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Our aviation correspondent writes in

Following this research into GE-made Airbus engines cutting out in ice, he say:

So far as the GE-powered AF 447 is concerned, the potential woes go on mounting:

* Dodgy AF training for weather
* Failure to change course for weather
* Sensors buggered by extreme temperature and/or turbulence
* Avionics gave up – handed control to pilots
* Who were probably asleep when the woes started
* And probably were only two junior officers (captain on rest break)
* Engines vulnerable to flame-out
* Plane previously damaged
* etc., etc.,

I’m continuing to avoid AF.

I also note that the French authorities leading the search failed – despite having a nuclear submarine easily capable of deep-water searches – to find the black boxes that would have shown whether the crash was the fault of the French national airline, the French national aircraft manufacturer, or something mysterious and improbably neither-of-the-above. This is my ‘shocked’ face.

Update: Air France has great deals in international flights right now. See also: hotels in Xinjiang, greased-pig-racing weekends, Labour prospective candidatures, etc.

  1. dan
    July 15, 2009 at 5:08 am | #1

    Sorry for the OT reply, but did you realise your RSS feed isn't showing a full preview? It's been truncated for a couple of weeks.

  2. July 15, 2009 at 5:23 am | #2

    Fixed, hopefully. The last WordPress update lost the feed settings, kinda (well, it was still displayed as 'full' in the control planel, but actually was truncated. Eh well, YGWYPF).

  3. July 15, 2009 at 9:18 pm | #3

    * Dodgy AF training for weather

    This is badly in need of supporting information

    * Failure to change course for weather

    Speculative. We still don't actually know where the plane ended up

    * Sensors buggered by extreme temperature and/or turbulence

    This is a fact

    * Avionics gave up – handed control to pilots

    Autopilot disconnects are not rare or remarkable events. Further, would you really want an autoflight system to keep following unreliable data?

    * Who were probably asleep when the woes started

    Speculative (not to mention libellous and probably motivated by anti-French prejudice)

    * And probably were only two junior officers (captain on rest break)

    All the crew had thousands of hours on type

    * Engines vulnerable to flame-out

    An interesting possibility; you have to wonder about the (RR powered) BA038 Heathrow glider incident as well…

    * Plane previously damaged

    Not heard of that one.

  4. July 15, 2009 at 9:27 pm | #4

    AF's history of poor coping with weather incidents is well documented; and AF447 definitely (as far as 'definitely' goes) stayed on its originally planned course longer than several other planes flying that night.

    Not libellous, as dead, although knowing our aviation correspondent I'd probably accept it was motivated by anti-French prejudice…

    & see http://www.jacdec.de/news/years/ALL2006.txt and search for F-GZCP

  5. July 17, 2009 at 9:09 am | #5

    AF447 definitely (as far as ‘definitely’ goes) stayed on its originally planned course longer than several other planes flying that night

    We know remarkably little about where the aircraft ended up; I'm keen on the "well south-east of the last known position" option.

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