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Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Egypt Air 990, Malaysia Air 370 and... Germanwings 9525?

Am I the only one with the sickening feeling that the unexplained loss of Germanwings 9525 may be yet another pilot suicide? (I know I'm not because someone already emailed me with the same suspicion).
French Interior Minister Bernard Cazeneuve said a black box had been found, but did not say whether it was a data recorder or a cockpit voice recorder.
“A black box was found and will be delivered to investigators,” Cazeneuve told reporters.
The crew of the Germanwings flight did not send a distress signal, civil aviation authorities told AFP.
“The crew did not send a Mayday. It was air traffic control that decided to declare the plane was in distress because there was no contact with the crew of the plane,” the source said.
France’s junior transport minister said there were no survivors from the crash.
Photos of crash site from the La Provence newspaper showed scattered black flecks across a mountain and several larger airplane body sections with windows, five in one chunk and four in another. French officials said a helicopter crew that landed briefly in the area saw no signs of life.
“Everything is pulverized. The largest pieces of debris are the size of a small car. No one can access the site from the ground,” Gilbert Sauvan, president of the general council, Alpes-de-Haute-Provence, told The Associated Press.
Germanwings said Flight 9525 carried 144 passengers, including two babies, and six crew members. Officials believe 67 German nationals were on board, including 16 high school students on an exchange program from the German town of Haltern. Dutch officials said one citizen was killed.
And apparently one Israeli according to the article linked above. His name, like the pilot's, has not yet been released. 

For those who have forgotten....
At 0147:55, the relief first officer stated, "Look, here's the new first officer's pen. Give it to him please. God spare you,"9 and, at 0147:58, someone responded, "yeah." At 0148:03, the command captain stated, "Excuse me, [nickname for relief first officer], while I take a quick trip to the toilet...before it gets crowded. While they are eating, and I'll be back to you." While the command captain was speaking, the relief first officer responded, "Go ahead please," and the CVR recorded the sound of an electric seat motor as the captain maneuvered to leave his seat and the cockpit. At 0148:18.55, the CVR recorded a sound similar to the cockpit door operating. At 0148:30, about 11 seconds after the captain left the cockpit, the CVR recorded an unintelligible comment.10 Ten seconds later (about 0148:40), the relief first officer stated quietly, "I rely on God."11 There were no sounds or events recorded by the flight recorders that would indicate that an airplane anomaly or other unusual circumstance preceded the relief first officer's statement, "I rely on God."
At 0149:18, the CVR recorded the sound of an electric seat motor. FDR data indicated that, at 0149:45 (27 seconds later), the autopilot was disconnected.12 Aside from the very slight movement of both elevators (the left elevator moved from about a 0.7° to about a 0.5° nose-up deflection, and the right elevator moved from about a 0.35° nose-up to about a 0.3° nose-down deflection)13 and the airplane's corresponding slight nose-down pitch change, which were recorded within the first second after autopilot disconnect, and a very slow (0.5° per second) left roll rate, the airplane remained essentially in level flight about FL 330 for about 8 seconds after the autopilot was disconnected. At 0149:48, the relief first officer again stated quietly, "I rely on God." At 0149:53, the throttle levers were moved from their cruise power setting to idle, and, at 0149:54, the FDR recorded an abrupt nose-down elevator movement and a very slight movement of the inboard ailerons. Subsequently, the airplane began to rapidly pitch nose down and descend.
Between 0149:57 and 0150:05, the relief first officer quietly repeated, "I rely on God," seven additional times.14 During this time, as a result of the nose-down elevator movement, the airplane's load factor15 decreased from about 1 to about 0.2 G.16 Between 0150:04 and 0150:05 (about 10 to 11 seconds after the initial nose-down movement of the elevators), the FDR recorded additional, slightly larger inboard aileron movements, and the elevators started moving further in the nose-down direction. Immediately after the FDR recorded the increased nose-down elevator movement, the CVR recorded the sounds of the captain asking loudly (beginning at 0150:06), "What's happening? What's happening?," as he returned to the cockpit.
The airplane's load factor decreased further as a result of the increased nose-down elevator deflection, reaching negative G loads (about -0.2 G) between 0150:06 and 0150:07. During this time (and while the captain was still speaking [at 0150:07]), the relief first officer stated for the tenth time, "I rely on God." Additionally, the CVR transcript indicated that beginning at 0150:07, the CVR recorded the "sound of numerous thumps and clinks," which continued for about 15 seconds.
According to the CVR and FDR data, at 0150:08, as the airplane exceeded its maximum operating airspeed (0.86 Mach), a master warning alarm began to sound. (The warning continued until the FDR and CVR stopped recording at 0150:36.64 and 0150:38.47, respectively.)17 Also at 0150:08, the relief first officer stated quietly for the eleventh and final time, "I rely on God," and the captain repeated his question, "What's happening?" At 0150:15, the captain again asked, "What's happening, [relief first officer's first name]? What's happening?" At this time, as the airplane was descending through about 27,300 feet msl, the FDR recorded both elevator surfaces beginning to move in the nose-up direction. Shortly thereafter, the airplane's rate of descent began to decrease.18 At 0150:21, about 6 seconds after the airplane's rate of descent began to decrease, the left and right elevator surfaces began to move in opposite directions; the left surface continued to move in the nose-up direction, and the right surface reversed its motion and moved in the nose-down direction.
The FDR data indicated that the engine start lever switches for both engines moved from the run to the cutoff position between 0150:21 and 0150:23.19 Between 0150:24 and 0150:27, the throttle levers moved from their idle position to full throttle, the speedbrake handle moved to its fully deployed position, and the left elevator surface moved from a 3º nose-up to a 1º nose-up position, then back to a 3º nose-up position.20 During this time, the CVR recorded the captain asking, "What is this? What is this? Did you shut the engine(s)?" Also, at 0150:26.55, the captain stated, "Get away in the engines,"21 and, at 0150:28.85, the captain stated, "shut the engines." At 0150:29.66, the relief first officer stated, "It's shut."
Between 0150:31 and 0150:37, the captain repeatedly stated, "Pull with me." However, the FDR data indicated that the elevator surfaces remained in a split condition (with the left surface commanding nose up and the right surface commanding nose down) until the FDR and CVR stopped recording at 0150:36.64 and 0150:38.47, respectively. (The last transponder [secondary radar] return from the accident airplane was received at the radar site at Nantucket, Massachusetts, at 0150:34.)22 [Footnote links may not work. CiJ]
As some of you may recall, after the NTSB investigation, the Egyptians continued to deny that the co-pilot had committed suicide and would not accept the NTSB report.
Malaysian Air 370:
As the video reports, the pilots apparently turned the jet at the perfect spot - at the point where the jet was handed off from Malaysian to Vietnamese controllers. But if the Malaysian authorities found anything in their homes, they're not saying.

The Malaysian government had been looking for a reason to search the home of the pilot and the co-pilot for several days. But it was only in the last 24 to 36 hours, when radar and satellite data came to light, that authorities believed they had sufficient reason to go through the residences, according to the U.S. official, who spoke on condition of anonymity.
"The Malaysians don't do this lightly," the official said. It's not clear whether the Malaysian government believes one or both the men could be responsible for what happened when the Boeing 777-200 ER disappeared March 8 en route from Kuala Lumpur to Beijing.
The officials emphasize that they don't know yet what really happened to the plane. But here's the best theory. To those of you who have been following it should sound familiar. It's the southern corridor theory.
Flight 370 took off from Kuala Lumpur at 12:41 a.m. on March 8. The last satellite communication from the plane occurred at 8:11 a.m., Najib said, well past the scheduled arrival time in Beijing.
That last communication, Najib said, was in one of two possible traffic corridors shown on a map released to the press. A northern arc stretches from the border of Kazakhstan and Turkmenistan to northern Thailand, and a southern arc spans from Indonesia to the southern Indian Ocean.
"Due to the type of satellite data, we are unable to confirm the precise location of the plane when it last made contact with the satellite," Najib said.
Because the northern parts of the traffic corridor include some tightly guarded airspace over India, Pakistan, and even some U.S. installations in Afghanistan, U.S. authorities believe it more likely the aircraft crashed into waters outside of the reach of radar south of India, a U.S. official told CNN. If it had flown farther north, it's likely it would have been detected by radar.
Nonetheless for the last 36 hours, the U.S. military and intelligence community has been reviewing all satellite imagery and electronic data it collects from the region for any sign of an explosion or crash, according to another U.S. official directly familiar with that effort.
Najib said authorities were ending search operations in the South China Sea and reassessing the deployment of assets.
"This new satellite information has a significant impact on the nature and scope of the search operation," he said.
Investigators, he said, have confirmed by looking at the raw satellite data that the plane in question was the Malaysia Airlines jet.
The same conclusion was reached by the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration, the U.S. National Transportation Safety Board, the British Air Accidents Investigation Branch and the Malaysian authorities, all of whom were working separately with the same data, he said.
Well, if it didn't crash it landed on some abandoned island somewhere in the middle of the Indian Ocean and we'll hear a ransom demand sometime soon. That appears unlikely. Given the level of satellite information available today, it seems really unlikely that there would be an airstrip in the middle of nowhere that could land a 777 that hasn't shown up on the satellite data.

If you're wondering how they flew out of the corridor undetected, this might have had something to do with it.
Hours before Najib's announcement, U.S. officials told CNN the flight had made drastic changes in altitude and direction after disappearing from civilian radar.
Malaysian military radar showed the plane climbing to 45,000 feet -- which is above its approved altitude limit -- soon after disappearing from civilian radar screens and then dropping to 23,000 feet before climbing again, a U.S. official familiar with the investigation said.
The jetliner was flying "a strange path," the official said on condition of anonymity. The details of the radar readings were first reported by The New York Times on Friday.
What's unsaid in all this is that Malaysia is - you guessed it - a Muslim country.  As is Egypt.
Here's betting that the pilot is not Amish, Baptist, Catholic, Jewish.... Hmmm.

PS My travel agent talked me out of that flight a few months ago. She hates double connections.

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4 Comments:

At 10:07 PM, Blogger Chrysler 300M said...

Airplane was 24yrs old, I guess technical defect, no pilot suicide & crash.

 
At 12:03 AM, Blogger Reliapundit said...

i would guess a shoolder held missile launched from the mountains by isis who smuggled it and dozens more across the mediterranean...

 
At 12:35 AM, Blogger Abrakodabra Kobra said...

no, this is a CFIT, but rather than controlled, they had pressurisation issues and incapacitation due to hypoxia is what I believe took place, as the flight path remained stable without any erratic changes. a320 has the mechanical backups necessary to deal with any situation, but according to flight data none of those were used. Sounds more like flight 522 from 2005 to me... The descent rate and stable glidepath suggests target altitude knob was dialed to the low value by one of already hypoxia-striken pilots.

 
At 9:33 PM, Blogger Oliver Grant said...

don't forget Silkair, same neighborhood as MH370. No media is mentioning possiblity of suicide attack or murder of pilots
http://ninjapundit.blogspot.com/2015/03/germanwings-flight-9525-deliberate-crash.html

 

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