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Old July 17th, 2009, 11:17 AM   #181
Glodenox
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Quote:
Originally Posted by siamu maharaj View Post
What kind of a name is Pourqoui Pas?
Strange choice for a name indeed. Translated it means "Why not"
Perhaps there was a lot of opposition when they wanted to buy that research ship and therefore named it that way? Strange anyway.

EDIT: it seems to be named after the ship of an explorer of the past.

Greetings,
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Old July 17th, 2009, 10:04 PM   #182
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Air France crash victims did not drown: investigators
17 July 2009
Agence France Presse

Post-mortems carried out in Brazil on bodies recovered from the Air France crash in the Atlantic last month have shown that the victims did not drown, French investigators said Friday.

Flight 447 crashed in a storm on its way from Rio de Janeiro to Paris on June 1 with the loss of all 228 people on board.

According to Colonel Xavier Mulot, of the French air transport gendarmes in charge of the judicial investigation into the crash, the 50 victims recovered so far "did not die by drowning."

Forty-three bodies have been formally identified, of which 17 are French nationals including the pilot and three other crew members.

Some 650 pieces of debris from Air France Flight 447 -- from lifejackets to sections of flooring and its entire tailfin -- arrived in southern France Tuesday to be analysed at a defence ministry laboratory.

The French bureau leading the crash investigation, the BEA, said this month, based on an initial study of the debris, that the plane was intact when it hit the ocean, but that the cause of the crash was still unknown.

Analysis of the debris would continue at the aeronautical lab under the supervision of the BEA and French air transport gendarmes.

The first results of the analysis were expected to be available by the end of the month, said gendarme chief General David Galtier, with a second shipment of some 450 pieces of debris is set to arrive in early August.

French submarines are also next week to resume the search for the flight recorders of the Air France plane, that are likely plunged as deep as 3,500 metres (11,500 feet) under water.

Search teams deployed after the June 1 crash of Flight AF 447 stopped monitoring last Saturday for the remote signals of the so-called "black boxes," which are designed to emit for at least 30 days.

From next week, French submarines will attempt to physically track down the devices, in a second search phase lasting around a month.
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Old July 18th, 2009, 08:51 PM   #183
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Guyana fisherman finds possible debris from Air France crash; officials contact Brazil
18 July 2009

GEORGETOWN, Guyana (AP) - A fisherman in Guyana apparently has found a large piece of a plane that authorities suspect might belong to the Air France jet that crashed in the Atlantic Ocean, an aviation official said Saturday.

The 30-foot-long piece of what appears to be aircraft fuselage washed up on a beach in the South American country this week, said Paula McAdam, deputy director of Guyana's Civil Aviation Authority.

The Brazilian Embassy said it would send experts to examine the debris, she said.

An Air France flight that departed neighboring Brazil on June 1 crashed into the ocean more than 900 miles (1,450 kilometers) off that country's northeastern coast. All 228 people aboard died.

French officials expect to begin a new underwater search next week to look for more wreckage.

Guyana fisherman Denis Baksh told local media that he took the aircraft part home on Wednesday after spotting it while heading out to sea.

Discarded portions of space rockets launched from a European facility in nearby French Guiana often wash up on local beaches weeks after a launch.

Arianespace last launched a rocket on July 1.

Guyana and French Guiana are located just north of Brazil.
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Old July 23rd, 2009, 09:42 PM   #184
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Air France crash families to get access to probe files
23 July 2009
Agence France Presse

Families of the victims of last month's Air France crash in the Atlantic have registered as civil plaintiffs in the French courts to gain access to the case files, officials said Thursday.

France's federation of victims of collective accidents, Fenvac, and 36 families related to passengers of the Rio-to-Paris flight, have signed up as plaintiffs in the French judicial investigation into the June 1 crash.

The head of an association representing families of those killed in the crash of flight 447 earlier this month accused Air France of keeping relatives in the dark about the accident.

The flight crashed in a storm on its way from Rio de Janeiro to Paris on June 1 with the loss of all 228 people on board, including 72 French nationals.

The French bureau leading the technical side of the investigation said this month, based on an initial study of crash debris, that the plane was intact when it hit the ocean, but the cause of the crash is still unknown.
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Old July 30th, 2009, 06:07 PM   #185
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Airbus to fund extra search for Air France black box

PARIS, July 30 (Reuters) - Airbus will help fund an extended search for flight recorders and debris of an Air France airliner that crashed into the Atlantic last month, a newspaper said on Thursday.

Flight AF 447 from Rio de Janeiro to Paris crashed on June 1, killing all 228 people on board, but investigators have found only 4 to 5 percent of the disintegrated plane, La Tribune said.

Citing Airbus Chief Executive Tom Enders, the paper said the company would spend some 12-20 million euros over at least three months to support a public investigation into the crash.

Investigators have so far failed to pick up any signals emitted by the "black box" recorders. The extra financing would allow them to extend the search beyond the Aug. 22 deadline and use two or three boats as well as at least one mini-submarine.

The paper said Airbus still hoped to find the black boxes, which in some other cases had been found months after a crash.

Evidence from recovered wreckage indicates the plane was broken apart by impact with the water, which it struck facing downwards.
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Old August 8th, 2009, 10:53 AM   #186
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August 8, 2009 Saturday
Airspeed systems failed on US jets
AP

On at least a dozen recent flights by U.S. jetliners, malfunctioning equipment made it impossible for pilots to know how fast they were flying, federal investigators have discovered. A similar breakdown is believed to have played a role in the Air France crash into the Atlantic that killed all 228 people aboard in June.

The discovery suggests the equipment problems are more widespread than previously believed. And it gives new urgency to airlines already scrambling to replace air sensors and figure out how the errors went undetected despite safety systems.

The equipment failures, all involving Northwest Airlines Airbus A330s, were brief and were noticed only
after safety officials began investigating the Air France crash on a Rio de Janeiro to Paris flight and two other recent in-flight malfunctions. The failures were described by people familiar with the investigation who spoke only on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to comment publicly.

While a car's speedometer uses tire rotation to calculate speed, an airplane relies on sensors known as Pitot tubes to measure changing air pressure. Computers interpret that information as speed. And while a car with a broken speedometer might be little more than an inconvenience, many airplane control systems rely on accurate speed information to work properly.

Like the fatal Air France flight, the newly discovered Northwest incidents and the two other malfunctions under investigation all involved planes with sensors made by the European electronics giant Thales Corp. The Air France
crash called into question the reliability of the sensors and touched off a rush to replace them.

Many companies, however, simply replaced them with another Thales model. As it became clear the problem was more widespread, Airbus and European regulators told companies to replace at least two of the three sensors on each plane with models made by North Carolina-based Goodrich Corp.

The planes are allowed to continue flying while the switch is made.

Thales officials declined to comment. The company has previously said its sensors were made to Airbus specifications.

The Northwest incidents were discovered when Delta Air Lines, which merged with Northwest last year, reviewed archived flight data for its fleet of 32 Airbus A330s, the people close to the inquiry said. All of the incidents took place in the Intertropical Convergence Zone, which extends from 5 degrees north of the equator to 5 degrees south, and all the planes involved landed safely, they said.

Aviation experts said the discovery could provide clues to what caused Air France Flight 447 to crash into the Atlantic en route from Brazil to France on June 1, and what might be done to prevent future tragedies.

French investigators have focused on the possibility that Flight 447's sensors iced over and sent false speed information to the computers as the plane ran into a thunderstorm at about 35,000 feet.

An important part of the investigation focuses on 24 automatic messages the plane sent during its final minutes. They show the autopilot was not working, but it is unclear whether the pilots shut it off or whether it shut down because of the conflicting airspeed readings.

Three weeks after the Air France crash, the U.S. National Transportation Safety Board announced it was investigating two other A330 flights that experienced a loss of airspeed data.

The most recent was on June 23, when a Northwest flight hit rain and turbulence while on autopilot outside of Kagoshima, Japan. According to an NTSB report, speed data began to fluctuate. The plane alerted pilots it was going too fast. Autopilot and other systems began shutting down, putting nearly all the plane's control in the hands of the pilot, something that usually happens only in emergencies.

In May, a plane belonging to Brazilian company TAM Airlines lost airspeed and altitude data while flying from Miami to Sao Paulo, Brazil. Autopilot and automatic power also shut down and the pilot took over, according to an NTSB report. The computer systems came back about five minutes later.

"These two cases we know were dealt with effectively by the crew, and we think this happened in Air France and maybe wasn't dealt with effectively," said Bill Voss, president of the Flight Safety F,oundation in Alexandria, Va., an aviation safety think tank.

Morgan Durrant, a spokesman for the only other U.S. airline that operates A330s, US Airways, said it had not seen similar problems in its 11-plane fleet of the jetliners.

Delta/Northwest and US Airways recently completed replacing older Thales tubes with new Thales tubes. The companies say they are now replacing them with Goodrich tubes.

In June, the Air France pilots' unions urged its members to refuse to fly Airbus A330s and A340s unless their Thales sensors had been replaced.

The Federal Aviation Administration hasn't issued a safety directive, but spokeswoman Laura Brown said the agency hopes to have one soon.
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Old August 8th, 2009, 11:49 AM   #187
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This A330 is really proving to be a very dangerous aircraft with those Pitot tubes. Unfortunately there's no way of finding out the model of the Pitot tubes on your aircraft.
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Old August 9th, 2009, 06:22 PM   #188
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Is this purely an A330 problem or it's for all Airbus planes?
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Old August 11th, 2009, 02:18 AM   #189
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Quote:
Originally Posted by hkskyline View Post
Is this purely an A330 problem or it's for all Airbus planes?
its not airbus problem, its not A330 problem, it a company that makes pitot tubes is a problem.

Quote:
Delta/Northwest and US Airways recently completed replacing older Thales tubes with new Thales tubes. The companies say they are now replacing them with Goodrich tubes.
Quote:
This A330 is really proving to be a very dangerous aircraft with those Pitot tubes
Funny it is the best selling aircraft too
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Old August 11th, 2009, 02:44 AM   #190
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Quote:
Originally Posted by webeagle12 View Post
its not airbus problem, its not A330 problem, it a company that makes pitot tubes is a problem.
Thales
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Old August 27th, 2009, 05:43 PM   #191
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Brazilian relatives of Air France crash victims request criminal investigation
27 August 2009

SAO PAULO (AP) - Relatives of Brazilian passengers who perished on an Air France jetliner that crashed over the Atlantic Ocean are demanding a criminal investigation.

Government news service Agencia Brasil says the association representing the victims' relatives filed a petition with the federal attorney general's office requesting "an investigation against the possible culprits of the accident."

Air France Flight 447 crashed June 1 en route to Paris from Rio de Janeiro, killing all 228 people on board.

Calls to Air France's press office remained unanswered.

Agencia Brasil reported the demands on Wednesday.
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Old September 2nd, 2009, 01:04 PM   #192
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Air France crash probe could take 'year and a half'
31 August 2009
Agence France Presse

French investigators could take up to a year and a half to wrap up their probe of the mysterious crash of an Air France jetliner into the Atlantic that left 228 dead, the head of the inquiry said Monday.

Paul-Louis Arslanian, the director of the BEA air accident investigation agency, said the hunt for the Airbus A330's black boxes would resume in autumn and that other countries would be invited to take part in the search.

Air France Flight 447 from Rio de Janeiro to Paris crashed into the ocean on June 1 and was ripped apart. Just before dropping off radar screens it had emitted a series of automatic warning signals indicating systems failures.

"For the moment, we can't explain the accident," Arslanian told journalists. "We still don't know what caused the AF447 accident."

A second BEA interim report will be ready within a few weeks but he said this would not nail down the cause of the crash and that families might have to wait "a year or a year and a half" for the conclusions.

Arslanian said the deep-sea hunt for the plane's black boxes would resume "in autumn" after two previous sweeps failed to find them, one of them seeking a locator signal and another using deep-sea exploration technology.

The third phase of the search will cost more than 10 million euros (14 million dollars), perhaps many times more, he said. Airbus had previously said it would contribute to the costs of the investigation.

The president of a group representing victims' families welcomed the decision to press ahead with a third attempt to find the black boxes, which contain vital information on the flight's final minutes.

"Airbus has said it was willing to put 12 to 20 million euros on the table to continue the search for the black boxes. This is good news for the families," said Christophe Guillot-Noel.

"The company has a major interest in the search because the black boxes will establish whether or not Airbus has responsibility in the accident," he told AFP.

Some of the relatives of the crash victims have already begun to point the finger at the jet's air speed monitors, which they say were faulty and to blame for the deaths.

In particular, they have alleged that Airbus and Air France knew about longstanding concerns over the A330's Pitots but had failed to replace them.

Analysis of the error messages indicated a problem with the Airbus jet's "Pitot probes" -- air speed monitors -- but the BEA said in a July 2 interim report only that this was a "factor, not the cause" of the crash.

Pilots say it is extremely difficult to control a modern jet, particularly at high speed and altitude in tropical weather, when the plane's three Pitots are recording conflicting, false or absent air speed data.

Since the crash, both the European air safety agency and planemaker Airbus have advised airlines to replace the Pitot probes used on the doomed jet with a more reliable model made by a US firm.

All Air France pilots will also undergo a new flight simulator training to reproduce the rapid loss of data at high altitude which occurred on board the doomed flight, Erick Derivry of France's airline pilots' union told AFP.

Arslanian said his bureau was still awaiting detailed autopsy reports carried out by Brazilian authorities on the bodies recovered from the crash site, some 1,000 kilometres (600 miles) off Brazil's coast.

The crash of the passenger jet was the worst in Air France's 75-year history.
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Old September 2nd, 2009, 05:14 PM   #193
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Air France Pilots: Co Covering Up Brazil Crash Cause - Report
2 September 2009

LONDON (Dow Jones)--Air France-KLM (AF.FR) pilots have accused the company of trying to cover up the cause of the Airbus crash that killed 228 people off the coast of Brazil earlier this year, U.K. daily The Times reports Wednesday.

"They are trying to blame the pilots, they do not want the truth," said Gerard Arnoux, a spokesman for the Union of Air France Pilots. "The architecture of the Airbus systems is in question."

Earlier this week, the French Bureau of Investigation and Analysis said the plane's crew had been at fault.
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Old September 3rd, 2009, 05:43 PM   #194
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FAA orders replacement of airspeed sensors suspect in Air France accident that killed 228
3 September 2009

WASHINGTON (AP) - Federal safety officials are ordering the replacement of Airbus airspeed sensors of the kind suspected of playing a role in loss of Air France Flight 447 and all 228 aboard in June.

The Federal Aviation Administration said in a notice published Thursday that U.S. airlines operating Airbus A330s and A340s must replace at least two of three sensors on the plane made by European electronics giant Thales Corp. Approved replacements are made by North Carolina-based Goodrich Corp. The order affects 43 planes operated by Northwest Airlines and US Airways. FAA said the sensors can become blocked by ice crystals at high altitudes.

The European aviation safety agency finalized a similar order on Aug. 31.
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Old September 5th, 2009, 04:42 PM   #195
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Nice move...hope they also do something about GPS too. Its retarded in this age and era to not know exactly where every plane is every second (OK..maybe minute) of its flight.
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Old September 7th, 2009, 01:16 PM   #196
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Airbus mulls replacing black box after AF447 crash

PARIS, Sept 4 (Reuters) - Airbus is looking at replacing black boxes on aircraft with a satellite system after investigators have so far been unable to recover the flight recorders from the Air France jet which crashed on June 1.

The planemaker is also willing to provide "significant financial support" for a further attempt to recover the remains of flight AF447 to find the cause of the accident, Chief Executive Tom Enders told Le Parisien newspaper in an interview.

"To improve air transport safety further in the future, we have to be sure we can retrieve all flight data in the case of an accident," Enders said.

Airbus is looking at improving the current system, possibly by sending the most important information in real time via satellite, Enders said. This was already done with data linked to the maintenance of aircraft.

"It's a subject we're working on with our partners and our suppliers," he told the newspaper.

France's BEA air crash investigation board said on Monday it wanted to launch an expanded international effort to find the missing wreckage and flight recorders of the Air France jet. [ID:nLV89335]

Around a thousand fragments of the Airbus A330, which crashed killing 228 people, have been examined but most of the aircraft is still missing and it is still too early to say for certain what caused the accident, the BEA said.

Enders told Le Parisien that while the so-called Pitot probes, or speed sensors, may have been a factor, they were not the main reason for the crash.

The fresh search would involve sending sonars or robots to the seabed of the Atlantic, up to 4,000 metres below the surface, and is expected to cost several tens of millions of euros.
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Old September 16th, 2009, 08:53 AM   #197
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Air France Asks Delta to Help Assess Safety Practices
16 September 2009
The Wall Street Journal Online

PARIS -- Air France has taken the unusual step of asking U.S. partner Delta Air Lines Inc. to help assess its internal safety practices following the crash of an Air France jetliner in June that killed 228 people.

"We have asked our American partner to conduct an audit," said Véronique Brachet, a spokeswoman for the French carrier. But she said talks with Delta, which has a marketing alliance with Air France, haven't been finalized.

A Delta spokeswoman declined to comment.

Air France Chief Executive Pierre-Henri Gourgeon said in a recent interview that the Air France-KLM SA unit would commission outside analysts to review its safety practices, in part because the crash remains unsolved. Mr. Gourgeon wants these auditors to do a top-to-bottom analysis and come up with a handful of big ideas to help Air France improve its long-term approach to safety.

"Safety is a dynamic thing," he said. "The risk is to say, 'We've done our work, so let's stop.'"

French search teams have been unable to locate wreckage of the Air France Airbus A330, which plunged from high altitude into deep waters about halfway between Brazil and Senegal. As a result, it remains unclear what role various factors played in the crash. Bad weather, technical problems and pilot error are all suspected of having contributed, but without more evidence, the airline and regulators are stymied in efforts to prevent a recurrence.

The crash has focused attention on Air France's safety record and pilot training. The carrier has had four significant accidents since 1999. Mr. Gourgeon said that before the crash, Air France's accident record was better than the global airline-industry average but now is average.

Mr. Gourgeon said the crash has been traumatic for employees and has increased tensions within the airline. He said that since the accident, Air France has seen a slight uptick in absenteeism among long-haul flight attendants. He acknowledged the airline has been repeatedly criticized by some of its smaller pilots unions for perceived safety lapses.

Gérard Arnoux, head of SPAF, one of those small unions, said: "There is a problem with our safety culture. Our ranking is not good."

Mr. Gourgeon said he hopes the planned audit will address such concerns. He said the cause of the crash may never be known, so Air France is addressing a broad range of possible problems behind it. "Even if we don't know the reason, people must be certain that no stone has been left unturned," he said.

Delta has a strong safety record. Its namesake carrier hasn't had an accident or significant safety incident since 1998, according to the Aviation Safety Network, a Web site that tracks such events. But Delta's Comair unit had a fatal crash in 2006.

In the late 1990s, Korean Air, then plagued by safety lapses, tackled those problems in part by enlisting Delta's aid; Delta, which had refused to sell tickets on Korean Air flights, conducted a safety audit for the carrier. But rarely, if ever, has a major Western airline like Air France turned to another for safety recommendations.

Since the June crash, Air France has already increased pilot training and altered some of its safety routines, Mr. Gourgeon said.
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Old September 22nd, 2009, 05:27 AM   #198
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Air France crash: Documents show trouble with airspeed sensors dated back at least 7 years
21 September 2009

PARIS (AP) - Airbus knew since at least 2002 about problems with the type of speed sensor that malfunctioned on an Air France passenger plane that went down in June, the Associated Press has learned. But air safety authorities did not order their replacement until after the crash, which killed all 228 people aboard.

The tubes, about the size of an adult hand and fitted to the underbelly of a plane, are vulnerable to blockage from water and icing. Experts have suggested that Flight 447's sensors, made by French company Thales SA, may have iced over and sent false speed information to the computers as the plane ran into a thunderstorm at about 35,000 feet (10,600 meters).

The exact role the sensors -- known as Pitots -- played in the crash may never be known without the flight recorders, which have not been recovered and which have stopped emitting signals. Investigators insist sensor malfunction was not the cause of the crash, but many pilots think false speed readings may have triggered a chain of events that doomed the plane.

Airbus spokesman Stefan Schaffrath skirted questions about whether the risk associated with faulty airspeed data was underestimated, saying only that an initial report into the crash shows faulty Pitots "played a role but it does not explain the full accident."

The plane was flying from Rio de Janeiro back to the French capital when it went down in a remote area of the Atlantic, 1,500 kilometers (930 miles) off Brazil's mainland and far from radar coverage. Automatic messages transmitted by the plane show its computer systems no longer knew its speed, and the automatic pilot and thrust functions were turned off.

Several European airline pilots, including former Air France captain Gerard Feldzer, believe a reading of the messages suggests Air France pilots were suddenly forced to take manual control in near impossible conditions: a cockpit ringing with warning bells and flashing lights, some of them contradictory, with few clues to speed, altitude and nighttime weather conditions.

"It's very difficult when you are already experiencing turbulence in the middle of the night, to know what to do," said Feldzer, adding that the plane's automated warning system could have been issuing incorrect instructions. "It's very difficult to resist what you are being ordered to do because they are false orders."

Air France is now starting a training program for pilots on how to manage a Pitot malfunction at high altitudes of the type experienced on Flight 447. Previously, Air France had only offered simulator training for Pitot malfunction on take-off and landing.

Pilots are angry about what they see as an attempt to pin the crash on pilot error. Eric Tahon, an Air France pilot, defended the role of the Flight 447 crew.

"We are trained to deal with multiple failures of the plane," he said. "We are convinced that without the breakdown of the Pitots, Air France 447 that day would have set down at (Paris') Roissy (airport)."

Feldzer, however, said that while the dangers now appear to have been underestimated, he believes Airbus and Air France would not have risked their reputations had they thought Pitot faults were critical.

A series of industry documents verified by investigators show that regular warnings on Airbus Pitots popped up as far back as 1994, although for a different model that was later banned in 2001 by French aviation officials.

An Airbus memo from July 2002 warns of blocked drainage holes on the Thales AA Pitot -- the type fitted onto the doomed Air France jet -- and says "this issue can affect all Airbus aircraft fitted with Thales Pitot probes."

Airbus recommended replacing Thales Pitots with a newer model in 2007 but did not make the change mandatory. And Air France decided to replace Pitots on its longer range Airbus fleet only when they broke down.

Air France says it started having problems with speed-measuring equipment on long-range Air France A330 and A340 jets in May 2008, which Airbus blamed on ice crystals blocking Pitot tubes. But functioning sensors were not replaced at that stage.

Paul-Louis Arslanian, head of BEA, the French agency investigating the crash, said the body knew of around seven Pitot incidents on long range planes of the A330-A340 family before the crash, and that Airbus knew of around 20. Europe's air safety authorities say they had been monitoring Thales Pitots on A330-340 long-range planes since 2008, when it was aware of nine incidents of malfunctions.

Michael Barr, who teaches aviation safety at the University of Southern California, said it appears Airbus recognized the Pitot problem needed to be fixed but did not make it an urgent priority.

"What they hoped for was that the perfect storm wouldn't come up before they got it fixed," Barr said. "They were in the process of doing that when this one hit that perfect storm over the ocean."

The cost of replacing all Pitots on a worldwide fleet of planes is hardly major: For Air France, a full speed-sensor overhaul on its A330-A340 fleet would cost around euro153,000 ($222,000), according to AP calculations based on pilot estimates. Both Thales and Goodrich declined to disclose the cost of their sensors.

But if prosecutors rule that the crash could have been avoided, the financial penalties and loss of reputation for Air France and especially Airbus, whose aircraft fill the skies every day, would be devastating.

There is no hard evidence that faulty Pitots caused the Air France crash, and in past reported incidents of Pitot malfunction, pilots have been able to regain control of the plane. Furthermore, what looks to be a likely cause in the beginning of a crash investigation sometimes shifts after investigators get more information from the flight recorders.

However, more than two months after the crash, the European Aviation Safety Agency has reassessed the dangers of faulty Pitots, ordering a continent-wide ban on the types of Thales sensors that were fitted onto Flight 447 on all long range planes.

The directive also extends to a newer Thales model, of which there can no longer be more than one on each plane. EASA said at least two of the three probes fitted to each Airbus plane should be made by North Carolina-based Goodrich. This month the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration issued a similar directive for U.S. airlines.

The crash, and what EASA spokesman Daniel Hoeltgen calls "an avalanche" of reported Pitot problems among European carriers since the accident, has caused the industry to reconsider its view of the sensors.

"Prior to 2008, operators and manufacturers did not deem Pitot issues to be safety-critical," he said.

"Now, with all the reporting and testing that's going on, we're saying that we believe as a precautionary measure, that it would be best to have either 3 Goodrich probes or 2 Goodrich probes and 1 Thales."

In its airworthiness directive, EASA notes that faulty speed readings can lead to the disconnection of the autopilot and auto-thrust functions.

"Depending on the prevailing aeroplane altitude and weather environment, this condition could result in increased difficulty for the crew to control the aeroplane," the agency said.

The directive does not apply to the smaller single-aisle and shorter range A320s, because the rule is designed to address the type of Pitot malfunction that occurs only at the altitudes and temperatures flown by the longer-range planes.

The newer Thales model had addressed the different problem of water getting into the tubes but is not as good as the Goodrich probe in icy conditions, said EASA's Hoeltgen.

EASA has also received reports of incidents with Goodrich probes, but of a "lower magnitude" than with Thales Pitots. Hoeltgen said problems occur "no matter which make and series."

Airbus rival Boeing Co. admits to Pitot "incidents" on some of its planes, but says "unreliable airspeed due to Pitot icing or torrential rain is a temporary condition" and procedures exist "to ensure continued safe flight," according to spokeswoman Sandy Angers. She declined to say what make of Pitot Boeing uses on its planes, but said there have been no accidents "attributable to high-altitude icing of heated Pitot probes."

Experts caution that without more evidence it's impossible to pin blame on Pitots for the crash of Flight 447.

"Pitot tubes have been highlighted in regards to AF 447 but there are a whole bunch of other things that may have gone wrong," said Chris Yates, Janes' aviation security editor.

Still, with only the debris and a series of automatic messages transmitted from Flight 447 -- which highlight the Pitot problem -- some pilots are asking why top officials at Air France, Airbus and the BEA appear reluctant to talk about the role of the speed sensors.

Lead investigator Alain Bouillard says Pitots are "an element but not the cause." EADS CEO Louis Gallois insists that Flight 447 was brought down by a "convergence of different causes." Air France CEO Pierre-Henri Gourgeon says he's "not convinced that the sensors are the cause of the accident."

Leon Cremieux of the Sud Aerien union at Air France said airlines receive a lot of service bulletins and rely on planemakers and aviation authorities to flag urgent maintenance issues.

"There was a dialogue between Airbus and Air France" over the Pitots, he said. "Clearly it wasn't judged important enough to be a question of security."

Barr, the USC aviation safety professor, said serious efforts to correct safety problems in the airline industry tend to increase in direct proportion to the number of people killed, while too little action is often taken in response to incidents in which no one is killed.

It even has a name: blood priority.

"The more blood that is spilled, the more corrective action is taken. The less blood that is spilled, the less corrective action that's taken," Barr said.

----

Associated Press writers Helene Goupil in Paris and Joan Lowy in Washington, D.C., and APTN producer Jeffrey Schaeffer contributed to this report.
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Old October 14th, 2009, 05:24 AM   #199
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Brazil gives France data from doomed Air France flight
13 October 2009
Agence France Presse

Brazil on Tuesday handed French investigators documents from the investigation into the Air France disaster that killed 228 people on June 1, the Justice Ministry said.

Justice secretary Romeu Tuma welcomed a French delegation including investigating magistrate Sylvie Zimmerman and handed over documents on boarding, air traffic control and the state of bodies that were recovered, a ministry spokesman said.

Air France Flight 447 was flying from Rio de Janeiro to Paris during stormy weather when it crashed into a remote area of the Atlantic, about 1,000 kilometres (600 miles) off Brazil's coast.

Just before dropping off radar screens, it had emitted a series of automatic warning signals indicating systems failures.

The Airbus A330's black box flight recorders have not been found, but French investigators said in a report that the faulty speed sensors were not the only explanation for the accident.

Both the European air safety agency and Airbus advised airlines after the crash -- the worst in Air France's 75-year history -- to replace the French pitot tubes in the speed sensor mechanism used on the doomed jet with a more reliable US model.

The French air accident agency BEA said Monday it was planning to publish a further interim report before the end of the year. But the agency has previously said it might be more than a year before it publishes its final report.

The French investigators were expected to spend about 15 days in Brazil to visit the Rio de Janeiro international airport where the flight originated; and the airport in Pernambuco where the air traffic control center closest to the accident site is located.

The Airbus A330 went down on a flight from Rio to Paris in the mid-Atlantic between Brazil and Senegal, with 216 passengers and a crew of 12 on board. The victims were from 32 countries and included 72 French, 58 Brazilians and 26 Germans.
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Old October 20th, 2009, 05:58 PM   #200
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Airbus, others sued in US over crash off Brazil

ATLANTA, Oct 19 (Reuters) - A U.S. lawyer filed suit against planemaker Airbus SA and many aerospace suppliers on Monday seeking unspecified compensation on behalf of survivors of eight of the 228 passengers who died when an Air France flight crashed off the coast of Brazil in June.

The lawsuit said the plaintiffs, relatives of some of the dead from Air France Flight 447, have "suffered a loss of support" and other losses as a result of the deaths. The action was brought under the Illinois Wrongful Death Act and filed in the Circuit Court of Cook County, Illinois.

The Airbus A330 plane that crashed was "defective and unreasonably dangerous," the complaint states.

Other defendants include aircraft parts makers Honeywell International , General Electric Co , Rockwell Collins Inc , Thales SA and chip maker Intel Corp .

Airbus, a unit of EADS , had no comment. "We are aware of it. We do not comment on lawsuits," an Airbus Americas communications manager, Mary Anne Greczyn, said in an email.

Flight 447 plunged into the Atlantic Ocean after it took off from Rio de Janiero headed for Paris on June 1, killing 228 people. Investigators have said they do not yet know what caused the crash of the Airbus A330 aircraft, and the investigation could take another year.

"We're just seeking fair compensation, financial support for their losses," said Floyd Wisner, the aviation accident lawyer who filed the complaint. He said the plaintiffs included parents, spouses and children of victims of the crash who were from Hungary, France, Argentina and other countries.

"There is no evidence that any Honeywell product on board Flight 447 was defective or malfunctioned in any way." Honeywell International said in a statement.

"Because neither the black boxes nor the bulk of the wreckage has been found, the complaint filed in Cook County, Illinois, is only speculation. We will aggressively defend our reputation and products and continue to utilize our technologies to help ensure that such a tragic event can be avoided in the future," the Honeywell statement added.

Intel said in a statement that after an initial review, it doesn't believe the complaint has merit as it relates to the chip maker.

Intel spokesman Chuck Mulloy said in the statement that the complaint makes no specific allegations against Intel, only general allegations. "Intel has not sold components into the aerospace market for well over a decade," Mulloy said. "So as it relates to Intel, the case is without merit."

Among other defendants, Rockwell Collins said it does not comment on pending litigation. Representatives for United Technologies unit Hamilton Sundstrand and GE said their companies hadn't seen the suit and couldn't comment.

Motorola Inc , Thales, du Pont Co , Goodrich Corp and Raychem Co did not immediately return requests for comment. Judd Wire Co could not be reached to comment.

In August, Reuters reported from France that the family of a flight attendant who died in the crash was seeking legal action against Air France, according to its lawyer.
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