MH370 could have been a technical malfunction etc. except that it happened precisely at the moment of handover from one country's radar coverage and conterol to another.
Now if you're an air traffic controller and all of a sudden one of your aircraft stops talking to you whilst disappearing off your radar screen then you're likely to push thwee "panic" button.
But if you've said "bye bye" to that aircraft and sent it off to another radar unit then you're not going to notice it missing and if it's never called the next unit they're not going to immediately notice it missing either.
In the flight deck they have two radio boxes and two transponders, the crew would have already selected the next radio frequency and squawk so all they need to do is flick two switches from one box to the other ... MH370 didn't manage to flick two switches!
Back in the day, from a lil ol' control tower on the Wiltshire hill of Lyneham and with only primary radar, in the unearthly hours of one morning, we managed to control a low level Whirlwind helicopter all the way from Chivenor in Devon to London, hell we were still talking to him as we told him to declare a "Mayday" so that he could fly straight thru London/Heathrow Airport's zone at 1,500ft at something like 4 o'clock of a morning.
The technology is there, I suspect just someone being a smartass suggesting that there is no need for metallic returns any longer.
As a footnote it appears the Air Asia crew switched off their aircraft's computer, the very computer that was supposed to protect them from all things nasty, moments before impacting the sea ... technology ain't all it's made out to be!
[Note: this is about the recent crash in southeast asia, and has nothing to do with Malaysian jet shot down over Ukraine.]
Reuters reports that according to sources familiar with the investigation, just before the AirAsia A320 stalled and crashed into the sea, the captain (pilot in command) got up out of his seat in order to switch of power (by operating a circuit breaker) to the Flight Augmentation Computer.
This is significant in more than one way. For one thing, the A320 typically won't stall even if the pilot tries to put maximum nose-up on the stick, because the computers are designed to limit the motions to a safe range. However, one function of the switched-off computer (FAC) is "Flight envelope and speed computations," so pulling the circuit breaker may have disabled stall protection.
For another, when the copilot (pilot flying) managed to get the jet into a dramatic climb culminating in a stall, the captain was not in a physical position to intervene. To pull the circuit breaker, the captain had to undo his belts, get up out of his seat, and maneuver around the rear of the copilot's seat to reach the breaker. Airline pilot seats aren't like office chairs -- sometimes you have to step down into sort of a well, and swing yourself around from the centerline of the cockpit. In the A320 there's a sort of "footrest" (it stands up and well aft of the rudder pedals) that the captain would have to swing his left leg around in order to get seated. And the ship was presumably pulling some pretty good positive Gs when the dramatic climb started.
There's an overhead panel with power buttons for the FACs (there are two of these computers, with controls on both the pilot's and copilot's side), which can be reached WITHOUT leaving one's seat. If necessary, the FAC is supposed to be reset using these buttons. Getting up to pull the breaker was NOT the normal procedure.
Reportedly, the accident aircraft had a recent history of flight computer problems. The captain's strange action may have been an attempt to deal with a known flaky computer.
I suppose even the cleverest technology won't help you, when you cut the power. Sigh.
Has it been determined that the crew were controlling that 5,000ft/30 second climb because if one is f*cking with a thunderstorm one might not need to pull the stick back to climb, the aircraft may do it all by itself?
There is suggestion of a computer malfunction but time will tell.
In airspace off Denmark last year, it nearly led to a mid-air catastrophe, when a Russian plane came within a whisker of colliding with a civilian airliner that had just taken off from Copenhagen airport.
Now the British Ministry of Defense is claiming that Russian nuclear missiles were indeed on board the Tu-95 “Bear” bomber.
In a related report Vladimir Putin claims Russia will boast military superiority over the United States at least until 2020. The Russian military also recently claimed that Russia’s nuclear weapons were upgraded recently with new technology which supposedly makes U.S. missile defense system useless. Members of the U.S. Congress also claim that Putin has stationed Russian nuclear weapons in Ukraine already, and may even use Crimea for an invasion.
By all accounts TransAsia have a fleet of 11 ATR72 aircraft and 4 of their ATR72's have now been involved in fatal incidents ... That, I believe, speaks for itself!
I have no idea of Taiwanese cultures etc. but as far as Korean airlines go there is a thing called "CRM" (Cockpit Resource Management) which kind of encourages flight crew members to work together, work as a team, bond together and with one airline that I worked for there was an incident where the Captain twice f*cked up the approach in to JFK and went for "go around's", and a go around at JFK can take another 30 minutes or 60 minutes to complete. Well he was f*cking up his third approach also and just as he was calling for another go around the First Officer, looking at the fuel gauges, called "I have control" and he landed the aircraft supposedly off a f*cked up approach ... That's what it's all about.
But there is, apparently, something in the Korean culture regarding respect for others and the Asiana incident in to SFO was a prime example, the handling pilot totally f*cked up the approach to the point where he crashed the aircraft whilst the other pilot just sat there watching it happen, there is something in their culture whereas if it is his job to fly the aircraft then you show him respect and you don't interfere.
With regards to the Korean Airlines B747 freighter crash out of London/Stansted the point I've just made is reiterated here, the First Officer said nothing as the Captain f*cked it up killing them all:
"Following the plane's departure from Tashkent on the previous flight segment, one of its inertial navigation units (INUs) had partially failed, providing erroneous roll data to the captain's attitude director indicator (ADI or artificial horizon). The first officer's ADI and a backup ADI were correct."
"It was dark when the plane took off from London Stansted Airport, with the captain flying. When the captain tried to bank the plane to turn left, his ADI showed it not banking and the comparator alarm sounded repeatedly. The first officer, whose instrument would have shown the true angle of bank, said nothing, although the flight engineer called out "bank". The captain made no response and continued banking farther and farther left. At 18:38, 55 seconds after take-off, Flight 8509's wing dragged along the ground, then the aircraft plunged into the ground at a speed between 250 and 300 knots, in a 40° pitch down and 90° left bank attitude. The aircraft exploded on impact."
But, living in Asia, I have no problem flying with the airlines that I choose to fly with and since being here I have flown with Philippine Airlines, Air Philippines, Cebu Air (Cebu Pacific), Zest Air and Cathay Pacific, Cathay being perhaps one of the safest airlines in the world when one considers that the approach in to the old HKG (Kai Tak) airport was one of the most challenging, perhaps dangerous, approaches in the world.
But you can't brand an entire continent based aircraft, you need to do it by country or by airline.
It would appear that the TransAsia ATR72 had a single engine problem which the crew misidentified and throttled back and/or shut down the wrong engine and on a 2 engined aircraft that isn't a very healthy thing to do.
But it's happened before (British Midland Flight 92) and it will surely happen again.
But the sh1t is hitting the fan, all of TransAsia's ATR72 pilots are to be evaluated by the regulating authority to establish if they are fit for purpose.
Any engine powered system that runs on an aircraft uses fuel and one, seemingly sound, explanation is that whoever was at the controls switched off the air supply to the passenger cabin to knock the passengers out, after all he/she wouldn't want anybody interupting and/or making any telephone calls, and had he/she stayed higher level in the thinner air, than the presumed descent and climb again, and presuming that he/she never wanted the aircraft to be found so hardly likely to fly too near to Australia when they could fly to the middle of nowhere, then the aircraft could have flown for longer than estimated and further away from the Australian coast ... i.e. So far nobody yet has been searching for it in the right location.
“It would appear that the TransAsia ATR72 had a single engine problem which the crew misidentified and throttled back and/or shut down the wrong engine and on a 2 engined aircraft that isn't a very healthy thing to do. “
Martin,,,, remember when I suggested an emergency hand crank by each window?? Who knew they would need it so soon.
I'm just in the process of booking myself on Air Asia Philippines (Zest Air) CEB/KBI/CEB for one night during July ... and it's a bl00dy Airbus A320 :) ... I need to exit and re-enter the Philippines once every 3 years ... $77.50 round trip including all the extras :)
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