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Tag: <span>BEA</span>

EgyptAir Flight #MS804 Located off Karpathos Island

Before the wreckage was located off Greece’s Karpathos Island, search and rescue services picked up the ELT signal around 8:25, four hours after dawn. Greece reported two red and white plastic objects floating in the sea, and two orange objects, apparently life vests. Civilian ships are heading into the area to assist. France is assisting the search, with ships and aircraft. Several bodies were found floating in the area, according to RT.

The EgyptAir A320 disappeared May 18 over the Mediterranean.

When planes cross from one country’s airspace into another, the Air Traffic Control transition at those points is called the ‘hand-off.’ The crew was engaging with Greek ATC but when they attempted to hand the aircraft off to Egypt ATC, the crew made no response.

EgyptAir released that the crew was comprised of the captain, first officer, five cabin crew and three sky marshals. The passengers included 30 Egyptians, 15 French, 2 Iraqis, 1 British, 1 Belgian, 1 Kuwaiti, 1 Saudi, 1 Sudanese, 1 Chadian, 1 Portugese, 1 Algerian and 1 Canadian. The 56 passengers included three children.

Journalists have been barred by Airport security from the area in the Cairo airport where family and friends of the passengers are waiting.

EgyptAir Statement on MS804

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Trigana Air Flight 267 Crash: Black Box to be Sent to France after Unsuccessful Data Retrieval Attempts

Trigana AirAccording to a preliminary report released by Indonesia’s National Transportation Safety Committee (NTSC), the black box from Trigana Air jet that crashed in August will be sent to France for data retrieval.

The flight TGN267 crashed after it lost contact with the ATC during a flight from Sentani airport, Jayapura, to Oksibi, Papua. There were 54 people aboard at the time; all of them were killed.

The report released on October 7 said, “The downloading process to retrieve data from the FDR was unsuccessful. For further examination, the FDR data will be downloaded at BEA facility in Paris, France.”

The report further said that the cockpit voice recorder had a 2-hour recording but it did not give any clue as to what caused the crash.

Automation at Fault?

Here’s the question: do pilots rely too much on automation? This question has been on my mind since hearing the parallels between the UPS Cargo jet crash and the Asiana passenger jet crash. This is on my mind not only as one who works toward aviation safety but also as a very frequent flyer. You can only imagine how my work carries me into international situations. I don’t fly as frequently as a pilot, but sometimes I fly internationally several times a month. I am on these planes frequently. I rely on them.

So I find it disturbing that the NTSB’s hearing Thursday revealed parallels between the crash of UPS Flight 1354 and Asiana Filght 214. While I don’t know the answers, I can only hope the investigation shines light on ways to deal with this problem. What is the solution? Less reliance on Automation? Better training for pilots?

On the other side of the coin, some parties will want even more automation, but I am reluctant to go in that direction. The idea of even more reliance on automation is anathema to me because the engineers and advocates of reliance on even more automation will not be on those even-more automated planes. While the technology and/or training will be on the chopping block, their actual necks won’t be.

What I don’t find disturbing is the professionalism of the hearings. The webcast is well worth watching.

The hearing webcast is recorded here: http://ntsb.capitolconnection.org/022014/ntsb_archive_flv.htm

Note the NTSB cautions participants in the hearing not to engage the media and to stick to the facts.

Or the recorded captions (unformatted) are here.

bio docket: https://airflightdisaster.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/02/biodocket.pdf

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Human Factors: Air France 447 Update

The BEA has just formed the « Human Factors » working group whose creation was announced at the time of the publication of the third Interim Report on the investigation into the accident to the Rio-Paris flight on 1st June 2009.

This working group’s objective is to analyze all aspects connected to the conduct of the flight:

Crew actions and reactions during the last three phases of the flight described in the third Interim Report, in particular in relation to the stall warning;
Cockpit ergonomics;
Man-machine interfaces.
This working group is made up of seven experts:
Three BEA investigators specializing in human factors;
A psychiatrist specializing in risk analysis;
A human factors aviation consultant;
A type-rated A330 pilot;
An A330 test pilot.

The BEA may call on other experts from time to time and will consult Airbus and Air France when required.

The group’s work will begin very soon and should be completed by the end of December 2011. Its thinking will take into account input from both the «Operations» and the «Airplane Systems» groups.

All of the work carried out will be included in the Final Report, which will establish the causes of the accident, whose publication is planned for the first half of 2012.

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Bea Briefs-Air France 447 Recovery Boat End Run

The BEA has officially published its June 7 brief regarding Air France 447

7 June 2011 briefing

The operations on board the Ile de Sein came to an end on the afternoon of Friday 3 June. The vessel is on its way to Las Palmas (Canary Islands) for demobilisation on 9 June.

In the course of next week, it will arrive in the port of Bayonne (south-west France), from where the airplane parts will be transferred to a hangar belonging to the DGA/Technique in Toulouse and the human remains taken to a forensic mortuary.

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Air France 447- Coming Soon, Just the Facts, and Nothing But the Facts

Tomorrow we’ll post the BEA’s statement regarding the latest in the Air France 447 crash saga. After the crash, the $50 million search operation to recover the black boxes that took two years, after a successful data recovery, a misfired unjustified conclusion of pilot error, finally, on Friday, the BEA promises more news.

The data analysis will probably be as grueling as one could imagine, considering all of the data that has been recovered. The new data that has been recovered does not overwrite the messages received by Air Traffic control, but it will have to be logically coordinated so that the chain of events can accurately be determined, whatever lead up to the crash that ended up killing all 228 people on board. We cannot expect the analysis too soon.

There are many hypotheses floating out there in the blogosphere, and myths and conjecture; but we have to give the investigators and engineers time to study the data and write the most accurate report that can, which they promise to produce by the summer. It is an ambitious promise, but one that the world expects the investigators to fulfill in a timely fashion. It is by virtue of the BEA’s history as one of the better governmental aviation institutions. They do have a history of publishing their reports, in accordance to international guidelines, following not just Montreal protocol, but also IATA and EASA.

There are other crash investigations going on in which the agencies do not have as strong a history as the BEA. (Just consider the Concorde Disaster–it took ten years to resolve the criminal case but Continental had to pay more than 1.3 million in civil damages and a $265000 fine. Under French law, damages to 750 dependents were resolved in 11 months and the interim report completed after 12 months.)

The DGCA is responsible for implementing, controlling, and supervising airworthiness standards, safety operations, crew training in India. Indian aviation has been plagued by safety issues, personnel issues, and they have not yet established for themselves a reputable track record regarding the timeliness of their accident reports (at least, not if you ask the families of Air India Express flight 812. )

Likewise, in Pakistan, the families of Air Blue Flight 202 are waiting for word and assistance from the Pakistan Civil Aviation Authority. Air Blue flight ED202 crashed in the Margalla Hills in Islamabad, killing all 146 passengers and six crewmembers on board on July 28, and the Pakistani High Court has been charged with the support of the victims’ family members, and a request of the federal government to constitute an independent board of inquiry for determining the causes of the crash, and to make the findings public.

But I digress. Concerning Air France Flight 447–we can’t expect miracles, and it is too soon to expect all the pieces of the puzzle to fit; but Friday we can expect to see a factual update. And that is another step toward discovering the truth, another step toward justice.

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CVR FDR NOT a Flight of Imagination

Read in Portuguese
In the continuing pursuit of the unvarnished reality behind Air France Flight 447, it does not matter why “Le Figaro” posted rumors and factoids in lieu of truth after the BEA reported that the complete data (flight data recorder and cockpit voice recorder) was successfully recovered in Paris.

It does not matter if “Le Figaro” is more concerned with stimulating traffic than it is about veracity, legitimacy and validity in reporting truth.

Perhaps someone at “Le Figaro” is heavily invested in Airbus, and hopes to falsely boost the airline’s reputation. We have no idea of what their motives might be.

What matters are the facts.

What matters is that on recovery of the data from the data containers, the information appears to have been intact (according to the BEA).

What matters is that the data recovery teams were able to open, extract, clean and dry the memory cards, and retrieve the actual data.

There is no reason the data would not support exactly what the ACARS data already indicates, which is that the pitot tubes failed, and started a catastrophic landslide of mechanical events that led inevitably toward systems failure.

We believe the aircraft stalled all the way from 35000 feet to the ocean. If the BEA had considered this, they would have found the plane in weeks.

The plane sent out automated messages from which the sequence of failure has been inferred.

It is an acknowledged FACT that the mechanical systems on board Air France Flight 447 were standard Airbus A330 systems, a “fly by wire” technology which is known to remove responsibility and action from the pilots when in certain situations. A fly-by-wire system modifies manual inputs of the pilot in accordance with control parameters.

The pilots on this type of fly-by-wire system are unable to manually override if faulty data come streaming in from the frozen pitot tubes. The current thinking is that in the Air France Flight 447, the faulty Thales tubes streamed in faulty data to the on board systems. Disaster was all but inevitable.

(In Sept 2009, the FAA sent out a directive indicating that “use of the Thales model has resulted in reports of airspeed indication discrepancies while flying at high altitudes in inclement weather conditions …(that) …could result in reduced control of the airplane.” )

Prior to receiving the content of the black boxes, the collected data pointed to the following series of events:

The Thales pitot tubes are small devices affixed to the plane exterior which measure air speed, but which have a proven tendency to freeze over, which obfuscates the data. Simply put, the Airbus system requires correct data input for the plane to fly correctly. When the frozen-over tubes began sending corrupted data, the system could no longer manage flight. On the 330, there is no way for pilots to manually override the failing systems.

No one expects the black boxes to indicate anything else. What is expected, perhaps is a clarification of data, and a way to study the events in order to prevent a repetition of the same.

The BEA strongly objected to media speculation. In fact, it sent out a press release specifically naming “Le Figaro” as the sensationalist publisher of invalid information. Here is what the BEA said:

According to an article that appeared in « Le Figaro » on the evening of Monday 16 May 2011, the « first elements extracted from the black boxes» would exonerate Airbus in the accident to the A330, flight AF 447, which killed 216 passengers and 12 crew members on 1st June 2009.

Sensationalist publication of non-validated information, whilst the analysis of the data from the flight recorders has only just started, is a violation of the respect due to the passengers and the crew members that died and disturbs the families of the victims, who have already suffered as a result of many hyped-up stories.

The BEA repeats that, in the framework of its mission as a safety investigation authority, it alone has the right to communicate on the progress of the investigation. Consequently, any information on the investigation that comes from another source is null and void if it has not been validated by the BEA.

Collection of all of the information from the audio recordings and from the flight parameters now gives us a high degree of certainty that everything will be brought to light concerning this accident. The BEA safety investigators will now have to analyse and validate a large quantity of complex data. This is long and detailed work, and the BEA has already announced that it will not publish an interim report before the summer.

At this stage of the investigation, no conclusions can be drawn.

So while we do respect our own experts who believe what they already believe (based on what was then available about the pitot tubes and fly-by-wire), we trust the BEA analysis will provide a solid analysis of the data and are aware that they have not released any new conclusions.

We reiterate their emphasis, rejecting non-validated information, and agree no one should be jumping on any band-wagon of opinion, at least not until the authorities apply their proficiencies and start analyzing the data that no one was expecting would surface.

While we are ruling nothing out and closing no doors, we are impervious to the contingent of nay-sayers who—regardless of the drastically different facts of every given situation—chant the same chorus in every aviation event, blaming the dead pilots because they are easy targets and can not defend themselves. Also, let us not ignore that liabilities due to pilot error are capped by International Convention. So no matter what the actual error, Airlines prefer “pilot error” because it means less coming out of their pockets.

The Montreal Convention imposes two tiers of liability on airlines:
-the first tier provides automatic compensation, deals with claims up to 100,000 Special Drawing Rights ($155,000 US). The airline has no defense against claims up to this amount.
-the second tier deals with the portion of a claim exceeding the $155,000 limit. An airline can avoid liability of this portion only by proving it was not negligent or otherwise at fault. To avoid the liability the airline must prove a negative. There are, in fact, infinite ways an airline’s negligence can be involved, all of which the airline must disprove-a burden which is next to impossible to meet.

If we as armchair analysts must err, let us err believing until proven otherwise, that the pilots were dependable, reputable, and rock-solid; let us remember that they too were passengers aboard the flight, human beings who fought as best they could, against whatever forces or failures brought them down. We believe pilots are valiant men who know the weight of their office, who know they are responsible for the lives they carry, and when they do their human best to survive, even in face of overwhelming physics, nature, weather, or mechanical failure, it is rash and unworthy of us to blame them precipitously. Sure, pilots can err, but let us not tar them with that brush without the facts.

But for a single action, delayed reflex or overwhelming odds, those dead pilots who are so often blamed because they are defenseless targets, are themselves dead heroes.

March 2011 Inventory of AF 447 & Phase 4 Complete

The new parts of the plane which have been found include part of a landing gear, a left wing panel, one of the GE engines and a portion of the fuselage. The cockpit voice and flight data recorders have not been found, but neither have the parts of the plane where they are normally located.

Corrosion, which is the enemy of the black boxes, is not likely to have infiltrated at the current depth, so the search is optimistic. Whatever is found will supplement the last Aircraft Communication Addressing and Reporting System (Acars) error messages that were sent by the failing Airbus.

The debris field appears to be in a flat area within a larger area of subterranean mountainous topography.

The ship Ile de Sein from the company Alcatel-Lucent Submarine Networks (ASN), equipped with a ROV from Phoenix International Inc., will be undertaking the fifth phase of maritime operations, directed by the BEA and financed by the French State.

In a statement about the search, the BEA director Jean-Paul TROADEC said “to check the predictive ability of the drift calculations… drift buoys were dropped, at the BEA’s initiative, from a French Navy aircraft at the beginning of June 2010 in the area of the accident. Tracking them via satellites in the following weeks demonstrated the turbulent nature of the currents in this region and thus the difficulty of predictions.

Analysis of all of the results from the previous searches allowed the BEA to deduce that the zones that had previously been searched using sonar did not need to be explored again, given the performance of this type of equipment.

This was why phase 4 was based on the strategy of a systematic search of all of the zones not explored up to then during phase 2 by the IFREMER SAR sonar and during phase 3 by the REMUS and ORION sonars. This thus led to covering the whole of the remaining area of 10,000 km2 in the Circle.

The study carried out by Metron at the request of the BEA thus consisted, based on analysis of all of the surface and undersea search data since the accident, to attributing degrees of probability of the presence of wreckage to the various regions in the Circle, given that that those that had been covered by sonar were considered “clear”.

This study, published on the BEA website on 20 January 2011, indicated a strong possibility for discovery of the wreckage near the centre of the Circle. It was in this area that it was in fact discovered after one week of exploration thanks to the performance of the REMUS AUV’s operated by Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution.”


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