tcasalert
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Video: A330 Almost Hovering Midair!

Thu Nov 10, 2011 6:59 pm

Yes I woudn't have believed it had I not seen the video. However with the right amount of headwind, and the right angle of attack, these CX pilots apparently managed to pull it off!

http://www.liveleak.com/view?i=d16_1320894540&p=1

Looks like they're having a go at being bush pilots!

 Wow!

[Edited 2011-11-10 11:03:50]
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flipdewaf
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RE: Video: A330 Almost Hovering Midair!

Thu Nov 10, 2011 7:10 pm

SWEET!

I wonder what would happen if there was a conveyor belt under it?   

Fred
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by738
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RE: Video: A330 Almost Hovering Midair!

Thu Nov 10, 2011 7:18 pm

Dangerous and unnecessary ?
 
PlanesNTrains
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RE: Video: A330 Almost Hovering Midair!

Thu Nov 10, 2011 7:21 pm

Quoting flipdewaf (Reply 1):
SWEET!

I wonder what would happen if there was a conveyor belt under it?

Ha ha - Here we go!  

-Dave
-Dave
 
Mir
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RE: Video: A330 Almost Hovering Midair!

Thu Nov 10, 2011 7:51 pm

Quoting BY738 (Reply 2):
Dangerous and unnecessary ?

It's an airshow. They always do low-speed fly-bys at airshows. This time, there happened to be a headwind involved. No big deal, really.

-Mir
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vs773er
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RE: Video: A330 Almost Hovering Midair!

Thu Nov 10, 2011 8:15 pm

What are the practicalities of planning a stunt like that? Surely the margins must have been tight? The headwind must have been quite something. Would they rely on asi or plan more intricately than that?
Fascinating.
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KPDX
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RE: Video: A330 Almost Hovering Midair!

Thu Nov 10, 2011 8:22 pm

Very impressive! Almost kinda scary. 
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N14AZ
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RE: Video: A330 Almost Hovering Midair!

Thu Nov 10, 2011 8:30 pm

After reading all the AF 447 threads and reports I simply have to ask this question: such a maneuver is only possible in alternate law, correct?
 
rcair1
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RE: Video: A330 Almost Hovering Midair!

Thu Nov 10, 2011 9:26 pm

Quoting N14AZ (Reply 7):
After reading all the AF 447 threads and reports I simply have to ask this question: such a maneuver is only possible in alternate law, correct?

No - actually I think they were relying on normal law prots - basically alpha-protection which means you can haul back on the stick and the plane will hold at max angle of attack.
What this reminded me of what the infamous A300 crash - except this was done at an altitude that allowed it to pull before it hit the trees.
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747400sp
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RE: Video: A330 Almost Hovering Midair!

Thu Nov 10, 2011 9:58 pm

Talk about a near stall!      
 
lhr380
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RE: Video: A330 Almost Hovering Midair!

Thu Nov 10, 2011 10:01 pm

Quoting rcair1 (Reply 8):
A300

A320 I think lol
(The views on this site are my own and no one elses)
 
SASMD82
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RE: Video: A330 Almost Hovering Midair!

Thu Nov 10, 2011 10:16 pm

Quoting 747400sp (Reply 9):
Talk about a near stall!

One of the main Airbus features: the flight envelope - if engages, the plane is not able to climb too fast or make a turn too fast. Stalling an Airbus should be virtually impossible. (I wonder what happened with AF447 though....)
 
canoecarrier
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RE: Video: A330 Almost Hovering Midair!

Thu Nov 10, 2011 10:30 pm

Quoting Mir (Reply 4):
It's an airshow. They always do low-speed fly-bys at airshows. This time, there happened to be a headwind involved. No big deal, really.

Agreed. It's no different than a bird hovering in a strong wind. The aerodynamic forces involved are no different than when you fly C-150 backwards in a strong headwind. Actually, that demonstration itself shows how airspeed is very different from groundspeed. Do you all think the indicated airspeed was 0 knots?
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NZaholic
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RE: Video: A330 Almost Hovering Midair!

Thu Nov 10, 2011 11:08 pm

This was at Farnborough, way back, don't recall the year but I was there. I think it was shortly before the 330 entered airline service.

The 333 was at the time, by far the biggest twinjet flying, and did look almost stationary at times during the display.
In reality, minimum airspeed (don't forget, that can be completely different to groundspeed) was probably
around 100kt, and we have all now got used to Airbus doing this type of stuff at airshows with their large aeroplanes.

The other reason I remember this display was that there was an active Cb (with lightning) as a backdrop which added to the drama.
 
ghifty
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RE: Video: A330 Almost Hovering Midair!

Thu Nov 10, 2011 11:10 pm

These CX pilots.. always flying crazy!   

But seriously, I think this shows just how "capable" Airbus aircraft are.
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sandyb123
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RE: Video: A330 Almost Hovering Midair!

Thu Nov 10, 2011 11:44 pm

Yes I also think there is quite a steep climb happening here which will create the impression of slow ground speed.

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rolfen
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RE: Video: A330 Almost Hovering Midair!

Thu Nov 10, 2011 11:55 pm

What if... wind drops...
rolf
 
Desh
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RE: Video: A330 Almost Hovering Midair!

Fri Nov 11, 2011 12:27 am

Quoting rolfen (Reply 16):

Yeah , a lot hanging on a uncontrollable factor here , given the altitude there would be no time for recovery. I cannot imagine insurance company to be OK with this.


cool as hell , almost ... Almost comes close to that famous barrel roll from a long time ago.
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Flighty
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RE: Video: A330 Almost Hovering Midair!

Fri Nov 11, 2011 12:36 am

Quoting rolfen (Reply 16):
What if... wind drops...

Can it do that uncommanded?  
 
Accidentally
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RE: Video: A330 Almost Hovering Midair!

Fri Nov 11, 2011 1:02 am

Certainly looks like fun but I'd be afraid of dropping an engine that slow and low. Is that a risk they take, or is it not as bad of a situation as it would seem?

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Slcpilot
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RE: Video: A330 Almost Hovering Midair!

Fri Nov 11, 2011 1:16 am

Rolfen hit the nail on the head. Steady state winds work, but the atmosphere is dynamic and continuously changing. It raises a truly interesting question, what would happen in Normal Law if the winds aloft suddenly decreased? I suspect the nose would automatically drop, respecting AOA limits.

Given an empty airplane and a light fuel load, impressive performance is easier to come by, but the margins looked smaller with this flight demo.

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DeltaMD90
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RE: Video: A330 Almost Hovering Midair!

Fri Nov 11, 2011 1:26 am

I bet you at least on of the pilots had a death grip on the throttles ready to push it to the max!
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soon7x7
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RE: Video: A330 Almost Hovering Midair!

Fri Nov 11, 2011 1:27 am

Really?...when weather is unstable...LOW fly by's hanging on the power curve in a transport aircraft is suicide as the potential for the backside of a wind gust could result in 20 knot wind speed drop..ie...augured in aircraft with all aboard dead. While Airbus aircraft have the ability to be flown much like C-172's...they are not C-172's and should not be treated like one. Remember Bud Holland, the B-52 pilot out in Fairchild AFB in WA State?...he scared his crews to death while flying at airshows so much so that the best he could get out of them was one airshow before they quit. He wowed the audience by treating the Buff like a high performance aerobatic aircraft which it obviously is not...subsequently he finally crashed and burned while pulling 90 banked turns 200feet off the deck over the base. Sure made for a great video though...
 
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beau222
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RE: Video: A330 Almost Hovering Midair!

Fri Nov 11, 2011 2:02 am

So was this a planned Maneuver or did the Captain take advantage of the situation on take off? Seems like I remember a CX Captain getting suspended for doing unauthorized stunts.
 
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EK413
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RE: Video: A330 Almost Hovering Midair!

Fri Nov 11, 2011 2:16 am

That is one flight I wouldn't mind being on! 

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Oshkosh1
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RE: Video: A330 Almost Hovering Midair!

Fri Nov 11, 2011 2:18 am

The illusion is caused more through the optical "compression" using the telephoto feature, it's large size, and relative position of the camera than the aircraft actually "hovering". It's still flying at around 120 kts groundspeed.

Is Sean D Tucker in the left seat?...looks like his Harrier tribute!lol!
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flyaas80
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RE: Video: A330 Almost Hovering Midair!

Fri Nov 11, 2011 2:32 am

So, you lose your headwind... Drop the nose, throttle forward, plenty of altitude to recover. Remember that these aren't some weekend warriors trying to get their private pilot's license. These pilots have more hours logged than most of the posters on this website have been alive.
The only way to fly is by the seat of your pants...
 
soon7x7
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RE: Video: A330 Almost Hovering Midair!

Fri Nov 11, 2011 2:39 am

Quoting Oshkosh1 (Reply 25):


I don't see any use of telephoto here on the video...on days like the one as evident in the video the winds aloft at 700 agl can be much greater than those experienced on the ground. While this "hanging on the power curve"...(or under it) is a classic slow flight training procedure...but in this case, an airshow, foul weather and dangerously close to the ground...is foolish imho...

Quoting Oshkosh1 (Reply 25):
It's still flying at around 120 kts groundspeed.


Can't be determined from this footage...bet gnd/spd was below 100...
 
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flylku
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RE: Video: A330 Almost Hovering Midair!

Fri Nov 11, 2011 3:39 am

Quoting BY738 (Reply 2):
Dangerous and unnecessary ?

Not if they're flying it by the numbers.
...are we there yet?
 
tdscanuck
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RE: Video: A330 Almost Hovering Midair!

Fri Nov 11, 2011 4:26 am

Quoting VS773ER (Reply 5):
What are the practicalities of planning a stunt like that?

In normal law...haul back on the stick to alpha-prot, modulate power to hold altitude.

Quoting N14AZ (Reply 7):
After reading all the AF 447 threads and reports I simply have to ask this question: such a maneuver is only possible in alternate law, correct?

Possible in alternate, easier in normal.

Quoting rolfen (Reply 16):
What if... wind drops..

Power up, nose down. Flight path vector would change very little but AoA would drop and speed would rapidly increase...large jets are very lightly loaded when doing maneuvers like this for airshows.

Quoting Accidentally (Reply 19):
Certainly looks like fun but I'd be afraid of dropping an engine that slow and low.

Same as a wind speed drop...power up, nose down. The plane has enough power on one engine to climb away at MTOW and you can be very very sure this thing was a long way from MTOW.

Tom.
 
CaptainCanuck
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RE: Video: A330 Almost Hovering Midair!

Fri Nov 11, 2011 4:32 am

If you watch during the low pass, the delay between the anti-collision strobes on the wingtips seem to be much longer than usual, which make me believe that the video has been altered slightly to make the pass appear slower.
 
beeweel15
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RE: Video: A330 Almost Hovering Midair!

Fri Nov 11, 2011 6:33 am

Quoting NZaholic (Reply 13):
This was at Farnborough, way back, don't recall the year but I was there. I think it was shortly before the 330 entered airline service.

The 333 was at the time, by far the biggest twinjet flying, and did look almost stationary at times during the display.
In reality, minimum airspeed (don't forget, that can be completely different to groundspeed) was probably
around 100kt, and we have all now got used to Airbus doing this type of stuff at airshows with their large aeroplanes.

Remeber seeing that display but at the Paris Airshow. It was quiet impressive I was spell bound watching them fly a passenger plane like that. Wish I could have been on-board for the flight lol
 
speedbird128
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RE: Video: A330 Almost Hovering Midair!

Fri Nov 11, 2011 8:14 am

Quoting soon7x7 (Reply 27):
Can't be determined from this footage

Well it didn't fall out the sky in this footage, so I would wager that it was above that speed...

Also, from this vantage point it is deceptively slow, added to that the headwind and low actual airspeed and big size, its illusion is that it is standing still...
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mafi29
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RE: Video: A330 Almost Hovering Midair!

Fri Nov 11, 2011 8:31 am

Quoting Speedbird128 (Reply 32):
Well it didn't fall out the sky in this footage, so I would wager that it was above that speed...

Don't mistake air speed for ground speed. Example: If you have a 50 kt head wind, your 120 kt air speed results in 70 kt ground speed.
 
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CCA
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RE: Video: A330 Almost Hovering Midair!

Fri Nov 11, 2011 9:28 am

Airbus pilots with an Airbus plane prior to delivery to CX, this was not done by CX pilots.
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derekf
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RE: Video: A330 Almost Hovering Midair!

Fri Nov 11, 2011 9:36 am

I don't why this is suddenly doing the rounds.

Anyway, as someone who there....  
View Large View Medium
Click here for bigger photo!

Photo © Derek Ferguson



This was from Farnborough in 1994 and it was a particularly unsettled day weather wise with lots of showers around.
The aircraft will have been flown by Airbus test pilots and not by Cathay Pacific. There is no danger in this manoeuvre when flown like this as in normal law the protection is there to protect from any alpha excursions. It is only in Direct law when the protections disappear that there would potentially be a problem. It will also be above VMCA anyway so any engne failure will not be a problem.
This is a perfectly safe manoeuvre air display manoeuvre that will have validated by the flying display committee at Farnborough. Farnborough has some of the strictest regulations as far as display fying is concerned. They won't have been trying anything new.
Whatever.......
 
speedbird128
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RE: Video: A330 Almost Hovering Midair!

Fri Nov 11, 2011 10:54 am

Quoting mafi29 (Reply 33):
Don't mistake air speed for ground speed. Example: If you have a 50 kt head wind, your 120 kt air speed results in 70 kt ground speed.

Doh! Didn't read properly!!!

But my point was even at low weights the chances of a low approach below IAS120 is slim... GS was for sure below...

Sorry.
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GLAGAZ
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RE: Video: A330 Almost Hovering Midair!

Fri Nov 11, 2011 11:25 am

I've hovered in a PA28-161 warrior before  Sat there for 10minutes or so not moving an inch. A330 is slightly different right enough.

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Julian773
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RE: Video: A330 Almost Hovering Midair!

Fri Nov 11, 2011 11:53 am

Quoting GLAGAZ (Reply 37):
I've hovered in a PA28-161 warrior before  Sat there for 10minutes or so not moving an inch. A330 is slightly different right enough.

Haha so have I with my instructor doing stalling! I think we even flew "backwards" due to the headwind component at a point. It was funny looking down at the cars going much faster than us 
 
soon7x7
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RE: Video: A330 Almost Hovering Midair!

Fri Nov 11, 2011 11:56 am

Quoting Speedbird128 (Reply 32):


I am referring to its ground speed while aloft in a strong headwind, while its airspeed may well be above 100kts, its relative ground speed is not. I have performed the same maneuver...even tracked backwards relative to the ground in high winds aloft but at a safe altitude, it is really no big deal. But then again I was not PIC in a major transport aircraft. I'm aware of perspective, telephoto compression and all that, be that as it may...this Airbus demonstration is in a precarious flight attitude, given its proximity to the ground.
Next time your neck of the woods has bad weather with a low ceiling , gusty winds...listen to the tower calling out wind fluctuations to aircraft on final. You can have 30knot deviations...that would be enough to down this Airbus regardless of how much power it has. Agreed the demo looks cool...just think it was risky business...

Kind of like the approaches at Maho Beach. The pilots know the deal down there and one day someone is going to drag the fence down the runway if they are that lucky. When that happens the beach will be closed. While it makes for cool shots and tests ones skill over the fence...don't think some of the approaches witnessed are really necessary, especially ones seen in smaller type aircraft.
 
PITrules
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RE: Video: A330 Almost Hovering Midair!

Fri Nov 11, 2011 1:12 pm

Quoting tdscanuck (Reply 29):

In normal law...haul back on the stick to alpha-prot, modulate power to hold altitude.
Quoting derekf (Reply 35):
There is no danger in this manoeuvre when flown like this as in normal law the protection is there to protect from any alpha excursions.

Alpha-Prot (Alpha Protection, or "Angle of attack PROTection", for the layman) is a designed automated last line of defense safety feature in an Airbus flight control system. It is not meant to be the first line of defense in an intentional maneuver.

Furthermore, the next automated line of defense in a modern Airbus is V Alpha Max - this being an autothrust feature which commands full thrust if the stall scenario continues past Alpha Prot (such as a continued degradation of airspeed). In some scenarios, such as sudden airspeed loss due to windshear, it may even be possible for V Alpha Max to engage before Alpha-Prot. My point being is the margin between Alpha Prot (an AOA function which commands flight controls) and V-Alpha Max (an airspeed function which commands autothrust) is very narrow - there is no intentional "modulating power to hold altitude" between the two.

As far as aircraft/airline industry safety culture is concerned, in an accident there is a chain of events leading up to the event, a chain which consists of many links. Airbus has done a great job in developing automation to help eliminate some of these links.

IMHO, from a human factors point of view, it is inappropriate to depend on one of these automation features as a first line of defense when "showing off", when in fact it was designed as a last line of defense for combating issues such as pilot fatigue, windshear, etc.

This was a stupid flight IMHO; and I'm not surprised it was over 15 years ago. Many things have been learned since then wrt human factors in flight.

[Edited 2011-11-11 05:58:52]
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AviRaider
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RE: Video: A330 Almost Hovering Midair!

Fri Nov 11, 2011 2:23 pm

The video looks slowed or altered to me. Watch the landing, at first, it's real slow and then the aircraft touches down and then it gradually gets faster. But the aircraft is braking during this time so it should be getting slower.

[Edited 2011-11-11 06:24:57]
 
tdscanuck
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RE: Video: A330 Almost Hovering Midair!

Fri Nov 11, 2011 2:32 pm

Quoting soon7x7 (Reply 39):
You can have 30knot deviations...that would be enough to down this Airbus regardless of how much power it has.

If there were 30 knot deviations that day and the A330 wasn't capable of recovering from it, Airbus wouldn't have tried to fly it and Farnborough wouldn't have allowed them to try. They're not stupid, Airbus of all people knows how bad it is to have an airshow crash.

Quoting PITrules (Reply 40):
Alpha-Prot (Alpha Protection, or "Angle of attack PROTection", for the layman) is a designed automated last line of defense safety feature in an Airbus flight control system. It is not meant to be the first line of defense in an intentional maneuver.

Airbus disagrees with you...in an airshow setting flown under an experimental demonstration ticket with a highly trained crew and major risk mitigation/alleviation work, you can safely do all sorts of things with an airliner that you'd never do in normal service.

Quoting PITrules (Reply 40):
My point being is the margin between Alpha Prot (an AOA function which commands flight controls) and V-Alpha Max (an airspeed function which commands autothrust) is very narrow - there is no intentional "modulating power to hold altitude" between the two.

Then who's modulating power in the video? The engines are audibly spooling up and down over a fairly wide range while AoA stays nearly constant.

Quoting PITrules (Reply 40):
IMHO, from a human factors point of view, it is inappropriate to depend on one of these automation features as a first line of defense when "showing off", when in fact it was designed as a last line of defense for combating issues such as pilot fatigue, windshear, etc.

It's totally appropriate when the entire point of the maneuver is to demonstrate that function at an airshow.

Quoting PITrules (Reply 40):
This was a stupid flight IMHO; and I'm not surprised it was over 15 years ago.

The did *exactly* the same maneuver with an A380 at Farnborough 2 years ago (and probably this year but I wasn't there to see it this year). It just looks way more impressive here because of the wind.

Tom.
 
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United787
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RE: Video: A330 Almost Hovering Midair!

Fri Nov 11, 2011 2:39 pm

Awesome...would have been even more awesome if they were closer to the ground and just set it on the ground like a Harrier...
 
speedbird128
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RE: Video: A330 Almost Hovering Midair!

Fri Nov 11, 2011 3:00 pm

Quoting soon7x7 (Reply 39):
I am referring to its ground speed while aloft in a strong headwind

Thanks, I did correct myself in a subsequent post........
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mandala499
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RE: Video: A330 Almost Hovering Midair!

Fri Nov 11, 2011 3:59 pm

Hmm...
230 ton Airbus A330 Stopping in Mid Air... the title of the vid itself is misleading...    230 tons is likely to be the MTOW...

Aircraft was also still registered with Airbus (F-WWKU)... this was flown by Airbus pilots and not Cathay pilots... quite likely the crew were qualified test pilots.

How slow is slow?
These kinds of displays are (if I remember correctly), performed with flaps CONF2 or CONF 3 all the time (less chance of mishaps)... and of course, in Normal Law. (Those who ask about AF447, well, AF447 went into ALTN 2 LAw, and has been discussed to death in other topics...)

Quoting soon7x7 (Reply 27):
.bet gnd/spd was below 100

The aircraft was probably doing the displays with less than 160tons gross weight. Vapp CONF 3 is about 127-135kts for 140-160tons gross weight. But, since they were not approaching, level flight at 1.3G stall margin at those weight at CONF3 or CONF FULL would be... 120-128kts... And that's still 0.3G margin from stall. AlphaProt would be active at a smaller margin to stall.

So, Ground Speed below 100kts is possible, and still nowhere near the Stall speed or the A-Prot range...

Quoting sandyb123 (Reply 15):

Yes I also think there is quite a steep climb happening here which will create the impression of slow ground speed.

Yes, standard illusion trick...

Quoting rolfen (Reply 16):
What if... wind drops.

Well...
1. It's done at CONF2-3 for a reason. If the wind does drop and worse, you get the gross misfortune of having that 30kt headwind turn into a 30kt tailwind... just extend the landing gears and voila... landing config!   
2. If the maneuver was done in higher than Vref (or Vapp) speed, then would you think about what if the wind drops on a 30kt headwind approach ?

Quoting Accidentally (Reply 19):
Certainly looks like fun but I'd be afraid of dropping an engine that slow and low. Is that a risk they take, or is it not as bad of a situation as it would seem?

Well, as long as it's above VMCA, it should not be a problem. I don't have the take off numbers for the 330 in front of me, but I've seen numbers as low as V1/Vr/V2 as low as 125kts before (unless my memory goes drunk at this moment) at around the 130-160 tons range... VMCA should be less than V2 anyways... so...

Quoting tdscanuck (Reply 29):
Possible in alternate, easier in normal.

I don't think they'd be crazy enough to do it in alternate... no hard protections...

Quoting tdscanuck (Reply 42):
Then who's modulating power in the video? The engines are audibly spooling up and down over a fairly wide range while AoA stays nearly constant.

Auto Thrust.
Most likely F/D on SPD and a set FPA/VS set... and A/T with manual flight...

Quoting tdscanuck (Reply 42):
The did *exactly* the same maneuver with an A380 at Farnborough 2 years ago (and probably this year but I wasn't there to see it this year). It just looks way more impressive here because of the wind.

This year? Yeah, they did it again on the 380 in Paris!

Mandala499
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airproxx
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RE: Video: A330 Almost Hovering Midair!

Fri Nov 11, 2011 4:54 pm

Quoting SASMD82 (Reply 11):
Stalling an Airbus should be virtually impossible. (I wonder what happened with AF447 though....)

HAHAHAHA Tell me about it...!! THAT is a damn good question....!

Quoting BY738 (Reply 2):
Dangerous and unnecessary ?

The world of aviation grew up only with safe and necessary tries and projects, this is well known
 
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musang
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RE: Video: A330 Almost Hovering Midair!

Fri Nov 11, 2011 5:53 pm

Quoting DeltaMD90 (Reply 21):
I bet you at least on of the pilots had a death grip on the throttles ready to push it to the max!

I thought Airbus thrust levers stayed in a detent and didn't move?

Quoting soon7x7 (Reply 22):
Remember Bud Holland, the B-52 pilot

Hardly comparable! He was a self-appointed maverick cowboy test pilot with illusions of ability.


Quoting Oshkosh1 (Reply 25):
It's still flying at around 120 kts groundspeed.
Quoting Speedbird128 (Reply 36):
chances of a low approach below IAS120 is slim...

Airbus configured an A300 with FBW and a sidestick in the left pilot's position as part of the test effort for the A320 and subsequent machines. (I photographed the cockpit at Gatwick before it went to Farnborough). During the low/slow pass at the Paris Air Show the following year, the announcer said the airspeed during the pass was eighty knots.

Quoting CaptainCanuck (Reply 30):
make me believe that the video has been altered slightly to make the pass appear slower.

And then re-dubbed the engine sounds at the normal pitch?

Regards All - musang
 
sandrozrh
Posts: 2420
Joined: Sun Feb 04, 2007 12:19 am

RE: Video: A330 Almost Hovering Midair!

Fri Nov 11, 2011 6:30 pm

Quoting musang (Reply 47):
I thought Airbus thrust levers stayed in a detent and didn't move?

Only if A/THR is engaged, and even then the crew is always able to apply max available thrust manually by pushing the levers forward. Of course you can also fly an Airbus with manual thrust, in which case the thrust levers move just like at any other aircraft.
 
PGNCS
Posts: 2249
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RE: Video: A330 Almost Hovering Midair!

Fri Nov 11, 2011 6:34 pm

Quoting BY738 (Reply 2):
Dangerous and unnecessary ?

You think Airbus crews didn't plan this out in meticulous detail? They put on a very impressive demonstration of the low-speed capabilities of their aircraft regularly; this was one of them.

Quoting Mir (Reply 4):
Quoting BY738 (Reply 2):
Dangerous and unnecessary ?


It's an airshow. They always do low-speed fly-bys at airshows. This time, there happened to be a headwind involved. No big deal, really.

  

Quoting VS773ER (Reply 5):
What are the practicalities of planning a stunt like that?

Weights, speeds, wind, weather, altitudes, etc., etc. These maneuvers are flown by highly trained professionals who analyze the demonstraion extensively prior to it's execution, and always have a alternate plan (which may simply be cancelling or postponing the demo.)

Quoting VS773ER (Reply 5):
Surely the margins must have been tight?

Mandala addresses this more than adequately; without being privy to the weather and performance data, I trust the VERY experienced pilots involved to understand all margins and fly the aircraft safely through all maneuvers performed. Which they did.

Quoting N14AZ (Reply 7):
After reading all the AF 447 threads and reports I simply have to ask this question: such a maneuver is only possible in alternate law, correct?

No. There is no way they would do this demo at an airshow in anything other than Normal Law.

Quoting SASMD82 (Reply 11):
Stalling an Airbus should be virtually impossible. (I wonder what happened with AF447 though....)

They weren't in Normal Law. There are MANY threads discussing it.

Quoting canoecarrier (Reply 12):
Do you all think the indicated airspeed was 0 knots?

No.

Quoting Accidentally (Reply 19):
Certainly looks like fun but I'd be afraid of dropping an engine that slow and low. Is that a risk they take, or is it not as bad of a situation as it would seem?

It's an event that is forseeable and planned for; there are more than adequate power reserves available.

Quoting rolfen (Reply 16):
What if... wind drops...

They add power. See responses from tdscanuck and mandala.

Quoting SLCPilot (Reply 20):
Rolfen hit the nail on the head. Steady state winds work, but the atmosphere is dynamic and continuously changing. It raises a truly interesting question, what would happen in Normal Law if the winds aloft suddenly decreased? I suspect the nose would automatically drop, respecting AOA limits.

Given an empty airplane and a light fuel load, impressive performance is easier to come by, but the margins looked smaller with this flight demo.

Yes the atmosphere is dynamic; it's also carefully monitored and considered. Mandala explains further, but suffice it to say that everything you have brought up is considered prior to beginning the demonstration, and they know more about the aircraft performance and the then-current weather than anyone here does.

Quoting soon7x7 (Reply 22):
Really?...when weather is unstable...LOW fly by's hanging on the power curve in a transport aircraft is suicide as the potential for the backside of a wind gust could result in 20 knot wind speed drop..ie...augured in aircraft with all aboard dead. While Airbus aircraft have the ability to be flown much like C-172's...they are not C-172's and should not be treated like one. Remember Bud Holland, the B-52 pilot out in Fairchild AFB in WA State?...he scared his crews to death while flying at airshows so much so that the best he could get out of them was one airshow before they quit. He wowed the audience by treating the Buff like a high performance aerobatic aircraft which it obviously is not...subsequently he finally crashed and burned while pulling 90 banked turns 200feet off the deck over the base. Sure made for a great video though...

The B-52 accident is irrelevant to this discussion. There was a history of individual risk-taking in that case; there is extensive risk analysis involved prior to one of these demonstrations. Not only is this not "suicide," it involves much risk management behind the scenes. These aren't guys out on a whim doing slow flight in a 172; they are extemely experienced manufacturer pilots, ultra-knowledgeable about the aircraft, the specific weather conditions, and certainly with a very good grip on where they are on the power curve.

Quoting beau222 (Reply 23):
So was this a planned Maneuver or did the Captain take advantage of the situation on take off? Seems like I remember a CX Captain getting suspended for doing unauthorized stunts.

They were Airbus pilots doing a planned demonstration.

Quoting soon7x7 (Reply 27):
I don't see any use of telephoto here on the video...on days like the one as evident in the video the winds aloft at 700 agl can be much greater than those experienced on the ground. While this "hanging on the power curve"...(or under it) is a classic slow flight training procedure...but in this case, an airshow, foul weather and dangerously close to the ground...is foolish imho...

They were "dangerously close to the ground"? How close do you think they were? Just because it's windy and there are showers in the area does not necessarily mean it's unsafe. If the wind is relatively steady state, it just makes the demonstration more impressive.

Quoting tdscanuck (Reply 29):
Quoting rolfen (Reply 16):
What if... wind drops..

Power up, nose down. Flight path vector would change very little but AoA would drop and speed would rapidly increase...large jets are very lightly loaded when doing maneuvers like this for airshows.

   All part of the planning involved. Plenty of margin available, otherwise Airbus wouldn't do the demo.

Quoting tdscanuck (Reply 29):
Quoting Accidentally (Reply 19):
Certainly looks like fun but I'd be afraid of dropping an engine that slow and low.

Same as a wind speed drop...power up, nose down. The plane has enough power on one engine to climb away at MTOW and you can be very very sure this thing was a long way from MTOW.

  

Quoting soon7x7 (Reply 39):
But then again I was not PIC in a major transport aircraft. I'm aware of perspective, telephoto compression and all that, be that as it may...this Airbus demonstration is in a precarious flight attitude, given its proximity to the ground.

That is your opinion. I have a lot of time flying Airbus FBW aircraft, and I don't share your opinion; obviously neither did the Airbus pilots who have more experience than I do in planning and executing such maneuvers.

Quoting soon7x7 (Reply 39):
Next time your neck of the woods has bad weather with a low ceiling , gusty winds...listen to the tower calling out wind fluctuations to aircraft on final. You can have 30knot deviations...that would be enough to down this Airbus regardless of how much power it has. Agreed the demo looks cool...just think it was risky business...

You could have gusty winds; I don't know what the winds actually were during this demo, do you? If gusts exceeded predefined limits Airbus wouldn't do the maneuver. It was overcast and raining, but the ceiling wasn't what I would consider low. Just because you CAN have gusty winds doesn't mean you DO. Others here have discussed this very lucidly in more detail. Bottom line: the professionals who actually have a lot of time doing this and had current weather data available felt this was a safe maneuver to execute. They were right.

Quoting PITrules (Reply 40):
As far as aircraft/airline industry safety culture is concerned, in an accident there is a chain of events leading up to the event, a chain which consists of many links. Airbus has done a great job in developing automation to help eliminate some of these links.

IMHO, from a human factors point of view, it is inappropriate to depend on one of these automation features as a first line of defense when "showing off", when in fact it was designed as a last line of defense for combating issues such as pilot fatigue, windshear, etc.

This was a stupid flight IMHO; and I'm not surprised it was over 15 years ago. Many things have been learned since then wrt human factors in flight.

Airbus does this same demo with a variety of aircraft to this day. I personally would not fly these maneuvers in an aircraft other than an Airbus FBW machine. These are not routine flights flown by line pilots using protections to survive a bad situation; these are aircraft flown by company representatives who are specifically qualified to conduct these demonstrations of the aircraft's capabilities. They are very effective at making their points.

Quoting tdscanuck (Reply 42):
Quoting soon7x7 (Reply 39):
You can have 30knot deviations...that would be enough to down this Airbus regardless of how much power it has.

If there were 30 knot deviations that day and the A330 wasn't capable of recovering from it, Airbus wouldn't have tried to fly it and Farnborough wouldn't have allowed them to try. They're not stupid, Airbus of all people knows how bad it is to have an airshow crash.

  

Quoting tdscanuck (Reply 42):
Quoting PITrules (Reply 40):
Alpha-Prot (Alpha Protection, or "Angle of attack PROTection", for the layman) is a designed automated last line of defense safety feature in an Airbus flight control system. It is not meant to be the first line of defense in an intentional maneuver.

Airbus disagrees with you...in an airshow setting flown under an experimental demonstration ticket with a highly trained crew and major risk mitigation/alleviation work, you can safely do all sorts of things with an airliner that you'd never do in normal service.

  

Quoting tdscanuck (Reply 42):
Quoting PITrules (Reply 40):
My point being is the margin between Alpha Prot (an AOA function which commands flight controls) and V-Alpha Max (an airspeed function which commands autothrust) is very narrow - there is no intentional "modulating power to hold altitude" between the two.

Then who's modulating power in the video? The engines are audibly spooling up and down over a fairly wide range while AoA stays nearly constant.

Either A/T or manual power would be available here; though I suspect A/T was on in the Speed mode during the flyby. There is plenty of power available.

Quoting tdscanuck (Reply 42):
Quoting PITrules (Reply 40):
IMHO, from a human factors point of view, it is inappropriate to depend on one of these automation features as a first line of defense when "showing off", when in fact it was designed as a last line of defense for combating issues such as pilot fatigue, windshear, etc.

It's totally appropriate when the entire point of the maneuver is to demonstrate that function at an airshow.

  

Quoting tdscanuck (Reply 42):
Quoting PITrules (Reply 40):
This was a stupid flight IMHO; and I'm not surprised it was over 15 years ago.

The did *exactly* the same maneuver with an A380 at Farnborough 2 years ago (and probably this year but I wasn't there to see it this year). It just looks way more impressive here because of the wind.

  

Quoting mandala499 (Reply 45):
Aircraft was also still registered with Airbus (F-WWKU)... this was flown by Airbus pilots and not Cathay pilots... quite likely the crew were qualified test pilots.

  

Quoting mandala499 (Reply 45):
How slow is slow?
These kinds of displays are (if I remember correctly), performed with flaps CONF2 or CONF 3 all the time (less chance of mishaps)... and of course, in Normal Law. (Those who ask about AF447, well, AF447 went into ALTN 2 LAw, and has been discussed to death in other topics...)

  

Quoting mandala499 (Reply 45):
Quoting soon7x7 (Reply 27):
.bet gnd/spd was below 100

The aircraft was probably doing the displays with less than 160tons gross weight. Vapp CONF 3 is about 127-135kts for 140-160tons gross weight. But, since they were not approaching, level flight at 1.3G stall margin at those weight at CONF3 or CONF FULL would be... 120-128kts... And that's still 0.3G margin from stall. AlphaProt would be active at a smaller margin to stall.

So, Ground Speed below 100kts is possible, and still nowhere near the Stall speed or the A-Prot range...

   That's the key point, mandala. They are not near the absolute margins of the flight envelope during the flyby.

Quoting mandala499 (Reply 45):
Quoting Accidentally (Reply 19):
Certainly looks like fun but I'd be afraid of dropping an engine that slow and low. Is that a risk they take, or is it not as bad of a situation as it would seem?

Well, as long as it's above VMCA, it should not be a problem. I don't have the take off numbers for the 330 in front of me, but I've seen numbers as low as V1/Vr/V2 as low as 125kts before (unless my memory goes drunk at this moment) at around the 130-160 tons range... VMCA should be less than V2 anyways... so...

  

Quoting mandala499 (Reply 45):
Quoting tdscanuck (Reply 29):
Possible in alternate, easier in normal.

I don't think they'd be crazy enough to do it in alternate... no hard protections...

That's why I said I wouldn't do this demo in a non-Airbus FBW aircraft.  
Quoting mandala499 (Reply 45):
Quoting tdscanuck (Reply 42):
Then who's modulating power in the video? The engines are audibly spooling up and down over a fairly wide range while AoA stays nearly constant.

Auto Thrust.
Most likely F/D on SPD and a set FPA/VS set... and A/T with manual flight...

That's my thinking as well, but it's just an educated hunch.

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