical the aircraft was built because normally one wing stalls before the other due to minor differences between the wings like, amount of fuel in the tanks, slightly different masses, minor differences in shape and angle, even the number of bugs splattered on the leading edge et cetera. But with this aircraft both wings stalled in an identical manner and the wings stayed level which is an almost unheard of situation and something that probably confused the less experienced relief crew even more.

It all goes back to how much we rely on automation and humans. Airbus insist that the les the pilot does the less chance they have of messing things up while Boeing insist that the pilots must be able to completely override the automation systems even if it means damaging the aircraft.

Personally, having held a private pilot's licence as well as a glider pilot certification I prefer the Boeing approach as a pilot that wasn't reliant on the anti-stall technology and had been trained in how to recover an Airbus A330 from a deep stall would have realized much earlier what was going on and pushed forward on the side sticks to lower the nose, increase the airspeed and get the wings flying again thus averting the disaster.

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#32
In reply to #31

Re: The Malaysian Airliner

03/14/2014 3:09 PM

you brought up a good point, "It does, however, say a lot about how well and symmetrical the aircraft was built because normally one wing stalls before the other due to minor differences between the wings .... "

Which leaves me wondering what would have happened if one wing did stall before the other and if the vertical fin would have stayed intact while trying to recover from the induced spin caused by the stalled wing?

I'm sure you hear about American Airlines flt. 587 vertical fin departing from being over stressed by the FO's excessive rudder inputs and AF447 vertical fin was found floating detached from the empennage.

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#33
In reply to #32

Re: The Malaysian Airliner

03/15/2014 8:41 AM

"Which leaves me wondering what would have happened if one wing did stall before the other and if the vertical fin would have stayed intact while trying to recover from the induced spin caused by the stalled wing?"

All aircraft are designed to be capable of recovering from a spin, however, with heavy transport aircraft the recovery is likely to damage the airframe and while the aircraft is designed to be flyable after a spin it's usually the last time it will fly.

A China Airways B-747 ended up in a full blow spin at FL400 or there about because the idiot pilot didn't kick in a boot full of left rudder when he had a flameout on engine 4. Instead of taking control of the aircraft like he should have he left the autopilot fly the aircraft and as a result it tried to correct for the asymmetric thrust using ailerons and elevator as the autopilot on that particular model did not have control authority over the rudder. In any case the first thing that the pilot in command is supposed to do in a situation like that is take control of the aircraft and fly it while the first officer and flight engineer dealt with the flame out.

The end result is that the aircraft rolled over on its back and went into a full blown spin in cloud because the pilots didn't believe there attitude indicators and backup artificial horizon all of which were saying that the aircraft was nose high and banking at over 45°.

The only thing that saved them was when they broke clear of the cloud at around 10,000 feet above sea level and had a real horizon to reference. The recovery stressed the aircraft so much that rivets were popping and bouncing off the fuselage like bullets, the undercarriage doors were torn off, the undercarriage was forced into the down and locked position and large pieces of the elevator were torn off.

Glider pilots at least in Australia have to have an annual flight review part of which involves putting the aircraft into a fully developed spin and then recovering. I had one go badly wrong due to the instructor and we ended up upside down spinning and hanging from our harness straps with an instructor that needed a change in underwear. I have no idea how I got it out of an inverted spin because you're not supposed to be able to, but I did and managed to land the glider without overstressing the aircraft, although we did pull over 5 g at one stage according to the g meter. I can clearly remember having one hand on the canopy eject lever and thinking if this thing doesn't start to respond after this rotation I'm out of here.

Anyway, aircraft, even heavy transport aircraft like the Boeing 747, 767, 777 et cetera can recover from a fully developed spin or at least Boeing aircraft can. The problem with the aircraft that lost its tail fin over New York was a result of the co-pilot going from full left to full right rudder repeatidly while flying faster than the speed that the aircraft was endorsed for full control input.

For those who are unfamiliar with aircraft control surfaces they are unlike a car where the controls tend to lose effectiveness as you go faster. In an aircraft as the airspeed increases the controls become more effective and if you are going fast enough in dense enough air full control movement can overstress the airframe. If you look at a primary air speed indicator like the one in the image to the right you will see two red lines, a green arc a yellow arc and a white arc. The first red line is the minimal speed that the aircraft will fly at and is known as the stall speed. If the aircraft is flying at speeds in the green arc then use of full control movement is no problem. However, if you are flying at speeds in the yellow arc you have to progressively limit the amount of control input you use as full control deflection will overstress the airframe. The final red line is called VNE or Velocity Never to be Exceeded and if you fly at or above that speed any control input at all will overstress the airframe.

With glass cockpits the displays are somewhat different but all aircraft must carry and old steam gauge air speed indicator, altimeter, magnetic compass and in commercial airliners an artificial horizon as well. They are there because if everything else fails you can still fly the aircraft using those. They are also used as a reference to determine which instrument is faulty in the event of one of the glass cockpit screens giving faulty readings.

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#35

Re: The Malaysian Airliner

03/15/2014 6:37 PM

until its where abouts are confirmed I worry it could be converted into a flying bomb with a new paint job thats capable of reaching any building, football stadium etc.

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#36
In reply to #35

Re: The Malaysian Airliner

03/15/2014 7:28 PM

It's out of gas. It's at the bottom of the Indian Ocean.

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#37

Re: The Malaysian Airliner

03/18/2014 6:57 PM
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#39
In reply to #37

Re: The Malaysian Airliner

03/18/2014 10:35 PM
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#40
In reply to #39

Re: The Malaysian Airliner

03/18/2014 10:59 PM

As plausible as anything else, so far.

Knowing where your closest safe landing "strip" is, is good piloting.

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#42
In reply to #39

Re: The Malaysian Airliner

03/19/2014 8:51 AM

usually an electrical fire is a slow moving event rather than a sudden occurrence.the Acars would have reported it (unless is stated within it to begin with. but a fire doest push new code into a computer and alter course(Humans do that). you had 2 pilots that never declared an emergency but because of the "good nigh't sign off we know their radios were functional and the voice was not muffled by wearing an oxygen mask.

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#41

Re: The Malaysian Airliner

03/18/2014 11:06 PM

It would be nice if people on the plane could NOT switch the transpounder and black box off?

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#43
In reply to #41

Re: The Malaysian Airliner

03/19/2014 9:58 AM

When my transponder, (or any other component), starts spewing flames and sparks, I want to be able to shut it off.

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