Tuesday, June 30, 2009
Sunday, June 28, 2009
Friday, June 26, 2009
Air France 447: New Questions About Instruments, Composite Tail
Popular Mechanics - New York,NY,USA
As the French Navy continues its search for the black boxes from Air France 447 (AF447), the Airbus A330 that crashed in the Atlantic on June 1, ...
Inquiry to Focus on Flights' Sensor Malfunctions
New York Times - United States
In the case of Air France Flight 447, automated messages from the plane to a maintenance base indicated a loss of speed information and a switching off of ...
Air France crash: Probe into two other A330 incidents
Christian Science Monitor - USA
Two recent Airbus A330 flights may have had similar computer malfunctions to those suspected in AF Flight 447, the National Transportation Safety Board said ...
Brazil ends search for passenger bodies, wreckage of flight AF 447
TREND Information - Baku,Azerbaijan
... the Brazilian army announced on Friday that they has ended their search for passenger bodies and wreckage of flight AF 447, Xinhua reported. ...
by Clive Irving
Last night the National Transportation Safety Board revealed that within the last five weeks two Airbus A330 airliners have had critical episodes involving speed sensors--the same kind of emergency that is at the heart of the investigation into the loss of Air France Flight 447.
The first episode involved a TAM airlines flight from Miami to Sao Paulo, Brazil on May 21. The language of the NTSB notice describing this is unusually stark:
[The airplane] "experienced a loss of primary speed and altitude information while in cruise flight. Initial reports indicate that the flight crew noted an abrupt drop in indicated outside air temperature, followed by the loss of the Air Data Reference System and disconnections of the autopilot and autothrust, along with the loss of speed and altitude information. The flight crew used backup instruments and primary data was restored in about 5 minutes. The flight landed with no further incident and there were no injuries or damage."
The second episode is more sketchily reported but involves an American carrier, Northwest Airlines, and a flight between Hong Kong and Tokyo on June 23. All the NTSB says about this is that it was "another possibly similar incident" and that the Board is now collecting all the data recorded by the airplane.
What is striking about the account of the TAM incident is that the A330's autopilot disconnected.
We know from the data sent from the doomed Air France flight before it disappeared that it, too, had a similar sequence in which, basically, the main computers shut down and gave up trying to fly the airplane. From the new TAM episode it seems that the sudden demands made of the flight crew to regain control were intense. The fact that it took a whole five minutes for them to do so is a good measure of its seriousness.
Add that scenario to the known course of Flight 447 through extremely violent turbulence at night in a storm that towered to 50,000 feet or more in its flight path which was at 35,000 feet and you see a very serious combination of threats. We don't know yet the route of the TAM flight from Miami to Brazil, whether it passed through the similar tropical storm zone and whether the episode happened in daylight or at night. What does seem clear is that the TAM crew (and now also the Northwest crew) were able to deal with a sudden emergency with great skill.
These failures are all attributable to sensors called pitot tubes made by the French company Thales that weigh about one pound each and are attached to the outside of the airplane. Pitot tubes on the A330 are being replaced because they are prone to ice at cruise altitude and then give false readings. The NTSB notice posted last night is simply an "advisory" and carries no mandatory authority.
* The Fate of Air France Flight 447 (Daily Traveler on CNT)
* What is a pitot tube? (Scientific American)
* National Transportation Safety Board Web Site
* On the Fly: Barbara Peterson on the airline industry
Read Clive Irving's dispatches on Flight 447 in The Daily Beast:
* Picking up the Pieces from a Midair Explosion (June 14)
* The Myth of the Black Box (June 7)
* The Secrets of Flight 447 (June 6)
* Who Was Flying Flight 447? (June 5)
* Last Words of Flight 447: From a Robot (June 3)
Tuesday, June 23, 2009
Monday, June 22, 2009
An 83-year-old pilot was forced to land on a busy expressway Sunday morning after experiencing engine trouble.
Ralph Squeglia, who has been flying since 1944, said he was careful to avoid moving cars as he landed the plane on a stretch of the Sawgrass Expressway, just north of Oakland Park Blvd.
"It was a perfect landing," he said as he stood near the plane waiting for Federal Aviation Administration officials to arrive on the scene to conduct an investigation.
But it was not so perfect once he landed.
“I was rolling straight and my tail wing broke, causing me to veer right,” he said.
“Then the wing hit a light pole and I ended up here.”
The homemade single-engine Hummelbird plane ended up on the side of the expressway as shocked drivers looked on. Squeglia was not injured.
A Florida state trooper on the scene said Squeglia would not be cited for any traffic violations. The FAA has yet to comment.
Sunday, June 21, 2009
By Andrew Liszewski
Ever wonder what would happen if a pelican hit an F-111 that was flying at just over 340mph? Well these two photos should give you a pretty good idea. The incident happened in Australia at Evans Head in the northern part of New South Wales about a week ago. The plane was flying at around 3,000 feet during a test bombing raid when a pelican collided with the fiberglass nosecone and was then sucked into one of the engines.
As you can see, the nosecone itself was nearly destroyed and other damage included a hole in the wing as well as an engine failure. However, the two RAAF pilots were still able to safely land the heavily damaged plane, and are being hailed as heroes. I’m actually pretty shocked at just how much damage the pelican caused, particularly how shredded the fiberglass material looks. I assume they now use materials like carbon-fiber instead of fiberglass when it comes to building high-performance fighter/bombers, but then again what do I know since I’ve never actually gotten around to building my own. It’s too bad too because that kit sitting in the garage cost me $35 million.
Saturday, June 20, 2009
Construction is set to begin tomorrow on the world's first spaceport, named Spaceport America. The company "expect it to be the major commercial interest and anchor tenant - just as American Airlines is the primary carrier at Dallas-Fort Worth International Airport, Virgin Galactic will base their operations at Spaceport America." Continue reading for a video of the education launch. Click here for first picture in gallery.
Friday, June 19, 2009
Thursday, June 18, 2009
Handout picture released on
Wednesday, June 17, 2009
[ORDER PHOTO HERE]
Monday, June 15, 2009
Intact tail fin offers clue to Air France crash
Los Angeles Times - CA,USA
Here was another such fin: seemingly intact, snapped cleanly from the vanished Air France Flight 447. The National Transportation Safety Board took almost ...
Air France Flight 447 had rudder problems
Sawf News - Austin,TX,USA
The spate of automatic messages sent by Air France Flight 447 Airbus A330 minutes before it disappeared included one that indicated that a rudder safety ...
The Independent: Air France 447 autopsies rule out terrorism
Seattle Post Intelligencer - USA
British newspaper The Independent reported Sunday that autopsies of the first 16 bodies recovered from the site where Air France Flight 447 crashed suggest ...
More Flight 447 bodies found
Independent - London,England,UK
Six more bodies have been recovered from the Atlantic Ocean, bringing to 50 the number found after an Air France jet crashed on 31 May, killing all 228 on ...
Crash speculation: Air France flight 447 hit by ground-to-air missile?
Lifegen.de (Abonnement) - Germany
Lightning, turbulence, an explosion - the list of causes for the mysterious crash of Air France flight 447 contains many variations, but one detail is ...
EADS CEO: AF 447 downed by 'convergence' of causes
PR-Inside.com (Pressemitteilung) - Wien,Austria
AP PARIS (AP) - Air France Flight 447 was brought down by a «convergence of different causes,» although its too early to know what they are, ...
US signal locator to search for Flight 447 boxes
The Associated Press
The Navy device, called a "Towed Pinger Locator," or TPL, will try to detect emergency audio beacons, or pings, emitted by Flight 447's black boxes, ...
Wednesday, June 10, 2009
The Brazilian military continues to search in the Atlantic Ocean for debris and bodies from Air France Flight 447, which crashed on June 1, killing 228 people.
The search area is nearly 843 miles from Recife, Brazil. Weather reports say that visibility will become worse, but has not yet compromised the search.
So far, 41 bodies have been found. The first 16 are being transported to the mainland on Wednesday to be identified. Another 25 bodies are still on a ship and should be lifted by helicopters on Thursday.
3:58pm UK, Wednesday June 10, 2009
Peter Allen, in Paris
Two passengers with names linked to Islamic terrorism were on the Air France flight which crashed with the loss of 228 lives, it has emerged.
Debris from Air France flight AF 447 has been recovered from the Atlantic
French secret servicemen established the connection while working through the list of those who boarded the doomed Airbus in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, on May 31.
Flight AF 447 crashed in the mid-Atlantic en route to Paris during a violent storm.
While it is certain there were computer malfunctions, terrorism has not been ruled out.
Soon after news of the fatal crash broke, agents working for the DGSE (Direction Générale de la Sécurité Extérieure), the French equivalent of MI6, were dispatched to Brazil.
It was there that they established that two names on the passenger list are also on highly-classified documents listing the names of radical Muslims considered a threat to the French Republic.
A source working for the French security services told Paris weekly L'Express that the link was "highly significant".
Agents are now trying to establish dates of birth for the two dead passengers, and family connections.
There is a possibility the name similarities are simply a "macabre coincidence", the source added, but the revelation is still being "taken very seriously".
France has received numerous threats from Islamic terrorist groups in recent months, especially since French troops were sent to fight in Afghanistan.
Security chiefs have been particularly worried about airborne suicide attacks similar to the ones on the US on September 11, 2001.
Monday, June 08, 2009
Even before its initial rollout from Boeing's Everett factory in July 2007, the 787 Dreamliner was already the most successful new commercial airplane in the company's history. It brings the long ranges of much larger jets to midsize commercial airplanes, but also boasts improved fuel efficiency and a smoother ride for passengers and flight crew than the jets it will replace. [READ MORE]
The Right Stuff (Two-Disc Special Edition)
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