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Question On AirTransat A310 Rudder Loss  
User currently offlineGearup From Canada, joined Dec 2000, 578 posts, RR: 1
Posted (9 years 1 month 2 weeks 5 hours ago) and read 2744 times:

I did a Google search to learn more about Airbus FBW control laws and I came across this site:

http://www.vialls.com/airbus/transat_flight_961.html

I was absolutely flabbergasted at the claims this guy is making and I don't know what to make of it however, the one question I have concerning what he says is this. In connection with the AirTransat vertical fin/rudder problem on their A310 flying between Cuba and Canada he claims that Fort Lauderdale, the closest large field, refused the pilot permission to land! Of all the things mentioned, this issue should be verifiable either way. Did this happen? If so, what's your thoughts on this? I am not taken in too easily by conspiracy theorists however, as I said whether AirTransat was refused landing should be easy to ascertain especially if the pilot told the pax on the aircraft's PA system. It seems hard to believe to me.

GU


I have no memory of this place.
18 replies: All unread, jump to last
 
User currently offlineMEA-707 From Netherlands, joined Nov 1999, 4328 posts, RR: 35
Reply 1, posted (9 years 1 month 2 weeks 5 hours ago) and read 2719 times:

I think the website is full of the well known conspiracy theories, I stopped reading after I read "Concorde sabotage" "Jews blew up PA103" and "Airbus sabotage" and lost interest. Probably the crew decided it was best and safest to return to Cuba instead.


nobody has ever died from hard work, but why take the risk?
User currently offlineSTARalliance24 From Canada, joined Jun 2005, 378 posts, RR: 2
Reply 2, posted (9 years 1 month 2 weeks 4 hours ago) and read 2681 times:

I read the article and have to say that what the Americans did was kinda stupid. Poor A310  cry 


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User currently offlineBurberry753 From United Kingdom, joined Jan 2005, 204 posts, RR: 0
Reply 3, posted (9 years 1 month 2 weeks 4 hours ago) and read 2674 times:

I'v Just flown that aircraft to YYZ in June! It was the best transatlantic flight I have ever taken! Alot of people slag off TS but they have pulled their socks up recently and are fantastic!!!  Smile

User currently offlineGearup From Canada, joined Dec 2000, 578 posts, RR: 1
Reply 4, posted (9 years 1 month 2 weeks 4 hours ago) and read 2671 times:

Quoting MEA-707 (Reply 1):
I think the website is full of the well known conspiracy theories, I stopped reading after I read "Concorde sabotage" "Jews blew up PA103" and "Airbus sabotage" and lost interest. Probably the crew decided it was best and safest to return to Cuba instead.

Hmmm, I am inclined to agree, it seems incomprehensible that any country would refuse a crippled airliner permission to land in an emergency. As for the rest of the article, where do these guys get this stuff from?

GU



I have no memory of this place.
User currently offlineHenpol747 From Mexico, joined Jun 2001, 588 posts, RR: 1
Reply 5, posted (9 years 1 month 2 weeks 4 hours ago) and read 2661 times:

Quoting MEA-707 (Reply 1):
I think the website is full of the well known conspiracy theories, I stopped reading after I read "Concorde sabotage" "Jews blew up PA103" and "Airbus sabotage" and lost interest.

I think the guy that wrote this article needs to have his facts wright, and really really needs some help ASAP!!!

Henpol747



Vive la France! ¡Viva México!
User currently offlineLitz From United States of America, joined Dec 2003, 1765 posts, RR: 0
Reply 6, posted (9 years 1 month 2 weeks 3 hours ago) and read 2612 times:
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I'll ask the obvious, though ...

If a rudder completely departed the tail, would the remaing vertical stabilizer surface be enough to keep the plane stable, if you steered with engine thrust and other flight controls?

This would obviously be a different scenario then, say, the AA crash right after 9/11 where the whole vert. stab. broke off ...

- litz


User currently offlineGearup From Canada, joined Dec 2000, 578 posts, RR: 1
Reply 7, posted (9 years 1 month 2 weeks 1 hour ago) and read 2562 times:

Quoting Litz (Reply 6):
If a rudder completely departed the tail, would the remaing vertical stabilizer surface be enough to keep the plane stable, if you steered with engine thrust and other flight controls?

Well it seems it was in this case. I guess the problem from the pilot's perspective is they really had no idea of the extent of the damage to the tail and how much stress it could handle in it's degraded state. It does not happen very often but control surfaces do part company with aircraft for one reason or another and it rarely results in a crash. The scenario you describe is an interesting one, controlling the aircraft using differential thrust etc. The United DC10 that crashed in Iowa a few years ago had lost all hydraulic power and that is exactly what the crew did to control it. It still crashed but they got the aircraft to an airport where there would be emergency medical services available which saved many lives that day. Awesome crew!

GU



I have no memory of this place.
User currently offlineBoeing4ever From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 8, posted (9 years 1 month 1 week 6 days 19 hours ago) and read 2465 times:

That site seems awfully the mirror of the rantings of a certain Aussie member on this site way back when in the old IRC days of A.net chat...username being the last word of this phrase..."You are the weakest link, *******!".

Seriously though, I've never seen such insanity. That guy needs to get out of the Outback sun.

 airplane B4e-Forever New Frontiers airplane 


User currently offline320tech From Turks and Caicos Islands, joined May 2004, 491 posts, RR: 5
Reply 9, posted (9 years 1 month 1 week 6 days 18 hours ago) and read 2430 times:

Jeez, you guys, don't believe everything you read, especially on the internet. This was well-discussed at the time of the incident. The Americans did not refuse landing clearance, the aircraft chose to return to Cuba.

By the way, while no one wants to fly without one, on a large airliner, the rudder is used mostly for engine out situations and crosswinds. It's not a major crisis to lose the rudder.



The primary function of the design engineer is to make things difficult for the manufacturer and impossible for the AME.
User currently offlineLitz From United States of America, joined Dec 2003, 1765 posts, RR: 0
Reply 10, posted (9 years 1 month 1 week 6 days 17 hours ago) and read 2404 times:
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Quoting Boeing4ever (Reply 8):
The scenario you describe is an interesting one, controlling the aircraft using differential thrust etc. The United DC10 that crashed in Iowa a few years ago had lost all hydraulic power and that is exactly what the crew did to control it. It still crashed but they got the aircraft to an airport where there would be emergency medical services available which saved many lives that day. Awesome crew!

Well, it's not just conjecture ... the DHL freighter hit by the RPG in iraq landed doing exactly that - the damage to the wing (if you've not seen the pics, google them ... it's jaw dropping) was so extensive they lost all hydraulics, just like the DC10.

The difference was two-fold ... 1) the Airbus in the DHL case had not cleaned up from slow/low speed flight, and therefore they could get back to the airfield at a landable speed (UA232 landed faster than a space shuttle both in speed and descent rate) and 2) due to UA232, they had practiced all-hydraulics-out situations in the simulator, and therefore had an inkling of what to do. Awesome airmanship in both these cases, for sure.

- litz


User currently offlineCaptaingomes From Canada, joined Feb 2001, 6413 posts, RR: 55
Reply 11, posted (9 years 1 month 1 week 6 days 17 hours ago) and read 2402 times:

Air Transat publicly stated that they were not declined from landing in the US. The pilots also didn't know how serious the problem was. They also knew the conditions in Cuba, plus a good runway, and maintenance staff located there. Given the information they had, they made the right choice. Also, the aircraft was still in the climb, so assuming they didn't need to make an emergency descent, they could just do a normal descent back to Cuba, and it wouldn't make a material difference in flight time as compared to diverting to Florida. The pilots did a great job.


"it's kind of like an Airbus, it's an engineering marvel, but there's no sense of passion" -- J. Clarkson re: Coxster
User currently offlineNAV20 From Australia, joined Nov 2003, 9909 posts, RR: 36
Reply 12, posted (9 years 1 month 1 week 6 days 17 hours ago) and read 2376 times:

Quoting Captaingomes (Reply 11):
Also, the aircraft was still in the climb

Not sure of that - this article (reprinted from 'Air Safety Week') says that it was 'cruising at 35,000 feet'.

http://www.findarticles.com/p/articl...005_March_21/ai_n13458444#continue

However, I don't think there is much mystery about the aircraft deciding to return to Cuba. It was flight-planned to overfly the USA and land at Quebec. The United States does not have diplomatic relations with Cuba, so allowing an aeroplane originating in Cuba to land at a US airport would involve both the State Department and 'Homeland Security' - and might be very upsetting for any Cuban passengers, who might have found themselves being interned for a while. It would maybe be different if the aircraft had declared a full emergency, but I would expect that they reported damage only, and were seeking permission to divert rather than make an emergency landing.

About the rudder, 320Tech is quite correct. The rudder is not used much in flight, it's main usefulness is for taxiing on the ground. You mainly turn by banking - using only a touch of rudder to prevent skidding as you enter the turn, and a touch of opposite rudder to hold the nose up while you are in the bank; but you could do the whole thing just with the ailerons and elevators if you needed to. You can even land in crosswinds without the rudder, by pointing the nose upwind on the approach, rather than countering the wind with a controlled bank and opposite rudder.

Not that I want to take anything away from the crew of this aeroplane. They obviously did a great job.

[Edited 2005-08-12 06:49:07]


"Once you have flown, you will walk the earth with your eyes turned skywards.." - Leonardo da Vinci
User currently offlineMonteycarlos From Australia, joined Mar 2005, 2107 posts, RR: 28
Reply 13, posted (9 years 1 month 1 week 6 days 15 hours ago) and read 2351 times:

Quoting NAV20 (Reply 12):
The rudder is not used much in flight, it's main usefulness is for taxiing on the ground.

Or you could use the nosewheel steering which would do it a whole lot faster. I'm not sure using the rudder on a commercial airliner would do much in the way of steering while taxiing.



It's a beautiful night to fly like a phoenix...
User currently offlinePipo777 From Venezuela, joined Jan 2005, 188 posts, RR: 2
Reply 14, posted (9 years 1 month 1 week 6 days 15 hours ago) and read 2338 times:

Quoting Monteycarlos (Reply 13):
Quoting NAV20 (Reply 12):
The rudder is not used much in flight, it's main usefulness is for taxiing on the ground.

Or you could use the nosewheel steering which would do it a whole lot faster. I'm not sure using the rudder on a commercial airliner would do much in the way of steering while taxiing.

I have to agree with Monteycarlos, when taxiing you would use the nosewheel steering because the rudder is pretty much useless at such low speeds...below Vmcg the rudder doesn't work very good...you would use the rudder to steer the aircraft in the take off and landing runs...


User currently offlineNAV20 From Australia, joined Nov 2003, 9909 posts, RR: 36
Reply 15, posted (9 years 1 month 1 week 6 days 15 hours ago) and read 2321 times:

OK fellers - for 'taxiing on the ground' read 'directional control on the ground'. Perhaps I'd better add in the 'differential braking' option as well.....

Wasn't talking specifically about airliners, I've never flown one. Nor anything with nosewheel steering. Seldom anything with more than one engine, come to that.  Smile I was merely trying to confirm that losing the rudder in the air is not quite as serious as losing some of the other control surfaces.



"Once you have flown, you will walk the earth with your eyes turned skywards.." - Leonardo da Vinci
User currently offlineMonteycarlos From Australia, joined Mar 2005, 2107 posts, RR: 28
Reply 16, posted (9 years 1 month 1 week 6 days 14 hours ago) and read 2306 times:

Quoting NAV20 (Reply 15):
I was merely trying to confirm that losing the rudder in the air is not quite as serious as losing some of the other control surfaces.

I'd prefer to have the rudder joined to the aircraft though.



It's a beautiful night to fly like a phoenix...
User currently offlineDH106 From United Kingdom, joined Jun 2005, 626 posts, RR: 1
Reply 17, posted (9 years 1 month 1 week 6 days 14 hours ago) and read 2283 times:

Quoting Litz (Reply 6):
If a rudder completely departed the tail, would the remaing vertical stabilizer surface be enough to keep the plane stable, if you steered with engine thrust and other flight controls?

Remember the JAL 747 that suffered rear pressure bulkhead failure, lost all hydraulics and subsequently crashed into mountainous terrain ? That aircraft lost virtually ALL of it's fin and rudder, and although it yawed and dutch-rolled pretty violently the crew were able to keep it airborne for quite some time, although not really under any sort of directional control.
I remember being amazed that this 747 didn't just immediately turn side on and break-up / spiral in as in the AA A300 after 9/11.
I believe the DHL 757 involved in the collision with a Tu154 over Germany in 2002 suffered the same fate as the A300 - loosing most of its fin in the collision.



...I watched c-beams glitter in the dark near the Tanhauser Gate....
User currently offlineNAV20 From Australia, joined Nov 2003, 9909 posts, RR: 36
Reply 18, posted (9 years 1 month 1 week 6 days 14 hours ago) and read 2275 times:

Air Transat 961 did in fact lose the entire rudder, except for one hinge:-

http://www.airdisaster.com/photos/c-gpat/photo.shtml

I read that, for obvious reasons (no view in flight), the crew didn't know that they'd actually lost it completely until they landed.

The really interesting question is what caused the rudder to break off completely when the aeroplane was cruising on autopilot, with only the yaw damper (which deflects the rudder by only a degree or two at most) in use.

[Edited 2005-08-12 09:54:39]


"Once you have flown, you will walk the earth with your eyes turned skywards.." - Leonardo da Vinci
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