Friday, April 30, 2010

Still no Black Box for Air France Flight 447, Can the cause of crash still be solved?

The vertical stabilizer of Flight 447 recovered by the Brazilian Navy

The disappearance of Air France flight 447 en route from Rio de Janeiro to Paris was no doubt mysterious. Investigators say that lighting appears to be the most plausible cause of crash. After all, the A330 was engineered to weather lighting strikes. When lighting hits an aircrafts skin, the current will get transferred to an element called a static wick, theses wicks are installed along the trailing edge of the wing and aft stabilizers. These locations are away from the engine and avionic components.
The radius of the storm cells were too wide for the pilots to go around and too high for them to go over. The pilots of flight 447 had no choice but to go trough the series of storm cells that was in their path.
The search for the black boxes became harder after June 30, 2009, the black boxes will only emit a signal for 30 days. On August 20, 2009, it was announced that the black box search was halted. At the end of August, BEA announced it would resume the search later in 2009 early 2010. The search for the black box has been continued as of April, 2010.

Monday, April 26, 2010

The Tecnam P2006T

This light twin engine 4 seater is an economical aircraft made for recreation and training. Powered by 2 liquid cooled Rotax engines just under 100 HP each, they will run on automotive fuel and avgas. The entire airplane to me looks like and is an airfoil. The Tecnam has a Glass cockpit display available, the Garmin G1000. It has a one of a kind unique design. Wingtip devices are available to reduce wing those wing tip vorticies. This aircraft can cruise up to 155 knots full power. Can climb up to 200 ft/min with one engine out. Over 600 nm range. Rectractable landing gear. Made by Tecnam in Italy.

Sunday, April 25, 2010

Virgin Atlantic Announce 787 Order

Virgin Atlantic Airways has recently ordered 15 fuel-efficient Boeing 787 planes as part of an environmental partnership with the company that includes joint research into biofuels for use in jet engines. The order by the British carrier, worth $2.8 billion at list prices, also includes options for additional 787s, Virgin Atlantic said in its statement. At the same time, Air Canada, the country’s largest airline, has also revealed plans to purchase 23 of the airliner costing a combined $3.5 billion at list prices, bringing the carrier’s total order for the model to 37 aircraft from 14.
With these orders Boeing Co., the world’s second- biggest maker of commercial aircraft, has received orders valued at $6.3 billion from Air Canada and Virgin Atlantic for the new 787 Dreamliner model, which is evidently a major disappointment to competitor Airbus SAS. Boeing has informed that more than 50 percent of the 787 is scheduled to enter service sometime this year, is made of lightweight composite materials, theoretically reducing the amount of fuel the plane burns. However, experts are of the view that the fuel-efficiency claims is yet to be proved, as Virgin Atlantic has so far to choose between Rolls-Royce and General Electric engines for the aircraft.
Virgin Atlantic has once again resorted to its earlier used slogan ‘4 engines 4 long haul’ to promote its aircraft as a more secured trans-Atlantic option to twin-engine planes operated by rivals. The company further said that the 787 would be 27 percent more fuel-efficient per passenger and produce 60 percent less noise than an A340. Speaking over the new orders, the chairman of Virgin Atlantic, Richard Branson said, ‘The 787 Dreamliner symbolizes the environmentally kinder aircraft of the future, cleaner, quieter and truly the best experience in the air.’
On the other hand, British Airways, Britain’s largest carrier, who is considering to replace 34 aging Boeing 747 and 767 jets has said that Virgin Atlantic’s order would have no influence on their decision to order the new jets.
The light-weight, fuel-efficient 787 commercial planes has received a total order of 866 planes so far worth more than $90 billion since its market launch in April 2004. As a matter of fact Virgin Atlantic dealt a heavy blow to Airbus by placing a jet order worth up to $8 billion with its arch-rival, Boeing, since it has signed options on another eight and purchase rights for a further 20.
Virgin is also launching a joint venture with Boeing to develop other eco-friendly measures intended to reduce carbon dioxide emissions from aircraft. The association forged is a reply to criticism from environmentalists that airlines are increasing their contribution to climate change at a time when other industries are seeking to cut emissions.
In addition, Virgin is considering new long-haul flights to Perth, Melbourne, Rio de Janeiro, Seattle, Vancouver and Bangkok. The airline currently operates 37 aircraft, so the latest order could double the size of the fleet. As of now, Boeing has 866 orders worth from 44 customers for the 787, making it the most successful jet launch in commercial airline history.

Korean Air Cargo Pearson International

Korean Air Cargo B747-400 being loaded with cargo at the YYZ infield.

The 200 million dollar write-off

What Happened?
On 15 November 2007, a four-engine Airbus A340-600 was in the process of being delivered to Abu Dhabi-based Etihad Airways was undergoing ground engine testing at the Airbus Technical Center in Toulouse, France. During those tests, the aircraft somehow broke loose and crashed into the test-pen wall as pictured above. According to press reports, nine people — two Airbus employees and seven employees of Abu Dhabi Aircraft Technologies (ADAT), a service provider contracted by Etihad — were aboard the airliner at the time, and four of them were injured.

Although the accident did occur while ground engine tests were being conducted with the plane's parking brake applied, a report released by French investigators in December 2008 did not confirm that claim made above that the crash was caused by ADAT technicians who were unfamiliar with the aircraft and overrode a vital safety feature: French investigators have found that an Airbus to be delivered to Etihad Airways crashed during ground engine tests because the wheels were unchocked and attempts to steer away from a wall had decreased brake pressure.

A 30-page report released by the Bureau d'Enquetes et d'Analyses (BEA) said the four Trent 500 engines, carrying 56,000 pounds of thrust each, were being tested at high power and the wheels were left unchocked.

"Surprise led the ground-test technician to focus on the braking system, so he did not think about reducing the engines' thrust," said the report.

"It was all over in 13 seconds," said David Kaminski-Morrow, an editor at Air Transport Intelligence. "The aeroplane shouldn't haven been running with engines at higher power and the aeroplane should have had chocks on the wheels to stop [it] moving, and these things didn't happen. It was basically a schoolboy error."

"The report does not say who made the decision to put the aeroplane in the position which led to the accident in the first place. What part ADAT played and what part Airbus made is not publicly clear," Mr Kaminski-Morrow said.

"This will probably be the subject of Airbus internal inquiries. But I find it hard to believe suddenly all the rules got broken because ADAT came along. It was at the Airbus headquarters, it was an Airbus test pen, it was an Airbus engineer at the right-hand seat, which the report said is where control inputs were coming from. An ADAT engineer was in the left seat."

In the run-up to the accident, the full-power engine test with wheels unchocked was testing the limits of the parking brake. As the aircraft began to move, an ADAT engineer reported the aircraft was moving. According to the flight recorder, at that point the pedal brake was applied and the parking brake deactivated, said Mr Kaminski-Morrow. Finally, the steering wheel was turned to avoid crashing into the test-pen wall, but that had an opposite effect as it instead reduced the hydraulic system braking pressure.

Saturday, April 24, 2010

Some say Airbus is Worried

Airbus surprised everyone by announcing that they were going to build an A350 plane to challenge Boeing's apparently-quite-successful 200-seat 7E7 Dreamliner. Is that a good sign for Boeing or a bad sign?

Some seem to think it proves Airbus is worried. They don't think Airbus can really afford to build such a plane at the same time as they are developing the A380 (which has already cost them more than $10 billion), but they want to disrupt orders from customers for the 7E7. This seems to be standard operating procedure in the industry to do underhanded things like that - it seems Boeing said they were going to make a stretch 747 as a diversion from Airbus' new A380. Then they said they would build a Sonic Cruiser to fly at near the speed of sound. But those plans got dropped.

Airbus bet that the market would be for huge planes, while Boeing thought saving fuel would be the main idea. Now, Airbus wants to cover all bases. But getting financing would mean getting loans from European government backers. There is already a hot trade dispute with Boeing over unfair practices. Boeing says Airbus has received $15 billion in government aid over the past 30 years.

Boeing says they don't see what would surely be an A330 clone (yawn) as much of a threat - it'll use more fuel (it will weigh more plus the 7E7 has "fuel-chugging" engines), won't fly as far, won't be available as quickly, and won't be as comfortable. But, some say, they are desperate. The A380 isn't selling as well as they had planned - some airlines opted for more, smaller, long-range planes instead. And the number of orders for the 7E7 made them wonder if they had jumped aboard the wrong train.

Airbus said they had always planned to build a mid-sized plane. They said their customers had urged them to do it. They say their plane will be more economical than the 7E7 overall because flight crews will be interchangeable.

Right now, Airbus is selling more planes but Boeing is making more money - but that could change. Both companies unsurprisingly say theirs will be the one to come out on top.

Friday, April 23, 2010

Orders already made for the A350

This Airbus A350 is a long-range, mid-size, wide-body family of airliners currently under development by Airbus. The A350 will be the first Airbus with both wing structures and wing fuselage made primarily of carbon- fiber, reinforced plastic. The A350 is designed to compete with the Boeing 777 and the Boeing 787. Airbus claims the aircraft will be more fuel-efficient, with up to 8% lower operating cost than the Boeing 787. It is scheduled to enter into airline service in 2013. The launch customer for the Airbus A350 will be Quatar Airways, which ordered the -900 variant. A total of 530 orders have been placed to date. Development costs are projected to be US$15 billion.

Helios 522

F-16 pilots saw F/A Andreas Prodromou at controls, (trainee pilot), attempting control of aircraft, (consciousness due to portable oxygen)

The Greek Governmental Investigation Board determined that the crash of Helios 522 resulted from the flight crew not setting the pressurization system in normal (automatic mode) before take-off. There was a gradual decompression, all on board suffered from Hypoxia. Because of mental incapacity, the flight crew did not respond to the warnings, symtoms of hypoxia were not recognized.

Timeline of Events

9:00 a.m. — Helios Airlines Flight ZU522, a Boeing 737 carrying 115 passengers and six crew members, takes off from Larnaca International Airport in Cyprus, heading for Prague, Czech Republic, with a stopover in Athens.

9:37 a.m. — Plane enters Greek air space, identified by Greece's Civil Aviation Authority.

10:07 a.m. — Control tower at Athens International Airport unable to establish communication with the plane.

10:20 a.m — Air traffic controllers notify Cypriot counterparts who say plane reported a problem with air-conditioning system before entering Greek airspace.

10:25 a.m. — Greek Civil Aviation Authority notifies Defense Ministry's national search and rescue center.

10:30 a.m. — Defense ministry issues a Renegade alert, standard aviation procedure when planes fail to respond to control tower.

10:55 a.m. — Two F-16 fighter jets scramble to locate airliner.

11:20 a.m. — Fighter jets make visual contact with airliner over Aegean island of Kea, but unable to communicate with pilots.

11:25 a.m. — Fighter jets approach plane, report that co-pilot appears unconscious, other pilot not in cockpit, oxygen masks dangling inside cabin.

12:05 p.m. — Airliner crashes near town of Grammatiko, about 25 miles north of Athens.
All 121 people on board were killed

The dream is alive.
— John Young, after landing the first Space Shuttle STS-1 at Edwards, 14 April 1981.

The British Aerospace before the Volcanic Eruption

The British Airspace before the Volcanic Eruption
More than 7,500 commercial aircraft crowd into Britains skies, carrying more than 500,000 passengers from every corner of this little green planet, these are the GPS traces of every single plane entering the British airspace, they follow their own secret motorway system, strictly laid out routes that run north, south up and down the country, and out over Europe and the Atlantic. Dotted around the country there are stacking systems, round abouts in the sky where they circle waiting to land at one of the 7 major airports. The gaps seen are areas closed off to air traffic because far below there are secret military instillations or even high security prisons.

Aiming for Clear European Skys

The Icelandic volcano currently making northern Europe a no-fly zone could possibly affect international travelers for months. The volcano is now strengthening, as airline operators start to get ready to go back in service, thinking it would last only for a few days. The European Aviation Saftey Agency E.A.S.A is standing strong on their feet, not allowing any flights in or out of the European airspace. British airways took to the skies to test the effect of volcanic ash on the one of there aircraft. The Boeing 747-8 with the chief executive Willie Walsh on board-flew for nearly three hours from London Heathrow airspace. The conditions were reported to be perfect and the aircraft encountered no difficulties. The aircraft is now undergoing a full technical analysis at BA's engineering base at Cardiff. The chaos of the volcanic eruption is causing the airline industry to loose millions daily. It is said to be the biggest disruption of air travel since 2001.

Did the pilots ignore the warnings of the Polish plane crash

My first question when I heard about the polish plane crash in Russia, was the Tupolev 154 beneath its glideslope? Based on published reports, this is what makes sense to them, the plane did not cause the crash, the aging Polish airforce 101 was an old design. The three engine aircraft dates back to 1968, this airplane that crash had its first flight in 1990, its fleet did not accumulate blemishes on its record. Most birds of the brood accomplished there missions, or else type and model wouldn't have such a long career. PAF 101 didn't fall out the sky. What stopped it from reaching its destination was being flown into a stand of trees. Apparently the cause of crash wasn't the airfield, either although it was a contributing factor. The field had one draw back: In bad weather, it could not provide vertical and lateral guidance, the Instrument Landing System (ILS) was not compatible with the PAF 101's Western-style system. The pilot's relied on an older system based at the field, essentially a transmitter near a threshold of the runway, called a non-directional beacon (NDB). The flaw needn't have been fatal. There are many ways of landing an aircraft in sloppy/low visibility conditions. Planes land every day using NDB's, including a few that landed in the same airfield that same day the Polish plane crashed. Heavier work loads were placed on these pilots because of flying on a half decent instrument approach. NDB's are rarely used so these pilots most likely didn't have that much practice, maybe a few here and there in their student days. NDB's give no vertical guidance for landing operations, pilots require better weather than for the safe use of more sophisticated systems. Whos to blaim?