Comments on: The paradox of “simplicity” Thu, 21 Jul 2016 07:57:19 +0000 hourly 1 By: rob bartsch Wed, 19 Aug 2009 16:55:29 +0000 Good article!

Miles O’Brien should do some investigative reporting on the composite tails (verticle stabilizers – VS) that seam to depart Airbus planes with increasing frequency.

Clearly the AF447 crash involved a separation of the VS and this event also ocurred in the November 2001 crash in NYC involving AA587 on take off. Unfortunately, there are several other examples too.

Anyway, the crash investigative findings in the AA587 tragedy blamed rudder actuation – left, right, left, right, etc. for the tail separation and subsequent crash.

Translation: Pilot error was the likely cause.

Many believe the AA587 pilots were not the cause, however, but rather it was the Airbus flight control systems, FBW and a flawed stabilizer design that contributed to the crash.

By: Louis van der Poll Thu, 13 Aug 2009 15:04:49 +0000 Hi,

I am Louis van der Poll, a privat pilot flying a Seneca iii. I love it!

I heard a story about the Airbus that ditched into the Hudson River. It said that because off the fly by wire system, the computer shut down both engines because it sensed a problem (bird strike) with both engines. The fact of the matter is that an engine that has a bird strik does not necessarily looses all its thrust immediately. Sully did not need much power to motor in to Teterboro, or La Guardia, but as the computer does not allow the pilots to overide any of its decisions, there was a complete loss of thrust, whereas in a Boeing Sully might have been able to land the aircraft. Is this true?



By: John Kessler Mon, 22 Jun 2009 02:33:38 +0000 Just two little corrections of the article…
The first FBW aircraft was not the Crusader (F8-U, not C). I flew in the Army’s fully-computer-operated (not-new) CH-47 Chinook helicopter in 1965. It is impossible for a human to fly the big twin-rotor helo, so a large analog computer located in an armored column behind the flight deck did it for the pilot. I’m sure the computer has been improved dramatically over the year, since the Chinook is still the mainstay of our airmobile forces.

By: YAO Tue, 16 Jun 2009 19:12:44 +0000 How much training do pilots get for flying FBW aircraft at the edge of the flight envelope in manual mode? Do flight surfaces (wings/elevators/rudder) structurally fail in simulators? I imagine that w/ no feedback in the controls, flying at the limit would be practically impossible to do successfully.

Occam’s Razor?

Lightning knocks out FBW computers
Flight controls go to manual
Pilots overload control surfaces causing structural failure

By: Joe Grant Tue, 16 Jun 2009 00:50:09 +0000 Re Air Caraibe: Please ignore what I said. I was thinking of an Air Transat flight to Quebec City (A300, 2005, lost its rudder, landed safely).
Re “flew into a storm”: A thunder storm (a cumulo-nimbus column with strong up- and down-currents, heavy rain and hail, electrical discharges) is a fairly localized phenomenon, a mile or two in diameter. There was a storm system, with several separate storms. Aircraft often fly through systems like this, threading their way between the storms, which are usually quite far apart. Entering a storm system is not the same as flying into a storm.

By: Kurt Harland Larson Mon, 15 Jun 2009 22:03:12 +0000 Joe Grant,
The storm was known before the flight took off. It was seen by satellite. The flight crew was briefed on the bad weather before they left.

By: Joe Grant Mon, 15 Jun 2009 19:05:30 +0000 The Air Caraibe flight was on a different route – on it’s way to Quebec City: but that is not really very important. What mystifies me is why everyone says AF 447 flew into a “violent thunder storm”. There were storms in the area, it is true. But the only evidence I have heard of says that the pilot sent an coded message at about 02:00 Zulu indicating merely that the flight was entering an area of turbulence. I have seen very few direct references to this message, and all seem to indicate that it was a fairly routine communication, and possibly “canned” (chosen from a pre-defined set of codes). Can you tell us more about it, or explain why you believe the flight actually entereed a storm? Thanks, Joe Grant

By: Robert Sun, 14 Jun 2009 17:49:37 +0000 When all else fails fly the airplane.

By: TypicalPilot Sun, 14 Jun 2009 16:58:00 +0000 Premature conjecture by amateurs and people only remotely familiar with aviation or this particular Airbus aircraft is guaranteed. Anyone can quote qualifications that are inflated for self promotion. I saw it on television for this accident recently. The ‘expert’ was an aviation tort lawyer soliciting business, a form of air ambulance chasing. The standard for ‘aviation expert’ should be applied with far more scrutiny.

By: Anon Sun, 14 Jun 2009 10:06:31 +0000 Until the investigation is complete, we won’t know the cause of the crash.

But regarding the increasing automation of technology, the golden rule always applies:

“Never trust a computer you can’t throw out a window.”

Or to rephrase:

A computer should have the ability to overrule a pilot error. But the same goes in reverse; the pilot must be able to overrule a computer error.