Issues with other models

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This topic contains 34 replies, has 14 voices, and was last updated by  transtraxman 12 Sep 2019
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  • AFlyingDutchman
    Participant

    Last night I saw an episode of Air Crash Investigations regarding Qantas flight 72 from Singapore to Perth where the on board software malfunctioned and put the aircraft in a steep pitch down, twice. One of the three ADIRU’s was sending incorrect data to the on board sytems and made the plane think it was stalling so the computers put the plane in a nose down pitch. What has suprised me is that no definitive reason has been found, but that there has been a directive from Airbus to A330 operators how to handle such a situaition. Over 1/3 of the more than 300 people on board were injured, some seriously, but all survived. Eeirly, it was said that had the event happend at much lower altitude the result could have been catastrophic as the pilots would have had no time to rectify as they were able to at 37000 feet. Whilst investigating the event, another Qantas aircarft, flight 71, encountered the same at 36000 feet but returned to Perth. The ATSB’s final report, issued on 19 December 2011, concluded that the incident “occurred due to the combination of a design limitation in the flight control primary computer (FCPC) software of the Airbus A330/Airbus A340, and a failure mode affecting one of the aircraft’s three air data inertial reference units (ADIRUs). The design limitation meant that, in a very rare and specific situation, multiple spikes in angle of attack (AOA) data from one of the ADIRUs could result in the FCPCs commanding the aircraft to pitch down. I can only wonder had the situation been different, had there been loss of life (thankfully there wasnt any due to superb flying by the pilot) would the A330 fleet have been grounded? There was no fix to the software just revised training ‘in the event of recurrence.’ Dont misunderstand, I fully agree the Max should be grounded, and I imagine it will likely be the most tested aircraft ever before being recertified to fly, but it’s not to say Airbus hasnt had its own issues.


    Inquisitive
    Participant

    Every company have issues with something or other. However character of a company or a leader can be judged after catastrophic incident based on behaviour or recovery from that incident.

    In Boeing max case, no laudable leadership was seen. After the first crash, from various statements in newspaper, it looks like company was trying to find fault with pilot instead of accepting full responsibility. The defects were known to them per more or more information that is coming out.

    Why they are completely revising the software now, if existing Design is so good?

    Trying to blame everyone else created a lot of criticism towards Boeing.

    1 user thanked author for this post.
    AK

    BrotherJim
    Participant

    Last night I saw an episode of Air Crash Investigations regarding Qantas flight 72 from Singapore to Perth where the on board software malfunctioned and put the aircraft in a steep pitch down, twice. One of the three ADIRU’s was sending incorrect data to the on board sytems and made the plane think it was stalling so the computers put the plane in a nose down pitch. What has suprised me is that no definitive reason has been found, but that there has been a directive from Airbus to A330 operators how to handle such a situaition. Over 1/3 of the more than 300 people on board were injured, some seriously, but all survived. Eeirly, it was said that had the event happend at much lower altitude the result could have been catastrophic as the pilots would have had no time to rectify as they were able to at 37000 feet. Whilst investigating the event, another Qantas aircarft, flight 71, encountered the same at 36000 feet but returned to Perth. The ATSB’s final report, issued on 19 December 2011, concluded that the incident “occurred due to the combination of a design limitation in the flight control primary computer (FCPC) software of the Airbus A330/Airbus A340, and a failure mode affecting one of the aircraft’s three air data inertial reference units (ADIRUs). The design limitation meant that, in a very rare and specific situation, multiple spikes in angle of attack (AOA) data from one of the ADIRUs could result in the FCPCs commanding the aircraft to pitch down. I can only wonder had the situation been different, had there been loss of life (thankfully there wasnt any due to superb flying by the pilot) would the A330 fleet have been grounded? There was no fix to the software just revised training ‘in the event of recurrence.’ Dont misunderstand, I fully agree the Max should be grounded, and I imagine it will likely be the most tested aircraft ever before being recertified to fly, but it’s not to say Airbus hasnt had its own issues.

    Whilst it has been “officially” dismissed some think the issues with those two A330’s is related to a US base at Exmouth in WA. The base is a VLF transmission station. VLF is very high powered and is used to communicate with submarines many thousands of miles away.

    Both incidents happened close by and have not been experienced by any other Qantas A330’s or any A330’s elsewhere in the world.

    Now even if this was a failure that resulted in a fatal accident any comparison to the 737Max is a very long bow indeed.


    AFlyingDutchman
    Participant

    Whilst it has been “officially” dismissed some think the issues with those two A330’s is related to a US base at Exmouth in WA. The base is a VLF transmission station. VLF is very high powered and is used to communicate with submarines many thousands of miles away.
    Both incidents happened close by and have not been experienced by any other Qantas A330’s or any A330’s elsewhere in the world.
    Now even if this was a failure that resulted in a fatal accident any comparison to the 737Max is a very long bow indeed.

    As you say, this possibility was completely dismissed. I have not said the two instances (QF and the Max) are the same and I fully support the grounding of the Max. That said, not having a difinitive result as to what caused the two Qantas incidents other than being a software issue that has had no remedy but enhanced training, is worrying, and I wonder if had the result been tragically different, would the aircraft have been grounded until a definitive result was found? Plenty here have demonised Boeing, maybe rightfully so in particular in the way the tragedies have been handled by Boeing leadership as stated by Inquisitive, but issues severe and less severe, have been experienced by other aircraft types with other manufacturers, which was the point of the OP. And having seen the episode last night, just thougvht it was germane to this OP.


    BrotherJim
    Participant

    Actually I said the Exmouth theory was officially dismissed, not that it was completely dismissed. Subtle difference.

    Now I am not one to believe in conspiracy theories or government coverups, but having lived near a VLF transmission station (in the suburbs of Canberra) and being trained in electronics I personally sill think it is a good a theory as any and more than a coincidence both incidents happened in the exact same location in the middle of nowhere. I raise the example of where I lived as the interference from the transmission station was felt km’s away on radios and TV’s and that was a 250kw (LF) transmitter. Exmouth is a 1Mw transmitter at a slightly lower frequency. That is a fair whack of power that will carry quite some distance.

    As for the Boeing groundings I would suggest the reason for the groundings was because the cause of the fault was known as early as the Lion crash. If there was no clear cause not a repeat of that accident I doubt the mass groundings would have happened.

    Ps I did work experience at the Belconnen transmission station, it was very impressive especially the size of the actual antenna. It was a T shaped thing held up by 3 200m masts that many thought were the actual antenna. Exmouth is another scale again with a web type antenna hanging off well over 10 masts 300-400m tall. Massive and massive power.


    cwoodward
    Participant

    The A330 incident in question happened over 10 years ago.
    It was exactly that ‘an incident’.
    No one died, there was no crash and to draw any parallels from this with the disaster that is the Boeing B73 7Max is tenacious as best and at worst simply mischievous.

    Impeccable Safety Record
    Since its introduction in 1994 the A330 has an impeccable safety record with the only fatalities (other than the AF crash which was not related to the aircrafts design or flight computers) occurring during the aircrafts development.

    To put this in perspective there are more than 1400 Airbus A330 aircraft flying with over 100 operators and in 15 years of airline operation it has proved to be one of the safest, passenger popular aircraft ever put into service.


    AFlyingDutchman
    Participant

    No one died, there was no crash and to draw any parallels from this with the disaster that is the Boeing B73 7Max is tenacious as best and at worst simply mischievous.

    No one said otherwise, and it wasnt a comparison, so no need for the accusation. The OP is about issues with other models, and as I saw the episode I mentioned, I thought it was a valid instance to raise within the context of the OP. Further, when the incident occurred there were just over 300 A330’s flying (similar to the 737 Max fleet), and it was well reported that had the incident occurred at lower altitude as the two 737-Max accidents, the outcome would have been tragically different as the pilots would not have had time to recover from the severe dive. To therefore not have a definitive reason for the incident could be considered worrying, and I only asked would the fleet then have been grounded as a software fix did not seem possible. I wasn’t insulting the A330, and confidently fly on them regularly, but likewise there over 10,000 737’s of various versions safely flying all over the world and I get on them regularly too. This was not a hit at the Airbus A330, but there seems to be a continual attempt to demonise all of Boeing and to ignore the outstanding aircraft that Boeing has and does produce.


    K1ngston
    Participant

    No one died, there was no crash and to draw any parallels from this with the disaster that is the Boeing B73 7Max is tenacious as best and at worst simply mischievous.

    No one said otherwise, and it wasnt a comparison, so no need for the accusation. The OP is about issues with other models, and as I saw the episode I mentioned, I thought it was a valid instance to raise within the context of the OP. Further, when the incident occurred there were just over 300 A330’s flying (similar to the 737 Max fleet), and it was well reported that had the incident occurred at lower altitude as the two 737-Max accidents, the outcome would have been tragically different as the pilots would not have had time to recover from the severe dive. To therefore not have a definitive reason for the incident could be considered worrying, and I only asked would the fleet then have been grounded as a software fix did not seem possible. I wasn’t insulting the A330, and confidently fly on them regularly, but likewise there over 10,000 737’s of various versions safely flying all over the world and I get on them regularly too. This was not a hit at the Airbus A330, but there seems to be a continual attempt to demonise all of Boeing and to ignore the outstanding aircraft that Boeing has and does produce.

    Will you let me put another slant on this discussion. I agree with you both actually, but I think the demonisation of Boeing is of their own making when the management blatantly blamed the pilots of Lion for the first crash and then has not really apologised for the clear breach in protocol that allowed what is clearly a flawed design out there. The CEO’s arrogance is disgusting and until he and his board resign the attacks will continue I am afraid.

    Also nobody lost their lives in the 330, and with one accident you could put it down to bad luck with 2 and the subsequent revelations, the board should have fired the CEO and others to try and bring semblance to a company in deep trouble

    1 user thanked author for this post.
    AK

    cwoodward
    Participant

    What ‘accusation” may I ask please ?
    I have re read my above post and I can find no ‘accusation’ of any sort. Personal or otherwise.

    However, very honestly I fail to see any valid parallels at all between 2 fatal crashes of the B737 Max that killed hundreds and an isolated ‘incident’ that took place on an entirely different aircraft type and in entirely different circumstances over 10 years previously.

    As you have mentioned above the A330 has proved over many years to be a safe, reliable and popular aircraft.
    In fact all of the things that the Boeing 737 Max is not – or ever likely to be.
    I,at least have not sought to demonise Boeing or its other B737 types and in fact on another thread of this forum have praised the aircraft.

    As others have mentioned a very possible cause of the never repeated A330 incident is that some external influence affected the 330’s computerised electronics. It is the very fact that the incident has never been repeated that, in my opinion adds some credence to this theory.


    AFlyingDutchman
    Participant

    What ‘accusation” may I ask please ?
    I have re read my above post and I can find no ‘accusation’ of any sort. Personal or otherwise.

    It is clear from your earlier quote that you suggest I am making a parrallel to the 737 Max crashes which you then say is tenacious or mischievous at worst. Perhaps not an accusation per se, English not being my first nor second language, however still describing something you suggest I said which was not at all my intent. I was only commenting that I watched something, thought it was germane to the OP, and then asked that had the incident had a more tragic outcome, had it occurred at much lower altitude (as with the Max), had there been a tragic loss of life, would the worldwide fleet have been grounded? That’s it. No where did I disagree that the Max should be grounded, I have maintained I believe the leadership at Boeing has behaved disasterously when faced with such tragedy, tarnishing a brilliant brand for years to come if not decades. The fact that something happened 10 years ago, and no reason was found for it, does not mean all is fine. The Australian authorities have dismissed the idea of external influence, so what then? All good? I certainly dont take anything you said personal, as I find your posts highly interesting, and very insightful, I was just adding to the OP about other issues with other aircraft, not disparaging the A330.


    cwoodward
    Participant

    AFlyinDutchman of course I except the withdraw of your ‘accusation’ comment and without wishing to be patronising in any way commend you on your command of your 3rd( or is it 4th) language.
    However I still believe that you were drawing parallels between the two incidents in discussion. My point being that there have been many unexplained ‘incidents’ over past years on many aircraft types yet you mention only this one on a Airbus A330 as a response to earlier posts concerning A737 Max.

    As you obviously have an interest in aircraft you may find the below of some interest.

    A BOEING CODE LEAK EXPOSES SECURITY FLAWS DEEP IN 787’S GUTS
    https://www.wired.com/story/boeing-787-code-leak-security-flaws/

    1 user thanked author for this post.

    AFlyingDutchman
    Participant

    However I still believe that you were drawing parallels between the two incidents in discussion. My point being that there have been many unexplained ‘incidents’ over past years on many aircraft types yet you mention only this one on a Airbus A330 as a response to earlier posts concerning A737 Max.

    I only brought it up as I watched an episode of Air Crash Investigation and the incident, to me, sounded similar, software issue, aircraft automatically took action, pilot had to fight to over ride the computer systems, etc. And this Original Post was about issues with other aircraft, not the 737 Max. Last night it was an episode of the Alitalia Crash in Zurich with a DC-9 but the symptoms were different, and also dealt with cockpit infighting. I think I better switch back to Netflix 🙂

    And yes, 4 languages, which is rather common for us Dutch (NL, FR, DE, EN).

    Happy Friday!

    1 user thanked author for this post.

    canucklad
    Participant

    I no it’s incredibly simplistic, but actually simple solutions tend to be the best…..

    The airliners that we are pampered on, are basically supped up Cessna’s
    In their wisdom Airbus and now Boeing have shifted the skill of pilots from “aviator “ to “software analyst “
    in much the same way as drivers are becoming increasingly frustrated with modern cars and their seemingly unrelated trivial issues stopping you simply driving your car from A to B .

    Wouldn’t you just love a switch that turns the computer off and reverts to its fundamental mechanics allowing you to simply drive.


    AFlyingDutchman
    Participant

    in much the same way as drivers are becoming increasingly frustrated with modern cars and their seemingly unrelated trivial issues stopping you simply driving your car from A to B .

    This made me think of this hilarious (IMHO) clip. Apologies for the language.


    capetonianm
    Participant

    Wouldn’t you just love a switch that turns the computer off and reverts to its fundamental mechanics allowing you to simply drive.

    Yes, ditto with cars. I have ended up with a fancy rental Merc with everything automated and alien to me. Hate it. I wanted a manual Golf,good old fashioned technology but they didn’t have any so they ‘upgraded’ me.

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