Pilots of Air France #AF11 reported their Boeing 777 didn’t react to commands on final approach to Paris CDG
Pilots of AF11 had a serious issue with commands on final approach to Paris.
The crew of AF11 from New York JFK to Paris CDG had to deal a serious issue at very low altitude this morning Tuesday 5 March 2022.
UPDATE The BEA opens a safety investigation regarding Air France #AF11 Boeing 777-300 incident yesterday, CVR and FDR data are currently analyzed.
The Boeing 777 (reg. F-GSQJ) was on approach to runway 26L when the crew reported an issue.
The plane didn’t respond to the commands and started to deviate to its left. Pilots could not talk to the ATC as they were dealing with the issue. We can hear them fighting with the commands in the following video.
They finally managed to go around at only 1,200 ft then hold 4,000ft and returned to Paris CDG for a safe landing on runway 27R.
Thousands of Russians scramble to leave Thailand as sanctions hit
More than 5,000 Russian tourists have found themselves stranded in Thailand, as international sanctions following the war in Ukraine hit worried holidaymakers.
Thousands of Russian tourists in Thailand are struggling to find a route home, officials said Sunday, as international sanctions imposed over the war in Ukraine hit holidaymakers.
Russia’s invasion in February provoked a host of international measures targeting businesses and banks, with some Russian carriers cancelling flights and global payment firms suspending services.
Russians tourists have been among the largest group of visitors to return to Thailand’s beachside resorts since pandemic restrictions eased, but many now find themselves without a return ticket.
Chattan Kunjara Na Ayudhya, the deputy governor of the Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT), said 3,100 Russians were stuck in Phuket, while just over 2,000 were in Samui, and smaller numbers were in Krabi, Phangnga and Bangkok.
The agency was working on helping those who wanted to return home, he said, including “discussion on return flights which could be regular or special flights”.
Russian tourist and mother-of-three Evgenia Gozorskaia said her family discovered their return Aeroflot tickets had been cancelled.
“We are very nervous because the children are very small, we don’t have enough money to live here,” said the 41-year-old psychologist who arrived from Moscow with her husband and children — aged seven, four and two — on Feb 27.
“We want to go tomorrow to the airport, but I don’t know what the situation will be,” she said from Phuket, adding that they were supposed to fly home March 28.
She said while some people had their tickets replaced others — including her family — had not been so lucky.
“They say that they cannot do it and put the phone off,” she said.
While Thailand has not banned Russian flights, international airspace restrictions have seen some firms — such as Russia’s flagship Aeroflot — cancelling services, leaving tourists to seek alternative routes, such as through the Middle East with different carriers.
Many tourists have also been hit by Visa and Mastercard suspending operations.
“We have seen instances of difficulty in card payments by Russians in Phuket due to how Mastercard and Visa have suspended services in Russia,” said Bhummikitti Ruktaengam, president of the Phuket Tourist Association.
He said officials were considering adopting the Mir system — a Russian electronic fund transfer structure — as well as digital currencies.
Local communities across Thailand were also stepping in.
“We will pay for water, electric, everything for them,” said Archimandrite Oleg, representative of the Orthodox Church in Thailand, who said they were helping at least one family with four children stranded in Koh Samui.
Pandemic travel curbs have hammered the kingdom’s tourism-dominated economy, but 2022 saw a surge of visitors as restrictions eased.
Around 23,000 Russians travelled to Thailand in January this year, according to the TAT.
Tourists from Russia previously accounted for the seventh-largest share of visitors to the kingdom, with around 1.5 million travelling to Thailand in 2019.
While Bangkok has backed a United Nations resolution calling for the withdrawal of Russian troops from Ukraine, it has stopped short of imposing sanctions.
Omicron May Double Risk of Getting Infected on Planes, IATA Says
Business class likely safer than economy, airline advisor says
New strain dominates major markets on cusp of holiday season
Aircraft passengers are twice or even three times more likely to catch Covid-19 during a flight since the emergence of the omicron variant, according to the top medical adviser to the world’s airlines.
The new strain is highly transmissible and has become dominant in a matter of weeks, accounting for more than 70% of all new cases in the U.S. alone. While hospital-grade air filters on modern passenger jets make the risk of infection much lower on planes than in crowded places on the ground such as shopping malls, omicron is rapidly spreading just as more travelers take to the skies for year-end holidays and family reunions.
Business class may be safer than more densely packed economy cabins, said David Powell, physician and medical adviser to the International Air Transport Association, which represents almost 300 carriers worldwide. As before, passengers should avoid face-to-face contact and surfaces that are frequently touched, and people sitting near to each other should try not to be unmasked at the same time during meals, he said.
“The relative risk has probably increased, just as the relative risk of going to the supermarket or catching a bus has increased.”
Powell, former chief medical officer at Air New Zealand Ltd., spoke with Bloomberg News on Tuesday about flying during the pandemic. Here’s an edited transcript.
What are the risks of infection during a flight?
Whatever the risk was with delta, we would have to assume the risk would be two to three times greater with omicron, just as we’ve seen in other environments. Whatever that low risk — we don’t know what it is — on the airplane, it must be increased by a similar amount.
What should passengers do to minimize the risks?
Avoid common-touch surfaces, hand hygiene wherever possible, masks, distancing, controlled-boarding procedures, try to avoid face-to-face contact with other customers, try to avoid being unmasked in flight, for meal and drink services, apart from when really necessary. The advice is the same, it’s just that the relative risk has probably increased, just as the relative risk of going to the supermarket or catching a bus has increased with omicron.
What about masks at meal times?
For a two-hour flight, it’s pretty easy to say, ‘just keep your mask on the whole time.’ But if it’s a 10-hour flight, it becomes pretty unreasonable to ask people not to eat and drink. What most airlines have been doing is encouraging, but not insisting, on customers trying to stagger their mask-off periods a little bit.
In simple terms, two people masked have minimal transmission from one to the other. If one of you removes your mask, then that person’s at greater risk of transmitting and at slightly greater risk of receiving. But if both of you remove then obviously, there’s no barrier there and you can freely transmit one to the other.
Would it be safest not to fly at all?
The greatest protection you can give yourself is to be vaccinated and boosted. The protection that you give yourself from an extra mask or a different type of mask, or not flying at all, frankly, is probably less than the benefit you would get from just being fully boosted. There’s a sort of a rule of thumb starting to appear, that essentially omicron loses you one vaccine dose of benefit. So, two doses against omicron is about similar protection to one dose against delta. That’s not established in hard science, but it roughly seems to correlate with what’s coming out in studies.
Is it safe for healthy passengers if an omicron case is sitting on the plane?
It’s an enclosed space, but it’s a leaky box, and we pressurize it by putting a huge airflow on one end of it, and then having an exhaust valve out the other end. So you’re sitting in a very high-flow airflow environment. It is an enclosed space, but that doesn’t shout ‘risk’ to me. An Irish pub with a fan in the corner shouts ‘risk’ to me, or a gymnasium with a whole lot of people shouting and grunting and sweating. But any flight you take does involve airports as well, which are a little bit less controlled. So, there is risk there. What can you do? Vaccination, testing, mask-wearing, distancing. Are surgical masks better than cloth masks? Yes, probably. On average, maybe 10-20%.
Having said all that, still, it’s been our observation throughout the pandemic, that airline flights have been less conducive to spread than other indoor environments. Again, we’re not saying perfect, but compared with restaurants, buses, subways, you know, nightclubs, gyms, all of those that have been studied. The likelihood of transferring to another person is less on an aeroplane.
Most of the documented cases of spread in flight are from way back in March 2020 — before we had testing, before we had masks, before we had organized boarding procedures, before there was a high degree of awareness about not flying if you were unwell.
What about leaving middle seats on rows empty?
It’s incredibly appealing, intuitively. It does give a greater physical distance between you and the next person. But we haven’t seen that actually deliver a whole lot of benefit. But if there’s some cross airflow from the aisle to the window, or the window to the aisle, and you remove the person from the middle seat, you’ve helped the person who would have been in the middle seat. You probably haven’t helped the person in the next seat a whole lot, because it’s likely to drift across without the obstruction of that first person.
Should cabin crew wear full protective clothing, such as body suits and face shields?
Probably not. There hasn’t been a lot of passenger-to-crew transmission throughout Covid. There has been some, but it’s very, very small numbers. It’s tended to be passenger-to-passenger or crew-to-crew. And again, very small numbers of crew-to-passenger. Let’s just be stringent about the measures already in place, and wait until we have a bit more data on omicron.
What are the risks of infection at the airport?
The requirements for airflows on board are much more stringent than they are for airport buildings generally. The protections for the airline cabin are: everybody stays seated, facing the same direction, there are these physical barriers that are in the way, you have a high degree of airflow that’s by and large from ceiling to floor, minimal drift along the airplane, a little bit more drift across the airplane. Roughly 50% of the airflow is fresh from outside, 50% is recirculated, but when it’s recirculated, it’s HEPA-filtered, so it’s clean. Most of those aren’t present in the airport phase. You’ve got much more random movement, much more potential for face-to-face contact, you’ve got generally reduced airflows. Airport ventilation rates are a 10th, maybe, of what they are on the airplane.
What about children on the flight? How should families manage them?
The risk of severe illness to small children themselves from traveling is low, just because the risk of severe Covid is so low for children. It’s one of the unanswered questions with omicron. The risk is not so much to them. The risk is that they may be mildly infected, not know it, and potentially be spreading whilst they’re traveling. And so that is a risk. Getting them to keep a mask on is hard. The smaller they are, the harder that’s going to be.
Snake, rattle and roll: Where A380s share accommodation with snakes and scorpions
It’s rattlesnake season in the Californian Mojave desert and Qantas engineers based at the airline’s Los Angeles hanger have added a new pre-inspection procedure to avoid the wrath of startled rattlesnakes when they carry out weekly maintenance on Qantas’ parked fleet of A380 aircraft.
The engineers are tasked with maintaining the A380s that are currently parked in deep storage, with the fleet expected to return to service when international travel demand gets back to pre-COVID levels – which could still be two years away.
While engineers are well versed in how to protect the aircraft from birds and insects nesting in crevices in the fuselage, in Victorville California, there is a different set of potential hazards the engineers need to be on the lookout for.
The desert-based airfield is a temporary home to aircraft from all around the world, with airlines from around the world storing their jets until commercial travel returns to pre COVID-19 levels.
While the dry heat and low humidity of the California desert makes it the ideal storage facility for aircraft, it is also the ideal environment for the highly venomous Mojave rattlesnakes and scorpions, both which are prone to setting up camp around the wheel wells and tyres of slumbering aircraft.
Qantas Manager for Engineering in Los Angeles, Tim Heywood, said having a team of engineers driving the two hours from LA to Victorville for regular inspections is a vital part of keeping the aircraft in top condition during their downtime. Encounters of the slithering and rattling kind are all part of the job.
“The area is well known for its feisty ‘rattlers’ who love to curl up around the warm rubber tyres and in the aircraft wheels and brakes. Every aircraft has its own designated “wheel whacker” (a repurposed broom handle) as part of the engineering kit, complete with each aircraft’s registration written on it.
“The first thing we do before we unwrap and start any ground inspections of the landing gear in particular is to walk around the aircraft stomping our feet and tapping the wheels with a wheel whacker to wake up and scare off the snakes. That’s about making sure no harm comes to our engineers or the snakes.
“Only then do we carefully approach each wheel and unwrap them before performing our pressure checks and visual inspections.
“We’ve encountered a few rattle snakes and also some scorpions, but the wheel whacker does its job and they scuttle off. It’s a unique part of looking after these aircraft while they’re in storage and it’s another sign of how strange the past year has been. These A380s would rarely spend more than a day on the ground when they were in service.”
Their work involves everything from covering the interior seats with plastic sheeting to applying protective film to the top of the rudder and on all of the cabin windows. The wheels, tyres and landing gear legs are wrapped in protective film and all inlets and orifices on the fuselage are plugged to avoid insects, birds and even bats making themselves at home.
While in hibernation, the aircraft require regular monitoring, so during their staycation in California, engineers carry out weekly, fortnightly and monthly inspections that include draining fuel tanks of water caused by condensation, rotating the wheels to avoid flat spots, check the tyre pressures, inspect the fuselage and wings for animal nests and make sure that they are still tightly wrapped up during their sleep.
Any snake that chose to ignore the wheel whacker this week would have gotten an even bigger shock. One of the A380s (VH-OQC) was woken up and took to the skies for the first time in 290 days this week, flying from Victorville to Los Angeles to undergo a gear swing procedure at Qantas’ LAX hangar. The 290 tonne aircraft was jacked up and its landing gear swung up and down
“Aircraft like these are highly technical and you can’t just land it at the storage facility, park it and walk away. It’s really important that even when in deep storage, the aircraft are maintained to the Qantas standard.”
The engineers said watching it thunder down the runway and take off was a great moment.
“It was terrific to see the A380 in full flight once again, some of these aircraft have brand new interiors still with the plastic on the seats so we will are proud to keep them in top notch condition until the time comes for them to fly again. We can hang up our wheel whackers at that point.”
Singaporean Transport Safety Investigation Bureau Investigators noted that the crew had been facing several individual pressures prior to the departure and highlighted that:
The Singapore Airlines captain inadvertently miskeyed, typing ‘500’ rather than ‘500A’, which neither crew member noticed.
This error stopped the Boeing 777 aircraft climb at 500ft.
The pilot cross-checking process failed.
Time pressure resulted in the first officer’s not carrying out a habitual scan of the entries.
The captain called for autopilot engagement at 360ft – an early selection because he wanted to reduce workload
The captain “did not realise that the aircraft had stopped climbing”, says the inquiry, and had called for flap retraction believing the 777 had passed 1,000ft. Investigators state that the crew “did not verify” altitude information from the instrument displays.
SIA 777 stopped climb at 500ft after crew’s waypoint entry error
A change in Boeing’s 737 MAX manufacturing process that was insufficiently vetted caused an electrical system problem.
In this change, fasteners were used to hold a backup electrical power unit in place, rather than rivets. Fasteners did not provide a complete electrical grounding path to the unit.
What’s at stake with new 737 MAX electrical issues
After the events of the past few years it’s no surprise that when the 737 MAX has an issue, it receives a lot of coverage. And the latest 737 MAX headlines concerning potential electrical problems are no doubt a big headache for Boeing and its operators alike. It’s bad publicity at the worst possible time for the 737 MAX, when everyone involved will have been hoping for a smooth and quiet reintroduction to service. But it also raises new questions and concerns, on top of many already existing ones, about Boeing’s manufacturing processes and corporate culture. So just what is going on here, and what’s at stake?
To be clear, this appears completely unrelated to the issues that caused two fatal crashes of the type prior to its worldwide grounding. So just how serious are these new electrical problems?
The Seattle Times published an in-depth piece on what the actual issue is last week. According to that article, a “A minor change in Boeing’s 737 MAX manufacturing process that was insufficiently vetted caused an electrical system problem.” It seems that in this change, fasteners were used to hold a backup electrical power unit in place, rather than rivets. Boeing has said that it discovered the issue while building a new MAX and that, according to the Seattle Times article, the fasteners “did not provide a complete electrical grounding path to the unit.”
Boeing did recently begin delivering 787s again. And aside from this issue the 737 MAX has had a relatively smooth rollout with dozens of airlines sending them back into the skies and it being mostly a non-event outside of avgeek circles. Indeed it seems that the expected public mass anxiety about getting back on a 737 MAX was greatly exaggerated, and most people aren’t even noticing that they’re on one.
But the fundamental issues at Boeing remain an ongoing concern, and even as the company fixes aircraft problems as they come up, many are wondering just how deep these problems go, and whether we’ve now seen the end of them. This latest 737 MAX issue only feeds those concerns.
Boeing whistleblower raises doubts over 787 oxygen system
John Barnett says tests suggest up to a quarter of the oxygen systems could be faulty and might not work when needed.
He also claimed faulty parts were deliberately fitted to planes on the production line at one Boeing factory.
Boeing denies his accusations and says all its aircraft are built to the highest levels of safety and quality.
The firm has come under intense scrutiny in the wake of two catastrophic accidents involving another one of its planes, the 737 Max.
Mr Barnett, a former quality control engineer, worked for Boeing for 32 years, until his retirement on health grounds in March 2017.
From 2010 he was employed as a quality manager at Boeing’s factory in North Charleston, South Carolina.
This plant is one of two that are involved in building the 787 Dreamliner, a state-of-the-art modern airliner used widely on long-haul routes around the world. Despite early teething problems following its entry into service the aircraft has proved a hit with airlines, and a useful source of profits for the company.
But according to Mr Barnett, 57, the rush to get new aircraft off the production line meant that the assembly process was rushed and safety was compromised. The company denies this and insists that “safety, quality and integrity are at the core of Boeing’s values”.
In 2016, he tells the BBC, he uncovered problems with emergency oxygen systems. These are supposed to keep passengers and crew alive if the cabin pressurisation fails for any reason at altitude. Breathing masks are meant to drop down from the ceiling, which then supply oxygen from a gas cylinder.
Without such systems, the occupants of a plane would rapidly be incapacitated. At 35,000ft, (10,600m) they would be unconscious in less than a minute. At 40,000ft, it could happen within 20 seconds. Brain damage and even death could follow.
Although sudden decompression events are rare, they do happen. In April 2018, for example, a window blew out of a Southwest Airlines aircraft, after being hit by debris from a damaged engine. One passenger sitting beside the window suffered serious injuries and later died as a result – but others were able to draw on the emergency oxygen supplies and survived unharmed.
Mr Barnett says that when he was decommissioning systems which had suffered minor cosmetic damage, he found that some of the oxygen bottles were not discharging when they were meant to. He subsequently arranged for a controlled test to be carried out by Boeing’s own research and development unit.
This test, which used oxygen systems that were “straight out of stock” and undamaged, was designed to mimic the way in which they would be deployed aboard an aircraft, using exactly the same electric current as a trigger. He says 300 systems were tested – and 75 of them did not deploy properly, a failure rate of 25%.
Mr Barnett says his attempts to have the matter looked at further were stonewalled by Boeing managers. In 2017, he complained to the US regulator, the FAA, that no action had been taken to address the problem. The FAA, however, said it could not substantiate that claim, because Boeing had indicated it was working on the issue at the time.
Boeing itself rejects Mr Barnett’s assertions.
It does concede that in 2017 it “identified some oxygen bottles received from the supplier that were not deploying properly. We removed those bottles from production so that no defective bottles were placed on airplanes, and we addressed the matter with our supplier”.
But it also states that “every passenger oxygen system installed on our airplanes is tested multiple times before delivery to ensure it is functioning properly, and must pass those tests to remain on the airplane.”
“The system is also tested at regular intervals once the airplane enters service,” it says.
This is not the only allegation levelled at Boeing regarding the South Carolina plant, however. Mr Barnett also says that Boeing failed to follow its own procedures, intended to track parts through the assembly process, allowing a number of defective items to be “lost”.
He claims that under-pressure workers even fitted sub-standard parts from scrap bins to aircraft on the production line, in at least one case with the knowledge of a senior manager. He says this was done to save time, because “Boeing South Carolina is strictly driven by schedule and cost”.
On the matter of parts being lost, in early 2017 a review by the Federal Aviation Administration upheld Mr Barnett’s concerns, establishing that the location of at least 53 “non-conforming” parts was unknown, and that they were considered lost. Boeing was ordered to take remedial action.
Since then, the company says, it has “fully resolved the FAA’s findings with regard to part traceability, and implemented corrective actions to prevent recurrence”. It has made no further comment about the possibility of non-conforming parts making it onto completed aircraft – although insiders at the North Charleston plant insist it could not happen.
Mr Barnett is currently taking legal action against Boeing, which he accuses of denigrating his character and hampering his career because of the issues he pointed out, ultimately leading to his retirement. The company’s response is that he had long-standing plans to retire, and did so voluntarily. It says “Boeing has in no way negatively impacted Mr Barnett’s ability to continue in whatever chosen profession he so wishes”.
The company says it offers its employees a number of channels for raising concerns and complaints, and has rigorous processes in place to protect them and make sure the issues they draw attention to are considered. It says: “We encourage and expect our employees to raise concerns and when they do, we thoroughly investigate and fully resolve them.”
But Mr Barnett is not the only Boeing employee to have raised concerns about Boeing’s manufacturing processes. Earlier this year, for example, it emerged that following the Ethiopian Airlines 737 Max crash in March, four current or former employees contacted an FAA hotline to report potential issues.
Mr Barnett believes that the concerns he has highlighted reflect a corporate culture that is “all about speed, cost-cutting and bean count (jobs sold)”. He claims managers are “not concerned about safety, just meeting schedule”.
That’s a view which has support from another former engineer, Adam Dickson, who was involved with the development of the 737 Max at Boeing’s Renton factory in Washington state.
He tells the BBC there was “a drive to keep the aeroplanes moving through the factory. There were often pressures to keep production levels up.
“My team constantly fought the factory on processes and quality. And our senior managers were no help.”
In it, the manager complained about workers being “exhausted” from having to work at a very high pace for an extended period.
He said that schedule pressure was “creating a culture where employees are either deliberately or unconsciously circumventing established processes”, adversely affecting quality.
For the first time in his life, the email’s author said, he was hesitant about allowing his family aboard a Boeing aircraft.
Boeing says that together with the FAA, it implements a “rigorous inspection process” to ensure its aircraft are safe, and that all of them go through “multiple safety and test flights” as well as extensive inspections before they are allowed to leave the factory.
Boeing recently commissioned an independent review of its safety processes, which it says “found rigorous enforcement of, and compliance with, both the FAA’s aircraft certification standards and Boeing’s aircraft design and engineering requirements.” It said that the review had “established that the design and development of the  Max was done in line with the procedures and processes that have consistently produced safe airplanes.”
Nevertheless, as a result of that review, in late September the company announced a number of changes to its safety structures. They include the creation of a new “product and services safety organization”.
It will be charged with reviewing all aspects of product safety “including investigating cases of undue pressure and anonymous product and safety concerns raised by employees”.
Mr Barnett, meanwhile, remains deeply concerned about the safety of the aircraft he helped to build.
“Based on my years of experience and past history of plane accidents, I believe it’s just a matter of time before something big happens with a 787,” he says.
“I pray that I am wrong.”
Reported by BBC News on 6 November 2019 by By Theo Leggett, Business correspondent.
Arlington, Virginia — An American Airlines mechanic appeared in a Miami court Friday after being charged with sabotaging a jetliner. The aircraft was filled with passengers and set to take-off.
At 10:30 a.m. on July 17th, American Airlines flight 2834 pulled out of gate 49 at Miami International Airport headed for the Bahamas. But pilots noticed a problem and as the plane, with 150 people aboard, moved into position on the runway, they were forced to turn around.
According to investigators, American Airlines mechanic Abdul-Majeed Marouf Ahmed Alani, who appeared in a Florida court Friday, was seen on surveillance video tampering with the plane’s navigation systems just an hour before it was scheduled to depart. Alani, who’s worked for American since 1988, said he tried to sabotage the plane because he was upset about a stalled contract dispute between his union and American Airlines and that it had affected him financially.
Captain Laura Einsetler said had the plane taken off, it could have been catastrophic.
“It is significant. Any time we reject a takeoff, that’s a big deal,” she said.
Alani said he hoped sabotaging the plane would allow him to get overtime pay to fix it. American Airlines called it a disturbing event and said that it has been cooperating with the investigation.
Singapore Airlines flight from Melbourne cancelled after pilot failed alcohol test
SINGAPORE: A Singapore Airlines (SIA) flight from Melbourne to Wellington was cancelled on Saturday morning (Sep 15) after the pilot failed an alcohol test.
Australia’s Civil Aviation Safety Authority had conducted a random drug and alcohol test on all crew members before the flight, and the pilot “did not pass the test due to having higher than suitable blood alcohol limit”, said an SIA spokesperson in response to Channel NewsAsia’s queries.
“The pilot in question has been suspended from all operations until an investigation is undertaken,” SIA added.
Flight SQ247 was scheduled to depart Melbourne at 7am local time on Saturday and arrive in Wellington at 12.20pm.
The return flight SQ248 on Saturday was also cancelled, said SIA.
Some passengers affected by the flight cancellation took to social media to express their frustrations, saying that they were not informed for several hours about alternative arrangements such as booking a new flight.
“Probably my most frustrating experience in an airport … just left the Melbourne airport after 6h waiting,” said one passenger on Twitter.
“We sincerely apologise to those affected by the cancellation of these flights. However, the safety of our customers and crew is our highest priority,” said the SIA spokesperson.
“We are currently working with those customers whose travel has been inconvenienced to find suitable alternate travel arrangements as soon as possible,” SIA added.