Odds and Ends: AirAsia; Philippine Air, Russia defers

AirAsia: Group CEO Tony Fernandes made appearances on international news programs, providing his first interviews away from the direct events surrounding Flight 8501’s crash. Here is a transcript of his interview on Bloomberg News.

The interviews come as the first read-outs of the cockpit voice recorder and flight data recorder have been undertaken. Indonesian officials are quoted as saying the alarms overheard on the CVR were “screaming,” a description which has been criticized by some, who point out correctly that alarms don’t “scream.” This is certainly true, but we take a more charitable view about the term. This could be a reflection of English being a second language to the government officials and merely a translation issue.

Regardless, the data seems to confirm early reports that the flight was caught in massive up- and downdrafts that threw the airplane into a stall and out of control. Former NTSB crash investigator told us he believes the airplane went into a tight descending spiral and broke apart when it hit the water.

Philippine Air, Russia deferrals: PAL deferred 38 Airbus narrow- and widebody aircraft, according to this news report. Boeing is in talks to defer deliveries to Russian airlines, according to Bloomberg.

8 Comments on “Odds and Ends: AirAsia; Philippine Air, Russia defers

  1. That flight regime is way beyond my experience.

    My days of reading EK Gann though seems to recall you keep the aircraft level and rode it out.

    Someone on the commercial pilot level would need to chime in.

    One aspect that has struck me though is that as Pilot In Command, you can deviate from any instruction by ATC, tower or any other authority. If what he saw was that bad he should have deviated at least horizontally. Vertically again I have not experience to say if gaining a few thousand feet makes any difference.

    The pilot is held as the sole final responsible entity for the flight safety and if its to the extend he need to do so should

    Factors of course are that you don’t because routinely you never do for good reasons.

    Harks back to high school days and a raging argument with an English teacher on a short story about a radar control approach (Germany?) and who was in control of the aircraft. Pilot is, but I grew up with that and the teacher (and the book) said radar control and they were wrong

  2. I suspect we are going to see a lot more of the “deferrals” in the near future.

    Bad economy across the glob and the lower fuel prices may (may) mean cheaper seats that people can’t afford to fly in.

    One past comment on Boeings take on their “quality” vs Airbus “quantity aity”. My recollection is that Boeing had far more cancellations in some years than did Airbus and it seems to be a year to year situation.

    I would like to see a breakdown over the last 10 years of that data?

    Of course Airbus with its well paid for A320 can also afford to make deals than Boeing with the many times re-vamped 737 (my opinion only of course!)

  3. The ideal is that the controls will not let you exceed pre determined limits that are set into the computer program. You can’t exceed airframe limits.

    If all is normal, you can’t put the nose up high enough to stall an aircraft.

    But as these are computers, they have to be told when, what where, how and why of what your state is as computers are dumber than a box of rocks that have been programed to do clever things.

    Said computer (and envelope protection) also quits when certain things occur (like the speed disappears). Then it reverts to alternate law of even direct law (control) . At times a computer glich of bum info does things no one knew would occurs (zarks) that were not tested for in that exact failure.

    If you are trained on and then exposed to those transitions you can get in deep trouble.

    some like the Asianna crash where the pilot thought auto throttle would keep his speed up found out that Boeing does not do it the same way Airbus does.
    So what is intuitive in one system (or well done) is not the same in another though they share similar features.

    Boeing will let you bust through the control inhibitions and stall or exceed structural limits.

    While overall its made flying safer (for A and B aircraft) it still leaves holes and a dependency on the automation when flying skills are needed.

    The air crashes caused by the automations (or issue associated with it) are pretty well even between the mfgs, so there is no one right answer (or both are equally wrong).

    The right answer is that pilots still need to know how to fly the aircraft and the training and testing has left them (and the public) down.

    A lot of work being done on that now but its still early and not implemented across the industry and around the world.

  4. Tracking Aircraft:

    This in from the NTSB and the best overall look for what should be done.

    Notably are tamper proof transmitters that cannot be disabled and the cockpit video.

    One I think is a mistake is the ejecting devices. Those seem to be rife with issues when in fact if the other tracking mechanisms are put in place you get what you need.

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