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Author Topic: Air France
Jeff I.
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Thoughts and prayers to everyone potentially impacted by this emerging story .......

Jeff I.

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extwacaptain
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Received the following information.
Thought it might be of interest.

http://www.weathergraphics.com/tim/af447/

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Irish
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I heard Limbaugh mention this website yesterday but forgot to check it out until your post, Randy. Very impressive analysis.

I have limited experience flying the ITCZ in a C-130E but I remember a LOT of illumination in what was supposed to be a night flight. Scary! [Eek!]

Paul

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Capn Eddie Ricketyback
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Everything is speculation right now, and if they don't recover the recorders it appears that we'll never know what happened. So with the preceding disclaimer, here's mine. I think we've all probably been zapped a few times by lightning in our careers, but obviously we're here to tell the tale. I wonder if these "fly-by-wire" machines may be more succeptible to a lightning strike causing a loss of control than an aircraft with contol cables; i.e., the lightning disrupting or destroying the black boxes that provide the inputs.
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Bob Ritchie
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From an aquaintence who flew the A-330


What I can tell you, from being at Cathay during the intro of the 330 as a launch customer, was that we had to voluntarily ground them due to a misdesign of the Hispano-Suiza gearbox oil scavenge system. At certain deck angles the box would cavitate and an auto-engine shutdown would occur; statistically, we at Cathay figured we were headed for a double-uncommanded shutdown...airbus disagreed...

We had numerous other tech glitches, and had a crew fly into the top of a cb that didnt paint because the radome had been sprayed in radar-reflective paint. The "Babe" (a pig that thinks its' a dog) survived the ensuing severe turb and high-speed stall...

The guys generally hated the '30FPS and the '40FPS (French Piece of S**t), especially if they'd come off the 747 or the 1011.


AND FROM A PILOT WHO EVALUATED THE A-340. SAME MACHINE....2 MORE ENGINES.


When ## was looking to replace the MD-11 we looked at the 340. It was underpowered at the time and the fact that there weren't any of the really big fans available has been much of its undoing market wise. Lufty said the aircraft had 5 apu's, one of which was much more powerful than the other four. But we at ## and ## found numerous weak points and unacceptable failure modes. The conclusion of one very qualified evaluator was' "That aircraft was designed to be light and cheap. It is. It is also dangerous."

One failure mode of great concern was during the lowest form of control degradation, when you flew it by rudder and pitch trim, if you happened to loose one hydraulic system, according to the Airbus rep, only half the guys could get it on the ground in one piece. The posability of failure was far less than than loosing a major piece of the airframe like a wing per certification standards. If we replaced all our tri-motor widebodies at the time, some 40 something airframes if I recall correctly, it meant that every twenty years we had a 50/50 chance of losing a bird. Not acceptable to us but Airbus is happy enough to sell it around the world. This is just one example. There were others to which I wasn't privy.


AND THIS "hear/say" FROM ANOTHER CAPTAIN.


I've had breakfast in Narita with Air Tahiti Nui (Air France) crews a few times. Not one of them has ever said anything nice about the 'Bus. I remember one quote: "Anything you grab just comes off in your hand."

[ 06-03-2009, 11:11: Message edited by: Bob Ritchie ]

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Glasspilot
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>> had a crew fly into the top of a cb that didnt paint because the radome had been sprayed in radar-reflective paint. <<

My guess is they managed to fly into a CB and broke apart. Who knows why they didn't see it on radar.

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Bob Ritchie
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Well..

Who knows. The crew sent a message saying that they were in the middle of dark, heavy thunderstorms.

I am intrigued by the 4 minutes of auto- transmitted messages showing a gradual failure of many systems: including flight control computers and back up control systems. Doesn't sound like a sudden break up.

Does this indicate a loss of control and subsequent breakup as a result of failed, computerized control failures? Did lightning and electrical discharges play a role in the loss of this "Electric Airliner"?

Airbus may well be relieved that the wreakage is scattered and miles deep in the ocean.

God rest their souls. [Frown]

Bob

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Irish
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Wow. It's turning out the the debris is not from AF and speculation from the reported ACARS info is increasing that the airspeed indicators were not giving correct info.

And how about this from Reuters:

quote:
PARIS, June 5 (Reuters) - Airbus (EAD.PA) has warned airline crews to follow standard procedures if they suspect speed indicators are faulty, suggesting that technical malfunction may have played a role in this week's Air France (AIRF.PA) crash.

Investigators know from the aircraft's final batch of automated messages, which were sent over a three minute period, that there was an inconsistency between the different measured airspeeds shortly after the plane entered a storm zone.

The Airbus telex was sent to customers of its A330s late on Thursday. An industry official said such warnings are only sent if accident investigators have established facts that they consider important enough to pass on immediately to airlines.

The recommendation was authorised by the French air accident investigation agency (BEA) looking into the disaster. It has said the speed levels registered by the slew of messages from the plane showed "incoherence".

Airbus said its message to clients did not imply that the doomed pilots did anything wrong or that a design fault was in any way responsible for the crash.

"This Aircraft Information Telex is an information document that in no way implicates any blame," Justin Dubon, a spokesman for Airbus, said on Friday.

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 turbulence early on Monday and almost certainly plunged into the Atlantic. All 228 people on board died.

Brazilian authorities hunting for the plane said on Thursday that flotsam scooped from the sea about 1,100 km (680 miles) northeast of Brazil's coast, was not from the Airbus A330, as previously reported.

Searchers have found several debris sites spread out over a 90 km (56 miles) zone and boats in the area are trying to pick it up to ascertain if the plane really did come down there.

BLOCKED SENSORS?

More than 300 aircraft similar to the missing Air France (AIRF.PA) jet -- an Airbus A330-200 -- are in service worldwide.

Investigators do not know if Flight AF 447 was travelling at an incorrect speed as it crossed a storm cluster.

An aviation expert, who declined to be named, said the plane's airspeed sensors, called pitot tubes, work on air pressure and might provide incorrect readings if they get obstructed by objects such as ice.

The tubes are heated to prevent icing at high altitude and there was no immediate information on what went wrong.

If pilots believe the flawed readings are right, they might mistakenly alter their speed, jeopardising their plane.

Airbus said the correct procedure when confronted by unreliable speed indications was to maintain thrust and pitch and start trouble shooting.

The Airbus telex has revived a long-standing debate among pilots over whether the Airbus planes are overly complex.

"This is a plane that is conceived by engineers for engineers and not always for pilots," Jean-Pierre Albran, a veteran pilot of Boeing 747s, told Le Parisien newspaper.

"For example on a 747, the throttle is pushed by hand. You feel it move in turbulence. On recent Airbuses, this throttle is fixed. You look at the dials. You don't feel anything."

Aviation experts have speculated that the Air France plane was brought down by a chain of problems, with strong turbulence and stormy weather almost certainly a factor. Officials have played down any suggestion of terrorism. (Additional reporting by Fernando Exman and Brian Ellsworth in Brazil; Editing by Louise Ireland)

I was particularly struck by Mr. Albran's comments.

Paul

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jeff shrewsbury
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As a 707 F/E for TAP Air Portugal (furloughed TWA), my flights were Lisbon to Rio and Lisbon to Angola (flew around the west side of Africa over the Atlantic). I don't recall any significant issues with numerous trips through the ITCZ that "normal" deviation couldn't resolve. Or unusual turbulence. Flew this at all times of the year.

My unanswered question, that hasn't been mentioned...What were other aircraft on this route experiencing? Were they talking to each other (123.45) etc.?

This is a very heavily traveled route with many airlines going from SA to Europe at about the same time of night. How did they "get through", or what did they do differently? What did they see on radar and visually? Anyone?

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Subsonic Transport
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One piece of information that I may have missed is: Was the aircraft in radar contact?

I've read various reports that the plane disappeared from radar. Media can get everything screwed up. So, was it in radar contact and THEN disappeared or was it out of radars range and therefore not in radar contact?

After several accidents down in Brazil, I'm speculating if Brazilian ATC played a role in this somehow.

Aren't onboard flotation devices suppose to automatically inflate with salt water? I find it really strange that not one has been found as of June 5th. Although if they don't auto inflate, that would explain why we haven't seen any.

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Bob Ritchie
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Posted by Paul...

Investigators know from the aircraft's final batch of automated messages, which were sent over a three minute period, that there was an inconsistency between the different measured airspeeds shortly after the plane entered a storm zone.


Irish,

Are they talking about something other than airspeed indication measurements taken at different moments?

Is is oversimplication to remember that airspeed always fluctuates when flying in turbulent air? My lord they said that there were 100 mph vertical air movements in that area!

What "measurements" are being referenced? Disagreements or fluctuations?

Bob

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Irish
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Your guess would be better than mine, Bob. As we all know too well, it's all speculation at this point.

Paul

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extwacaptain
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If, indeed thunderstorms were the cause of this terrible tragedy, there is little or nothing of value this former pilot can add to this discussion , as most of my active time flying was spent avoiding severe weather. (deviating)

Having said this, our ex-TWA passengers (and all airline passengers) looking out of their windows in the future and seeing frightening, towering clouds in flight, should always keep in mind the following:

Your pilots get paid by the hour.....a little extra for night time....a lot more for big airplanes over water, etc.........But NOTHING EXTRA for flying thru a thunderstorm or known turbulent areas.......So, when you hear an announcement from your Captain: "We're gonna deviate around a little weather ahead." You just got yourself a smoother ride and your pilots just gave themselves a little higher pay check for the month.

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B767300ER
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quote:
Originally posted by Subsonic Transport:
One piece of information that I may have missed is: Was the aircraft in radar contact?

So, was it in radar contact and THEN disappeared or was it out of radars range and therefore not in radar contact?

It was over the Atlantic, and not in radar contact. It had just made a position report and estimated :50 mins until next position. Then, it reported it was encountering CBs and turbulence.

I hope they find it.

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Subsonic Transport
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Will engines come off their pylons before the wing will snap? Will fly-by-wire a/c be able to handle the extreme change in CG?
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Roger Moore
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Talked to a friend this weekend as we worked on my airplane and he flew the Airbus 319 and 320 for Nortwest and now flys the Boeing 757 and 767 for Delta. His comment on Airbus products is they feel flimsy , ie. switches would break off in your hand. He says he is glad to be back on Boeing equippment. Roger Moore
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Jeff I.
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Roger --- the more one hears (often anonymously) from pilots who have flown Airbus aircraft, the more one hears at least some level of dissatisfaction. Since my airlines of choice were always TWA, then American and Continental, I rarely have had the opportunity to fly on Airbus models. When I have, though, I've not been particularly fond of the "feel" of them ...... even as a passenger. Notwithstanding the short-term spike in Airbus orders a few years back when people were predicting that Airbus would surpass Boeing in the long run, I can't help but believe that Boeing is now well-positioned to once again be the unquestioned leader in manufacturing passenger planes. I think if the 787 comes out of the gate like gangbusters, this will seal the deal.
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B767300ER
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quote:
Originally posted by Jeff I.:
I think if the 787 comes out of the gate like gangbusters, this will seal the deal.

But, Jeff; the 787 has been delayed and still hasn't been test-flown. It won't be coming out like 'gangbusters', because the initial customers are aleady upset over delivery postponements. Boeing had a chance to leap ahead of Airbus, and because of strike and supply-chain problems, they blew it.
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Jeff I.
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Yes --- understood that the 787 has had delays (as has the A380). I still think Boeing has a decent window, though, and if the 787 is hugely popular with pilots and the public, I think it is a game changer vis-a-vis Airbus.
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nyc6035
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quote:
Originally posted by Jeff I.:
I still think Boeing has a decent window, though, and if the 787 is hugely popular with pilots and the public, I think it is a game changer vis-a-vis Airbus.

Jeff,

Looking at the photo of the AF447 Vertical Stabilizer being recovered earlier today...and remembering back to the AA587 accident off the Rockaways, I continue to be concerned about the increasing use of composites in aircraft...particularly in areas prone to high loads and stress.

That said, it's my general understand that the 787 will make the most use of composites of any commercial transport ever built. With this in mind, I'm inclined to be a bit skeptical of the 787 until the professionals have weighed in and taken her for at least a test drive...or the wrench turners have had a chance to inspect the guts of her and give their thumbs up.

That said, your perspective on the Chrysler bankruptcy workout giving a serious haircut to the senior debtholders to the benefit of unsecured holders would be highly interesting [Smile]

I hope no offense is taken...as none was intended.

Kind Regards,
Mike

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Jeff I.
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Hi Mike -

No offense taken in the least. As always, I appreciate your opinion and perspective. The point you bring up re: the increased use of composites is a very good one.

As to the issue you cite related to the Chrysler bankruptcy, well ... I adhere to the old dictum to steer clear with friends of conversations on politcs, religion or the merits of robbing Peter (i.e., the senior debtholders) for the benefit of paying Paul (i.e., the unsecured creditors ........)

Jeff

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Irish
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The following is being circulated on the web. I don't know the source and therefore cannot ascertain its veracity. The use of the term "amongst" indicates it might be British in origin.

Air France Flight 447 Transmitted Failure Sequence

There is some information getting out about the mechanical failures that were automatically transmitted to the company by the aircraft ACARS systems (a continuously operating communication system that is sending messages). Every malfunction of the plane is automatically transmitted to the company at the same time the pilots get the warning.

Here is the time line that I have found along with the failures. All time is GMT or Zulu time. For East coast people that means subtract 4 hours to come up with East coast time.

1. 0210Z Autopilot failure. This would be 2210 or 1010PM east coast time.

The pilot is now hand flying the plane in possibly severe turbulence due to the storms.

2. 0211Z ADIRU failure (air data inertial reference unit) The pilots primary attitude, airspeed, and altitude displays are starting to fail. There are backups and I don't know how much has failed.

3. 0213Z SEC 1 Fault, Alternate flight control laws: This is one of the computers amongst several the pilot uses to control the elevator and spoilers (the roll axis). He still has backups, but now the computer systems for flight controls are degraded and the pilot has to be careful not to lose control in the turbulence. The flight control has degraded to what we call alternate law. Time to concentrate on some good hand flying at night in turbulence.

4. NAV warnings and Flight control warnings: Nav warnings are the least of his concerns at this point and I still don't know what he had left for flight instruments, but he has lost some and maybe most primary flight instruments. It's time to ignore warnings and failures and just concentrate on what is working. Maintain control of the plane, wings level, proper pitch attitude and power settings until we get through the turbulence.

5. Last ACARS message at 0214Z 35,000 feet, failure of cabin altitude, electrical problems, pressurization problems. The pilot was unable to safely hand fly the plane. I don't know why. The airplane is breaking up. The pilot has lost control.

Notice that 4 minutes have elapsed since the autopilot failure. At 0214z the multiple warnings and the pressurization problem make me wonder if the pilots were unable to keep the airplane under control, overstressed it at high altitude, high airspeed, in severe turbulence and the overstressed airframe came apart. The pressurization warning may mean the fuselage has broken open and this last transmission indicates that after 0214Z no electrical systems were working because the plane is coming apart as it falls out of the sky and the structural integrity of the wings, fuselage etc. is destroyed.

The wreckage for Air France will be scattered over a very wide area if this is true: i.e., at least several miles as seat cushions are falling from the sky starting at 35,000 feet.

This analysis of Air France 447 is based on what appears to be pretty specific information that is being reported on the web.

228 souls lost.

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Bob Willcutts
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Paul,

Very well analyzed and will probably turn out to be the case. Perhaps a new "LOFT" scenario is in order for all Trans Atlantic Pilots.

Bob

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extwacaptain
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quote:
Originally posted by Bob Willcutts:
Paul,

Very well analyzed and will probably turn out to be the case. Perhaps a new "LOFT" scenario is in order for all Trans Atlantic Pilots.

Bob

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

A serious question about Line Oriented Flight Training (LOFT)...... Possibly this should be a stand-alone topic..

TWA's simulators were rather realistic 25 years ago.....For those members of the board who are not pilots, it was not uncommon for the student to attempt to look out the side window before releasing the brakes......(.For those reading this who are pilots, why not take a break and fetch yourself a cool one and "take over" this discussion when we get to the tough part?)

There was motion, sound, great visual effects, even the ability to simulate cross-winds on take-offs and landings. .......What advances have been made during these past twenty five years to create additional realism??????
Is it possible to display different weather situations on the radar screen? [Confused]

Never having flown a "LOFT" as such, one of my most embarrassing moments came when asking the instructor when they had added the "rough air" capability....He smiled and said:
"We don't have that, yet. That's something you created yourself." [Wink]

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ernieh
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I've been retired over 3 years now, but I'm pretty sure that I had a loft at AA that involved weather. Most of the newer aircraft don't have a separate display for weather, but use the ND instead.

I my opinion the ND is a much better at showing you exactly where the weather is relative to your flight path. FWIW, the advanced GPWS terrain info. is also on the ND.

Probably the greatest improvement in the sims is the visual. You can circle to land and keep the airport in sight with daytime conditions. Also had the opportunity to "hook up" a 757 with a KC10 once when we finished a little early.

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jeff shrewsbury
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I agree about the visual.

During my last LOFT at AA, we pushed back from the gate at ORD, snow was falling, we had to hold on a taxiway until a NW 747 taxied by, etc. Very realistic.
At the end of the "flight" at LAX, after parking the brakes, I looked in the terminal window for Randy and his usual group of pretty girls...then I came to reality...the sim was not THAT advanced! [Roll Eyes]

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Jeff I.
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Ha ....... very good!!!
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Subsonic Transport
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I had the opportunity to "fly" the 727 sim in JFK in the Fall of 1993.

I remember departing IAD RWY 10 and seeing the Big Dipper. There was no side vision. Only the two tv screens. One for the left seat and one for the right seat. I'm sure the visuals don't even come close to what is out there these days. I'd love to get another ride.

Does United still offer a sim program? Many years ago, United offered, for a price, sim rides at varying levels of operations. I wonder if they still do.

I was just watching You Tube with x-wind landings. I didn't do an extensive search but I was wondering if Airbus a/c landed at HKG with those wild winds. Was wondering if the Airbus vertical stablizer could tolerate such forces.

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Bob Ritchie
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Subsonic,

The FAA has clamped down on who can get simulator "rides" any more. In the past we could even bring our kids along.

My youngest son rode along in the sim. as I was getting my 727 type rating at TWA. Such is no longer allowed.

AA does have a program for employees.... who recieve "Captain's Cards" from captains....who have observed exceptional performance by fellow employees. One of the prizes is a ride in a company simulator. So obviously it is still possible for "civilians" to fly the sim.: once they have clearance.

And yes the sims are far advanced from the earlier generation. My first sim. experience was in a DC-9 at Allegeheny Airlines(now USAirways.) The visual display was a large model map of the area around Pittsburgh. The map was mounted vertically on the wall, next to the sim. All buildings,highways, rivers, airport layout, ect. were modeled very accurately. A small video camera "flew" over the model map following the inputs of the simulator. The camera then produced a TV picture of the landscape on the pilot windscreens in the cockpit. Thus constituted the only visual available in that simulator.

Some "wag" even placed a toy model of King Kong on top of one of the model buildings. It was located so that the pilot would see it out his windshield as he turned onto final. Always got a chuckle. Very primitive....but it seemed astounding at the time.

Todays sim. visuals are so good that as one taxies by "simulated" American Airliners....the sun reflects light off of their bright, shiney, polished surfaces. Or....identify a SWA 737 as it sweeps beneith your wings, 1,000 ft. below you. When pulling into the gate...you can see the ramper with his wands directing you into the gate...to a complete stop with crossed wands.

During my next to last check ride the check pilot positioned our sim at Reno, Nevada. He then loaded the 767-300 to 408,000 lbs., it's max gross take off weight. The weight was intentionally set above a legal weight for a takeoff on that runway and conditions....just for demonstration purposes. "Just want you to see how the 767 can perform"...he said.

With no further discussion he cleared us for take off. Right after V-1 he failed my left engine. We rotated and began to climb at only about 300 ft. per minute. As such we were unable to fly the normal departure path which would keep us clear of the mountains. They were coming up fast.

I instructed my FO to watch the simulator Terrian Display...to give me turns and headings that would keep me in valleys and try to avoid hitting the mountains. He did so...watching the display closely. With him giving me headings and coaching me constantly.... we meandered up the valleys, missing terrian by sometimes less than 50 feet. All the while the terrain warning was screaming..."Terrian, Terrain, Pull Up, Pull Up. Eventually we gained enough altitude to clear the obstactles and return to a wildly overweight landing.

The check airman was grinning from ear to ear. The technology and crew cordination saved our bacon. Rest assured that the pulse rates were very high.

ALMOST...like the real thing.

Best wishes. May your dreams come true! [Smile]

Bob

[ 06-15-2009, 16:55: Message edited by: Bob Ritchie ]

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Subsonic Transport
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I have seen this and other comments about Boeing VS Airbus. Below is the latest commentary.

"
Jeff Hathorn writes:

I have had several emails asking my opinion about the Air France crash and before that , the USAirways Hudson Rv.crash.
As most of you know, I have flown the AB330-300 in Intl ops for several thousand hrs as well as , like most of you, multi thousands in Boeings. For the record,my Boeing time is in:707,727 100,200;737-200,300,400;747-100,200,SP;757,767. I also have lots of Douglas (6 types)and Lockheed(2 types),Convair(2 types),Lear(2 types).

With all that, here's what I see through my "caveman" point of view:
Airbus phylosophy has left the art of flying and therefore the pilot out of the loop. They train and design the operation so that any low experienced/low skilled person who is good at rote memory(read third world/read and do) pilot can get into this plane, with enough repetition and rehersal; fly a normal trip.
FATAL FLAW#1-- The engines are FADEC(read computer/electronically) controlled and the flight controls are fly by wire/radio signal. THERE IS NO DIRECT CONTROL FROM THE PILOT TO THESE CRITICAL SYSTEMS. Following in this spirit/phylosophy, the pilot training strictly emphasizes Always to be in the automated mode-read auto throttles and auto pilot in all operations even including a single engine failure approach and single engine missed approach!-i.e.AUTO FLT;ALL THE TIME.
Nowhere is there any contingency,training or flight manual information data for a pilot to take over manually and fly attitude and power settings for a certain configuration in the event that these auto systems fail. NOR are there any MANUAL,direct link controls to the engines/flt controls from the cockpit.
FEDEC is auto control , all the time. If the Hudson Rv. plane had allowed the pilot to override the autothrottles, could the pilots have produced some thrust? In the Boeings, you can "firewall" the engines til they melt or rip off the wing!
In every other plane I have flown in the past 40 years, there is a section in the flt ops manual that relates to this. Mainly it is a table that gives engine thrust settings and aircraft pitch settings for different speeds/configurations in the event that the pilot's airspeed indication in not reliable.-REF Air France
FATAL FLAW#2-- Airbus has incorporated composite materials into critical structural components in order to "one up" the competition with the "BEAN COUNTERS MISSION" of becoming a lighter plane with less fuel burn. Example 1: The AB 330 has no wing spar from the point where the engine mounts to the wing all the way to the wing tip! Over time, how can a wing NOT snap off?! Example 2: the Airbus 300-600 that AMR crashed @JFK has a honeycomb composite rudder with no spar in it. This failed on this Airbus aircraft.
In summary:
The pedulum of Commercial Aircraft design has swung way past the point of prudent/safe design. The momentum for this swing is found in the fact that "bean counters" and "bottom Liners" backed by political forces(read Green, et.al.) have highjacked the construction and certification process of our commercial fleets to the point of producing unsafe passenger transports.
I predict that each succeeding accident will be blamed on "Pilot Error" like the poor AMR JFK crash;"Act of God/NATURE"-USAir Hudson;"Weather related"-Air France.
I support the premise that these official found causal/contributing factors are but a deflection from the true cause-too much under/flimsy/composite construction and inadequate pilot input and over ride ability to these automated systems.

Respectfully, Jeff Hathorn, Old School Pilot


But now read this comment from Boeing at the Paris Air Show:


"Beyond the 787, McNerney said Boeing is looking hard at an all-composite 777 replacement. Commenting on a potential a re-winged 777, he said the company is examining various options to compete with the A350-1000. "We are waiting to see how much of the A350-1000 promise is reality," he explained. "We have about a year or so."

He said that if the A350-1000 is competitive, Boeing possibly will look to counter with a re-winged 777. "But we may not have to do that much," he said. "Eventually we will have an all-composite 777 and the bigger the diameter the better the strength-to-weight ratio." He added that a composite 777 would be 20%-25% lighter than the 777-300ER. "It will be a very, very efficient airplane and it will fly a long, long way."
by Geoffrey Thomas

So now what? Will Boeing build a better composite airplane than Airbus? Will it be able to hold up against control forces better than Airbus? Is there even an answer to this?

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Jeff I.
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Subsonic -

Thanks for the very interesting post.

Mike -

Score another for your argument on composites. I may need to rethink my earlier comments re: the 787 and Boeing being poised to retake a commanding lead (LOL)!

Jeff I.

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Irish
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quote:
Originally posted by Subsonic Transport:
So now what? Will Boeing build a better composite airplane than Airbus? Will it be able to hold up against control forces better than Airbus? Is there even an answer to this?

Yes, there IS an answer. Support our economy, buy an RV and tour our beautiful country close up. [Big Grin]

Paul

P.S. I have not non-reved anywhere in the last decade and it is unlikely I will step on an airplane again. Whew! Saved!

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Jeff I.
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"Yes, there IS an answer. Support our economy, buy an RV and tour our beautiful country close up."

Paul --- my in-laws got a fifth-wheel about 20 years ago after my father-in-law retired. They live in Southern California and have probably driven more miles than I've flown as a passenger (well ..... maybe not quite as many).

My father-in-law was AF WWII flying supply missions in the N. Europe but ...... as a point of interest given your alias, he met a young lass of 19 in Belfast, they married, he moved her back to the US and ......... they are both going strong and into their 80's (and still driving that damn 5th wheel around the western part of the US!

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extwacaptain
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What's The Answer?"

Probably the answer would be to contact the Harland and Wolf shipyard in Belfast and get their input. They had some pretty good ideas on how to build an "unsinkable ship". The only thing not included at delivery time was how to avoid an iceberg.

So, while the engineers attempt to determine the better material with which to build airplanes, (those made of aluminum have been very kind to me) hopefully there will be improvements in the ability to detect and AVOID areas of extreme turbulence and/or heavy thunderstorm activity. Either of which, IMO, has the potential of bringing any plane down, regardless of how it is constructed.

Captn' Paul,

You got me beat.....My last flight was Feb, 2000 and my secretary just mentioned: "That's just half the story".

Randy


(correction...the last flight was April, 2001)

[ 06-17-2009, 16:11: Message edited by: extwacaptain ]

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Robert Dedman
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Just to add my five cents worth to the discussion. Have you all noticed the picture of the rudder of AF in the ocean. Look real close and I swear you can see an almost clean break-off of the entire rudder. If this is so, try flying an Airbus in turbulence with no direct control over engines or control surfaces and lose that puppy!!Take more than a superman to get through that ordeal.
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ss278
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I have a good friend who is an A320 Captain. We were talking airplanes a while back and he made the comment that the Airbus is an airplane designed by engineers FOR engineers, not pilots.

I have also heard from another source/friend/ex-partner and aircraft maintenance guru that the area of concern ever since the AA587 crash is the attachment of a composite tail to a metal fuselage. I am no engineer but if I remember correctly he said something to the effect that because they are of different materials the attachment points can vibrate at different frequencies under certain extreme conditions and cause a failure. (Remember the Tacoma Narrows bridge).

I do not claim to have any knowledge of what caused the AF disaster, but as was pointed out earlier, that tail assembly photo has me wondering.

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Capn Eddie Ricketyback
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Paul & Randy,

My last ride in an airplane was sometime in 1996, and it's not certain that I will never get on another airplane again, but that's the way to bet.

A few years ago when a good friend of mine was planning to take flying lessons I told him that if God had wanted man to fly he'd have given him money. He has since gotten his license and has been begging me to go up with him, and I'm using every excuse I can think of to avoid it. I would like to live to be as old as Randy, and flying too high with some (amateur) guy in the sky is not a good way to ensure that.

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Irish
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quote:
Originally posted by ss278:
[QB] I am no engineer but if I remember correctly he said something to the effect that because they are of different materials the attachment points can vibrate at different frequencies under certain extreme conditions and cause a failure. (Remember the Tacoma Narrows bridge).
/QB]

More to the point, Jack, do you remember the NW Flt 710 Electra that came apart over Tell city, IA in the late 1950's? Here's how one engineer described it:

"In these crashes, NASA and Lockheed engineers eventually determined that the engine mounts allowed too much precessional movement of the propellers at a critical frequency which allowed "whirl-mode" aeroelastic phenomenon, "flutter" in flight. This flutter, by pure chance, occurred at the wings' natural resonance frequency, which further excited the harmonic oscillations, which increased the wing flutter, that eventually led to separation of a wing from the fuselage. The engine mounts were redesigned, and the wing stiffened so the problem was solved by 1961. The flying public's confidence in the Electra, however, had been dealt a near-fatal blow."

Could we have deja vu all over again?

Paul

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Robert Dedman
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Paul:
I doubt if from the amount of sales at the Paris Air Show where Boeing took a whipping. True, Boeing was mainly interested in touting the 787 but the rascal is running so late, sales are bound to fall off. The unions sure did not help Boeing at a crucial time they needed them. Oh well, we shall see what happens.

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Bob Ritchie
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The major cause of...

.... the 787 delay was Boeings decision to outsource, all over the world, nearly 70% of the aircraft's production process....including for the first time ever...the wing.

As the pieces began to come together at Boeing....stuff didn't fit and had not been built to specifications. Often those to whom the work had been outsourced: OUTSOURCED the work to someone else. Boeing had to fabricate thousands of parts to make things come together at all.

Last year the CEO of Boeing in discussing the future manufacturing site location for the 737 replacement stated....we will never again entertain a process like that of the 787. We will build the 737 replacement aircraft components on site.

What a novel concept. Isn't that how it was once done?

Bob

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Robert Dedman
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Bob:
Thanks for the info. I was not aware of the double outsourcing. Answers a lot of questions tho. I would give my left something to fly that hummer but for now, I will stay happy with a Stearman and SNJ'

Bob

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ss278
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Yes Paul, I do remember the Tell City accident...even though I was just a kid! Anyway that analogy is much more appropos than the "bridge".
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Bob Ritchie
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Tell City, IN...

...sits right on the Ohio River about half way between Louisville and Owensboro, KY. Early in my career at OZA we used to fly that route...low and slow(1,500ft. and 250 kts.).... VFR in the FH-227.

Our route would take us right over the accident site. There is tall monument at the location. Never did we fly over it but what I thought of the many victums and the fuselage...which buried them and itself there....never to be recovered.

Bob

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Robert Dedman
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The text below is not mine, but of the author of the posting.

THOUGHT THIS POST WOULD BE OF INTEREST REFERENCE MY POST OF 17TH. BOB----------------------------------------------------------
Very interesting read. I am not a fan of this aircraft. And not fond of using the autopilot all the time and forgetting how to fly the aircraft at all altitudes.

, June 11, 2009 5:38 PM
Subject: Fw: AF Flt 447 - Update #4

You found the first one I sent on this subject to be interesting. This much more technical one will test you. I get these from a retired Boeing test pilot friend of mine that has a friend that works with the NTSB. This friend and I worked together at Boeing in the flight simulators. You will probably never see these in the news. Maybe, a few select pictures and a summarization. Randy
Subject: AF Flt 447 - Update #4

The following are comments on the AF 447 accident based on analysis of new info just becoming available. Jim

A significant piece of wreckage has been recovered - the vertical fin.

AF Flt 447

It is interesting that the last major accident of this proportion worldwide, was seven and a half years ago in Nov 2001, and that accident, involving an American A300 turbulence encounter, also involved loss of the vertical fin. Examination of photos of both fins as recovered from the water indicate great similarities - both broke off from the fuselage attachment structure. It is currently unknown where the Air France fin was located in relation to the debris field, nor how wind and current affected the distribution of floating items. But, it seems clear, the fin would not separate cleanly -- as it apparently did -- as a result of impact with the ocean, or general in-flight break-up. In those cases, it would still be attached to aft sections of fuselage structure. Accordingly, loss of the fin appears to have been an early event - perhaps the initial event in the total loss of control sequence - as it was determined to be the proximate cause of the American A300 loss of control and subsequent crash.

AA A300 JFK

Failed fin terminal fittings

Stubs of failed terminal fittings in fuselage attach fittings

I am aware of (without further research) seven events involving loss of the vertical fin on a large airplane - five on Boeing and two on Airbus airplanes. There may have been others. The Boeing events involved a B-52, three 707s, and a 747. The B-52 and two 707s landed safely. The third 707 (BA TYO) involved flying into a severe mountain wave above Mt. Fuji that induced massive additional structural in-flight breakup of the airframe. The 747, also in Japan, also crashed, but the crash was due to loss of all control due to loss of all four hydraulic systems. The airplane's engines and electrical systems continued to operate normally and the airplane actually flew for more than 40 minutes after loss of the fin. Had it retained one hydraulic system, it likely could have executed a safe landing also.

JAL 747 In-flight - No Fin

The two Airbus events involved the American A300 described herein, and the Air France A330 that is subject of the current investigation. Both airplanes crashed. The American due to loss of control after fin separation; the Air France currently unknown, but is the subject of the current discussion.

The American accident report is a long one and is linked below for those who want to read it. There is a very long discussion regarding fin attachment, fin strength, fin loads during rudder operation, rudder vs rudder pedal travel and pedal loads, rapid control movements and reversals, and use of rudder for airplane control - especially roll control. The airplane encountered wake turbulence from a preceding 747 and the co-pilot, who was flying, made aggressive wheel (the A300 has a wheel and not a sidestick) and rudder inputs. (American was teaching fairly aggressive rudder use to their pilots - in disagreement with all the airplane manufacturers' written concerns.)

In a nutshell, the analysis showed that use of rudder would (obviously) induce a side slip condition, which, on a large airplane, tends to start slowly and then accelerate in the direction of the slip (perhaps unexpectedly so, to the pilot.) As the airplane rapidly increases its slip, the angle of attack of the vertical fin increases from its usual neutral position, and it begins to generate a substantial lift vector in the direction of the slip. Magnitude of this vector is minimized somewhat by the deflected rudder (in the direction of the slip) acting as a spoiler. Should the pilot take out the rudder and neutralize the pedals, the lift vector actually would increase. And if the pilot were to reverse the rudder to stop and try to reverse the sideslip, perhaps aggressively due to the surprise factor as to the amount of sideslip developing, the rudder would now become a flap. Combined with the fin high angle of attack, a very large lift vector can be generated that could exceed both the design limit and ultimate load strength of the vertical fin structure. In fact, this is what occurred. Following loss of the fin, the airplane experienced a loss of control for unknown reasons - probably due to loss of all hydraulics, and spiral-dived into the ground.

The training that American developed and was teaching encouraged use of rudder to raise a lowered wing that was responding slowly to normal aileron roll control inputs. Yawing a swept wing airplane will advance one wing (normally the down wing) and increase its lift vector, raising it. In this way, the rudder can be used as a form of roll control.

Note that in Airbus' Control Law hierarchy, -- Normal, Alternate, Abnormal, Direct, and Mechanical, loss of assorted systems lowers the Law being used and degrades the protections normally available. We can assume the airplane had degraded to at least Direct Law, since multiple failures invoke Alternate Law, and "If the flight controls degrade to Alternate Law, Direct Law automatically becomes active when the landing gear is extended if no autopilots are engaged." We know that the autopilots were disengaged because that was an early ACARS message, so Direct Law was invoked. There are no protections in Direct Law, although stall and overspeed warnings remain, and "Control sensitivity depends on airspeed."

Airbus control laws under worst case scenario are described as follows:

In case of a complete loss of electrical flight control signals, the aircraft can be temporarily controlled by mechanical mode.

* Pitch control is achieved through the horizontal stabilizer by using the manual trim wheel.
* Lateral control is accomplished using the rudder pedals.

http://www.airbusdriver.net/airbus_fltlaws.htm

Please note that during the ACARS transmission sequence, at 0211Z, the rudder travel limit was removed. This device regulates available rudder travel depending on airspeed, to prevent over-loading the fin structure. Loss of airspeed input information would logically prevent this device from performing its intended function.

With the airplane in either Direct or Mechanical modes, rudder travel limits would be removed, allowing large rudder movements with consequent fin loadings, and further than that, in Mechanical mode, roll control is ACCOMPLISHED by use of rudder. With multiple system failures already documented, rudder use would/could be used for airplane basic attitude control. At M 0.78, in a CB it is not hard to imagine a rudder input that loaded the fin beyond its Ultimate Load and caused it to separate similar to the American A300 event. The Air France crew would be further faced with night time conditions, loss of multiple systems, illumination and sounding of numerous aural warnings, and heavy turbulence associated with negotiating a major convective storm. A tall order indeed. American incurred a spiral dive from low altitude (about 2300 ft) and airspeed (about 220-230 kts). The Air France upset would have been from FL350, presumably without fin or rudder, and would have accelerated to high Mach numbers and Q loadings in short order, readily causing structural breakup.

Of course, as in the American A300 accident, while the fin separation may indeed turn out to be the proximate cause of the loss of control which led to the breakup, the chain of events that initiated the daisy chain of avionic system failures is still to be determined.

Note also, as described in the QF A330 accident, the crew reported that in addition to all the myriad aural chimes and verbal warnings sounding continuously, the warning messages as annunciated on the ECAM screen were constantly scrolling at a speed that prevented them from reading, actioning, or clearing the numerous messages. (Truly technology run-amok -In my opinion!)

Disclaimer: My comments and analysis only.Jim
*********************************************

The following is a message I received describing a similar A330 incident on another airline as the airplane was traversing tropical convective activity north of the ITCZ. Air Caraibe flies two A330s between the French Caribbean islands of Guadeloupe and Martinique, and Paris. The following ECAM messages, flags and system reversions are consistent with the ones reported ont the AF447 ACARS report.

Note the use of "pitch and power", as well as switching from Pitot derived airspeed indications to GPS derived speed info.

An Air Caraibe A330 incident report is circulating (in french) which describes a (survived) event sounding very similar to the AF447 event.

In the Air Caraibe event (which I will try to find in english or have my wife translate!)....icing over of the Pitot probes and TAT probe at FL 350, in transoceanic equatorial WX, with severe turbulence, occured.

As decribed earlier, the TAT increase from -14 to -5 degrees typical of an iced up probe measuring the ice temperature instead of the Ram Air.
At some point in this event the CAS, MACH and ALT go respectively from 274Kts, M0.80 and FL350 to 85kts , M0.26 and FL347.

At the same time the cascade of ECAM warnings and cautions include NAV ADR Disagree, F/CTL ALT LAW, F/CTL RUD TRV LIM, ENG EPR mode faults (different engines there), Speed Flags on PFDs, loss of FDs, A/THR, etc....Including at some point STALL STALL audio warning (no protection in ALT LAW)

Summarily, the PF flew "pitch and power" with PNF on QRH unreliable speed indication, disregarding the STALL warning and using backup info of GPS Ground speed and Altitude (ND and FMGC).

Air Caraibe has modified all the 330 probes earlier this year.

Again, the Air caraibe report is VERY similar to what is now known of the AF447 troubles. (Weather, turbulence, airspeed data problem
----------


__._,_.___
=


--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

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Bob Ritchie
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CA Dedman,

You and I are dinasours as evidenced by our preference for hand flying airliners and your current joyful hours spent flying Steerman and SNJ.

I cannot afford those "gas guzzlers' so I fly a Skybolt(aerobatic biplane) and a Maule(bush plane). But we are both preserving the same passion for flight.

Now to the subject of Airbus and vertical stablizers. After AA lost the Airbus in N.Y. there was a great deal of discussion during ground school... at the AA Flight Academy.

I am not an engineer or technically knowledgable(nor can I spell) so I will use the laymans terms that I recall. Concerning Airbus vs Boeing vertical stabilizer certification....

...according to our AA ground instructor...Airbus only demonstrates the rudder load capability from ...full rudder deflection and back to neutral. That meets certification standards.

Boeing, on the other hand, demonstrates and builds to ...full rudder deflection and then back to full opposite rudder deflection. Well beyond certification standards.

Not for a moment to I believe that the AA copilot was the cause of the N.Y. fatal crash. If he "over exercised" the rudder...then something was wrong with the Airbus design.

We all "know" that Air France broke up in the air. Bet your retirement that the vertical stabilize was the first to come apart. After that...in turbulence...it was all over.

Be grateful for our careers...flying iron ships built by Boeing, Douglas, Lockheed, Convair, Martin....and yes....Fokker/Fairchild. Did you ever grab the yoke of an FH-227-B ? Required a man and a boy to rotate that thing or hold the ailerion into the wind after a strong crosswind landing. No boosted controls.

Take care,

bob

p.s. By the way...I retired with over 30,000 hours in my logbook and made exactly ONE auto-coupled approach, during my career. A CAT-III approach with RVR of 300-300-300. Had no choice. The old OZA captains would crack your knuckles if you turned on the autopilot. And like you....I LOVED/LOVE TO FLY! [Smile]

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Robert Dedman
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Thanks for the response but let me clarify, the last posting was from a friend of mine that was payload manager in the shuttles for NASA.. I don't print his name, as it should be, but good information is so critical in determining what really happened. We may never know but, each event opens new doors to safety, modifications and even major changes. As bad as every accident is, it does help us resolve unknown problems, make crews much more aware (my training background), and making our aircraft the safest way to travel. I also believe that this forum is so good to exchange information. I am 77 years old but still hungry to get more knowledge about aviation. I guess we are passionate in what we do and therefore, I am not shy in saying, we are pretty intelligent people. TWA did a good job in hiring.
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extwacaptain
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[QUOTE]Originally posted by Bob Ritchie:
[QB] Did you ever grab the yoke of an FH-227-B ? Required a man and a boy to rotate that thing or hold the ailerion into the wind after a strong crosswind landing. No boosted controls.
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

It is doubtful what this has to do with the original topic, but since the question has been asked..........

Did you ever grab the yoke of a B-24H and fly formation for 7 hours (without boosted controls) while getting your a** shot at? Not that big a deal......Years ago, the average teenager (with only a couple hundred hours could do it). [Wink]

Randolph

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Irish
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Randy,

[Wink]

Paul

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Bob Ritchie
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Naw,

Born after the war. But I flew with WW-2, B-24 pilots on the FH-227. More than once they asked me to got "get on the controls" with them as they touched down in a strong crosswind...while they kept one hand on the throttles and selected ground fine pitch.

Thus....."A man and a boy."

Bob [Smile]

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Subsonic Transport
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I know this doesn't count but I did get a ride on the B-17 last year. Not at the controls though. Still waiting for the B-29 to make its way here.

On another note, I wonder what kind of quality the A320 will have with it being assembled in China. We already question the A340's quality....who wants to ride on a China A320?

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